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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 24 AUGUST 2022 VOL 48 NO 71
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 24th August, 2022
The National Assembly Met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
MEETING WITH PRIMSON TRADING (PVT.) LTD
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that Primson Trading (Pvt.) Ltd was engaged by Parliament to conduct an evaluation of the Institutional Strategic Plan 2018 to 2023 and the process is currently underway. To this end, they intend to meet the Chairperson and two Members from each Parliamentary Committee on Friday 26th August, 2022 as follows:
The Portfolio Committees on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Local Government and Thematic Committee on Human Rights at 09:00hrs in Committee Room No 1;
The Portfolio Committees on Mines and Mining Development and Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development at 09:00hrs in the Senate Chamber;
The Portfolio Committees on Transport and Infrastructural Development; Energy and Power Development, and Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment at 09:00hrs in Committee Room No 2;
The Portfolio Committees on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services and ICT and Courier Services at 09:00hrs in Committee Room No 3;
The Portfolio Committees on Youths, Sport Arts and Recreation; Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development and Primary and Secondary Education at 09:00hrs in Committee Room No 4;
The Portfolio Committees on Health and Child Care; Women Affairs and Community Development and Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS at 11:00hrs in Committee Room No 1;
The Portfolio Committees on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services and Thematic Committee on Peace and Security at 11:00hrs in Committee Room No 2;
The Portfolio Committees on Budget, Finance and Economic Development; Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Public Accounts and Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals at 10:00hrs in Committee Room No 4.
TABLING OF REPORT
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER & TERTIARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I hereby lay upon the table the report of the Audit of Local Authorities in terms of Section 309 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as read together with Section 10 (1) of the Audit Office Act, Chapter 22 (18) for the year ended 31st December, 2021.
LEAVE TO MOVE FOR THE SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS NO. 33 (6), 53, 66 (2), 68 (5) AND 147
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Madam Speaker, I seek leave of the House to move that the provisions of Standing Orders No. 33 (6), 53, 66 (2), 68 (5) and 147 regarding the reporting period of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, the Automatic Adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. and at Twenty-five Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a Friday, Private Members motions taking precedence on Wednesdays after question time, that question time shall be on Wednesdays and stages of Bills respectively, be suspended until business relating to the supplementary budget has been disposed of.
Motion put and negatived.
HON. GONESE: On a point of Order Madam Speaker. My point of order relates to the connectivity challenges which we are facing. I have been trying to access Parliament internet but I cannot, though I have my gadgets. The Order Paper is now being sent to us electronically but unfortunately our emails are not accessible. Even when it relates to any other business relating to Parliament business, we have no access. What is being done concerning this challenge because we have been having this challenge for quite some time? May Hon. Members be enlightened as to what the root cause is and what Parliament Administration has been doing to try to rectify the problem so that we are able to contribute? Some of the issues that we wish to raise, we are now using the internet.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, I am being told that the challenges are with the service providers but they are working hard to rectify it.
HON. T. MLISWA: I see that we have got an empty bench here. There are no Ministers and Deputy Ministers unless Hon. Nyabani and Hon. Matangira have been appointed Deputy Ministers without us knowing. To be honest with you, there are many questions that we would like to ask Ministers and they are not here, especially the Minister of Finance and – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – There are some specific issues which require them. Deputy Ministers should at least be here to answer on behalf of the Ministers because Section 107 is very clear that Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Vice Presidents should be here. I also did not hear you read a list of apologies. That is my point of order.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, I hear your concerns. I have consulted the Government Chief Whip and he assured me that Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers are on their way to the House – [AN HON. MEMBER: From where?] – From their offices.
HON. T. MLISWA: I hear you Madam Speaker but the list of apologies is a procedural issue. The list of apologies should be read here....
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I hear you Hon. Mliswa. There is only one apology from Hon. Prof. Mavima. The rest of the Ministers are coming.
HON. T. MLISWA: The list is usually read out and we know who is not present....
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Only one Minister sent an apology – Hon. Prof. Mavima. The rest of the Ministers are coming
HON. T. MLISWA: Alright, we look forward to a full bench. Hon. Nyabani and Hon. Matangira, may you go to your normal seats so that when they come they sit there.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
*HON. MATANGIRA: My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. In his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of the House. What is Government policy on children who are born whilst their mother is incarcerated? What is the status of these children – is it ex-detainee? There are also people who were forced to live in ‘keeps’ – are they also ex-detainees?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): The Hon. Member’s question is difficult to answer because the policy states that ex-detainees are only adults and not fetuses, babies or children. I think the law should look into this but the truth is that ex-detainees were adults. I thank you.
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Issues that we are seized with regarding rights pertain to trauma and the pain that young children went through whilst their parents were being victimised by the imperialist system. When you look at them, some of these children are still haunted by that trauma. In that regard, my question is that Government policy should consider children who were traumatised during incarceration of their parents so that they are given that status.
*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. The supplementary question that was raised by Hon. Matangira, let me reiterate that there was no such policy. The only policy that was there speaks to adults who were incarcerated. However, the issue that is being raised is one that should be reviewed, not as ex-detainees but in a different manner. I thank you.
*HON. SHAVA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Health and Child Care but during his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of the House. What is Government policy on the measles outbreak for those parents who did not take their children for vaccination? What is Government planning regarding such children because they are dying? I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. Today I am also the Acting Minister of Health and Child Care. In response to the question that was raised by Hon. Shava which is a pertinent question, because in the past few months, we have been having a measles outbreak that started in Makoni, Manicaland. Government policy is that every child should be vaccinated against communicable diseases.
As I am speaking, the Local Government, Civil Protection Unit and even the Ministry of Health and Child Care are working hard to disseminate information regarding the vaccination of children. The vaccination programme has been escalated and even yesterday in Cabinet, there was an agreement that every child should be vaccinated against these diseases. I thank you.
*HON. SHAVA: My supplementary question Madam Speaker Ma’am is; there are places where we know some infants are dying, getting buried and some are sick. I would give an example but I saw my Minister in this House. There is need for research in that area where you find people claiming that they were bewitched. Another child died last night as I am speaking.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your question Hon. Member?
*HON. SHAVA: My question is that our Ministry of Health and Child Care or the Leader of the House should send teams to such areas in order to ascertain the truth. If such children are found, then they should be vaccinated or treated because the parents are found to be vaccinating livestock whilst ignoring their children. I thank you.
*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am and thank you Hon. Shava for the supplementary question. However, I think she was proffering recommendations as it was not a question as such. It is important that we know the area that the Hon. Member is talking about. We need that evidence so that we know what to do regarding that community because human lives are worth more than the lives of livestock. I thank you.
*HON. MURAI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. My question to the Hon. Minister is that the issue that was raised by Hon. Shava is also happening in my constituency…
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order, you are not connected Hon. Murai.
*HON. MURAI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. I wanted to find out from the Hon. Minister regarding the question that was raised. Are there penalties for perpetrators who violate the rights of children by ignoring the vaccination or treatment of children? We are losing a lot of lives. His Excellency, the President speaks about such issues. Is there a law that speaks to the negligence of children or neglecting the vaccination of children? Thank you.
*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am for the supplementary question that was asked by Hon. Murai. Hon. Speaker Ma’am, the Constitution of Zimbabwe has a section on the right to life. In view of that, this is important because Zimbabwe is for the living. This means that we have a policy to the right to life. If there are issues that are known, that should be spoken about and corrected, and then this should be raised so that we solve the problem as it develops. The issue is the Constitution of Zimbabwe recognises the right to life. I thank you.
*HON. T. MLISWA: My point of recommendation to the Hon. Minister is that, can there be a public announcement through the national radio, television, et cetera when such an exercise is being done to make people aware and help officers including departmental heads in various districts to disseminate that information that every child is supposed to be vaccinated. It was the same again with COVID; other parents did not want to do that. We also talk about the very same constitutional provision of the right to life; that failure to do so, those parents will certainly face the full wrath of the law. So that is where you can get people to survive with you being very strong with them in terms of the law.
Hon. Shava’s point is very valid, people are dying there, and we also have got a Member of Parliament here, Hon. Muchimwe, who refused to be vaccinated. If he refused to be vaccinated and he belongs to a church, so the entire church will never be vaccinated. That is my point of recommendation and I think if it is broadcast all over that children must be vaccinated, it will help a lot – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –I also think it is important to communicate that those who do not comply with the vaccination programme of children should be prosecuted. I thank you
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order!
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! Hon. Matangira should withdraw the statement that ‘uku ndiko kunogara ngochani’ we can also retaliate but please withdraw that statement. Do not be a coward Hon. Matangira, shame on you! You say things that you cannot repeat even to your own children. You lie to your family if you cannot withdraw that statement– [HON. MATANGIRA: No I did not say that.]- You said it.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Matangira may you sit down! Hon. Mliswa you have spoken so that I should give a ruling but now you want to be the Chair, again which is not fair on me as the Speaker. Why do you use emotions? Hon. Matangira, may you withdraw your words.
HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Everyone who goes to court…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Matangira, may you withdraw your words – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. MATANGIRA: I said that people from that side support homosexuality. I did not say there are homosexuals in this House. Honestly speaking, we have a lot of people who are in jail but who did not commit any offence. Anyway, I withdraw my words – [HON. MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Mliswa and Hon. Matangira!
HON. CHIKOMBO: My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business. What is the policy pertaining to political parties that interfere in the execution of duties by independent bodies like Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on delimitation? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): The question is extremely vague I cannot even follow it.
HON. CHIKOMBO: What is the Government policy regarding politicians and Ministers who are supposed to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution but interfere with the operations of independent bodies like Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on delimitation? I thank you.
– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Matangira! I will send you out if you continue with that behaviour.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. The Constitution is instructive in that regard that those independent commissions, in so far as it pertains to their functions, they are independent and they are not under the direction of anyone. I thank you.
HON. CHIKOMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary is to the effect that on 11th July, Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi made a statement when he was addressing a political gathering to the effect that he is not going to allow the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to do a process of delimitation and see it in a manner that will allow ZANU PF to be taken out of power. This is something that undermines Section 239, paragraph (f) of the Constitution. In this regard…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your question Hon. Member?
HON. CHIKOMBO: It is a supplementary question to the effect that Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi made a statement to the effect that he is not going to allow Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to do the process of delimitation and – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Yes, he did that. He was recorded saying that.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chikombo, was that statement made here in Parliament?
HON. CHIKOMBO: No, he was addressing a political gathering undermining the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chikombo, we cannot discuss what is said on political rallies. We were not there and we cannot discuss about it.
HON. CHIKOMBO: He is a Minister who is duty bound to uphold and protect the Constitution. He is on duty. You can see his behaviour – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am an Hon. Member and the way he is addressing me is improper. He is undermining the independence of those bodies. What is the position? We want to make sure that the process of delimitation is done in a manner that is free, fair and credible. Election is a process and if you allow the process to be interfered by politicians, it means that we are going to have subjected elections.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chikombo, as I told you, we cannot discuss statements which are said on rallies here – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order. Hon. Minister, order please.
HON. PHULU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. In his absence, I direct it to the Leader of the House. In view of the fact that the bread basket amount for a family of six is at about $260 thousand, what steps is the Government taking to increase the earnings of pensioners to match the amount required to keep a family alive?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTAY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. This is a specific question that requires the Minister to come and respond in terms of the bread basket and the steps that are being taken. I suggest that the Hon. Member should put it in writing so that he can be given an informed response from the Minister. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Leader of Government Business. Hon. Phulu, please may you put your question in writing so that the responsible Minister will do some investigations and come to this House with a comprehensive answer. Thank you.
HON. PHULU: Madam Speaker, my question is not about the bread basket or the amount. What is the Government policy to bring the level of pensioners to where they can earn a living? Does the Government have such policy and what is that policy?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, that is not a policy question. Overtime the pension has been increased. The reason why I made reference to the fact that the Minister will come and give a statement is because in his preamble, he made reference to the current bread basket. This means that at a particular stage, the pension was sufficient. The question is not a policy issue but one which requires a review, taking into consideration the current trends. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order Hon. Mliswa?
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, I think this is a very pertinent issue which requires a ministerial statement because there is the aspect of inflation again. While they peg the amounts, there is inflation; so a ministerial statement would do for the Members to ask more questions. The pensioners are suffering and a ministerial statement is what I indulge you to rule. The Minister should bring a ministerial statement to talk about how the pensioners can also survive in spite of inflation.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa.
Hon. Markham having stood up.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. Hon. Government Chief Whip, please may you convey the message to the Minister of Public Service so that he will come with a Ministerial Statement regarding the matter which was raised.
HON. MARKHAM: We have been promised statements by the same Minister numerous times. The Chief Whip has been told numerous times to get statements and in my own case twice. We are supposed to be getting a Ministerial Statement on the inability of the Ministry of Health to pay their suppliers. To date, it is eight weeks since I asked the question and till now we have not had that Ministerial Statement. The second one is the Ministry of Home Affairs on people being turned around from the current registration of I.Ds and not getting them. The Speaker ruled that it was a directive from the President that no one should be left behind and to date, we have not had a statement. Now, whose office is supposed to follow up all these statements we get promises which are never delivered?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Government Chief Whip, please may you do a follow up on Hon. Markham’s issues.
HON. PHULU: What about my issues Madam Speaker because this arose from a Ministerial Statement that I have also been promised. It has been ruled that my question will be answered via a Ministerial Statement and my question is; will that Ministerial Statement likely to come?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Next week Hon. Member.
(v)*HON. MUNOCHINZWA: What is the Government policy regarding essential TB medicines availability?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): The question by the Hon. Member is what is our policy when it comes to making sure that TB drugs are available and she mentioned a specific drug. Government policy is to make sure that everyone in Zimbabwe, to the best of our ability, has access to health including access to essential drugs, including the one she has mentioned. In terms of policy, we are very clear that we want our people to have access to all essential medicines.
*HON. MLAMBO: My supplementary question is; since there is a deficit of medicines for people who are attacked by dogs, right now we are taking the patients to Mozambique for treatment. Are there any plans to get that medication if people are bitten by stray dogs?
*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Hon. Speaker, our policy says we want all medication to be found in our health facilities. If there are other areas which do not have medication, it is very important to look into that issue and solve that. Our policy is very clear about the availability of medication. Yes, there might be lack of some medication in other areas but the policy says medication must be there in all health institutions.
*HON. HAMAUSWA: My supplementary is; we have heard that Government policy says medication must be available. Does it include the availability of other medications like the herbal medications which are coming from other countries without Government approval or laboratory tests? Many streets in Harare have a lot of herbal medicines. Does Government know the existence of unapproved herbal medicines and these might end up damaging the health of the people of Zimbabwe?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: The Medicines Authority of Zimbabwe registers all medicines which must be used in the country. Yes, we might have other medications which are being sold unprocedurally or outside the law, it means that it is not the policy. If there are other medications which are herbal medicines, they are supposed to be registered under the traditional and herbal medicines. Hence we encourage people not to use medicines which were not properly examined and medications which we do not know where they are coming from. Government’s policy says if medication is not poisonous, it must be allowed to be used through thorough scrutiny.
HON. MURAI: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is that what plan do you have so that we can stock our hospitals with drugs.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: The policy is very clear that we want to make sure that drugs are available to the best of our ability in our hospitals. The specific mention by the Hon. Member about lack of particular medicines at Parirenyatwa is not verified. The issue basically is that focusing on the policy level, we are working to make sure that medicines in our hospitals, together as Zimbabweans, are available. In this case, there is no them and us, it is all of us who must make sure that our medicines are available. So the policy is very clear on that.
The issue is that if there are particular cases of scarcity which might be due to logistical challenges, it would be very important for us to be given that specific information and we solve it. Otherwise when it comes to policy, the policy is very clear. We are here as a Ministry of Health and Child Care to make sure that children and adults are given healthcare.
HON. KWARAMBA: What is Government’s policy on pension withdrawal limits?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON CHIDUWA): I think this is a specific question but in terms of the current position that I know with regards to the convenience that we have created for the pensioners, there is no limit on withdrawals. I submit.
HON. KWARAMBA: If I heard you correctly, you said there is no limit but pensioners are complaining that when they go to the bank, they are given Z$5000 as the weekly limit which is not enough for bus fare and other needs. Is it not possible for pensioners to withdraw all the amount at once?
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order, the Hon. Minister is misrepresenting facts because he is very much aware that there is a policy that you cannot withdraw more than Z$5000 per week. It is a policy actually and the Minister is trying to tell the House that there is no limit which is not true. Can the Minister either modify his answer and not confirm that it is true that you can withdraw more than Z$5000?. It is a policy that Z$5000 is the maximum.
HON. CHIDUWA: When I submitted my response, I said this is a specific question. There is a policy that there is a limit of Z$5000 - but for pensioners, we say there is no limit.
HON. MUSARURWA: My supplementary question is that what plans are there by Government to raise the maximum withdrawal limit?
HON. CHIDUWA: As I said, this is a specific question and what is needed first is for me to go and verify if there is a limit. If there is a limit, then I think it is an issue of us speaking to the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe so that the limit can be taken up. The House can give me time to go and verify.
HON. MUSARURWA: I am not satisfied with the answer from the Minister. Does this mean that the Minister does not know we have a withdrawal limit? Does he not know that there is withdrawal limit of Z$5000 per week?
*HON. CHIDUWA: I did say that the $5000 limit is there but we were asked this question again here in Parliament and we liaised with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to remove the limit and also negotiated for dedicated tellers for the convenience of pensioners so they do not stand in long queues. So I think this is just a question of implementation and I should go and check if what we agreed on is being implemented. Pensioners should not be given a limit but should be allowed to withdraw all their funds and not stand in queues. That is why I asked your indulgence to go and verify and if there are any problems, I will come back and report to you.
*HON. MUSARURWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. When we ask about such issues, we are not only asking on behalf of pensioners but it should be for every Zimbabwean. When he goes to check on what is happening, he should ask for the implementation to be for everyone. Some people are not pensioners but are always ill and cannot even go to withdraw money to go to hospital. So it should benefit everyone. I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, you are requested to go and do your investigations then come back with a Ministerial Statement pertaining to maximum limits of amounts being withdrawn by pensioners and the generality of the public.
*HON. CHITURA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. Since we are getting to the planting season, what plans does government have in place for the elderly who cannot dig the required holes so that they can get the Pfumvudza inputs? In the rural areas, the Extension officers are only writing the names of those who will have dug the holes and those who cannot will not get the inputs.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): The government policy is that everyone should get the Pfumvudza inputs. If it is happening anywhere, that is not what we agreed to in relation to distribution of Pfumvudza inputs. Policy does not say only those who will have dug holes should get but everyone should be given.
*HON. NYAMUDEZA: The Minister did say government policy says everyone should get but that is not what is happening on the ground in rural areas. I need to know how we can resolve that so that everyone is given as per government policy.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: If they are being denied the Pfumvudza inputs they should go to their State Minister or write to the Ministry of Agriculture because it is now a specific question. What we agreed to as government is for everyone to be given the Pfumvudza inputs. If there are some who are being denied, it needs follow up because I cannot respond as to why they are not being given but the Ministry of Agriculture will be in a better position to investigate why the agreed position is not being implemented on the ground.
*HON. MLAMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. What is government policy pertaining to people who faced the disaster and infrastructure that was destroyed during Cyclone Idai? It is now three to four years and our roads are still in the same state that the disaster left them in. This is specifically in Chipinge East and West. I can give you the names of the roads that are in very bad shape after the disaster.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): I want to thank the Hon Member for such a pertinent question. The Hon. Member raised two issues and one of them is within Local Government mandate because they are the ones seized with issues to do with
Unanticipated disasters in our country such as cyclones or earthquakes. The second issue that he raised is core to Government. We know that in Copa Joppa in Chipinge, those are the areas that were mostly affected and there was a lot of damage in that area especially during Cyclone Idai. We are in the process of revamping that road as well as the other road that is in Chikukwa. I believe that the Hon. Member is hearing about some of the roads in Chipinge we are in the process of rehabilitating another road which is at Chikukwa area. I believe the Hon. Member knows some of the places that are mentioned which are in Chipinge and Chimanimani but that is not the end of it all. We know that we have funds that come from Government which are meant for road rehabilitation. Even through the supplementary budget, I believe that after this meeting, Hon. Mlambo, let us sit down and brainstorm. We cannot work on one road but we know that there are major roads which can be worked on in Chipinge and Chimanimani for this particular year, then we can reconvene and discuss other roads. I thank you.
HON. MLAMBO: I have a supplementary question, last year we were told that the Mt. Selinda-Border Road will be rehabilitated in January but this did not happen. That road is dilapidated. There are some agricultural produce which are supposed to be exported but it is really difficult when using that road. The Chipinge and other roads – it is now four years after Cyclone Idai, the Hon. Minister mentioned Chimanimani, so I do not know whether it is political....
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mlambo, may you put your question in writing.
*HON. MLAMBO: Madam Speaker, it is easy because the Hon. Minister spoke about Chimanimani but Chipinge was equally affected. My request......
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, may you put your question in writing so that the Ministry will come with a Ministerial Statement after carrying out investigations.
(v)HON. TARUSENGA: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. What is Government’s policy on electrification of new urban residential and rural development areas?
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): The policy of Government is that whenever there is a new settlement especially in urban areas, electricity must be provided.
HON. PHULU: On a point of order, the question was about the status in rural and urban areas.
(v)HON. TARUSENGA: I have a supplementary question Hon. Speaker Ma’am. Do customers pay their money for materials for electrification?
HON. SODA: We have two facilities by which people can be provided with electricity. The first one in rural areas is where the Government subsidises 100% for the infrastructure that is constructed. Usually we will be targeting the public – [HON. MAVENYENGWA: Inaudible interjection.] -
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mavenyengwa.
HON. SODA: For rural provisions, there are two facilities where the Government subsidises 100% for construction of the infrastructure and the target is public institutions like schools, hospitals, clinics and also chiefs’ homesteads. Still in rural areas, there are some connections that are customer driven and for these, if people come in groups of ten, then they are subsidised 50%; they contribute 50% of the value of the infrastructure that has to be constructed.
In urban areas where customers would have constructed their houses and they find that ZETDC would be delaying to construct the backbone infrastructure to provide them with electricity, that becomes customer provided materials facility. The customers provide their own materials and also even hire services for the construction of the power lines and ZESA does the inspections to ascertain if the construction meets with the standards for connection. Once that is done, the cost for that infrastructure is then provided back to the customers through electricity units. Ultimately, the infrastructure will be owned by the power utility. That is a facility which is available. I thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
HON. MADZIMURE: My supplementary question is; can the Minister confirm that this also applies to things like security that is provided for transformers by customers and because of the vandalism on transformers, customers are now putting screens to protect against vandalism? Does the same model apply to the funds that would have been used to secure transformers?
HON. SODA: Target hardening for equipment is the responsibility of ZETDC but where customers find that it would be the best method for them to protect their equipment and provide their materials, currently that does not apply to repayments to customers if they protect their transformers. They will not be given electricity units like I have already indicated, that is the responsibility of ZETDC. When they find that a transformer is exposed and they want it to be protected through target hardening like erecting screens around it – that is the responsibility of ZETDC. I thank you.
+HON. MAHLANGU: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to know how long a delay is addressed, for instance, households that do not have electricity connections for 15 years or more? If a community is affected and has gone through 15 or 20 years, then there should be clarity on when this delay should be addressed. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am, I was trying to understand the question, if I understood well from Hon. Mhona who interpreted for me. The question was, there are customers who have been waiting to be connected for more than 15 years. What is Government doing to ensure that the customers are connected? Was that the question? – [HON. BITI: The delays!] –
The first thing is to understand the reason why that happened. Currently, the struggle is on the funding for projects, especially putting up the backbone infrastructure to allow for customers to be connected. Once ZETDC gets adequate funding, those projects will be connected. I would prefer that the Hon. Member, if that is specific to a particular area that she knows, she could give me the details so that we make follow-up on the particular area as to why it has taken that long before customers are connected but the constrain is on funding. I thank you.
*HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works. I see that the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement has done well in removing District Land Officers who were very corrupt in the distribution of land but the chief culprits again are the DDCs. A good example is Chegutu where we visited the DDC for Chegutu, Mr. Tomu with the war veterans wanting to know what has been happening to their land. He was very rude and they continued asking him that have we come to you …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please may you ask the question Hon. Mliswa.
HON. T. MLISWA: The question is that the Development District Coordinators (DDCs) are very corrupt they are the Chairpersons of the Lands Committee as a result; removing the Lands Officers is not good enough. We want to know when they are going to rotate the District Development Coordinators just like the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement has done? Also, may other ministries follow suit by changing them around because corruption still happens as the DDCs still protect the outgoing Lands Officers who are there. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am and thank you very much Hon. Mliswa for that question. My Ministry does not have a policy of rotating the DDCs but whenever there is anyone who is corrupt, we have tried to address case by case. If you have any issues with Chegutu, I will appreciate if you can highlight it but it has not come to my office that we have corrupt officials there. I thank you but my Ministry will do the best it can to make sure we address it if that is happening.
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, I do not think that it has to be policy; it is a good culture, no wonder why police officers are shifted around to avoid corruption. So for the Ministry not to have such a policy actually confirms the rumours that the Ministers are using them to be corrupt thus they do not get moved around. There is no civil servant who cannot be moved around. Civil servants must be moved around so that there is no corruption but her answer now affirms the fact that the Ministers keep them there so that they continue with corrupt activities because they are the head hunters and so forth. I am shocked that there is no policy to rotate civil servants to avoid corruption…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question is?
HON. T. MLISWA: The question is the reason why they are not moved around is it because you use them for corrupt purposes?
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am and thank you Hon. Mliswa for that follow-up question. No, we do not use them to perpetuate corrupt practices but you have brought up a good suggestion that maybe rotating them will hinder corrupt tendencies. We will try to make sure that we also use that within the Ministry. I thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Hon. Minister, there are a lot of educated teachers in my constituency but we find that teachers are being recruited from other districts. What is Government policy regarding the deployment of teachers in their areas of origin? This is an area of concern in my constituency. I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I would like to thank Hon. Nyabani for his question on complains that there are qualified teachers from his constituency but the Government is employing teachers from other districts instead of taking from that particular area. I am going to take up the issue with Hon. Prof. Mavima so that the issue is looked into in order to eliminate discrimination.
HON. T. MLISWA: My understanding of this question is devolution. Once you devolve power then it becomes easy. The question really is; when is the Devolution Bill coming to Parliament because once there is a law then there is no need for this. I think the Minister of Local Government and Public Works is best to answer that because the Devolution Bill gives powers to provinces. I also look forward to seeing issues of corruption being curbed in local authorities because there will now be oversight.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): The Devolution Bill is within the Attorney General’s office, therefore I cannot really specify when it will be out.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Speaker, before I answer that question, I had alluded to the fact that we do not have discriminatory laws that pertain to recruitment of teachers. I have just been alerted that there is indeed a notice by the Public Service Commission giving effect to what I was saying specifically for the areas that the Hon. Member is referring to.
Those that are desirous to go and work in those districts have been directed to their respective district offices in those particular areas. So the problem is not with the Head Office but perhaps with those particular Public Service officials within that particular district who are taking people from outside, but the applications according to the notice are supposed to be directed to the specific district offices within the area where the recruitment is supposed to happen.
Coming to the supplementary question on the Devolution Bill, the current position is that we have had shortages of drafters within the Drafting Department. I sought Treasury concurrence for us to hire drafters on a part time basis and I have given the Attorney General up to Friday to come up with a timeframe on how they are going to do it with a view of ensuring that those Bills are drafted this year. We have to deal with them before the elections to avoid the problems that we have been having.
There are several Bills that we need to deal with such as the Provincial and Metropolitan Council Bills, the Urban Councils Bill, the Electoral Act - all those Bills we have specifically given the Attorney General a timeframe to say that Treasury is in agreement that we can get part time drafters for now so that we can expedite that process. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: I am glad that the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has alluded to the fact of the law being looked at by the Attorney General’s office and that the AG’s office is looking for drafters. Has the Minister also told the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to stop distributing money until there is a law? It cannot go with that, they have been distributing money when the law is not there and the Minister is a very knowledgeable learned person. Disbursing money where there is no law is illegal.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, this august House agreed to the release of those funds and this was pursuant to the Constitutional provision that says 5% of the budget must be given as devolution funds and this House passed that. I believe within the framework that is there, a mechanism that was legal was found to ensure that we comply with the 5% that was required by the Constitution.
HON. BITI: Section 301 of the Constitution deals with the distribution of funds to provisional authorities and local authorities that are set up in terms of Chapter 14 of the Constitution. Therefore, that law must be there as an Act of Parliament will provide for the distribution of resources based on certain principles that are in Section 301, for instance the development or lack thereof in that provision.
The law is clear. Distribution of resources is conditional upon the enactment by Parliament of the law envisaged in Section 301. The question still remains begging - why is the Government distributing resources when that law envisaged in Section 301 has not been enacted?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I indicated that this debate was supposed to have been done when we were debating the budget and we agreed to appropriate such funds to local authorities. So because we appropriated it, the relevant Ministry then used the existing legislation like the Rural District Councils Act and the Urban Councils Act to ensure that funds are channeled through the relevant statutes that were there. We need now to align with the Constitution and also ensure that we also come up with the Provincial Councils Act to give effect to what Hon. Biti is saying. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question is; in view of the fact that there is no law controlling 5% of our Budget, who is making the decision of where the money goes?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, there is a law that we used to disburse the money. That is the Rural District Councils Act and the Urban Councils Act. Funds were channelled to the existing local authorities that are there, which is consistent with the constitutional provision that Hon. Biti spoke about. Thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: On a point of order Madam Speaker. My question is - who distributes the funds? Who makes the decision that City of Harare gets that amount of money because it is illegal in my view?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, this part of the question is not policy. The funds were disbursed to Ministry of Local Government. Perhaps they can answer as to how they distributed the money. I would digress and give a false answer. Thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, can we have a ruling on whether we can have a statement from the Minister?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you very much Madam Speaker. Thank you very much Hon. Markham for the follow up question. There is a formula that we use on distribution of devolution funds. It goes on the number of people and the poverty level as well as the infrastructure. That is what we use to appropriate the devolution funds. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order. Madam Speaker, the real question is that they said they use the Rural and Urban Councils Act. We would like to know which section empowers them to distribute money. Secondly, we would also like a breakdown of the money which has been disbursed so far to all the local authorities. The Hon. Deputy Minister is on record in this House saying that there is a law which is coming here. If that law is not important, why is it coming here? They are contradicting themselves. They are saying there is a law we use and there is a law coming here. What is the point of bringing the law here when you are already doing things which are lawful? It means you are doing things which are unlawful and you are working on a law which will make you do things properly.
We would like to know the laws they are using to disburse the money and not only that Madam Speaker, it goes to the provincial councils which are supposed to be in place. As MPs, we are supposed to sit on those provincial councils. While the law is being changed, the current law allows us to. Which MP here has sat on the provincial council? The role of the provincial council is to monitor and evaluate. That is why Hon. July Moyo fears coming to this House. He knows that he is doing something unlawful. My prayer is; we want Hon. July Moyo not the Deputy Minister anymore. We want the Minister who sits in Cabinet to come here with a breakdown of all the money disbursed to which authorities and which law he is using. Why is he also bringing a law here? I think it is a bit too heavy for her. She does not sit in Cabinet. Let us have the Minister who sits in Cabinet who is always absent here. He is busy going to all the local authorities collecting his 10%. That is why he is not here.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa. My Ministry sticks to section 301 of the Constitution. If you go down, it says it empowers us to disburse using the existing structures. Those are the ones that we use.
HON. BITI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Section 301 says, “an Act of Parliament must provide for (a) the equitable allocation of capital grants between provincial and metropolitan councils; (b) any other allocations”. So an Act of Parliament must be enacted. So it is not the Constitution, it is an Act of Parliament which must be enacted, which then allows disbursements to provincial councils and that Act of Parliament is not there. In the absence of that Act of Parliament, she and July Moyo cannot use devolution funds as a slash fund to steal from the people of Zimbabwe as they are doing.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker and I thank you Hon. Biti for highlighting that. I think this question has been brought up several times in Parliament and the answers have been the same. We just have to wait for the Act to be finalised. I thank you.
*HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, I am not a lawyer but when the Minister says this same question has been asked before, this is taking Members of Parliament for granted. The Constitution is clear and there are laws which govern this House. That is the arrogance of some of these people and that is why some live in Kenya and South Africa. It is because of arrogance. Why do they not respond to the dictates of the Constitution? The Constitution was written when those laws were there and it was so specific. Where is the law?
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, remember I requested for a ministerial statement. We are burdening the Deputy Minister. This is way beyond her capacity. As such, the Minister who sits in Cabinet must come here with the ministerial statement. First of all, we want a breakdown of monies allocated to each authority because right now we are going through a budget and we shall not pass that Vote until you account because we cannot be giving you money to go and steal and plunder. We now want to make sure that you bring a statement with the authorities that you have given money to and the law which clearly gives them the power to do that. You see Hon. Ziyambi is now reading the Constitution because he is seeing there is something wrong - mukaona gweta rehurumende rakudai. My prayer Madam Speaker is can we have the breakdown and the law but the Minister himself must be here because he sits in Cabinet, she does not sit in Cabinet. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mliswa, I am sure the Deputy Minister has noted your concerns.
Questions without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order 68.
ANNOUNEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Those Members who are facing connectivity challenges should bring their gadgets to ICT Department for updating and the ICT Department will be stationed at the Members’ Dining Hall tomorrow.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
MEASURES TO ADDRESS PLIGHT OF PENSIONERS
- HON. CHINYANGANYA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House on the measures being taken by the Government to address the plight of pensioners who are spending more than five days queuing at banks in an effort to withdraw their meagre pension payouts.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Pensioners are indeed experiencing challenges in accessing their monthly pensions in banks, particularly at CABS, National Building Society, POSB, Steward Bank and NMB. CABS for example is using a new banking system which pensioners are not well versed with, hence most are failing to withdraw their income using ATM cards and consequently, tellers spend more time assisting clients on how to use the new system.
We also see resistance to new technology by pensioners, as some insist on getting cash from the banks instead of using ATM cards for purchasing goods and services. Some banks have introduced incentives for pensioners to transact using their bank cards, for instance applying zero charge for such transactions.
I now turn to some of the strategies that banks are applying to deal with the matter. In order to decongest the banking halls, CABS has introduced Super Agencies in Norton, Chitungwiza, Budiriro, Highfield and Greendale to assist in cash withdrawals. Currently the bank is conducting an awareness campaign through road shows, radio and websites.
National Building Society (NBS) has established a special banking hall in Bulawayo starting next week, and is making collaborative effort with Metro Peach Supermarket to serve the pensioners as an Agency, in order to reduce long queues. Queues are usually long in the morning, hence some banks, for example NBS, have made deliberate strategies to open the bank at 7 am and by midday, would have cleared the long queues. The bank also has a pool of contract staff that is hired during peak period in an effort to reduce queues.
The NMB has introduce a virtual withdrawal system where the client access all the banking services digitally and goes to the banking hall to provide the reference number to the teller. Steward Bank has introduced the Steward Bank “Vanyarikani queue” where the elderly and physically challenged are prioritised. Some banks strategy is to employ more staff in order to decongest the banking halls. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Madam Speaker, with respect, the Minister does not answer the real question. The main reason why pensioners are suffering is that there is a maximum withdrawal limit of RTGS$5 000 per week. So, for a pensioner, it becomes a waste of time waiting for weeks just to collect RTG$5 000 per week. The Minister needs to address that issue of the limit per week Madam Speaker. That is what the Minister needs to address. It is not this bank, CABS or whatever; it is the policy decision that places an upper limit on withdrawal that is fixing pensioners plus the paltry or meagreness of the amount that pensioners are collecting. The RTGS$5 000 is US$5 and you cannot collect US$5 per day Madam Speaker. That is the real question which the Minister must answer.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I think the Hon. Member has added an auxiliary question and that is okay. The question that I answered had to do with the strategies that are being employed to deal with queues and I am explaining what the various institutions are doing. The auxiliary question is good and I have approached the Central Bank to review that limit of RTGS$5 000 so that the amount withdrawn per day is more meaningful and also just to respond to inflationary pressures. That is being dealt with in addition to the measures that I have explained that individual banks are taking. I thank you.
HON. R. R.NYATHI: Mine is a special request to the Minister of Finance that it would be better for all our pensioners not to have a cap because most of our pensioners are from the rural areas and you cannot expect somebody to pay US$10 for bus fare and spend five days waiting to be given your money. What is ideal is that when our Minister of Finance goes to see the RBZ Governor he should request that all pensioners must be given their money as soon as they get to the bank so that they can go back home and do their chores rather than to keep them in towns. If you do that Hon. Minister, we would be most grateful.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank Hon. Nyathi for the proposal. It is a very good one. Certainly when I have further conservations with the Reserve Bank, I will put that on the table so that they mull over it.
HON. WATSON: With all due respect Hon. Minister, when you swipe, the charges are cumulative. Pensioners like to draw cash because they can use it at once. The civil service pensioners are also complaining that when they withdraw the US dollars, the charges are varying. There needs to be some standardisation and understanding of pensioners’ issues.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank Hon. Watson for that observation and suggestion that we should look into the bank charges across banks because they are varied and perhaps there should be a way in which this should be standardised. That is unpalatable to our pensioners and we should make every effort to standardise them in a manner that is affordable for our pensioners. Again when I have the conversation with the central bank, I will also put this on the table so that it is dealt with. I thank you.
DETAILS AND VALUE OF AGREEMENTS MADE WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF CHINA
- HON MARKHAM asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to provide details and the value of the agreements made with the Government of China including further information on the following:
a) grants received;
b) loans or any other borrowings;
c) joint ventures of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs);
d) the exports and natural based resources in the country, part of the agreements; and
e) the investment incentives granted to each project, assistance received and investment made by the Government of China.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I want to thank the Hon. Member for that question. In response I want to start with the grants that Government has received from China.
New Parliament Building
The People’s Republic of China availed a grant to the tune of US$145 million for the construction of the new Parliament Building in Mt. Hampden. The project began in December 2018 and was completed in June 2022 and has a capacity of 400 seats for the National Assembly Members, 150 seats for the Senate Chamber and extra facilities for conferencing, 15 committee rooms and space for office staff and parking.
National Pharmaceutical Warehouse
In addition, the People’s Republic of China set aside approximately US$24 million for the construction of the National Pharmaceutical Warehouse in Harare which was also completed in June 2022 with the warehouse set to hold approximately 10 000 pellets of medicine.
To help ease the water crises, the People’s Republic of China funded the construction of 500 boreholes in Masvingo and Matabeleland provinces.
COVID-19 Mitigation Assistance
To mitigate the impact of COVID 19 pandemic, the Chinese Government renovated and upgraded Zimbabwe’s main isolation centre at Wilkins Hospital and donated 2 000 000 surgical masks, 90 000 test kits, 137 ventilators and oxygenators, 152 500 protective suits, 560 000 protective gowns, 500 000 syringes, and 1 900 000 doses of vaccines.
Also a 10 member team of medical experts from China were brought in with a consignment of medical supplies including ventilators, nucleic acid testing kits, face masks and medical protective suits.
Chinese Aid – Cyclone Idai
The People’s Republic of China availed US$800 000 emergency humanitarian assistance to the people affected by Clycone Idai as well as rehabilitation of critical infrastructure damaged by Cyclone Idai. The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Zimbabwe signed an agreement with the local UNDP Office to provide roofing materials to community housing and selected health and educational facilities in Chimanimani and Chipinge.
Furthermore, China led the rehabilitation and recovery programme in areas that were ravaged by Cyclone Idai by tasking six Chinese companies operating locally to undertake the repair of roads and power infrastructure, drill boreholes, build houses and communication networks.
Since 1980, Zimbabwe contracted loans from China amounting to approximately US$2.7 billion. I have a schedule of contracted loans but let me read them through. For example, there is IDC Phase 1 loan which is US$14.6 million which was signed on 8 May 1997. There is IDC Phase 2, US$7 million signed on 19th January, 2000. There is DDF equipment project of US$8.6 billion signed on 23rd February, 2001. All these loans are coming through the China-Exim Bank which is owned by the People’s Republic of China. There is Sinosure, ZISCO Steel facility of US$54.9 million signed on 15th August, 2012. There is agriculture equipment loan of US$29.2 million signed on 30th October, 2006. There is also an additional agricultural project loan signed on 22nd February, 2008 amounting to US$37.6 million.
There is NetOne National Mobile Broadband project loan facility of US$68 million signed on 26th June, 2019. All that we have raised was extended through the China-Exim Bank. I now turn to the National Defence Phase 2 facility, through the China Development Bank signed in 1985 on 20th July. That was US$6.2 million. Then National Defence Project again Phase 3, through the China Development Bank signed in 1986 on 22nd December, that is US$7.7 million. There is a US$200 million farm mechanisation equipment facility signed on 13th October, 2006, through China-Exim Bank.
There is NetOne project as well through China-Exim Bank signed on 1st June, 2010, that is US$41.8 million. There is National Defence College facility of US$98.7 million signed on 21 March, 2011, through China-Exim Bank. There is the Victoria Falls International Airport facility of US$149.9 million signed on 5th April, 2012. There is NetOne Phase 2 project, through China-Exim Bank signed on 25th August, 2014 and that is for US$198.8 million. There is ZPC Kariba South Hydro project of US$390.5 million signed on 11th November, 2013. There is TelOne Backbone network again through China-Exim bank signed on 1st December, 2015. This amounted to US$98.6 million.
There is Harare International Airport facility of US$152.8 million signed on 4th April, 2018, through China-Exim Bank as well. Then Hwange 7 and 8 expansion facility of about a billion, US$997.7 million signed on 1st December, 2015 again through China-Exim Bank. There is Sinosure Medical equipment project of about US$90 million signed on 21st March, 2011, through China-Exim Bank. Finally, the Sinosure City of Harare facility of US$140.8 million signed on 21st March 2011, again through China-Exim Bank. If we add all those numbers, they amount to US$2.722.4 billion.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, out of the loans that I have mentioned, US$152 million worth of loans have since matured and are fully paid up. I have got a second schedule which shows loans that are fully paid up.
The outstanding debt to China as at August, 2022 amount to US$1.768 billion. What we will do here, again it means what is in Table 2, if we remove that, the remainder is US$1.768 billion.
In Table 2, we have IDC Phase 1 amounting to US$14.6 million signed on 8th August, 1997, through China-Exim Bank. There is IDC Phase 2 signed on 19th January, 2000 amounting to US$7 million, through China-Exim Bank. We have DDF Equipment project of US$8.6 million signed on 23rd February, 2001 again from China-Exim Bank. There is Sinosure-M of-ZISCO Steel amounting to US$54.8 million signed on 15th August, 2012, from China-Exim Bank. There is Agriculture-Mechanisation Equipment and Implements Project 1 worth US$29.2 million signed on 13th October, 2006 from China-Exim Bank. There is the Equipment and Implements Project 2 worth US$37. 6 million signed on 22nd February, 2008 again through China-Exim Bank. The outstanding debt to China stood at US$1.768 billion as at 22 August, 2022.
I now turn to category C of the question from Hon. Markham, regarding the private-public-partnerships (PPPs). The joint venture agreements processed through ZIDA are as follows: Here again I am focusing on China PPPs, I am assuming the question was only focusing on China.
The first one is the Mhangura Dumps PPP, focusing on copper production. It is worth US$10 million. It was signed between ZMDC and Zhi Jui Mining Resource Private Limited. This is a five year contract mining arrangement where ZMDC is engaging Zhi Jui Mining Resource for treatment of copper dumps at Mhangura. It is a five-year contract. It was signed in June, 2021.
The second one is a partnership between ZMDC Sim See and Honghua International for the resuscitation of Angwa Shaft mine and processing of copper dump at Chidzikwe. This arrangement is worth US$20.2 million. It is a 10-year arrangement and the contract was signed in September, 2021. The last one is a US$66.6 million project which is a partnership between Dinson Iron and Steel Company (DISCO) for the construction of 100 km electricity power line from Sherwood to Manhize. It is a US$66.6 partnership between DISCO and ZETDC, a subsidiary of ZESA holdings. That will be for the construction of a 100 km power line from Sherwood to Manhize and that will include a substation. It is a five-year arrangement and the project has just been approved by Cabinet. The contract has been signed. It is paving way for the project to commence. This ends my report on the PPPs.
I now turn to the last section of the question from Hon. Markham pertaining to the export and national base resources, including those that are enshrined in agreements. Government contracted a US$200 loan in October, 2006 for the farm mechanisation equipment. The loan was collateralised with mining rights to the 26 million ounces of platinum resources in Selous which were owned by Government through the Zimbabwe Mining Development (ZMDC). The loan is currently in arrears amounting to US$172 million. This was to be implemented following the fulfilling of certain conditions, which included validation of the resources that were used as security and determination of the amount of the resources according to internationally accepted funders and valuation funders. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Minister for his answer. I just need clarity on one point. The issue of the power line, the joint venture. The power line from Sherwood to Mvuma, confirm that joint venture is only for the power line and not for the mine? I thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank Hon. Markham for really giving us the opportunity to explain a lot of things. I thank him for his detailed question. Certainly, the joint venture is just about the power line. What is really going on is that ZESA was unable to make the necessary investment on the 100km evacuation power line. So the partner who is vested in the mine made an offer to finance the power line through a joint venture arrangement so as to get power to operate the mine and produce the carbon steel. That is the arrangement but that JV is only on the development or investment on the power line. I thank you.
HON. BITI: I have got two questions to the esteemed Minister. You said that the amounts we owe to China are about US$1.7b but your mathematics is not adding up because you said total indebtedness to China was US$2.7b and you have only paid US$152m. So if you subtract US$152m from US$2.7b, it does not give you US$1.7b but it is about 2.6b.
My substantive question however pertains to the loan you referred to of 2006 which was for US$200m. So, Government of Zimbabwe borrowed US$200m from China to purchase farm mechanisation equipment but you said this loan was collateralised by 26m ounces of platinum. If you do rough mathematics, assuming the price of platinum for an ounce is US$2000, you are talking of US$52b for the 26m ounces. How is it possible that the Government can borrow US$200m from China and give an asset which in gross terms is US$52b?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: This arrangement was struck way back in October 2006, I think before the buoyant prices that you see in the PGM sector were available for us to enjoy. So, I think in a sense, he is requesting that some of these arrangements should be looked into given the high prices that are currently out there. Certainly, for me as the Finance Minister is something I would want to look at closely and see how best this can be structured so that a good will loan from China is dealt with and serviced properly on the back of a properly valued asset. That is what I said at the end that this arrangement is subject to proper resource evaluation and the current prices that he mentioned matter. We will look into it to ensure that the lender is dealt with fairly for their good gesture while the debtor, who is ourselves, is adequately treated the right way in this regard. I thank you.
ARRANGEMENT OF PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS ENTERED INTO WITH FIDELITY REFINERY PRINTERS
4. HON. MARKHAM asked the Hon Minister of Finance and Economic Development to explain:
- the arrangement for the public/private partnership recently entered into with Fidelity Refinery Printers.
- the number of investors who were part on the PPP including representatives of the investors and respective shareholder capacities.
- the details of the investment and whether the investment was advertised or tendered.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I assume this question is confined to Fidelity Gold Refineries. I want for the record to state that there is no PPP that we have entered into. What we had announced was something that we thought was a good idea which was to partially privatise Fidelity Gold Refineries has been suspended indefinitely. We will look into it in future once we have overhauled the company sufficiently so that we get good value for money from whoever comes in to invest in the company. So at the moment, all PPPs in terms of investments have been suspended indefinitely.
HON. MARKHAM: I want to thank the Minister but the reason for asking the question is that this House was told that the PPP was virtually done. That was nearly a year ago and since then, we have heard nothing. No one has asked the question but the point is we do not know what is happening on investment, whether it is PPPs, Grants or loans. Hence my previous question on the Chinese, no one in this House knew the amount of investment from China and the value. I implore the Minister to let us know what is happening live while it is happening. I thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I think that is a good and constructive comment from Hon. Markham which is that I should use every opportunity to update this august House on any investments, divestures or PPPs that are significant. This House ought to know and I agree with that. I shall use every opportunity to do so in the future. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker Ma’am I am concerned with the very idea of wanting to privatise Fidelity Gold Refinery. We are a gold producing country and we have one gold refinery owned by the Government of Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe through the Reserve Bank’s company known as Fidelity Gold Refiners and Printers. It eludes my wisdom why you would want to dispose of that gold refinery given the strategic nature of gold in our country. Secondly, I need guarantees from the Minister that should they run astray again and think that they can dispose of Fidelity Gold Refinery, should they seek Parliamentary approval as those assets are owned by the people of Zimbabwe who are represented by the august representative in this august House. Surely they should ask Parliament.
Lastly, there has been a spate of privatisations. There has been a spate of disposals of key strategic assets owned by the Government of Zimbabwe. Why is that process being done outside Parliament, for instance ZB Bank has been privatised, First Mutual Life was divested from NSSA and another big bank was also divested from the State, gold mines have been divested from the State, Bindura Nickel (BNC) has been divested from the State. Why are privatisations occurring nocturnally or nicodemously, in the shadow of darkness outside Parliament? Who are the purchasers? Are we getting good value? Has there been due diligence and why is the framework designed by the Government through the Privatisation Agency of Zimbabwe being ignored and diverted? Willard Manungo is sitting heading the Privatisation Agency of Zimbabwe but all these privatisations are taking place outside the scrutiny of the Privatisation Agency of Zimbabwe. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank Hon. Biti for that follow up question. I will be very happy to provide a report twice a year to this august House on the divesture activity around our State owned enterprises. Previously I have been providing some information in the Budget Statement but I will be happy to provide detailed information, transaction by transaction or just give an update on the process of the restructuring of State owned enterprises. I think that is a very important and pragmatic request.
Then on the issue of indemnity, specifically as I said, that has been suspended. Hon. Members should not have any worries about us proceeding with that. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Supplementary...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, Hon. Biti, you cannot ask two supplementary questions.
HON. BITI: On a point of clarification Madam Speaker Maam – it is not that we need to be told post facto. The point I am making is that as a question of law, Parliament should provide approval of the acquisition and disposal that is not happening. Can the good Minister give us assurances that he will come to Parliament to seek parliamentary approval for the disposal of assets. Assets are part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) – any public assets are part of the CRF. We control the CRF and that is why he is persuading us to pass the supplementary budget. We control public assets. We need the undertaking from him that he will not privatise Zimbabwean assets without the approval of Parliament. I thank you Madam Speaker Maam.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I will certainly approach Parliament and seek its approval on the disposal of assets going forward.
On Question 5:
THE HON. DEPUTY MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. SIMBANEGAVI): What is the question Hon. Madam Speaker?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Question Number 5 written on the Order Paper.
HON. SIMBANEGAVI: I do not have the Order Paper Madam Speaker Maam. Can we defer the question?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: So you mean you do not have the answer to the question or you did not bring it to the House?
HON. SIMBANEGAVI: I am asking for deferment so that we bring the response next week – [AN HON. MEMBER: Saka mukuitei ku office kwenyu?] – [HON. BITI: Itai basa renyu mhamha.] -
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Deputy Minister, the question has been on the Order Paper since 13th July 2022. May you please bring the answer to this question next week?
HON. MPARIWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker Maam, perhaps just to assist the Hon. Deputy Minister because she is a woman. Earlier on I saw the substantive Minister in this House. Like you rightly said, this question has been on the Order Paper for quite some time. You will note that there are several other Ministers who have just sneaked out without tendering the answers. Can I implore that the Ministers should take the business of Parliament seriously. She is merely a Deputy Minister and she has just walked in,. and because she is a woman, we need to protect her. Her substantive Minister was in the House but did not leave the answers with the Deputy Minister. I thank you.
COMPLETION OF A WATER SYSTEM AT MURUNGWE CLINIC IN MBERENGWA EAST
- HON. RAIDZA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to inform the House when the water system at Murungwe Clinic in Ward 3 in Mberengwa East Constituency will be completed after the initial drilling of the borehole has been stalled since 2021.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): The contractor is currently working in Manicaland Province and after that, Midlands will be next. I hope the installations will be completed during the fourth quarter of 2022.
CONSTRUCTION OF MATERNITY WARDS AT GLEN NORAH AND WESTERN TRIANGLE
- HON. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to inform the House when the maternity wards will be constructed at satellites clinics in Glen Norah and Western Triangle.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): The city has four levels of clinics and these are as follows:
- Family Health Services (FHS) clinics which are basically baby clinics that do immunisations and Ante-Natal Clinic (ANC) bookings.
- Primary Care Clinics (PCCs) that offer curative services.
- Satellite Clinics – these are a combination of the above two, namely Family Health Services and Primary Care Clinics.
- Polyclinics – these are the three in one combining the Family Health Services, the Primary Care Clinics and several Satelite Clinics that are supposed to be supported by polyclinics. The Glen Norah Satelite refers patients to Rutsanana Polyclinic and those from Western Triangle are referred to Highfield Polyclinic. There are plans to build maternity wards at Satelite wards at Satelite Clinics.
12 (b) The Ministry of Health and Child Care is doing the best it can to supply all health facilities with resources we have. Currently, we have received close to 15% of our allocated budget and thus, we are providing our health facilities equitably of the products availed. I thank you.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: Thank you Hon. Minister. Looking at Highfield Constituency, the population of Highfield as well as pregnant women in that community, Hon. Minister, I want to know what plans you have to make sure that this community has a functional maternity facility. I thank you.
*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Hon. Member. I believe the Hon. Member did not get my response when I spoke about polyclinics. I said that there are plans to build maternity wards at satellite wards at all satellite clinics in those areas.
We noted according to what the Hon. Members said that there are a lot of pregnant women who need maternity facilities. We are working on that so that polyclinics can augment the bigger hospitals. I thank you.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: My point of clarity is; when is this going to commence Hon. Minister?
*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for his question. These are specifics that I cannot respond to promptly. I would have to go back to the office then gather that information so that I can give feedback on what is happening on the ground. I thank you.
HON. NYAMUDEZA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, he spoke about the Satellite Clinics. Are there building plans of establishing Satellite Clinics all over the country? Can we get them anywhere in the country? Thank you.
*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and I would like to thank the Hon. Member for his question. Indeed, looking at national statistics, at one point we had Village Health Centres, so we are now building different Village Health Centres in different villages that are meant for communities where they can get medication and medical assistance.
However, we are going to continue identifying other health centres in different parts of the country. Like what we said last week, that in areas like Chipinge, Bulawayo and Southley Park, we have constructed hospitals in such areas because as Government, we respond to the people’s needs. The questions and suggestions are really important because we need to continue adding polyclinics. I thank you.
INDEPENDENT COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
- HON. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs to explain to the House why it is taking time to set
up an Independent Commission of Inquiry into drug and substance
abuse by dealers who the police usually arrest and release back into the community.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madame Speaker Ma’am, the question is not as clear as one would want. However, let me clarify that setting up a Commission of Enquiry is a prerogative of the President of the Republic. Section 2 (i) of the Commissions of Enquiry Act provides that “the President may, when he considers it advisable by proclamation, appoint a Commission of Enquiry consisting of one or more commissioners and may authorise the commissioner(s) or any quorum of them specified in the proclamation to enquire into the conduct of any officer in the Public Service, the conduct of any chief appointed in terms of the Chiefs and Headmen Act, the conduct or management of any department of the Public Service or of any public or local institution or into a matter in which any inquiry would, in the opinion of the President, be for the public welfare”. Assuming the inquiries into the abuse of drugs and substance or conduct of the police in releasing dealers in terms of the stated Act, it is still the prerogative of the President.
Abuse of drugs is rampant and its dangers are obvious to an extent that the Government cannot afford to take no action. For this House and the Hon. Member to get information on the plan of action, the question has to be directed to the relevant Ministry and in this case, it is the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. There is already an inter-ministerial committee that was set up by the President to look into the very issues that they are raising. So I defer the question to the Minister if the Hon. Member so desires so that he can understand what the relevant inter-ministerial commission is doing as regards the same question.
WRITTEN SUBMISSION TO QUESTION WITH NOTICE
PROVISION OF MEDICAL EQUIPMENT AT KADOMA GENERAL HOSPITAL
13. CHINYANGANYA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to inform the House when the Ministry will provide the following medical equipment at Kadoma General Hospital;
a) Autoclave machine;
b) Anesthetic machines;
c) Heavy duty BP Machines;
d) Multiparameter monitors;
e) Industrial laundry machines;
f) Industrial roller irons; and
g) Office furniture.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): 1. The Autoclave machine is under repair, the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) has been replaced and the contractor promised to finish this week.
- The anesthetic machines and multi-parameter monitor have been procured and will be distributed once delivered.
- Kadoma Hospital received two (2) vital signs monitors which are BP machines out of the 20 given to the province.
- The Ministry of Health and Child Care is alive to this requirement, but due to funding challenges from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, they cannot be procured at the moment.
- Kadoma General Hospital needs to raise a request for furniture through the office of Mashonaland West Provincial Medical Director for onward transmission to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Once this request is received, the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s Procurement Department will start the buying process and the furniture will be bought and sent to Kadoma General Hospital.
Question with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68. .
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 30 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until Order of the Day Number 31 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
HEALTH SERVICES AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 8, 2021]
Thirty First order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Health Services Amendment Bill [H. B. 8, 2021.]
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): The Health Service Amendment Bill is about aligning the Health Service Act with the new Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act, of 2013.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care, in collaboration with the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on the alignment of laws with the Constitution identified some provisions in the Constitution which, for operational purposes, need to be incorporated into the Health Service Act. The other provisions were incorporated in the appropriate health related legislation such as the Public Health Act, which was aligned with the Constitution in 2018 and the Medical Services Act, which is currently before Parliament.
To initiate the alignment process of the Health Service Act with the Constitution, stakeholder consultations were conducted on 22-23 March 2017 in Harare for the Northern Region of the country and 3-4 May 2017 in Bulawayo for the Southern Region of the Country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is common knowledge that some stakeholders may have missed the consultations when the platform was provided, but that, in terms of procedure, cannot stop the process of aligning laws with the Constitution. The calls to withdraw the Bill on the basis of stakeholders who failed to attend the stakeholder consultations is unprocedural and cannot be accepted.
The Committee report alleges that Section 16A of the Amendment Bill constitutes a serious intrusion into Labour rights and constitutional freedoms of the health service professions.
The response to that is Section 16A, which is aligning the Health Service Act to Section 65 (3) of the Constitution which reads as follows:
Section 65 (3) Except for members of the Security services, every person has the right to participate in collective job action, including the right to strike, sit in, withdraw their labour and take other similar concerted action, but a law may restrict the exercise of this right in order to maintain essential services.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the key elements in that Constitutional provision are that health care is already declared an essential service in terms of Statutory Instrument 137 of 2003 of the Labour Act (Chapter 28:01). In that SI, health workers are completely prohibited from participating in collective job action, including going on strike.
Section 16A of the Health Service Amendment Bill is not prohibiting the health workers from going on strike but is only restricting (the duration) as directed by Section 65(3) of the Constitution. Section 16A is striking a balance between the rights of health workers to participate in collective job action, including going on strike and the essential service element of health service in order to save human life.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Section 16A is providing health workers with more labour rights and constitutional freedoms than the current Labour Act through SI 137 of 2003. The Health Service Amendment Bill should not be withdrawn as it provides health workers better labour rights and freedoms than the prevailing legal framework.
Section 16A (3) is alleged to criminalise being an executive member of a trade union group that organises collective job action.
The response is that once the Constitution has restricted the rights for purposes of protecting the essential service, in this case the health service, there has to be a mechanism to enforce the law and Section 16A (3) is meant to provide the enforcement mechanism.
The report raises the issue of compensatory guarantees which is expected under the International Labour Organisation and Section 104 (4) (a) of Labour Act (Chapter 28:01) for essential workers.
The response is that Section 16A, as compared to Section 104 (3) (a) (i) of the Labour Act does not prohibit essential workers from going on strike, but it only restricts, primarily the duration of the strike in order to save human life in terms of Section 48 of the Constitution which provides for the right to life.
The Committee reports also raises issues against the Health Service Commission referring cases to relevant Councils under the Health Professions Act (Chapter 27:19) and that councils are not regarded as employer and they should not have power to punish health worker or degrade them.
The response is that it is the sole prerogative of the Health Professions Councils to deal with matters of professional ethics for the health care professionals in terms of the Health Professions Act. The Health Service Act does not have the mandate to deal with violations of professional ethics, hence the referral to the appropriate Health Professions Council.
The Committee report also alleges that Section 16A contradicts Section 24, 54, 55 and 56 of the Constitution. The response is that Section 16A is incorporating the provisions of Section 65(3) of the Constitution into the Health Service Act and if there are no contradictions of Sections 65(3) with Sections 24, 54, 55 and 56 of the Constitution, then Section 16A cannot be said to contradict those same constitutional provisions.
It is also alleged in the Committee report that health professionals are the only group deemed as essential services in line with Section 65 (3) of the Constitution.
The response is that the Labour Act through SI 137 of 2003 has other categories of professionals listed as essential services and the alignment of those categories will be conducted through various appropriate pieces of legislation. For health professionals, the alignment has to be done through the Health Service Act.
The Committee report insinuates that health workers have no platform to negotiate their grievances with the employer. In terms of Statutory Instrument 111 of 2006, there is a Health Service Bipartite Negotiating Panel which is the platform for health workers and Government to address any grievances that may arise.
The Health Service Amendment Bill is an alignment issue with the Constitution and is not repealing the Labour Act. The Committee report proposes deletion of Sections 16A (2)(b) and 16A(3) of the Bill.
The response is that Section 16A(2)(b) is allowing health workers to embark on collective job action, albeit for an un-interpreted period of up to 72 hours which is a marked improvement from the Labour Act SI 137 of 2003 which completely prohibits health workers from conducting strikes.
Section 16A (2) (b) is just restricting the duration of the strike in line with Section 65(3) of the Constitution. This is a marked improvement on the labour rights and freedoms of health workers as compared to the current legal framework under the Labour Act.
Mr. Speaker Sir, on formation of Commission; there are two categories of Commissions provided for in the Constitution, namely;
- Independent Commissions Supporting Democracy which are listed in Chapter 12 of the Constitution;
- Executive Commissions such as the Civil Service Commission in Chapter 10, the Defence Service Commission, the Police Service Commission and Prisons and Correctional Service Commission all in Chapter 11 of the Constitution.
The Chapter 10 and 11 Commissions are under the Executive to implement policies of the Executive arm of the State. The Judicial Service Commission in Chapter 8 of the Constitution is under the Judiciary to serve that third arm of the State.
The proposed Health Service Commission will be another Executive Commission and is constitutionally different from the Chapter 12 Independent Commissions. The Health Service Commission will be serving the Executive in the same manner as Chapter 10 and 11 Executive Commissions.
It is also important to note that in terms of Section 320 of the Constitution, members of the Executive Commissions hold office at the pleasure of the President. This implies that they enjoy a degree of autonomy in terms of Section 321(1) of the Constitution but are ultimately answerable to the Executive, through the President.
Mr. Speaker Sir, with the above background information on Commissions, Section 4(3) under Clause 2 of the Amendment Bill remains correct because the Health Service Commissions shall be an Executive Commission which ordinarily takes policy directions from the responsible Minister.
The core functions of the proposed Health Service Commission, among others, include appointment of persons to hold posts in the Health Service, create working conditions and exercise disciplinary powers over members of the health service.
The provision of adequate medicines, personal protective equipment and tools of trade required by health workers is the domain of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care and not the Commission as these are operational issues.
Just as in the case of other Executive Commissions, the budget of the Health Service Commission shall be under the line Ministry, in this case, Ministry of Health and Child Care.
There is only one Labour Court in terms of Section 162(d) of the Constitution and the Health Service cannot establish a separate court structure. If there are unresolved disputes following the Health Service Bipartite Negotiating Panel or Health Service regulations, these are still subject to referral to the Labour Court in terms of the Constitution.
The provision that proposes the Chairperson of the Health Service Commission, as also the Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission is informed by the fact that the Health Service Commission is an Executive Commission and the other Executive Commissions have a similar structure.
The Committee report raises a concern on the involvement of the Minister in the appointment of members of the commission. The response is that the role of the Minister is only to recommend to the President. In terms of Section 320 of the Constitution, it is the President who hires and fires members of Executive Commissions.
The composition of the proposed Commission is also guided by precedent of how other Executive Commissions are appointed.
In terms of Section 320 of the Constitution, members of the Executive Commissions hold office at the pleasure of the President. Stakeholders have no constitutional role in that regard.
The Committee report also proposes that the post of Secretary to the Health Service Commission must not be restricted to medical practitioners only but be open to other health professionals.
The response is that health service is a highly specialised and technical service centered on its preventive and curative functions. The only health care with basic knowledge and skills of both preventive and curative functions at technical level is a medical practitioner.
The Secretary to the Health Service Commission is the person providing technical advice to the Health Service Commission. The Secretary must be well skilled with both preventive and hospital patient treatment to be able to provide competent advice to the Commission and to implement resolutions of the Commission. Just as in the case of the Judicial Service Commission, it would be absurd to have a cadre that is not a Lawyer as Secretary to the Judicial Service Commission because of the technical and specialised nature of such a Commission.
The appointment of a Secretary is the prerogative of the President in terms of Section 205 of the Constitution. As indicated in Clause 3 Section 5(3), the President is exhorted to pay due regard to sections 17 and 18 of the Constitution on gender balance and regional representation respectively when making appointments to national offices.
The Committee report makes reference to Section 10 of part 5(b) on conditions under which Commission may revoke an assigned function to the Secretary to avoid spurious interference with the Secretariat.
The response is that all functions of Secretariat are delegated functions from the Commission. The Secretariat operates under the direction of the Commission and any directive can be revoked.
The Committee report makes reference to health financing required to revamp the health care sector that is in a deplorable state.
The response is that health financing is not part of the functions of the Health Service Act as indicated earlier. However, health financing is being addressed in a different piece of legislation focusing on National Health Insurance.
The Committee report makes reference to clarity on what Government should do to improve the health care system. The response is that the core functions of the Health Service Commission focus on human resources and are listed in Clause 2 Section 4(1) of the Amendment Bill. The mandate of the Health Service Act is on recruiting competent persons to hold posts in the Health Service, improve health workers’ working conditions and ensure there is discipline in the Health Service.
The other pillars of health care provision, such as infrastructure, finance, equipment, medicines and medical supplies fall under other pieces of legislation, such as the Medical Services Act which is also before Parliament undergoing alignment with the Constitution.
The Committee report raises issues of health care workers’ retention which is very pertinent instead of restricting health service. The response is that there are lots of monetary and non-monetary benefits that are being implemented to retain staff such as the recent 100% salary increment and health specific allowances pegged on the interbank rate. In addition, there are allowances that are paid in US dollars.
On non-monetary issues we have commenced acquiring flats for institutional accommodation and some doctors have moved in to occupy the recently commissioned Marimba flats. All Central and Provincial Hospitals have been given seed money to run cafeterias to provide meals for staff at their institutions.
On transport, the Ministry is acquiring buses, minibuses and service vehicles. For those who are able to import personal vehicles, there is a facility for duty free certificates. All these initiatives are focused on improving health workers’ conditions and address the brain drain challenge.
The Committee report alleges that the Bill is taking away the platform for engagement between employer and employee.
The response is that we have just re-constituted the Bipartite Negotiating Panel whose term had expired. This is the employer-employee platform in terms of SI 111 of 2006. It has not been disbanded.
The Committee report seems to allege that no consultations were conducted with the Health Service before drafting of the Amendment Bill. The response, as previously mentioned is that the law making process commences with stakeholder consultations and these were conducted in March and May of 2017 in Harare for the Northern region and Bulawayo for the Southern region.
HON. T. MLISWA: I have a point of order.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO): What is your point of order?
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, it is with a heavy heart that I rise on a point of order on the continued suffering of Members of Parliament. I have just been told that we are back with the PetroTrade coupons yet there was a temporary measure. So, for me to sit here thinking that I am concentrating and now the PetroTrade coupons which we just said last week could not work are back again. We are not informed. Hon. Musarurwa who is going to Bulawayo has just been issued with them. We are not children. Why are you doing this to us? How can you continue doing this?
We were supposed to have the Minister of Finance addressing us as Government Caucus. Chief Whip, you continuously lie to God. Why do you do that? You said on Monday, you will come and you did not come. Today, you were at ZANU PF and you spoke about our welfare but some of us are not part of the ZANU PF Caucus. So, how then do we get information? Because you are the majority, it does not mean you will abuse it. You think you can get people to pass the Budget and you think you have won the day. We cannot work like that. How do I get to the House with the PetroTrade coupons? Who is behind this? We are supposed to be passing a pro-poor budget but we are passing a pro-corruption budget. A pro-corruption budget where Ministers like July Moyo are stealing money and yet we are suffering here.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mliswa!
HON. T. MLISWA: Why are you doing this to us? We cannot continue concentrating here, Mr. Speaker Sir, when he is constantly doing that. We cannot have this. The Hon. Minister of Finance is here; you will shield him. You cannot shield him; he is not the Minister for ZANU PF. The civil servants are suffering, the war veterans are suffering, everybody is suffering in the country. Where is the pro-poor budget that we talk about? There is no pro-poor budget. It is a pro-corruption budget which you are also eating from. You are getting commissions from all these vehicle suppliers and we are not getting it. Where do we go with PetroTrade again?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mliswa!
HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Speaker, I want to be kicked out so that I am one of the legislators saying no to this corruption. You whip us for corrupt budgets but instead of making sure our welfare is proper, what is going on? The Chief Whip is clandestine. Do you have a heart or what? You must have a heart for people, not “kufunga kuti wagona basa nekuwipa vanhu awa.” I will not keep quiet. My father fought for this country, not for such leadership. He did not fight for such leadership. He was ZAPU, he did not fight for this. He fought for a country which he would enjoy, which would look after the welfare of the people and not this rubbish.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, take your seat.
HON. MADZIMURE: There is no quorum.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, can you check on the quorum please.
HON. WATSON: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order Hon. Speaker is that I think it is an appalling reflection on this House of Parliament that we are listening to the Minister replying to a report on a piece of legislation that is vitally cognisant and key to the public health sector in Zimbabwe for Zimbabwean citizens and these people who have walked in here now – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: The Committee report seems to allege that no consultations were conducted before drafting of the amendment Bill. The response, as previously mentioned, is that the law making process commences with stakeholder consultations and these were conducted in March/May of 2017 in Harare in the northern region and Bulawayo on the southern region respectively. The drafting of principles and the Bill only commenced after that process.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order. My point of order is on the coupons. Can we get the answer to confirm whether the coupons are Petrotrade or not? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Mliswa that is administrative please – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Order, order Hon. Mliswa! Can you sit down please! Hon. Members, the issue of coupons is administrative. I think Administration is going to look into that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: The Committee report alleges that the amendment of the Bill has not shown where the old provisions are non-aligned to the Constitution. The response is that the principles that inform the drafting of the amendment Bill following the stakeholder consultations are available to Parliament.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Health Services Amendment Bill before the National Assembly is an alignment of the Health Services Act with the Constitution. Stakeholder consultations were conducted nationwide on dates that have been provided and the Committee report was also based on false assumptions, especially on the type of commissions in the Constitution. It is my Ministry’s well considered position that the alignment of the Health Services Act with the Constitution must proceed.
Issues raised by Hon. Members – Hon. Chikwinya, the Hon. Member’s issues are addressed in my reference to the Committee report. The Hon. Member can review Statutory Instrument 137 of 2003 of the Labour Act. Health workers are prohibited from going on strike in the current legal framework. The Health Services Amendment Bill is allowing workers to go on strike for 72 hours and to repeat after 14 days if their issue is not resolved. This amendment Bill is giving back to health workers their rights and freedoms.
Hon. Mpariwa – the Hon. Member is not sure on the mischief this Bill seeks to cure. The response is that it is an alignment of the Health Services Act with the Constitution. The Labour Act through Statutory Instrument 137 of 2003 is not aligned to the Constitution on the issue of collective job action and strikes. In this case it is the Labour Act that is violating the health workers’ rights and that is part of the mischief to be cured by this amendment Bill.
Hon. Watson – the Hon. Member alleges that the amendment Bill is unconstitutional without supporting the assertion with evidence in that regard. As already stated, the Bill is addressing issues in the Constitution, especially section 65 on labour rights and is giving back to health workers their rights and freedoms.
Hon. Dr. Mataruse – it appears the Hon. Member is one of the stakeholders that missed the stakeholder’s consultations. The Hon. Member is also not aware that the Labour Act, through Statutory Instrument 137 of 2003, is prohibiting health workers from going on strike. I hope the Hon, Member is now aware and will support the amendment Bill.
Hon. Molokela-Tsiye – the Hon. Member observed a very important right in the Constitution that could be aligned with our current health related piece of legislation. Section 76 of the Constitution on the right to health care is being aligned with the Constitution through the Medical Services Amendment Bill which is also before Parliament. The Health Services Act addresses issues of human resources while the Medial Services Act deals with provision of medical services in clinics and hospitals. For your information, that is the difference between the two Acts.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Member was also not aware that stakeholder’s consultations were conducted nationwide. With the new information, I hope the Hon. Member will support the Bill. I thank you Hon. Speaker Sir and I move that the Bill be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: Tuesday, 30th August, 2022.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the rest of the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 23 has been disposed of.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES OF EXPENDITURE
Twenty Third Order read: Resumption of Committee of Supply: Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure.
House in Committee.
On Vote 8 (Continuation of debate):
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Chair, I was looking at the Blue Book and on a Vote where there is allocation for infrastructure especially accommodation. Mr. Chairman, we used to copy from the models that we see in terms of houses for the mudhumenis. In every area, you would find a nice house and you ask to whom it belongs? In most cases it would be mudhumeni’s house. If you drive around today and see how those houses are now dilapidated, it is pathetic. I understand they have been given motorbikes but they are now going to the growth points looking for rented accommodation. Those houses are still there, the majority of them, the structure itself is still intact but you look at the windows, doors and everything and you find that actually they are not habitable at the moment as far as those things are concerned.
So, I do not know whether the Minister is saying on that particular Vote, there is money put aside to deal with that infrastructure. This is what is affecting quite a number of young people to decide against being deployed out there. It is a bit difficult, they used to have nice houses where they would...
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. KHUMALO): Why not give the Minister your proposal.
HON. MADZIMURE: My proposal is that he increases that Vote with 50%.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Chairman. My concern with the Vote is not a financial one, it is a management one. Given that the Ministry is a perennial over-spender, it has overspent again and so it gets a lot more. It spends 75% of its budget and now it is going to get a lot more. Our problem is that we are not solving a thing. If we go back to 2015 to 2018 on a Condonation Bill, 54% of the 9.6 billion came from this Ministry. We continue subsidising inputs, so the tendency when we subsidise those inputs is that the farmer then exaggerates his hectarage to get more inputs. Now this is a flaw in the subsidisation of agriculture and there is only one way to subsidise agriculture, which is the price. The thing is further complicated with our current pricing structure because quite bluntly, it is pathetic and that is why you will not get the maize crop in.
The only way to subsidise agriculture is to pay more money and wean people of this free inputs story because the free inputs are actually going to the wrong people. I will say it again. Free inputs are going to the wrong people. We have got people here getting subsidised by the Ministry for the land preparation and they go and get contractors with so much money that they are getting and that is wrong.
I have another major issue with the budget and the Hon. Minister, if you could just take note here. FSG owed over a hundred million dollars’ worth of fertiliser going back somewhat. The value of seeds is over 7 million dollars. My question is this; why have we only got two suppliers who get all the seed production to supply to them and to supply to us because there is mark-up there and it is a huge mark-up. If you go to the whole seed producer, they have not been paid for eight months now. So, we are going to have a problem in trying to get our inputs for next year and if we do get the inputs, they are going to be very expensive for the farmer but if the farmer pays, no one cares. So the farmer is losing out on everything. We have got farmer-after-farmer standing up here talking about the price of inputs and yet in seven or eight years since command started, we are not changing the system. We are employing the same system. We go one step further and we are guaranteeing the debt to the banks. We have not solved the problem, which is that we are putting in too many inputs and when the Ministry talks, they talk of how many hectares you are planting. The hectares are of no use to man or beast if the yield is low and our yield is very low. TIMB yesterday told us they are...
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Give the Hon. Minister your proposal Hon. Markham.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Chairman, am I allowed to debate or what here, otherwise I will just sit down? My proposals are coming and the first one is; increase supplies and wean people from inputs because that is so expensive and do not guarantee bank loans of someone who has not paid his loan back; otherwise we are going to end up picking up three or four billion dollars every year in debt and you are telling me I cannot debate. I will give you an example and then I will sit down. The current wheat crop is boosted at 70 thousand hectares just hide satellite imagery and it shows that the wheat is 46 500 hectares, of which a third is late planted. You will be lucky to get 160 000 tonnes of winter wheat, you will be lucky to get that. The Ministry is talking of doubling that. We are funding double the hectarage for half the yield so we are getting nowhere. Thank you.
*HON. S. SITHOLE: Thank you Hon. Chair, I have three issues to the Minister. If you look at the rural district hospitals, there are no mortuaries...
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order Hon. Member, we are on agriculture now.
HON. HWENDE: Thank you Hon. Chair. It is just a small comment in light of what Hon. Markham has said because I was about to come and applaud the winter crop season because we heard that this year we are going to have a surplus. My point is to make sure that this budget should actually support the wheat farmers that have done a good job but now I am confused, maybe I will wait for the Minister’s response. If we manage to do import substitution like what has been reported on the wheat crop, our farmers should be well paid for them to survive so that we do not go back to the system of importing crops. We should then target crops like soya beans and other crops that we are still importing.
My last point is since we are experiencing problems with rainfall seasons, is there a provision of cloud seeding?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank Hon. Chair for the contributions from various Members. Let me start with Hon. Markham whilst his contribution is still flesh and then going backwards to yesterday. He raised an issue about yield, if I understood him. It was on yield that we should start focusing on yield and productivity as opposed to acreage, in his analysis the yield is likely to be lower than what we are expecting.
When we do these budgets, we are guided by the Ministry of Agriculture. I am working with the figures he has given us which are the official figures of Government but since the Hon. Member is raising an issue, I will certainly pass it on to the Ministry of Agriculture to look into that issue whether we are going to meet our target or not. As budget stands, it is based on the official figures of Government which is 75 000 hectares about 180 000 metric tonnes that should be harvested on the back of a certain yield. That is what I am guided by which also touches on what Hon. Hwende stood up to speak about.
Let me then go back to yesterday’s debates, let me turn to a contribution from Hon. Nyabani. He raised an issue about Government extending subsidy for inputs. I must say that for the Pfumvudza, we are providing free inputs so that subsidy is already included in that programme but for the commercial CBZ Agro yield or Command or Enhanced Productivity model, obvious that is a commercial programme where we expect that farmers should proceed on commercial terms as they go about their business. I must hasten to add that we know that there is a big challenge regarding the access to fertilizer both in terms of supply and price and we are going to come up with a proposal to deep into the contingency funds within the SDRs to acquire fertilizers so that we can at least lay our hands on fertilizers in time for the summer programme and hopefully the prices are also manageable prices. So we have got a plan for dealing with that. I think the biggest headache right now is just the availability of fertilizer almost at any price and then prices become a secondary matter.
He raised the issue of livestock support but also I know Hon. Mayihlome also raised a similar issue. We do have a line in this budget regarding livestock support. On page 52, Vote 8, there is a line that refers to animal production, health extension and advisory services. There is the sub-programme on control of animals and zoonotic diseases and animal welfare protection and there is also a line on animal heath, research and diagnostics and there is another one on tsetse control and surveillance. All these speak to animal health aspect.
You can see that, that budget the initial estimate was put at 9.6 billion dollars. That is what we had budgeted. By end of June, we had only used 2.8 billion. We had ways to go before exhausting that budget but in this supplementary budget, I am requesting that we add another 5 billion to increase that budget then 14.7 billion. So something has been added to that budget and I think it will go a long way. Also in respond to the request from the Ministry of Agriculture, that is how we have responded to this very important issue.
Then there is the issue of transportation for Pfumvudza programmes and agriculture in general, we are always dealing with this matter and we are ready to respond to any further request on it. Some Hon. Members where speaking too fast, I was not able to write down all the names. There is an Hon. Member who raised the issue on whether there is any budget for dams or not. I must hasten to say that the there is in the supplementary budget. Again I want to turn to a Section of the Blue Book, on page 56, there is a section regarding the budget Programme 9 on integrated water resources management grants. Here we have a budget for Gwayi-Tshangani Dam, Semwa, Chivhu, Bindura Dam, Dande Dam, Mbada which is the former Silverstream Dam, it has been renamed, Tuli-Manyange, Kunzwi-Musami and then Zimunya Dam and Vungu Dam. That is what we have provided for in this supplementary budget and that is what the Ministry requested. I see that that budget is of the order, this is the supplementary portion of the order 18.5 billion. So the current budget is 18.2 billion and then the two together shows that this budget just for dams only is now at 36.7 billion. So we do have an allocation for that aspect as well. Hon. Members were speaking too fast, and I could not write down everything. One Member raised the issue around the GMB price and I think that other Hon. Members have to raise that as well, the price that we should make sure that it is attractive enough for local farmers and we should prioritise purchases from the local farmers. I agree with that and that is what we are doing and we are prioritising local farmers in terms of purchases and imports come second. Even for imports, I do not think imported maize is easily available, by the way. So we should focus on local maize.
In terms of pricing, we have adjusted the price upwards. We even introduced the USD component in the price of USD90 per tonne in addition to the ZW$ component. In fact, that was a response to a request from Hon. Members in this House and I went back to consult my team in the Ministry and we were able to respond to that.
I agree that we should prioritise local producers. Hon. Mayihlome spoke on the issue of livestock. I have tried to respond to that. Hon. Madzimure, on the issue regarding the budget for housing for mudhumeni, they are our extension services support. Here in the Blue Book, they are now referred to as business advisory service providers. That is a new term that the Ministry has come up with because the Ministry believes that basically a farmer should visualize their farming activity as a business and therefore, these extension service providers are in fact business advisors.
There is a line that covers this request. If you look under Programme 4, it has Technical and Advisory Services and it is included there. I will see if we can speed that budget and put some part elsewhere. That is where we have these technical services. Again, we have set aside a budget for revamping the infrastructure for the business advisory service providers, extension services, madhumeni in other words, and we have provided the Ministry with the resources that it has requested.
I am not sure that this is a programme that will be concluded and we are almost four months now to the year end. I do not think that we can conclude and revamp this entire infrastructure in four months. This is a multi-year programme and we have to start somewhere. I believe that this will continue into next year and subsequent future years. I think I have tried to respond to the question by Hon. Markham.
Hon. Sithole was on health and so we will come back to that. Hon. Hwende, on the question of the budget for cloud seeding budget - it is sitting under the Meteorological Services and DDF. Those two tend to work together. So it is sitting elsewhere and we have provided a budget for it. We are prioritising local purchases on local farmers and imports come second. I have also said that we are committed to increase the price to make sure it remains attractive and we have done that already. We know that farmers want more but we have done that. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Just a point of clarity Hon. Chairman and it does not need any answer. If we are serious about sorting out agriculture, it is simple. We need USD pre-planting producer prices for our food crops and that is set at 10% less in the regional average. The reason is very simple. In the first year, farmers who make enough money to buy their own fertilizer and over three years you wean them off for fertilizer. The second thing is, the farmers get USD and there should be sponsorship product because we are now becoming food secure. I thank you.
Vote 8 put and agreed to.
On Vote 9 – Mines and Mining Development – ZW$1 582 536 000:
HON. MPARIWA: I do not mean to make any harm but I think for Hon. Members to follow the proceedings correctly to know which Vote is being debated, can the Clerk also assist in pronouncing what Vote and the name of the Vote. Thank you.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: My issue on the Mines and Mining Development is that there is no need to allocate more funds to Mines and Mining Development. We need to take funds to supplement from that department.
+HON. MOKONE: I would like to propose that the Hon. Minister should consider women and artisanal miners because where I come from, my constituency has a number for women artisanal miners. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I thank the Hon. Members for their contributions that they have proffered. There should be no supplementary in this Ministry. They must actually give us money as Government and so forth. I think the contributions, I understand the sector needs to compete with more sectors. I think the feeling from the Members is that we are not getting enough in the form of taxes and other revenues; that is why this budget, I requested that for example, we should increase the royalty for the PGM sector from 2% to 5%. That was part of the spirit of getting more money from the sector but I do not know whether we should really now scrap the entire budget. I think that would be too harsh. I think that let us just work together on how we can get more resources from the sector.
The youth in mining and women in mining, I am a big fan of this programme. So what has happened and I do not think Members of Parliament are aware, that is why they are asking. The Minister of Mines got Cabinet to approve a Youth in Mining Action Programme. Remember, we had pronounced it in the earlier budget; I stood in this Parliament and mentioned it in the November budget but we had no execution plan as yet in place. Ministry of Mines has come forward and actually suggested - they however propose areas that have been set aside for the youth for them to be organised and go into mining. What we have done with your permission here, is to set aside US$10 million from SDR to support the gold buying centres that would support the youth in the various provinces, even from various centres.
I am happy to report that money is now in hand. The programme will be launched soon and they will work with the banks. We are really ready to support our youth in mining. I thank the Member for raising this issue. We are very passionate about it as Government. I thank you.
Vote 9 put and agreed to.
On Vote 10 – Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry - $3 624 581 000:
HON. MARKHAM: Hon. Chair, I just have one point which I would like to raise cognisant of the budget because it covers environment and it covers the climate, et cetera. Quite honestly, the budget for Vote 10 is pathetic when you look at it in terms of problems we have for the environment, tourism and for the hospitality industry in recovering. That budget is pathetic. However, I understand we have to give some places. What I would like the Minister to look at very carefully is encompassing that into the next year’s budget that for this Ministry there is a sizeable increase seeing that the revenue from this is mainly USD. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Hon. Chairman, I thank Hon. Markham for that contribution and certainly a very good contribution that this sector may need further support. In next year’s budget, I will certainly consider increasing this budget substantially and I will lean on him to give us ideas as to which aspects we should be focusing on. I thank you.
Vote 10 put and agreed to.
On Vote 11 – Transport and Infrastructural Development - $46 507 434 000:
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Chair. Mine is very simple, I do presume that the Minister, in the budget for Transport and Infrastructural Development, had forgotten that the suburb of Hatcliffe is included in there because it has not had one drop of tar for 20 years. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Mr. Chairman. Hon. Markham raises a very specific area. I suspect it is also part of his constituency. So he is doing a good job in arguing for his constituency. I will speak to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to make sure that we include some roads from that area so that we have equitable distribution of road infrastructure upgrade. I thank you.
Vote 11 put and agreed to.
On Vote 12 – Foreign Affairs and International Trade - $1 947 996 000:
HON. MPARIWA: Hon. Speaker, I hope and trust that the Minister has taken into cognisant that many times, our staff at the embassies are being chucked out of the accommodations due to failure to pay rent, electricity, et cetera. I appreciate that the vehicles have been purchased but I also hope and trust that their welfare is well kept because it also causes some diplomatic embarrassment in terms of their welfare.
HON. MATEWU: Thank you Hon. Chair. I just want to ask the Hon. Minister of Finance on Programme 2, international cooperation and Diaspora engagement, to state exactly what is actually happening because it is too vague. What is happening and why do we need an extra $2.9 billion in that sector? I thank you.
HON. SHAMU: Thank you Mr. Chairman. My contribution is our concern with regard to the uneven pattern in terms of Ministry/departmental allocation and disbursements. Also, the uneven Supplementary Budget wherein some Votes got more than 100% of the original budget whilst the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade got as little as 25.9%. Now, the Ministry has therefore a situation where it is hamstrung in that it is supposed to improve trade investment in Diaspora engagement and hence cooperation with the international community and improve the country’s perception and image. When we look at that, there is need Hon. Minister, to relook at the budget and increase the allocation. I thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Hon. Chair. I just want the Minister to assure the House that the back pays that we owe our diplomatic staff is now paid up to date so that they live a bit comfortably when they are out there. Again, adding on to Hon. Matewu’s issue on the international cooperation and Diaspora engagement, we actually expect that the Diaspora is actually remitting a lot of money here already, so why do you want to use more money to attract the money that is already flowing in? Are we not going against the grain where the money is flowing from the diaspora and then we budget for that? Is it for something else that we do not understand or it is purely for that purpose but if it is so, then it does not make a lot of sense? Those are the two issues that I want the Minister to address.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank the Hon. Members for their contribution. Let me start with the contribution from Hon. Mpariwa dealing with arrears on rental, salaries and other welfare issues for our embassy staff. I have done a lot here in the last three years. We are now completely up to date with salaries for diplomats. We are also up-to-date with rent and other arrears for their upkeep but this has been a process. Then in terms of renovations of embassies, the Ministry had directed us this year to focus on the properties in Gaborone, down town South Africa, Ethiopia and New York. The property in London was due to have been upgraded through some involvement of PPPs but that has not moved much but those four are under way. We have always maintained that in terms of infrastructure development and upgrade that is a multi-year programme.
On the budget for International Co-operation Diaspora Engagement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has argued that they really need support when it comes to this area so that they can galvanise our diaspora for them to support the image building of the country through various programmes. This item also includes support for institutions such as Zim-Trade which are meant to promote trade and international co-operation, which is part of the economic diplomacy agenda. That is the argument presented to us and we have tried hard to respond to that request.
I also want to thank Hon. Shamu for the observation that the budget for the Ministry only went up by 25.9%. Part of it is obviously driven by this US$2.5billion in the other international co-operation and the diaspora engagement. Again we see that this increase is adequate for what the Ministry has requested. We are up-to-date with the day to day upkeep of our diplomats. What is left is the infrastructure development aspect which is a mult-iyear programme which again in next year’s subsequent budget will be able to budget some resources towards that.
Hon. Madzimure also had concerns on the Diaspora and International Co-operation budget. He said perhaps this was too much but I tried to answer that in terms of the aspirations of the Ministry. Then on the issue of salaries, we are up-to-date and every month we release almost US$7million towards the Ministry to meet the liabilities and other support services for our diplomats. I thank you.
Clause 12 put and agreed to.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Chairman, I now move that you report progress and seek leave to sit again.
Motion put and agreed to.
Committee of Supply to resume: Thursday 25th August, 2022.
On the Motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. L. SIBANDA, the House adjourned at Six Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m.