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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 26 July 2016 42-78
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 26th July, 2016
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
INVITATION TO A CATHOLIC CHURCH SERVICE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that there will be a Catholic Service tomorrow, 27th July, 2016 at 1200 hours in the Senate Chamber. All members are invited and non-Catholics Members are also welcome.
Hon. Nduna and Hon. Holder having debated on the Second
Reading of the Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, there appears to have been some procedural technicalities. We started debate on the Bill on assumption that the Hon. Minister had introduced the Second Reading which must be followed by a report of the Committee on Mines and Minerals. What should then happen is this; in order not to destroy the contribution of the Hon. Member, we shall expunge it, but you have a record, that is Hon.
Holder, so that tomorrow we can reinstate your debate after the Hon. Minister has done the Second Reading and the Chairperson of the Mines and Minerals Committee has given the report. I crave your indulgence
HON. HOLDER: I agree. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much.
HON. NDUNA: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. That also applies to the first Hon. Member who debated, that is Hon. Nduna. Thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDHAKWA): I move that Order of the Day, Number 2 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 3 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the
*HON. TSOMONDO: Mr. Speaker, may I begin by expressing my sincere appreciation for your having accorded me this opportunity to contribute to this very important debate emanating from the address made by His Excellence the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde. Robert Gabriel Mugabe, on the occasion of the Official Opening of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe. The tone of
His Excellency’s speech underscored the need for us, as legislators, to pursue national development in our deliberations. Thus, I will endeavour to be guided by His Excellency, the President’s words of wisdom in my humble contribution to this august House.
Let me begin by examining one of the material measurements of national development – increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is the market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given period. For us to increase GDP whose economic production and growth will have a large impact on everyone in the country with the creation of employment and wage increases as business demand labour to meet the growing economy, there is need for unity.
There is no doubt that while we have not as yet achieved total control of the means of production, the commanding heights of the economy, large swaths of the domestic economy is now owned by citizens or permanent residents of Zimbabwe. The land now belongs to the people of Zimbabwe. This does not mean that Zimbabwe does not welcome foreigners and foreign investors. Recently, His Excellency the President clearly explained the indigenisation policy, sending a clear message to international players that they are welcome to join us in our efforts to revive the economy.
Our country Zimbabwe enjoys very good relations with the populous East Asian economies such as India, China, Russia and Malaysia, despite the economic hardships we are going through mainly caused by the illegal economic sanctions imposed on us by Britain and her western allies, such as United States of America.
The United States of America has walked the road of a harsh economic environment during the great depression of 1929 which was exacerbated by the Second World War. Historians and students of world economics confirm that they emerged out of the great depression of 1929 in the 1950s. Therefore, I have no doubt that Zimbabwe will also emerge victorious in its national development programmes for economic revival and growth.
May I take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Higher and
Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Jonathan Moyo, for gracing the Mupfure Self Help College graduation ceremony in Chegutu East Constituency on Thursday 14th July 2016. In his speech, the Minister announced the Government’s intention to transform Mupfure Self Help College and two other colleges, namely
Msasa Industrial Training Centre in Harare and the Westgate industrial Training Centre in Bulawayo into industrial training centres offering degrees. Over and above this milestone, Mupfure Self Help College, Danhiko and St. Peters Kubatana in Harare are being considered to be transformed into trade testing centres. As the Minister rightly pointed out the transformation meets the country’s new thrust for industrialisation and modernisation. The graduates will promote entrepreneurship and revival of industry as the country takes its irreversible course to economic growth.
An Hon. Member talking on the cell phone.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Member who is on the cell phone. We are not allowed, in terms of our Standing Orders to receive cell phone calls in the House. Can we observe the decorum of the House. – [HON. MUTSEYAMI: Akadhakwa.] – Hon. Mutseyami do
not contest the Chair.
HON. TSOMONDO: In line with the call by His Excellency the President for schools and the rural business centres to benefit from ICT based applications, Mupfure Self Help College is now connected through fibre optic-courtesy of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development and has a computer laboratory. This is benefiting e-learning students and staff in their research programmes and has improved communication for both the college and the surrounding community.
Last but not least, Mr. Speaker Sir, His Excellency called on the nation to shun corruption in public and private sectors. Corruption violates public trust and corrodes social capital; negatively impacting on efforts aimed at growing the gross domestic product. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: There is a Ford Ranger, grey in colour, registration number ABA 9028 which is blocking other vehicles can the owner – [HON. MUTSEYAMI: Ndeya Chinotimba.] – Hon. Mutseyami, why are you interrupting? Can the owner make sure that the vehicle is properly parked? If not, it will be towed away and clamped.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR
AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): Mr.
Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 27th July, 2016.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR
AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. MATANGAIDZE): I move that
Orders of the Day, Numbers 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 5 and the rest of the Orders of the Day on the
Order Paper have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. D. SIBANDA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House;
NOTING that children’s rights are adequately covered in the new
Constitution and include inter alia –
- the right to a name;
- the right to the prompt provision of a birth certificate.
CONCERNED that children face a plethora of problems, in particular those with single parents or who have lost both parents, in accessing the relevant documents;
FURTHER CONCERNED that children face a multitude of
difficulties, particularly the girl child, which include sexual abuse and exploitation;
WORRIED that these issues have not received adequate remedial measures:
NOW, THEREFORE, this House calls upon the relevant Ministries
to put in place:-
- appropriate mechanisms to resolve the problem faced by children and , in particular, to synchronise the issuance of identity documents at all health centres by the Ministry of Home Affairs, at the time of birth; and
- measures to address issues of sexual abuse and exploitation of children as a matter of urgency.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. A birth certificate is an important document which shows an individual’s name, where they come from, where they were born and who their parents are. This document is also required when someone is writing important examinations like Grade Seven, Zimbabwe
Junior Certificate (ZJC). ‘O’ Level examination or when someone is being enrolled in school. It is also a requirement when someone has to acquire a National Registration Certificate and when they need to obtain a passport or any other document.
Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe is a signatory to the United Nations Convention of Rights of Children and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children. These rights protect children from problems that infringe upon their proper growth and development. Madam Speaker, in the African Charter, the rights and welfare of children emphasise the right for children to be registered at birth and is provided for…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DZIVA): Order, Hon.
Ndebele, you are not allowed to use cell phones in the House.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Madam Speaker, it is the right of children to be registered at birth as it is provided in Article 6 of the new
Constitution as follows;
Article 6 (1) “Every child shall have the right from birth to a name”
Article 6 (2) “Every child shall be registered immediately after birth.”
Article 6 (3) “Every child has the right to acquire a nationality.”
Section 81 of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe adequately covers the rights and these include inter alia;
- The right to a name; and
- The right to a prompt provision of a birth certificate.
It clearly states that when children are born, they are issued a birth record within a specific time frame to acquire a birth certificate.
Madam Speaker, without identity, the process of claiming one’s legal rights is excessively difficult. Everyone needs a record and the birth certificate. In Section 35(d) of the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Councils (ZIMSEC) Act, [Chapter 25:18], it is a requirement that every child who is enrolled in any school needs that birth certificate.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members. Can
Hon. D. Sibanda approach the Chair.
Hon. D. Sibanda approaches the Chair.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members! We
were having a small conversation with the Hon. Member who is presenting her motion which is also under consideration with the
Committee on Home Affairs to which she is also a member to. However, we will allow her to continue with the motion and then seek further clarification from the Hon. Speaker.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I was saying for example in Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Holder and your
other friends, please we are in the House.
HON. D. SIBANDA: For example, in Zimbabwe, children without
birth certificates face difficulties in getting registered in schools. They face difficulties in even getting employment because they do not have the necessary papers. In Zimbabwe, Madam Speaker, we have a population of 12 521 000 of which 50% are aged between 18 years and below. Zimbabwe has the highest number of orphans in proportion to its population – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order! Can Hon.
Sibanda be heard in silence? Those who wish to discuss issues, laugh and all; you may leave the House and go outside for that.
HON. D. SIBANDA: As many is one as to four children in
Zimbabwe, are orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS. On the Human Development Index of 2009, the country ranked 169 out of 182 countries. An awareness survey of Plan International 2000 shows that between 11% and 55% of children in Chipinge, Mutare, Mutasa,
Kwekwe, Epworth, Tsholotsho and Chiredzi had no birth certificates.
According to Child Protection Society of 2003 Survey, 30% of children in Zimbabwe are unregistered, 50% of orphaned and vulnerable children are unregistered, while 95% of children in the institutions are also unregistered. The Zimbabwe Demographic Survey of 2010 to 2011, states that about 74% of children under the age of five years from the richest households are unregistered compared to between 33% and 43% from poor households. Meaning that mostly, parents will give excuses of saying we cannot afford going to acquire the necessary documents.
If I look at Bulawayo alone Madam Speaker, we have 12 wards but we have just five registering points. People can register in Mpilo, UBH, Nketa Housing Office, Pumula Housing Office and Emakhandeni Housing Office, which means the rest of the wards, about 24 of them, there is no registrar desk. The Zimbabwe Democraphic Health Survey of 2010, 2011 states that 74% of children under the age of five from the richest household were registered.
In number terms, it shows that 32% of children born at home are registered as compared to 54% and 63% of children born in health centres. Again, that infringes the rights of innocent souls. As children are born, they need to have what is rightfully theirs, meaning they need to have their documentations. However, the fact that some of them will be born at home which is far away from the registrar’s office it then becomes difficult for them to get their birth certificates.
We also have a problem of single mothers facing difficulties accessing birth certificates for their children. This is true despite the existence of standing and binding decisions from the courts allowing single mothers to get birth certificates for their children by themselves in their names should the father refuse to give the child his name for example, the Katedza versus Chunga case. Most women in Zimbabwe are unaware that they can walk in the Registrar’s Office and get the necessary documents for their loved ones. Madam Speaker, I feel mothers in Zimbabwe should be allowed as single mothers to get their children’s birth certificates as long as they are carrying the birth record from the hospitals.
In addition, some people complain about the attitude of the employees in the Registrar’s Office that they neglect and ignore the public seeking assistance. They do not give the necessary attention to the members of the public. However, that is a sensitive office which needs to really put people first or give attention to the little ones to acquire the necessary documents. The major causes of non-registration include Registrar’s Office, strict and rigid requirements. The long investment in time through travelling, queues which you find there are a major discouraging element to birth registration for many, especially those coming from the rural homes. Generally, some people do not perceive the significance of birth certificates, however, when there is an argument or requirement for it such as a school examination, that is when they rush to get birth certificates.
I also feel that we need to have an outreach programme to also teach our constituents that you do not need to rush on the last minute when a child is writing their ‘O’ level to try and acquire that necessary document. They will also face the parental orphan, they will also have the problems with age; they will not be so sure of the age when they get to the Registrar’s office.
The Government of Zimbabwe enactment of the Birth and Death Registration Act Chapter 5:2 was an important step in establishing the legal framework for the registration of births in Zimbabwe. Despite the availability of this legal instrument, many children do not have birth certificates still, throughout the country. It is estimated that in 2009, 45% of children under five in urban areas and 70% in rural areas, did not have the relevant documents. This means that all these children do not have the legal names; they do not have the nationality or citizens rights. They will be counted as those who are stateless. Now, those children are growing to men or women without the necessary documents – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order! I would like the
Chairpersons of Committees Hon. Zindi and Hon. Chapfika to respect the House the same way you would wish to be respected in your
Committees. May you please respect the House and behave.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker.
Available data again, Madam Speaker shows that 60% of rape survivors brought to the attention of authorities are children. Most of these vulnerable children will go through that because they do not have anything to do and they do not have documents, they cannot get jobs, they cannot go to the college, they are loitering in the streets hence they will be abused.
In 2009, ZRP recorded 3448 child abuse cases while the Victim Friendly Court dealt with 1222 cases. This is believed only to be the tip of the iceberg Madam Speaker, as the majority of the abuse cases are not reported to the authorities. Some of the reasons that are contributing to the sexual abuse Madam Speaker are the religious beliefs …
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: On a point of order.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: The Hon Member seems to be
reading from her notes and not debating. - [AN. HON. MEMBER: She is referring to her notes.] - It looks like a report from the Committee.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: The Hon. Member is not
allowed to read but to refer to her notes. So, may you please refer to your notes?
HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you very much. I have got statistics here which I will not be able to remember the whole lot. Madam
Speaker, may I be allowed to refer to my notes?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Yes.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Some of the reasons that are contributing to sexual abuse of children are;
- Religious beliefs,
- Harmful cultural practices,
- Increased levels of poverty,
- Child headed and grandparent headed households,
- Children walking long distances to school,
- Breakdown of the extended family,
- Political violence and
- The dual legal system which provides conflicting ages of marriages.
The Government of Zimbabwe is commended for promulgating the following pieces of legislation and systems set to protect children;
- The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act,
- Children’s Act,
- Domestic Violence Act and
- The Criminal Procedures and Evidence Act which created the Victim Friendly Court System in Zimbabwe.
The Government of Zimbabwe has also done commendable work through establishing institutions dedicated to the promotion of children’s rights in the country. These include the Child Welfare Council, the National Programme of Action and the Inter-Ministerial Committee on
Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (IMC).
Other agencies such as SOS and Legal Resources Foundation
(LRF), have been working in collaboration with the Registrar General’s office to assist children with obtaining birth certificates.
They also assist in tracking children’s kin for purposes of obtaining birth certificates. They also have public awareness programmes to educate the community on the importance of birth certificates. CPS has also spearheaded an advocacy project for the formulation of a child friendly birth registration policy which ensures that all children are registered immediately after birth.
- The Government of Zimbabwe should, through the ZIMSTARTS Department, establish a system that guarantees availability of updated, disaggregated data on the state of children’s rights. All data on the situation of children’s rights, gathered in a participatory manner, should be made available to the stakeholders.
- The Government of Zimbabwe should, through the Department of
Social Services, develop child rights based policies and
programmes, in compliance with the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Concluding Observations of 1996.
- The Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Home Affairs, should amend the Births and Registration Act to ensure that all children born in Zimbabwe, regardless of the parents’ origins, are issued with birth certificates.
- The Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Home Affairs, should decentralise birth registration to all the districts of the country and introduce Information Communication Technology in order to enhance documentation of births and record keeping. Birth registration should also be done at hospitals and clinics where mothers give birth at birth. There is a desk for the births records next to that desk. In every hospital where there is maternity, we expect to see the Registrar’s desk as well issuing birth certificate.
- The RG’s office should be subjected to public scrutiny with a view to increasing public accountability and transparency, also with a view to upholding citizens’ rights to identity and citizenship.
They should have properly trained staff, accurate with spellings and who have people with people at heart. I thank you.
HON. MANDIPAKA: On a point of order.
THE TEMPOARARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order
HON. MANDIPAKA: Madam Speaker, the Hon. Member who is
debating now is in our Committee and the Chairperson of that
Committee has yet to bring a Report to this august House. Now, she has managed secretly to take what is contained in our report to bring it in a motion. I do not know whether that is proper?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have addressed that issue and
actually spoke to her that she must not refer to the Committee findings or resolutions but should stick to her debate because she had moved that motion before the research with the Committee. If there is anything that she will say that interferes with your Committee then I will not allow her to put it forward. Hon. Member, stand guided.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: On a point of order.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mukwangwariwa, I hope
what you are going to say does not go hand in hand with what Hon.
Mandipaka has already said because I have already given a ruling.
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: Madam Speaker, it is what we
are discussing with Hon. Chimanikire, He is a member of our
Committee and can vouch on that one.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: My point of order is that I am
objecting her to continue debating on our Report.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have already given a ruling
that she must stand guided by what I have already advised her that she will not interfere with the findings or the resolutions of the Committee.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. May be it is also for the benefit of this House that the members of the Committee should know that …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, go back to
your Report and stop commenting on the Committee.
HON. D. SIBANDA: They should not put words into my mouth Madam Speaker. Thank you very much. I was on my recommendations and I also going to say especially to the single mothers, I will also recommend that the Government have awareness campaigns or maybe, just make sure that every single mother in Zimbabwe know that they can acquire the birth certificate in their own capacity. They should be allowed and should not be asked any questions as long as they get to the registrar’s office with their birth record from the hospital or they have relevant documentation from the chief. In case the child is born at home, they should be able to take their child’s birth certificate without any problem. Thank you very much Madam Speaker.
*HON. BUNJIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make this contribution. This is an important issue and it has a bearing on the women folk because we are responsible for the pregnancy and giving birth to that child; yet after giving birth, you have problems in acquiring the necessary certificates which confer citizenship of that child. When we look on our streets, we have children we call street children who are born by these women. These children ran away from their homes because parents, especially single mothers have problems in acquiring these birth certificates. I have a personal experience, I have cousins whose parents died. The parents migrated to Zambia and were citizens there but later came back to Zimbabwe.
When these orphans wanted to get birth certificates, the Registrar
General’s office (RG) said these children were Zambians but they should be citizens by descent because their parents originated from
Zimbabwe. They tried to explain their citizenship status but there are still problems because they are supposed to bring witnesses who should vouch for their citizenship. When we thought we had finally succeeded and they were given the documents, it stated that they were aliens. During election time, that anomaly had to be rectified and they were to be bonafide citizens of Zimbabwe and the documents were changed.
Unfortunately, when they wanted to get passports, they were told that the records at the RG’s office still refer to them as aliens, yet the
Identity Cards (IDs) were showing that they were citizens of Zimbabwe. The requirement is that, my cousins are now being asked to bring witnesses to vouch for their citizenship status. We are appealing to the
RG’s office and the Home Affairs to create a conducive atmosphere so that it is easier for citizens to acquire essential documents like birth certificates or IDs. We are saying an individual is a citizen by decent, birth or registration and therefore should access these documents.
I also notice that children of Zimbabwe are empowered by the Constitution of Zimbabwe; they have a right to protection, shelter and fair treatment. We realise that when a child has been raped and the case is reported, our police instead of creating an atmosphere for the child to explain what really transpired, they intimidate the young child. As a result, the child is not able to give clear evidence on what really transpired and how her body was violated by the insensitive male. We have a lot of children who are roaming the streets, and the Constitution of Zimbabwe talks on the right of children to go to school, but this child can only go to school if there is a relative who register this child. When no one pays school fees, the child is send out of school but our
Constitution states categorically that education at primary level is free.
I am pleading with the Government to follow the constitutional rights of children in full. We are also told that the children have a right to shelter but we have a lot of children who have now been termed
‘street children’. Nobody is looking after them; the Government is not following the constitutional right of these children. Therefore, I am appealing to the Government to take care of the children as stated in our Constitution. There are times whereby these young children commit crimes whilst less than 18 years. As far as I am concerned, they will be in a position to be taken to the courts of law where the case is investigated and they incarcerated as young offenders. Some of these children are housed together with adults and I feel it is unfair on them. I visited the prisons for the adolescents and there were incarcerated children under 12 years yet they were sharing space with adults.
I would like to thank our Speaker, Hon. Mudenda because we once held a workshop and I raised this issue on the incarceration of young offenders and he followed this one up. The young offenders were released because of this timely intervention. We need to implement our
Constitution in full because it talks about the children’s rights and if we follow it in full, there would be no street kids. We would not have young offenders. I thank you.
*HON. MUFUNGA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me
this opportunity to make my contribution to the motion on the problems faced by children in Zimbabwe. It is a sorry state that in a country like Zimbabwe, children are being ill-treated. I think we are going to a situation whereby we have 13 million people who are registered and 13 million who do not have identity cards. We have citizens who migrated into Zimbabwe in the 60s from Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi. They were young by then and they married Zimbabweans but their children have problems in getting identity cards because they are called aliens. When these people married Mozambicans, they lacked the necessary documentation in order for them to be citizens, that is regardless of whether I have married that person without knowledge and I am Zimbabwean who married a woman whose parents are aliens. Since they do not have the necessary identity documents, we will have a generation of people who have no identity cards.
Where I come from in Muzarabani, we have a man called
Mukumba. He has been married to his wife for 45 years but his children do not have the necessary national identity cards because the parents migrated from another country. I feel these children are now Zimbabweans by birth but they are denied access to such important documents as birth certificates and identity cards.
If we are to move around the towns, we have young children who will be begging for money and will be in a sorry sight. If you observe, the mother of the child will be sitting somewhere out of sight, watching over that child begging for money. If you look at the begging child, you will notice that they way that child will be behaving shows that there is some hidden talent but the child is being abused by the parents who are making her beg. We need to terminate this infringement of the children’s rights by their parents with immediate effect. Why should they let these children go and beg for assistance on the streets while they are there watching by the side of the road, let us collect all these children and find somewhere to keep them immediately.
I think Zimbabwe, as a responsible State, should take measures to punish the parents of these children or teach them to take care of their children because it is their right. As Parliament, let us relax the rules on the issuance of birth certificates and identity cards. Yes, currently, we are giving false statistics saying Zimbabwe has 13 million people. I say it is false because we have some unregistered Zimbabweans whom we are not taking into account. I think whosoever is now living in
Zimbabwe should become a citizen of Zimbabwe.
Again, it says in our Constitution, any child found residing in Zimbabwe with no nationality should be given the nationality of Zimbabweans. That is what the law says on rights. It is a right for somebody to have access to good living in Zimbabwe and to have proper documentation. It is absurd to call a person who migrated into
Zimbabwe in the 60s and we are still calling that person a foreigner. Yet, according to the Constitution anybody who has been in Zimbabwe for more than ten years can obtain a citizenship. We need to have a relook at some of these laws. We need two to five years for one be a citizen.
*HON. F. PHIRI: I will not repeat what has been said by the previous Speakers. Hon. Speaker, I come from Kadoma Central Constituency and this is a constituency which is surrounded by mines and farms. This constituency, although it is an urban constituency, has many people who are said to be aliens because their grandparents migrated from neighbouring countries such as Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. Let us remove this term alien from our statutes because it is derogatory and an insult.
When you talk of an alien, let me give a definition, it is a foreign object which is found in a foreign planet where we have never been. Therefore, calling people who are coming from neighbouring countries such as Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, these include people like me the Phiris and Bandas, why should we be called aliens. We have had some people who have had to change their surnames because they wanted to obtain Zimbabwean citizenships. They ended up taking their grandparents’ surnames so that they could avoid being called aliens? Therefore, I am proposing that the term alien be deleted from our statutes.
I was a teacher for 22 years and I am grateful to Hon. D. Sibanda who introduced this motion. It is a very good motion and she stated it well because when she talked about the torturous moments faced first by learners in school. They cannot write Grade 7 examinations or Form
Four examinations because they do not have birth certificates. Most of these children are taken care of by their grandparents because the parents died of HIV/AIDS and the grandparents cannot afford to register this child.
Most of the people who are called aliens, especially orphans, cannot to get these birth certificates. The requirement from the Registrar
General’s Office is that such a person should come to their offices with five witnesses to vouch for his birthright. What has happened is that some of these children end up taking different surnames. He is a Phiri but is now a Moyo, he is a Banda but has taken the surname of somebody who is related to them and not his real surname because they need to get these essential documents. I am therefore saying the
Provincial Registrar’s Offices are a distant from the people. As a result, if one is required to bring five witnesses to the Provincial Offices to vouch for their citizenship that creates a problem because the grandparents have to pay the transport fare for all the five witnesses.
In my constituency, the process can only be done in Chinhoyi. You get these five witnesses, pay their transport fares and also feed them.
This is creating a problem in the acquisition of essential documents in form of birth certificates and identity cards. There should be devolution of power whereby access to these documents should be done in their districts instead of the provinces because when you talk of the District Offices, they know the people, their standing and are aware of their plight. I repeat over and over again that may we please delete the term ‘aliens’ from our statutes. I thank you.
HON. RUNGANI: Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. KWARAMBA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 27th July, 2016.
SHORTAGE OF CASH IN ZIMBABWE BANKS
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Madam Speaker, I move the motion
standing in my name that this House:
CONCERNED by the shortage of cash in Zimbabwe banks which has plunged the financial sector into turmoil;
FURTHER concerned by the lack of knowledge by the general public on the proposed introduction of bond notes and their impact on the liquidity situation;
WORRIED that the cash crisis could only be a symptom of a deeper economic crisis;
FURTHER worried that the cash shortages are inconveniencing, general members of the public including firms;
NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon government to;
(a) De – dollarize and adopt the rand as the anchor currency; and
(b)Address the fundamental structural causes of the financial and economic crisis engulfing Zimbabwe.
HON. CHIMANIKIRE: I second.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: If I might ask your indulgence for
my presentation to be beamed on the screens. I have put my presentation on PowerPoint because there are some graphics I wish to share with Hon. Members.
It is no longer a secret that the economy is not doing well. It is not a secret that our banking system is running out of cash. It is not a secret that the economy is imploding. In fact, we do not need a rocket scientist to remind us that our economy is not doing well. We are living in this economy and we are experiencing the hardships in the economy. Of late, we have gone through a very difficult period of financial crisis characterised by shortages of cash in the banks.
What we have been witnessing is that if you go to your bank, the maximum withdrawal limit – for those banks which are still sound is $500 per day. Some are giving as low as $20 a day, such that the average withdrawal limit in the banking system is about $100 a day. People are losing productive time going to the banks to withdraw money for their day to day transactions. We are losing a lot of economic value because people are making journeys to banks.
Those who need to pay RTGS to external suppliers are finding it very difficult to pay their debts. Schools fees are a problem for those with school going children because they cannot transact using the RTGS. Internally, people cannot settle their transactions because the amount of interbank RTGS is also limited. Some banks are actually running out of cash, as you all know.
The premium on the parallel market has emerged. There are now barons who are emerging and charging parallel market rates to give cash. If you go to the parallel market wanting cash, say $1000 – you are given that $1000 cash and you have to make a RTGS to the bank account of the supplier on a premium of about 10% to 25%. The parallel market has emerged. Companies and individuals are defaulting because of the cash flow problems. In fact, the bad loan accounts of banks is increasing because people cannot settle their accounts. The ordinary person is suffering from the cash crisis. Those who are renting properties cannot find cash to pay for their monthly rentals and so on and so forth.
I have tried to paint the picture of the complications caused by the shortages of cash in our banks. I want to move on to the fundamental causes or the reasons why we have no cash because it is one thing experiencing these problems, but another understanding where it all came from. In my research I have identified ten reasons why we have got cash shortages in our banking system.
The overall reason is confidence crisis. Money markets operate on the basis of confidence. If confidence is reduced we get problems. I am going to unpack the issues around confidence which have triggered a run on the cash in the banks. These are policy ambiguity and inconsistence, debt service, budget deficit and continued borrowing, illicit financial outflows, trade deficit and weakening of the Rand, depletion of the nostro accounts, sluggish growth in the economy, low national savings, non-usage of plastic money and liberalisation of the capital account. I have come up with ten solid reasons which led to confidence crisis and triggered cash shortages on the financial sector.
I now go to unpack these reasons. I will start with policy ambiguity and policy inconsistence. You will recall that in December 2015, two Government Ministers contradicted each other on the policy of indigenisation and economic empowerment. They were at cross purposes, that is, Hon. Minister Chinamasa and Hon. Minister Zhuwao in interpreting the indigenisation policy. Hon. Minister Chinamasa was of the view that indigenisation must be carried out sector by sector, taking into account the specific features of each sector. Hon. Minister Zhuwao was of the opinion that the indigenisation policy must be implemented wholesale. He threatened to withdraw licences of those companies that had not complied with indigenisation, even banks included.
In January, Hon. Minister Zhuwao went further to stress that those who did not meet the indigenisation threshold should close their shops including banks. This affected confidence in the banking sector. If you look at the records, you find that cash shortages and panic withdrawals started increasing from December 2016, January 2015 going forward.
There was a run by depositors for their money. Companies started withdrawing money and externalising the funds because they were not sure about the policy inconsistencies of Government. So, that has had an impact on the financial situation or balance sheet of banks.
The second problem is the LIMA Agreement. In September last year, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development gave an undertaking to the World Bank and IMF that Zimbabwe would settle its debt arrears of US$1.8 billion by April this year and since LIMA in September 2015, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has been struggling to raise the US$1.8 billion to mop up all surplus money on the money market. They have been doing this by issuing Treasury Bills, they have been doing this by taking money from nostro accounts at the Reserve Bank to pay recurrent expenditure and so on and so forth. So in my opinion, the LIMA Debt Agreement has also affected the liquidity of the money market because Government has been pressurised to look for every available cash flow in preparation to fund the debt agreement.
I go on to the Government borrowing and lack of fiscal space. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is common cause that from 2013, fiscal revenues have been stuck at US$3.8 billion a year whereas recurrent expenditure has been increasing to US$4.8 billion. So, recurrent expenditure grew from US$3.8 to US$4.8 billion annually since 2013. So, there has been a revenue gap which Government has not been able to sustain. You add on the US$1 billion deficit, you add the RBZ debt of US$1.3 billion which was taken over by Government, you also add the US$400 million non performing loans which were sitting on the loan books of banks that was taken over by Government; that accumulates into Government debt.
You also take into account the US$2 billion Treasury Bills which
Government has issued as a way of financing recurrent expenditure.
This has taken heavy stock on Government’s financial position.
Can we go to the next table? If you look at that table, you can see the growth of revenue versus the growth of expenditure and the budget deficit since 2009. You find that, I will start at 2011, revenue was
US$2.8 billion and expenditure was US$2.7 billion, but look at how revenue has lagged behind. By 2014, revenue was stuck at US$3.8 billion while expenditure grew to US$4.8 billion such that since 2014, Government has been accumulating a monthly deficit of between US$100 million and US$150 million because the revenues have not been performing and that revenue gap has caused borrowing.
Government to come into the money market, issue Treasury Bills.
When you issue Treasury Bills, most of the institutions that bought Treasury Bills are banks. I know one building society which I will not name for ethical reasons which oversubscribed to these bills and when the maturity date arrived, Government had no ready cash to pay back the money to that building society. So, the debt was rolled over. So, this affects the balance sheet of that bank and today, it is one of the banks which is being threatened with collapse. Mr. Speaker Sir, I have said I will not, for ethical reasons, name the bank.
I go to poor revenue performance. According to ZIMRA and I am depending on the official statistics released by ZIMRA on the revenue collection, ZIMRA is complaining that out of a revenue target of US$861 million in the first quarter of 2016, they were only able to collect US$724 million. So, again reinforcing the issue of poor revenue performance, ZIMRA’s tax debt has risen from US$1.9 billion in 2015 to US$2.5 billion in 2016. That is the tax debt which is a total amount of revenue ZIMRA is owed by Government, parastatals, public utilities and private companies. It is a lot of money which cannot be collected and that is affecting Government cash flows.
If you look at the table, you can see the variance between actual revenue targets and what was collected and the variance which is in red which shows you that on all revenue heads from individual tax, excise duty, VAT, customs duty, withholding tax dividends, Government has not been meeting its revenue targets. So, that is why there is a variance of US$136 million since January this year.
I go to illicit financial flows. Mr. Speaker Sir, a lot of money is going out of the country, is being smuggled out of the country. One typical example is the US$15 billion which the President highlighted. It is not a secret. It is money that should be in our banking system. It is money that should be in our financial sector, but it is going out and I also blame most of our Chinese investors, with due respect. If we were going to carry out an exercise of how many Chinese investors are in the country and how many have got bank accounts, you would be shocked. Where is the money going? It is going outside the country.
The other problem is that because Zimbabwe is the only dollarised country in Africa, it had become a source of foreign currency for most countries in the region. If a person came from Malawi or Zambia with a visa card, you just go to any Zimbabwean ATM and withdraw your money and you go back to Malawi, you go back to Mozambique. So, we had become a source of supply of foreign currency to the region. So that also affected our cash flow position in the bank.
The other fifth problem is our trade deficit or weakening Rand. Madam Speaker, if you look at that table, look at the trade balance which is the relationship between your imports and your exports. In 2012 our trade balance was a negative minus US$2 billion. It means we were importing more than we exported. In 2013, our trade balance was now minus US$3.1 billion, in 2014 minus US$2.7 billion and in 2015 our trade balance stood at minus US$3.1 billion. So, it means we are using our money taking it out to buy imports and some of that money is not coming back for sure. Therefore, we have to address this gap between our exports and imports as a matter of urgency. The solution is not banning imports; I think that is why I differ with Government on the quantitative ban or restricting imports per se. What Government should have done is just to raise duty on the products so that those who cannot afford will switch to domestic products. Raising duty was going to assist us because Government was going to get revenue and more employment but a quantitative ban can trigger, in terms of SADC Trade Protocols and other trade agreements, it can trigger retaliation. I am happy that Government is engaging South Africans and other trading partners to try to sort out this issue before it ignites a regional trade war. Imagine if each country starts to restrict imports, it can hit us where it hurts most.
So, I urge Government to go back to duty regime so that they can deal with that problem. Also, whilst the ban is in place, let us also monitor the response by local companies; are they able to produce? Let us have a mechanism to monitor production. I was going to suggest that let us come up with the two tier product merchandising system. By this I mean, our supermarkets should have a border line, physical these are the shelves for locally produced products and shelves for imported products. When I walk into a supermarket, I must be able to assess whether our local industries are performing by looking at the shelves. If they are mixed up – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – it is my own assessment of the situation and it is democracy, you can also suggest your own assessment.
If these things are mixed up, it really covers, camouflages the productivity of our local industries. Let us have that physical demarcation. If you go to Pick n Pay, we want to see what the local products are, if you go to OK, what are the local products and so on and if you go to Choppies the same.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I come to sluggish growth, between 2009 and 2013, our economy grew by an average of 7%. Of course, this was also a rebound effect; you have to qualify that growth. It is not that phenomenal but it was due to the rebound starting from a low GDP base and that is why the figures were quite phenomenal. Even then, the current growth rate of around 2.5% is not acceptable. This economy has to grow more than 2.5%. The regional growth rate is 4.5%. So our economy has to perform and we need to make sure that we put in place stimulus measures and fiscal policy measures. I hope Minister
Chinamasa’s Mid Term Fiscal Policy Review will bring those critical measures to see how we can increase agricultural production. How can we increase mining production, tourism, construction and so on, so that we grow the cake because the smaller the cake, the less the revenue we collect to the fiscus.
Talking about mining, our economy has transformed, agriculture is no longer the pillar of the economy, it has been superceded by mining and mining is now the leading pillar of the economy. The problem with mining is that there are transparency issues, there are accountability issues that compromise the flow of revenue to the Treasury, yet it is now the number one sector that is supposed to drive the economy.
I go to low national savings. Mr. Speaker Sir, the international benchmark of savings to GDP is 40%. It is considered that a ratio of 40% national savings to GDP is requisite enough to make sure that they are investible surpluses or money for on lending to firms and consumers. In our situation our savings rate is only 8% of GDP. If companies and individuals and Government are not saving, where do banks get that money to lend to consumers? In fact, whereas the total deposits that were in the banks by December was about US$5bn, now because of the leakages, the cash that is sitting as deposits in banks is now around US$2bn from US$5bn. So we have lost a lot of money in our financial system. So, savings are very critical because they are the basis for onward lending, they are the basis for financial intermediation.
I go to point number 9, none usage of plastic money. This was a problem of course because everybody wanted to use cash to transact.
Because of the introduction of plastic money and debit cards, you find that queues are getting smaller and smaller in the banks. I would go further to recommend that Government must put a Statutory Instrument compelling all retailers to put point of sale machines in their businesses; whether it is hair salon or petrol station, they must implement those point of sale machines. There has to be a Statutory Instrument to make it legal because now it is optional. So, it is being implemented as a cafeteria menu,
I go to the next point, which is the liberalisation of the capital account. A lot of money was going out of the country. A person would go out with US$10 000, US$5 000, companies would withdraw US$50 000 a day, that was a lot of money. I think we must agree that our money market was very loose because people could take as much as they needed, that has to be monitored. Now, what has been the respond of the Reserve Bank so far in dealing with the cash crisis? For sure the Reserve Bank has introduced maximum limits which I referred to and also introduced restrictions on RTGS that can be transacted. They also intent to introduce bond notes by October to ease the cash flow problem.
The argument there is a US$200m AFREXIM Bank facility which is going to be used to provide export bonus incentives to companies that export. In fact this money is going to be paid against exports receipts, fair and fine. My next question is, if an exporter is given that 5% in bond notes, this money cannot be externalised so, this money is used to pay local domestic costs. The exporter will pay the wages using the bond notes and pay electricity, water and other charges. If I am the worker, I get those bonds, what should I do; I must buy with them because it is a legal tender. That is why other people are saying it is as good as returning the Zim dollar because it is now legal tender. I am transacting with it in the domestic market. Once you allow that to happen, where it does end?
The other problem is that even those export incentives are no longer legal in terms of the new Reserve Bank Act, you can ask Prof.
Moyo who is a law student. We have put an Act which says we cannot indulge into quasi-fiscal operations. If the bank is now going into the export business and so on, it is reminiscent of the previous old RBZ Act. So we have to be very careful because it will start with an export incentive, tomorrow it will be agriculture, mining and so on. The bank goes back again to quasi-fiscal operations which the new RBZ Act proscribes.
Moreover, the US$200 million from Afrexim Bank is an overdraft; it is not yet an approved facility. Your question is as good as mine to say, who is empowered to borrow - is it the bank or the Treasury? If the bank says it is going to borrow again, it is engaging in quasi-fiscal operations. I hope we are together.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as it stands now, Government is retaining 80% of all tobacco receipts, 50% of gold, diamond, platinum, chrome and other mineral receipts to deal with the cash flow crisis. One obvious feature that is telling about the shortages of cash is the staggered civil servants’ salaries. The Government is not staggering civil servants’ salaries because it has a choice, no. It is because its hands are tied. There is simply no money to pay civil servants. We do not know that by December, we will be talking of a very bad situation if nothing dramatic happens.
What are the solutions? We can move to the alternative solutions because it is one criticising but another – I want to proffer solutions. In my humble view, we have to stop and think about our indigenisation policy and say; is it worth the backlash or the problems that we have encountered? If I ask Hon. Members here – [HON. HOLDER:
Inaudible interjections.] – Let us be very honest with each other. I will ask you Hon. Speaker, how many companies have been indigenised so far and who are the new owners of those companies in terms of the local people. Just give me 20 local companies that have been indigenised since the policy was introduced and who are the new shareholders? You will find that it may not be worth it because most of the companies are in the resources sector, mining, conglomerates and so on, which is still intact. So why are we getting a lot of backlash on a policy which is nonimplementable – [HON. MEMBERS: hear, hear.] – it is not necessary.
If I were in the shoes of Government, I would allow capital to come in, lock in the capital. You would allow Foreign Direct
Investments (FDI) to come in and once it is in the country, you lock it up and tell them that you have invested in this country but chose a local partner – [HON. HOLDER: Inaudible interjections.] - Now, the money is in the country…
Hon. Maridadi having stood up to give a point of order.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER [HON. MARUMAHOKO]:
Order please. Can you take a seat – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order Hon. Members. Hon. Maridadi, you do not just rise from your seat and then speak. I have to recognise you first before you speak.
HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I think the debate by the Hon. Member here is non-partisan, it is a very good and educative debate yet we have somebody like Hon. Holder who continues to make noise as if we are at a beer hall. I think he must be chucked out of this House so that we are able to listen. We cannot have people who are drunk coming to this House. It is unacceptable.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Holder. Hon.
Holder, this is a very crucial debate to all of us in this country – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Hon. Holder having stood up.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May you take your seat please.
*HON. HOLDER: You do not want me to speak?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May you resume your seat –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order Hon. Members. This is a very important debate. It concerns all of us, our constituencies, families and our own good self. So the best thing is – [HON. HOLDER:
Inaudible interjections.] – Order, what is wrong with you Hon. Holder?
HON. HOLDER: Thank you Hon. Speaker…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I did not ask you to speak.
HON. HOLDER: No, I am not speaking Hon. Speaker. The
problem - they are starting, you should tell them to keep quiet, not me
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Just take your seat –
[Laughter.] – Order Hon. Members. Everyone of us here has a chance to debate and these are the facts that he is giving you. If you want to expand, you can expand – [HON. HOLDER: Inaudible interjections.] – [HON. ZINDI: Speaker, ngaambobuda Holder uyu azodzoka ave sober.] – Order, I hope you will not interrupt the Speaker again. Let it be the last time - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – You may continue.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In order
to address the first issue which I referred to, the confidence crisis, let us repackage our Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Policy so that we get, not only FDI but domestic investment as well into the country so that we can grow this cake. We have got the natural resources and everything but what we lack is capital to make sure that there is growth in the country through manufacturing and production.
Without money, there is nothing we can do. That is the first point I am putting on the table.
The second point is addressing the question of getting Official Development Assistance (ODA) once again. ODA is in two forms, the first form is multilateral support from International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), African Development Bank (AFDB),
European Bank and other institutions, which is what the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is trying to do through the reengagement efforts.
The other angle is to get bilateral assistance from the Paris Club countries. These are countries that give us direct bilateral support. We need to do that. However, this intervention responds to the political risk of the country. It is toxic; if the political situation becomes toxic, it also has an impact on the reengagement processes and so on because a lot of issues will be raised which are not related to the technical issues on the table. We have to address our political issues so that they are not toxic to affect reengagement.
Hon. Holder having stood up.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Holder, why are you
HON. HOLDER: Thank you Speaker. Hon. Zindi is busy with her cell phone in here.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Zindi, if you are
fidgeting with your cell phone, may you please desist from that. However, Hon. Members, why can we not be serious and listen to the debate. – [HON. ZINDI: I am actually taking notes on this important motion.] – Anyway may you proceed, but please less these points of orders.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Official Development Assistance, whether it is bilateral from the Paris Club or multilateral from Brettonwoods institutions, it responds to the toxic political environment of the country, that is, it will hamstrung whatever efforts re-engagement is meant to achieve. So, we must be cognisant of
The other solution is to look at how to increase the supply of the United States dollar because that is the money that we are transacting in and we have to look at all sources of financing the United States dollar to come into the country. Let us now go to the next table where I have highlighted a number of sources of the United States dollars – [slide was being shown to the Hon. Members in the National Assembly.]
If we do not export, we perish because we do not get the United States dollar. So it is important to address those bottle necks that is affecting industry, agriculture and mining so that we increase our exports and earn more United States dollars. If you look at that table, in 2009, our exports were 1, 6 billion but look at 2014; 3.6 billion worth of exports - those are United States dollars coming into the country. So the more we export, the more we can earn the United States dollar. So, as a conscious policy matrix, we must increase our export to get the dollar.
The second sources of the United States dollar are international remittances. In 2009, our remittances stood at, that is annual figures,
727 million and these are Diaspora funds coming into the country. By 2015, the remittances had grown from 727 million to 1, 9 billion; it is money coming from all Diasporas. In fact, if we look at Diaspora remittance very well, we might even forget the FDI because we have got about 5 million people in the Diaspora. Some countries are depending on Diaspora remittances to support their GDP. If you look at a country like Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Comoros Islands, in fact in the Comoros Islands, 99% of their GDP comes from Diaspora remittance, from their citizens who are abroad.
However, for this money to be useful, if it comes through Western Union as consumer finance, it will not help the economy. The money has to be structured so that it goes into the capital market, into the infrastructural sector to develop the country. One way of doing it is to introduce infrastructural bonds. You float an infrastructural bond and say Diasporans this is the coupon rate, please subscribe to this coupon rate to roll out infrastructure. In that way, you get a lot of developmental finance coming into the country rather than consumer finance. Even electricity energy bonds, we can use that money to develop our country. The other source are external loans which are not so much that we are getting and then other receipts, then foreign investments and so forth.
Going on to table E –unpacking these remittances, I talked about the Diaspora remittances but international organisations that are also in the country like NGO, Embassies also bring United States dollars to the country as a source of the funds. If you look at the growth rate of the remittances from the Diaspora and remittances from international organisations operating in the country, you can see the pattern that I am talking about.
The sixth recommendation is considering switching to the Rand monetary area. The problem is that if you look at the structure of our exports and imports, we import 60% of our products from South Africa and export about 35% to South Africa. It means it is our key trading partner, make no mistake. Therefore, it would be easy if we were going to transact in the Rand as a legal tender but it means playing by the rules of the Rand Monetary Union which includes Lesotho, Swaziland,
Namibia and other countries who are using the Rand.
For us to join the Rand monetary area, we have to make sure that there is what we call macro-economic convergence. This means that our economic variables must be in the ball pack of the Rand Monetary Area and one example is the budget deficit. The Rand Monetary area would say the countries which are using the Rand must not incur a budget deficit of above 5% GDP. So, there we will not pass the mark because our budget deficit will be 30%, 35% of GDP. So, we need to engage with South Africa to make sure that we can be accommodated on the Rand Monetary area and be put on a programme that ensures that our macro-economic variables converge with those of the Rand Monetary area. We need negotiations with the South African Reserve Bank to take into effect.
The problem with multi-currency basket, Mr. Speaker Sir, is that consumers and exporters will use the strongest currency in that basket.
This is why in 2009, when we introduced the multi-currency system, the usage of the United States dollar was 49% and that of the Rand was 49% but over time, the Rand has been dumped and its usage is below 5%. The market will choose the strongest currency in that basket. So, that is why I am saying if we were going to use the Rand per se, it might solve our liquidity or cash flow problems as a country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, to finalise or conclude my discussion, I think we have to look at our country seriously now. Our people are suffering, we are the legislators, we are the pall bearers and we have to recommend solutions to Government in line with our oversight functions to make sure that this country ticks, has confidence and our people’s livelihoods are supported. It is incumbent upon this House to rise above partisan lines and make sure that we move the country forward.
Yes, we can overcome sanctions if we address our own fundamentals that we control. This country is not run by America, and is not run by Britain. We control agriculture – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- We control our mining. Let us work on the variables that we control and not to always cry foul – you see. What have we done to the things that we can control? The peace dividend - our natural resources endowment, all those things, are things we can leverage as a country before looking at exogenous factors like the sanctions.
We need to engulf everybody so that we focus on the solutions; we need to deal with corruption. Corruption is a cancer. You do not need sanctions to deal with corruption. Look at what is happening in NetOne; these parastatals are milking the economy. These are the things we can deal with on our own to make sure that we address the challenges that we are facing.
Public procurement - again, public financial management in the public sector; if you look at the Auditor General’s report, it is a sorry state of qualifications about the performance of the public finances. There are qualified reports, year in, year out - be it GMB this parastatal that parastatal. We plug those holes by improving transparency and accountability in the way we run our affairs as Government. Of course, we have to address - which is number 9, domestic debt. Our domestic debt is unsustainable and we have to address it as a matter of urgency.
Above all, we need to stimulate domestic production. Without production, the cake will get smaller and smaller and the revenue which will accrue to the State will get smaller and smaller.
So we need the right macro-economic policy framework in this country to move this country forward. Above all, we need to resolve the political question in this country which has remained on the agenda for a long time. It is now toxic and people are now fighting each other across all parties - so we have to resolve our political issues in this country so that we emerge as a stronger nation. I thank you.
HON. CHIMANIKIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Allow me to thank the mover of the motion Hon. Dr. Mashakada, that is what it means to be a doctor. Mr. Speaker the people out there are angry. Angry at politicians whom they now think do not represent them properly and they think we do not represent them anymore; because like Hon. Dr. Mashakada quoted in summing up of his presentation., we seem to be concentrating inwardly towards ourselves as politicians and not looking out there as to what we can contribute to the nation of Zimbabwe in terms of how to run the economy.
We need visionaries in this House and we need visionaries as politicians to lead this country. We must move beyond the past because we seem to be bogged in the past and not looking towards the future of where we want to take this country. Mr. Speaker, this country can never be called a developing country when the infrastructure is stagnant it can never be called a developing country. For example, we should be tunneling into the future - just next door in South Africa, someone is talking about sanctions here we have drills and we have got everything, and you now have the underground train in Johannesburg, but what have you got here - a few TelOne wires going under Julius Nyerere Way and maybe Mukuvisi river going underneath Julius Nyerere Way. That is the only thing we have got. We do not seem to be recognising what is happening in other developing countries. We could be generating jobs and incomes for various people if we were to indulge ourselves in the development of our country through our own ideas.
I would like to reiterate what Hon. Dr. Mashakada said. I would like to challenge any Member of this Parliament to point a finger at one single millionaire who is as a result of the Indigenisation Policy that was passed in this Parliament several years ago. There is not a millionaire who is as a result of Indigenisation Policy that was passed in this Parliament several years ago. Has anyone benefited and there is no evidence and yet that is the key issue that is locking out Foreign Direct Investment into this country, it is not the sanctions. How can we go for 51%/ 49% when you do not even have the money? Even our banks do not have the money.
We are supposed to have created a Sovereign Fund that is supposed to fund people who want to buy shares into Indigenisation but we do not have it. So, where are we going? Mr. Speaker, history and experience has taught us that if we were to lower the threshold, some of the companies would even give us as a present 25%. Why go for 51% when there is no one who has got 51% to be able to buy shareholding not even into NRZ? I will come to that. We must Mr. Speaker, if we are going to end shortages of cash, be able to create and build alliances.
We are too aggressive towards those who could invest and help improve the performance of our economy. All we are doing is we send Hon. Chinamasa to Paris, London and the following day we are saying the French are actually conspirators into demonstrations that are going on in this country. Good Lord! Why did you send that man there to look for money and the news the previous night was saying the French are going to invest in agriculture in joint ventures.
Twenty four hours later, you accuse the French of masterminding the demonstrations in this country, are we mad? – [Laughter.]- Do we know what we are talking about? –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- Why did we send a Minister there if we are going to be attacking them 24 hours later? What has happened to our intelligence sources there who should have informed us not to send anyone to Paris because those people are conspiring against us? We need political stability, sensibleness and soberness in this country, it is lacking.
The issue of legacy is one thing that should be embedded in the culture of our country. I was listening to President Obama when he received a question a few months ago to say, what is it that you would like to be your legacy when you leave the White House? The response was I will only know about my legacy ten years after I have retired from politics. The politicians in this country should learn to leave a legacy and not to die with their legacy having been known by anyone in this country. That is very important Mr. Speaker, if the future of our country is going to be developed and we also have to address the issue of technology. In fact, a few months ago we were talking about sending our children who have got so many ‘O’ levels in sciences and so on, even
funding that particular programme so that they learn about science.
We need to absorb science developments that are there and technology developments that are already there in this country. We need to utilise our scientist. There are so many ways that have been suggested by Hon. Dr. Mashakada as solutions to what we have. One of the immediate solutions is we have nurses in excess in this country who
have been trained but who are not employed. We have teachers in excess in this who have been trained but are not employed. We have graduates who have been trained that are not employed varikutengasa ma card apa ma juice card, but here we are, we sit here each and every year we cap 10 , 20 thousand and we make them sit at home.
When we grew up hondo isati yanyanya kuenderera mberi kwaive neinonzi Winera where we used to export labour force to South Africa and there would be agreements where those people would be paid a third of their salaries into Rhodesian Banks. That was one way of earning foreign currency. If they did it then why can we not did it too – [Laughter.]- It is a pity that sometimes we sit in this House and make noise about nothing, when we are supposed to listen to ideas.
The fact that the idea is coming from MDC T that does not mean that it is not a good idea. Let us start listening to each other because by the end of the day, it affects all of us. If we are not careful, we will have a fossil type of development whereby we will be garbage collectors, but not for recycling but just collecting garbage. That is what we are doing in this country. So Mr. Speaker, when I was listening to the proposer of this motion when he was putting across solutions that we should actually embody so that we are able to move forward, I sat back and said yes, Zimbabwe is attending its own economic funeral. When you are attending a funeral there are many mourners who cry, some sob and others like the Hon. Member who was sitting there make noise. We do not need political hooliganism when we are facing problems in this country. What we need is to be able to look at the problems and say what are the solutions. That is why we were elected to come into this House. We may be from the opposition or the ruling party but what should come from this House for the nation is solutions and not political hooliganism like what I was listening to. We should move from away from scavenging policies where we think that other people owe us our own living. We are here to exist and live as Zimbabweans and we should be proud of that.
I heard the Minister of Finance the other day referring to ‘buy South Africa’ and that they are very proud about it. In Zimbabwe instead of being proud about it, I support the idea that was put across by Hon. Dr. Mashakada that we should separate the goods produced.
‘Kana ari mabhero ngaaende kuEurope’ because that is where they are coming from. Those are the highest earners in terms of revenue to most of our informal sector. If it is quail birds, they should come to
Zimbabwe because I think we are producing quite a number of them.
Jokes aside Mr. Speaker – it is important that we look for solutions. Number one solution is scrapping of the Indigenisation Bill. Let us swallow our pride, it is not bearing fruit. It only allowed a few individuals to build 50 bed roomed houses. We must be mad. Not even the Queen of England has such a house. Here we are, the Queen of England was robbing us and all the colonies and building overseas but she never built a 50 bed roomed house. Here in Zimbabwe people do
We should also introduce property tax. If I build a $100 million house, you must check where my income came from and you must make sure that I paid tax equivalent to $100 million in my pocket. I am using the difference. Did I pay tax for what I accumulated? So, let us wake up as Zimbabwean legislators and come up with laws that actually make sure we are protecting people out there. We make the taxation laws and if we do not protect them, it means we do not deserve to be here. We should all resign en masse and join them in the streets so that we suffer the way they are suffering and we will realise that we were brought here by those people who voted us in. Like I said there is hooliganism politics. While debating on such a serious issue, you can realise that others are laughing.
Mr. Speaker, instead of encouraging the people in the diaspora to remit money to Zimbabwe, we were busy singing songs ‘hee kuchengeta machembere’ and so on. It is either we are mad as a society or we need to reform. We should call psychiatrists to help us. There were songs that were being sung about the diaspora and we need to be concerned about such things.
When we are doing business, no matter who it is doing that business, we should have guiding principles. What applies to OK in Zimbabwe should also apply to Choppies and should apply to Pick n’ Pay because free fall policies as a market force is not a policy. Some people are allowed to smuggle goods into this country, some have to pay tax on those goods and some are even banned from importing those goods. Are we accounting for the number of trucks that unload each and every morning at Pick n Pay and Choppies and making sure that they pay the taxes that they are supposed to pay to ZIMRA?
Certain policies that are decided upon like Statutory Instrument 64 should be well thought, there should be research and consultations. I remember asking the Minister of Finance and Economic Development whether it was the right direction that we are taking. He said yes, because the Government needs money. What does the Government finally have? They got their warehouses burnt, the economy comes to a standstill just because of certain decisions where no sufficient consultations were done. Now, we are being threatened with sanctions from Zambia, of all countries. The people who were the first to carry plastic bags to go and buy a loaf of bread were Zambians before we did it with our Zimbabwe dollar. Today Zambia is threatening sanctions against Zimbabwe because of SADC Protocol on Trade and so forth.
Mr. Speaker, there are certain things that we have in this country and I am glad that Hon. Dr. Mashakada has expounded on those. There is one thing that we are in control of. We are very good at signing protocols that we do not need, for example CITES. We agree not to export our own rhino horns and elephant tusks. We are very foolish – [laughter.] – Sorry to say Mr. Speaker. They do not have elephants in London, America and China; they are here but we are paralysed and we cannot even sell what we have. We have to burn what we have simply because we want to satisfy those colonial powers. Are we forgetting that they are imperialists? What is wrong with us? That is why in my presentation, time and again I said we must be made.
There was Brexit; the British withdrew from the European Union. Why do we not withdraw from some of the areas where we are restricted from trading? Why should people dictate to us as to who should come and hunt in this country because a single lion has been killed? We should withdraw from CITES and start selling our ivory. Can we be labeled a poor country when we have in excess of 8000 elephants in the Hwange Game Reserve? We are sitting and selling four of them to China. When we do that, there are news headlines to say why you are selling four young elephants to China. Who are they to tell us that? That is why at some stage I once said the Americans can go to hell when it comes to selling our diamonds.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to conclude by saying sometimes we should have the correct political language. If an Acting President assaults a police officer, who do you think will come and invest in that country? I thank you.
HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would want to congratulate Hon. Dr. Mashakada for a job well done. He made quite some thorough research and I am pleased to note that in his debate, he offered solutions that can best assist our economy which is ailing. I would also want to thank Hon. Chimanikire for supporting this very important motion. It is one of those very critical motions to our survival as Zimbabweans. That is why I was taking some notes when Hon. Dr. Mashakada was debating.
Suffice to say Hon. Speaker, I would want to make comments on very few observations that he made in relation to what he referred to as toxic political environment. My memory serves me right to say we started to have toxic political environment at the behest of opposition politics in 1999. Why do I say so? I notice Mr. Speaker that certain opposition elements now realise that it was very fatal for them to have called for illegal sanctions. That is our starting point in as far as this economy is concerned. Prior to 1999, the economy of this country was performing very well. So Hon. Dr. Mashakada was right to point out that our politics needs to be corrected. Our politics must, as a necessity have a national outlook. If we have a national outlook in our politics, then we are correct. Mr. Speaker, we may differ in our political ideology and semantics but when it comes to the Zimbabwean nation, I think it is very critical to speak with one voice. Quite often, the Hon.
Minister of Finance and Economic Planning has been appearing before the august House to say Hon. Members, citizens of Zimbabwe, let us speak positively about our country. The reason why the international community is not very safe to invest in this country is because of the messages that we were posting to the international community and those messages were not important for this country. There were messages for political expediency but look at our situation now, we are all crying. I think the political environment must be improved by Zimbabwean citizens, be it in the opposition or the ruling party. We need sanity in our politics, it is a necessity. I think he made a very important observation, we need sanity in our politics. We cannot go around the world selling out our country as what has been happening to the detriment of our economy and poor citizens of this country. This is one big mistake that our opposition has made to this country and I think they must regret that mistake.
Mr. Speaker Sir, be that as it may, I would also want to congratulate the Government of Zimbabwe; having realised that the illegal sanctions had played havoc to our economy, our Government did not just sit, it introduced ZIM ASSET. It is a blueprint by the
Government. The efforts in the ZIM ASSET is to make sure that we are the owners of our own resources so that at the end of the day, we can produce for the betterment of our economy. So, we need to congratulate the Government. The Government is making tireless efforts in making sure that we improve our economy which has been ravaged. For example, Statutory Instrument, 64 of 2016 is to ensure that those products which we produce can find outside markets, then we are able to bring the US dollar that we want by way of restricting those products, it is to our advantage. It is because we want those factories that produce certain products to sell their products outside the country but if you look at Statutory Instrument, 64 of 2016, it was crafted in such a fashion that we will not run out of employment. We will also not run out of monies and groups of people that produce certain products. We will restrict externalisation of our funds by way of buying certain commodities that we produce. So, I think it is a piece of legislation that is in good faith, it is not in bad faith.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me touch on the introduction of bond notes. Yes, Hon. Dr. Mashakada could be right to say not much information has gone out especially to our people in the rural areas to understand the importance of the bond notes that are coming in. You will find that we are resorting to the introduction of bond notes as a way of minimising externalisation of the US dollar. We are also doing that as a way to ensure that we can trade within our parameters, within the country, we cannot just stand, sit there and cry without doing anything. So, our Government is trying by all means to make sure that we improve the economic situation of the country.
We can only have confidence in our economy if we speak with one voice. If you go out to the international community and say there is no rule of law in Zimbabwe, people have no right to demonstrate in Zimbabwe, they are imprisoned or journalists in Zimbabwe are being harassed, do you think at the end of the day we are going to attract foreign direct investment, the answer is completely no. So, all we need to do from both sides of the House is to ensure that when we come to bread and butter issues, let us be able to protect our country, let us speak as Zimbabweans, born and bred in Gokwe, Mberengwa, Zvimba, Buhera or elsewhere. Please, let us speak with one voice. So, that is my plea.
Let me talk about the indigenisation law. I do not think by now, as Hon. Members of this august House, we should be speaking of contradictions, conflicts in this piece of legislation because even the
Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces who is also the President of the State went further to try and explain the Indigenisation Act. By now, I think there is clarity. The inconsistencies that used to exist, I think they have been worked around and there is an improvement in terms of that law say, unless there are certain people that are still being confused by this Act. I think the Government made efforts to explain the meaning. The rationale behind the Indigenisation Act is just for us to have the independence of ruling over our own resources. It is not a question of us being billionaires or multimillionaires, no. The question is all about us being in control of our God given resources. I think those that are in the opposite side should actually articulate and understand the Indigenisation Act.
Last but not least, is the issue of corruption? This is filthy, it is dirty, nobody would like it especially more so when it destroys the social fabric of our very, very poor people, those that are in the rural areas. I always cry about those that are in the rural areas because they are the most disadvantaged. I think we need to nip corruption in the bud, less talking, more action on those that have been found on the wrong side of the law in terms of corruption because when we improve on that aspect, some of the monies leaking outside the country, I think we are able to take it back and improve on our economy. I do not think there is any question mark about nipping corruption in the bud from both sides of this House. So, we must put our heads together and ensure that those who are found on the wrong side of the law or who are practicing corrupt activities should be dealt with severely for the betterment of our nation. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
HON. MUDEREDZWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, Sir for giving
me this opportunity to make a contribution to this debate. First and foremost, I want to thank the mover of the motion Hon. Dr. Mashakada for dealing with this issue diligently in terms of how he has diagonised the problems and the other Hon. Members who have contributed before me.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is true that we have got problems in our economy. We are bound to look for solutions. In economics and war, they say let bygones be bygones because it is of no use to look back and say what caused what but we can do that for purposes of finding solutions. What I heard in the debate by Hon. Dr. Mashakada is that as he debated the diagnosis of the problems, he ended up also soliciting for possible solutions and Hon. Mandipaka also came up with possible solutions that the Government is doing in order to solve the problems.
Our Government is aware of the challenges that we are facing and obviously we came up with ZIM ASSET with its four clusters. If you go through those clusters, you will see that they are addressing the challenges of this economy but the challenges that we are having are to do with funding. It is the funding aspect that both sides of the House should look at and say, how can we attract investment into our country so that the economy picks up?
We have noted that Government is seriously looking on the aspect of agriculture. Government has done a lot in trying to bring mechanisation so that we are in a position to improve productivity in agriculture because agriculture is the base of our economy and indeed mining. There was a debate of recent that was touching on mining. Those two sectors of the economy can drive our economy forward. I think Government is trying its level best to address those issues. If we do, then we will see that we are in the right direction towards curing the problems in our economy but sometimes what happens is that we do not do these things in time.
I would like to revert to the aspect of agriculture. There are plans that have been put in place. This month is August, sometimes you will see that it has been happening before that we end up equipping the farmers, giving inputs to the farmers in November. The season is moving backwards or forwards, we need to cause farmers to prepare and it is true that if we promote agriculture in this country, we are going to export even our maize and other products that are not necessarily tobacco. So the issue basically is that we need to promote agriculture, mining and out of that we will achieve our objective.
I have certain observations Mr. Speaker Sir, that I would like to highlight. The issue of indigenisation has been articulated and I think the discourse is towards what the President said. The Indigenisation Policy has been clarified by the President but we need consistency of ministries coming together so that they speak the same language. In that view, I was of the opinion that we need to come up with a think tank in this country; a think tank that is going to help ministries to converge on issues of strategic importance because sometimes you realise Ministers are doing different things, there is no coordination. I do not know, maybe it is because they have limited time in Cabinet to come together and raise issues for purposes of coordination. We need a think tank in this country. Countries like Russia are able to overcome problems because of that coordination strategy. So, I am just praying that as we march towards trying to solve these problems, let us consider coming up with a think tank for the country.
I would then want to talk about the very contentious issue that Government is talking about everyday but there is hesitation in taking action. The reduction of the civil service – [HON. D. SIBANDA: And the ghost workers!] – Mr. Speaker Sir, we have identified that our economy is very small and because of the other developments due to technology, part of the work that was being done by our workers is now being done by technology. You will realise that there are workers who are in the offices and doing nothing but working on numbers. We are saying, let us then work on that and find out which workers should be given packages so that they leave the civil service and we remain with a small workforce that is better remunerated, a unit that is motivated. If we do not do that, we will keep on with these numbers and our Minister of Finance and Economic Development will continue complaining that he is addressing the remuneration aspect of our workers. Let us work on a grand plan. In that direction, we are going to say, how do we reduce the numbers and let us do it with speed because we want changes to happen during our life time.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I then want to talk about the bond notes. For now, it is good that we have bond notes because what I know is that money is a medium of exchange and nothing else. If I get my money as a domestic person here, I go to the shops, buy my things, send my children to school – that is fine for now. But in the long term, even if we want to introduce the Rand, it will be even be in the short term. In the long term, we need to have our own currency because we need to use the monetary policy to manage economic activities in our country. If we use currencies of other countries, we have to dance to the tune of those countries. Even if we get the Rand, if South Africa is going to go into a depression, we are also going into a depression because they are the people who are actually manufacturing the paper money. If we happen to have our own currency, we are going to regulate the monetary aspect of it, demand and supply for money. If we realise that the money is too short, we or cause have to do it in tandem with production levels in our industry and commerce. We have to assess how our economy is performing, then we regulate using our own currency.
Mr. Speaker Sir, those are some of the issues that I thought I need to put across. The other issues have been raised by Hon. Mandipaka because he was sitting here and we were discussing issues and I need not to repeat them. But I would like to thank Hon. Dr. Mashakada for introducing such thinking in this House. Some of us need to go and research so that even next time this motion is given time for deliberation so that at least those who do not have the opportunity of coming to this House are also going to listen to what Hon. Members have been talking about. I thank you.
HON. RUNGANI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. D. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 27th July, 2016.
On the motion of HON. RUNGANI, seconded by HON. D.
SIBANDA, the House adjourned at Twenty-six Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.