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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 28 SEPTEMBER 2017 44-07
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 28th September, 2017
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m
(THE ACTING SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE ACTING SPEAKER
INVITATION TO THE LIAISON AND COORDINATION
THE ACTING SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): I have
to inform the House that all Chairpersons of Committees are invited to the Liaison and Coordination Committee retreat (LCC) to be held at Holiday Inn in Bulawayo from 6th to 9th October, 2017. Travel arrangements will be communicated in due course.
PETITION RECEIVED FROM THE INSTITUTE FOR
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ZIMBABWE
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I have to advise the House that on the 20th of September 2017, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from the Institute for Community Development Zimbabwe (ICODZim) beseeching Parliament to exercise its oversight function and protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of persons with disabilities to participate fully in the electoral process.
The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
CASH SHORTAGES AND BANK CHARGES
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, last
Wednesday during the Question and Answer Session, I was subjected to a barrage of questions pertaining to street vending of currency, cash shortages and bank charges. I then promised the august House to give a
Ministerial Statement and I am now taking the opportunity to do so now.
Let me, in the first instance, just recall the issues which were raised and these were as follows:
Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Mapiki wanted firstly to know Government policy regarding agents who are charging 35% on Ecocash withdrawals. Secondly, he wanted to know what Government is going to do with regards to people who are selling cash at 35% premium through bank transfers. As a supplementary question, he asked if there is a policy which outlaws these money laundering practices. He also wondered whether we have mandatory prison terms for these people involved in money laundering practices – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Members. It is you Hon. Members who pleaded with the Minister that you wanted him to give a Ministerial Statement but now he is addressing the House and you are busy talking. That is not fair.
HON. CHINAMASA: Hon. Mapiki also wondered whether we
have mandatory prison terms for these people involved in money laundering.
Hon. Chibaya asked why there are lots of queues of people wanting to withdraw money at banks and yet if you go to Road Port, people have trunks full of money and yet they are never arrested or questioned. He also asked how they manage to accumulate such funds when banks have nothing to give to depositors who want to make withdrawals.
Further, Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Munengami asked me to include in my Ministerial Statement the issue about usage of the bond notes and their exchange rate to the United States Dollar (1:1). Thirdly, he also wanted me to touch on the issue relating to the $200 million facility from Afrexim Bank and the envisaged further US$300 million facility. Fourthly, the issue of the appointment of an independent body to oversee the issuance f the bond notes. Lastly, he made the remark that bond notes had failed.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Zindi wanted to know the justification of charges of $30.00 on each Point of Sale machine (POS) in all businesses that are using the swipe system in terms of payments. She asked the justification for that $30 per month being charged by banks to all retailers who are using those POS machines and if such charges are not exploitation? As a supplementary question, Hon. Zindi asked if the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, in conjunction with the Reserve Bank, gives guidance to commercial banks in terms of how much charges they should charge in transactions with their clients.
Hon. Holder alluded to prices of commodities that are going up at a very high rate and asked what policy Government has put in place to control inflation. Hon. Mliswa acknowledged the shortage of foreign currency in the country and that any foreign currency which is to leave the country has got to be prioritised.
With your indulgence, Mr. Speaker Sir, I will proceed and give the Ministerial Statement to address the above issues raised and other related issues.
A.Causes of Cash Shortages
Mr. Speaker Sir, shortages of cash reflect the imbalance/mismatch of US dollars in bank accounts and physical cash in the economy. Physical is comprised of US dollars, bond notes and other currencies in circulation in the country.
This cash shortage reflects the negative perennial trade imbalance wherein our imports are more than exports by exports around US$3 billion on a yearly basis. So, we need to target our policies to reduce our trade balance.
The shortage of cash also reflects the poor circulation of money in the economy due to lack of confidence, discipline as well as rent seeking behaviour among our people.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is one billion of physical cash in circulation made up of 180 million dollars in bond notes, 28 million dollars in bond coins and US800 million. We consider this one billion to be sufficient if it was circulating efficiently. The $1 billion translates to around 15% of deposits which is international best practice in normal economies.
- Measures being taken to resolve the Low Circulation of
- The Reserve Bank has been involved in a sustained promotion of the use of plastic, mobile and other electronic means of payments. To this end, I am encouraged to report that more than 75% of retail transactions are now conducted through the use of non-cash payment streams, which include point of sale (POS), mobile money and RTGs. Mobile money includes Ecocash, Telecash, One Wallet and others.
- I am appending to this Ministerial Statement, tables which show in volumes and value, electronic transfers by category between the years 2009 and 2017. Just to take one example - in 2009 RTGs transfers were 688,288 whereas in 2017 these are 5,351,491. Total electronic transfers moved from 1,665,010 in 2009 to 744,262,931 in 2017. In value terms RTGs transactions were $6.8b in 2009 and have jumped to
$56.3b in 2017. Total value of electronic transactions moved from
$6.8774b in 2009 to $80.0026b in 2017.
Payment Statistics (volume)
Payment Statistics (value $)
|TOTAL||6,877.4 m||42,640.8 m||56,850.3 m||61,734.2 m||80,002.6 m|
- Speaker Sir, in order to deal with the scourge of people buying and selling cash on the streets, Government has today gazetted Exchange Control (Amendment) Regulations enacted by His Excellency the President, in terms of Section 2 of the Exchange Control Act. These Regulations will empower the police to arrest anyone trading in currency without a licence; as such itis an offence. Further, it will allow the police to seize the cash found on a possessor of currency suspected of dealing in currency. This seized currency will be deposited at the Central Bank pending prosecution so that the cash will be held as an exhibit. The regulations also provide for freezing of funds of a corresponding value in a financial institution where such proceeds are the subject of a suspected case of dealing in currency. The penalties for the offence of trading in currency are contained in the Exchange Control Act and empower the Court to impose a fine not exceeding the value of the currency and a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years. In addition to the penalty the Court can impose a fine of three times the value of the currency.
- Additionally, the Reserve Bank is also enforcing the regulations promulgated under the Bank Use Promotion Act, which require all traders to bank their surplus cash. The Regulations require traders to accept all modes of payment modalities and prohibits multiple pricing which has become rampant within the economy.
- Speaker Sir, we are also working on the amendment to the Bank Use Promotion Act to strengthen its powers and these amendments whose Principles were approved by Cabinet shall be presented to this august House in the next few weeks. My plea is that when these amendments are tabled, Hon. Members will give them expeditious passage.
- Government is providing an export Incentive Scheme to enahance export competitiveness designed to reduce the trade imbalance.
C. Bank Charges
- With respect to bank charges Mr. Speaker Sir, the Reserve Bank has put in place levels of charges which both merchants and banks should charge for POS transactions. I have again appended a Table reflecting the Reserve Bank guidelines on these charges.
|Service||New charges inclusive of $0.05tax for Transactions up to $500|
|ZETSS (RTGS)||Maximum $5|
|ZIPIT(Electronic Funds Transfer)||$0.33 to a maximum of $2.10|
|POS transactions up to $10||$0.10|
|POS transactions up above $10||$0.42|
|POS own bank customer||Maximum of $0.20|
|Cash withdrawal||1.25% Of the amount over the counter (OTC)|
|ATM Card withdrawal||1% of the amount|
|Merchant Service Commission||$0.00 to a maximum 1% for local transactions|
|Monthly administration or service fee||$0.00 to a maximum $5 for individuals|
- I am also appending a Table reflecting RBZ guidelines on
Mobile Financial Services Tariff Benchmarks.
Approved Mobile Financial Services Tariff Benchmarks
|Service||New charges inclusive of $0.05 tax for Transactions up to $500|
|Send money to registered customers (person to person)||$0.00 to a Maximum of $3,00|
|Send Money to Unregistered customers (Person to Person)||Should be less than or equal to sum of send money and cash out for registered customers|
|Bill and Merchant Payment||$0.00 to a Maximum of $1.50|
|Bank to Wallet||1% of the amount|
|Wallet to Bank||$0.43 (Ecocash charge)|
- Speaker Sir, the allegations of banks and merchants overcharging has been brought to our attention and we continue monitoring to ensure compliance. It is important to highlight that the POS machines are owned by banks and their prices range from US$100 to US$300. The RBZ is prioritising the importation of POS machines. From the statistics, we note that there has been a 189% increase in the number of POS machines from 16.363 in 2015 to 47,362 by end July 2017. We are still going to increase and import POS machines so that there is no excuse for not using them. Members of the Public should report to the RBZ excessive charges levied by Banks on POS machines.
D. High Ecocash Charges
- Mr. Speaker Sir, as highlighted above, agreed charges are shown in the Table which is appended to this Ministerial Statement. Extra charges being levied by merchants and agents over and above the agreed levels are illegal and the public being abused by these agents should report to Econet and the RBZ.
E. Multiple Pricing
- Mr. Speaker Sir, as alluded to above, the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act [Chapter 24:24] is being amended in line with Cabinet approval to deal decisively with the issue of multiple pricing. The Bill shall be presented to this august
House in the coming few weeks. But it has to be recognised that generation of foreign currency is very key to the resolution of our economic challenges.
F. Selling of Money on the Streets
- Speaker Sir, the selling of money on the streets is not legal and it reduces the circulation of money in the formal sectors of the economy. Selling of money at a profit without a licence is illegal. It is against this background that a Statutory Instrument under the Exchange Control Act has been gazetted to avoid the dealing in cash by unlicenced dealers and traders and to clarify the law on the matter.
- Relating to the pictures and videos of wads of bond notes which have been circulating on social media, investigations are being carried out to establish the sources of the new bond notes in the street. My Ministry and the RBZ do not participate in buying currency from the streets. You may be aware Hon. Members of Parliament that Mrs. Tariro Nyazema of Stanbic was caught red-handed, two or so months back with US$30 000 that she had exchanged for bond notes at one of the bank’s branches. It is therefore our suspicion that this malpractice could be what is happening at other banks working in cahoots with unscrupulous traders and retailers. All of us should also be policemen and women. If we come across these practices, please report to the Police, Reserve Bank and the banks.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is for this reason that the RBZ is investigating all banks to root out this malpractice. The RBZ is also closing the net on the culprits captured in the video clips doing the rounds on social media, in the same way that they managed to cause the arrest of Tinashe Sikwila – the driver who was circulating the bond coin invoice from the South African Mint.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Reserve Bank is also in the process to ensure artisanal gold miners who are paid in U.S dollar cash and bond notes ($5 million weekly) for their export incentive are not abusing the cash they are being paid by Fidelity Printers and Refiners and by banks. ZB bank is an agent for Fidelity Printers and Refiners and it receives delivery of gold at most of its branches and pays artisanal miners in cash, a demand which has also come from this august House that we should try to ease the load of artisanal miners. I am pleased to advise Hon. Members that small scale gold producers delivered 1.5 tonnes to Fidelity Printers and Refiners in August 2017, which is the highest monthly delivery by this sector since independence. With large scale producers, total gold delivery to Fidelity Printers and Refiners in August was 2.5 tonnes.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as I have already stated, Government has introduced measures through the Exchange Control [Amendment]
Regulations, 2017 enacted by His Excellency the President in terms of Section 2 of the Exchange Control Act [Chapter 22:05]. These measures will provide for the following:
- Trading in currency without a licence is an offence;
- The regulations make it clear that anyone who deals in currency as a commodity either at a premium or at a discount commits an offence;
- The regulations further provide for the seizure of cash found on a possessor of currency suspected of dealing in currency. This
seized currency will be deposited under the control of the RBZ pending prosecution so that the cash will be held as an exhibit;
- The regulations also provide for freezing of funds in a bank account of a corresponding value in a financial institution where such proceeds are the subject of a suspected case of dealing in currency.
I have already outlined the penalties Mr. Speaker Sir.
G. Export Incentive: Afrexim Bank Facility of $200m
Mr. Speaker Sir, with $180 million in bond notes already issued towards the export scheme, the $200 million facility is about to be exhausted and the Reserve Bank is negotiating a further export incentive to the tune of $300 million in order to continue boosting exports which have responded and grown by 12% to $2,334 billion as at 8 September compared to $2,086 billion for the comparable period last year.
H. Independent Currency Board
The introduction of an Independent Currency Board to oversee issuance of bond notes was abandoned. It was realised that there were sufficient mechanisms in place to carry out this function, namely an
Audit Committee of the Reserve Bank Board chaired by the Vice
Chairman who is an independent member of the board.
I. Bond Notes
Mr. Speaker Sir, as to the allegation that bond notes have failed, I categorically state that this is not the case. Their issuance has helped boost production and exports besides providing a medium of exchange which cannot be externalised. The problem is basically low circulation of currency through lack of discipline and confidence. What is gravely required at this juncture is to enhance export productive capacity so as to increase exports.
A question was asked about what measures we are taking to manage inflation. Barring the incident which took place on Saturday 23rd September, 2017 where falsehoods were peddled through social media and triggered panic buying and a hike in prices of basic commodities, inflation as at end of August, 2017 stood at 0,14% the lowest in the SADC region. The SADC benchmark for inflation is between 3% and 7%. From recent developments, it was evident that the economy has come out of deflation or negative inflation (which is a good thing). We were not in a good position to remain in a state of deflation. We have come out of it and we now have to worry about managing inflation. All our efforts and policies will be intended to manage inflation. It is very clear Mr. Speaker Sir, that the economy is now on a recovery path and is inducing demand in the market. As we go forward, efforts will be made to manage this trend so that inflation is contained to manageable levels. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Thank you very much Hon. Minister
of Finance for the Statement. My first clarification is to do with the fact that you have not addressed what measures Government is going to take to deal with the prices that have already been increased. If you look at the price levels, especially the prices of basic commodities in the shops, they have sky rocketed by 35% to 40%. What are you going to do to make sure that those prices return to their previous levels before the sudden spike? Also, the same applies to fuel supplies. The fuel stations are still very dry. What measures have you put in place to make sure that we are going to have adequate fuel supplies?
Having raised those issues, I wish also to say that the parallel market is a symptom of a problem. It is not the cause of a problem; it is a symptom of a deeper structural problem in the economy. This structural problem is simply the fact that the demand for cash or money balances is exceeding supply. Unless and until we deal with that structural problem, yes putting legislation and fighting crime is well and good but the fundamental problem still has to be tackled. In an economy where you have dollarised or you have chosen to use multi-currency system which is primarily anchored by the US dollar, the best approach is to make sure that the supply of US dollars is increased. We have to address supply chain or route of the US dollars and in our case there are about five methods by which the US dollar can be supplied.
The major thing is export or export promotion. When the bond notes were introduced, we were told that a 5% export incentive was going to generate US$6bn at the end of the stream, that is what we were told. The estimation was that by December this year - I am in the Budget and Finance Committee and that is what we were told by the Governor. Hon. Mukwangwariwa here can attest to that. We need to make sure that our exports are supported and boosted.
The second thing is that we have to revisit the issue of investment. It is very key. We might ignore that fact but investment is very key. If you look at the sub-Saharan African countries which are registering investment levels of US$3bn to US$5bn and we are only at half a billion. we need to address that angle of investment promotion. That is where there is need for policy consistency and policy clarity with regards to indigenisation and it is very important. We have to be clear on this policy so that it does not act as an elephant in the living room when it comes to investment.
The other source of foreign currency is of course the diaspora. Diaspora remittance, I believe are now clocking US$1bn annually. We must continue to structure investment vehicles for the diasporans so that they can find it attractive and easier to remit their currencies into the country.
The fourth source is of course the money which comes through NGOs, Embassies and so on and so forth which again is almost approaching a US$1 billion every year. These are measures which you can continue to explore to increase the supply of the US$ which dominates the multiple currency.
I am not too sure whether the introduction of the bond notes has made any impact because if it has not triggered the necessary US dollar supply through the incentive scheme, if it has not done so, what has it managed to assist us with? If it is not available in the banks for withdrawal, what purpose has it been serving? I just want you to clarify to us the purpose of the bond, what really it is serving because everybody is complaining despite the much sought after relief from the bond note.
The last point is that, yes laws are important but let us deal with the market first because the market is rebellious. You can have laws like we did with the Pricing and Competition Commission during those years. Clampdown, yes we can but the market will determine the fundamentals and levels of the US dollar. So, what the market has told you is that the US dollar is not 1:1 with the bond. That is the message that the market has demonstrated. This is why if I want to pay my foreign payments, the bank will ask me to supply them with foreign currency. It is a statement that this parity is fallacious. It does not exist. I hope we can begin to address the proper value and exchange rate of the US dollar rather than pretend that it is still 1:1 with the bond. I thank you.
HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. Just
one clarification from the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, whilst we appreciate your temporary efforts to make sure that there is sanity in the economy, I want to find out whether Government or this nation is contemplating introducing its own currency. If so, how soon?
HON. MUDEREDZWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving
me the opportunity to ask the Minister. I would like to thank the Minister for his efforts but I would like to find out further, the Minister has alluded to the fact that the bulk of the money or the currency that is in circulation is in US dollar formation. What is Government doing differently to ensure that we reduce or minimise leakages because this US dollar is fluid. It is getting out at every stage, how are we going to ensure that the money that you put in circulation remains circulating or going to the bank and back to the people?
HON. DR. KHUPE: First of all, I would like to thank the Minister for responding to the call by this House for him to bring a Ministerial Statement on issues which are of concern to many people. I would like to begin by saying that I think we are scratching where it is not itching because what is required in this country is new money. New money can only come from production. What is happening right now as we speak, a lot of money is leaving this country going to other countries. We are a supermarket of other countries. Money is going out there and there is no money which is coming into this country. What we require is production. We want the manufacturing sector to start operating at 100% of its normal productive capacity and start producing so that we are able to export and bring in new money.
We want the agricultural sector to also operate at 100% of its normal productive capacity so that we generate foreign currency – we export and bring money into the country. We want the mining industry to also start operating, mine, value add, export and bring in new money. We must move away from being primary producers to secondary producers because this is what is killing us as a country.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker Sir, corruption is a cancer which has destroyed this country. Corruption is sending the majority of our citizens to the deep end of poverty. It has destroyed the social fabric of our societies. Anti corruption efforts in this country are governed by eight laws but I have not seen a single person who has been arrested under those eight laws. We have every tool and arsenal to arrest people who are corrupt but we are not doing it. Corruption must be stopped by all means necessary.
What this country requires and the Minister raised that issue, is confidence building. I am appealing to all Zimbabweans and the Government that we have a free, fair and credible election; an election which is not going to be disputed. Once an election is not going to be disputed, you are going to gain confidence as a country. Investors will come in their thousands, bring in new money and we will start producing, and this country will have new money. I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, order please. I have already recognised Hon. Mliswa. Order Hon. Members.
HON. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me first of all thank the Minister for the Ministerial Statement that he brought to us when things are a bit skewed right now from an economic point of view. I applaud the Minister that despite the challenges that the country faces, you are prepared to discharge your duties professionally. I must really say that from the bottom of my heart. You are really trying and in trying, you must also be working with others.
First of all, I have just come from the Heroes Acre. What the Minister said is in total contradiction of what the President said. The President was very clear in that...
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members to my left. Ah,
Hon. Chamisa, the third highest authority in the MDC.
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Sorry Mr. Speaker, we are arranging the
THE ACTING SPEAKER: No please.
HON. MLISWA: The Head of State who is the Commander in
Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces was very clear in that the problem with the economy is within his party and Government where there are saboteurs. He labeled this to people within the Government and within the party whom he said are saboteurs. So, to me he is not talking about this. He is talking about saboteurs within his team. This is where the problem of the economy is. Categorically, he was very clear about it and even warned that they will soon be flushed out. So, I am looking forward to them being flushed out and then we will see a proper economy because that is where the problem is.
The other issue is fiscal indiscipline. 95% of the fiscus is going to salaries and if I am not mistaken, over 90% is going towards salaries. There is no way any economy would take off 95% going to salaries. It is impossible. This is a figures’ game where you do not even argue. So, how do you justify that the economy is on a rebound when 95% is going towards salaries. The Minster has tried to cut down the Government civil servants as per IMF recommendations. The IMF is quite critical in the revival of the economy. If you play ball with them, they are able to open doors. They have closed the doors and in closing the doors, there are certain conditions which they have set.
One of the issues the Minister was supposed to deal with was to cut down on the civil servants to about 50%. That has not been done. I would want to find out from the Minister how far he has gone in cutting down on the civil servants to 50%? What we have is a situation where the Minister with due respect, is working hard to try and cut down on the civil servants and there comes an interface rally where 2 000 youth who are fired are reinstated. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- How honestly can this be?
The Minister is trying and he has no choice. He has to listen to the Head of State. He has to rehire the 2 000 people who have been fired because the Minister saw it fit that they were not beneficial to the economy. This is just excess baggage and we must get rid of it. That excess baggage is eating back into the economy. How surely can the economy take off with such indiscipline? I do not even know how many more will be reinstated with these two remaining interfaces. I wait to see.
So, already the money that is supposed to go to the intended Ministries and get the economy going, we are now back again. So, three steps forward and ten steps backwards. I do not know how the Minister will respond to that but I would want him to respond to that. Also on the aspect of exports, the Minister is right in saying that the export must be up there. I would like to know how much because you spend what you have. How much are we exporting and from what we are exporting, then we are able to spend.
If the amount of money we have to export is more than we are spending, this is figures and it means we are going nowhere. It is pretty clear. There has got to be the aspect of production that has got to be consistent with what we are exporting and so forth. I would like to know how much we are exporting and how that money is being ploughed back into the economy for production. I go back to the fiscal discipline of saying in terms of priority with the shortage of foreign currency, what is it on the priority list which is critical to the resuscitation of the
Is it Rolls-Royce, luxury goods, Ministers going out for trips or is it Executives going outside for health care when our own PSMS in this country is owed $180 million. In talking to them they said if we get a third of that, we will have the state of the art hospitals and the best doctors. No one needs to go anywhere for seeking treatment with us giving them a third of that. We have not done that but that money is diverted to other countries where there are doctors.
A good example is that a friend of mine had his mother who needed surgery in the U.K. In needing surgery in the U.K., they said we are waiting for a doctor. Mr. Speaker Sir, two days they were waiting for the doctor and this was a Zimbabwean doctor who had come to do surgery in the U.K. So, this is how sad it is. All they were saying is that we are waiting for a doctor and the doctor came from Zimbabwe. I am saying we have the human resource capital to have state of the art hospitals and people treated especially from the security aspect.
Our country and our leaders are security conscious and I do not know why they trust outside doctors and not the doctors within. There is more security here and it is better. You have that situation as well in terms of us having a better life. I also want to talk about the aspect of indigenisation, the inconsistency of FDI. How much FDI has come in?
Hon. Khupe just said that there is got to be confidence in the economy.
Confidence comes about when there is consistency in the policy by the Government. You have Ministers issuing conflicting statements.
The Minister is trying very hard to do what he is supposed to do. It takes the President to now intervene but damage would have been created already and no one wants to bring in the money. So, there is policy inconsistency. The indigenisation structure has got to be revisited. Whether we like or not, it is good to empower people but not where our people suffer. In fact, that empowerment has ended up empowering individuals it is not broad-based. The empowerment initiative has not been broad-based but it has empowered individuals. In empowering individuals, is it what it was intended for? I thought it was broad-based and not individually based, but it has gone individually. So, we do not need some policies which will stifle proper investment into the country.
We now go to the TBs. This is where it is. TBs are printed and how much have been printed, and against what? This is critical. You cannot keep on printing TBs yet there is nothing that is coming in. This is where things have gone peer shaped. These printed TBs, where has the money gone to? If it has gone to production, there has got to be accountability where the TB money printed has gone to. There has got to be accountability and the Minister must tell us a figure. If it is a billion, where has it gone? This much has gone to command agriculture which has been successful and this much has gone to other sectors of the economy. We need to know that. So, the TBs are important in us and then we also want to know the overdraft the Government has with RBZ, how much is it? We cannot just borrow and not ask how much the overdraft is. There is no way you can have an account with a bank and just go and borrow when you do not know how much your overdraft is, where it is standing so that the figures that he is telling us are able to match what we owe. There is no point Hon. Members of Parliament of being told what you owe and what you must pay back when you do not have a figure. It is impossible.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mliswa. Earlier on I said anyone who needs clarification from the Minister would seek it from the Minister. Let us avoid debates, rather ask the Minister for clarification where you did not get it clearly.
HON. MLISWA: My point of clarification was on how much we owe in the overdraft. Thank you very much. I also want to ask Hon.
Minister in terms of the domestic resource mobilisation. As Members of Parliament, we went and had workshops in terms of domestic resource mobilisation, how far have we gone in that? It is important for us because it is a presentation that he gave which he assured that it will also help in getting the economy going – [HON. NDEBELE: Inaudible interjection.] – I also want to…
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Ndebele, you did not leave your seat to go there and make noise, you were shouting there, I could hear you from this end, be respectable.
HON. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker, Command Agriculture has been a success because there is no more importation of grain, but how has it aided the manufacturing, there has got to be a spin-off. Whilst we have saved money in importing grain, I have not seen industry taking off. To me, from a manufacturing point of view, we now have to see activity because we are saving money on the importation of maize, that money must be found being used in other sectors of the economy like manufacturing. I would like to find out from the Minister from a current point of view, the fact that command agriculture has been successful, where do they intend to put the money that was saved to import maize, which industry is going to benefit?
Lastly, I equally want to say to the Minister, with all due respect, you can only spent what you have and there is the aspect of corruption. I do not know how your Ministry is working with other stakeholders to curb corruption. The high level of corruption has gone to unprecedented levels, I do not see us doing anything about it, it is as good as us just saying we have failed and those who are more corrupt are becoming more powerful by having the money that they have. They have manipulated the system; they cannot be arrested and so on. It is now a cancerous situation which I must admit is beyond repair. Even the
President comes to Parliament all the time and addresses zero-tolerance on corruption but no one has ever been arrested. It has become a talk show, which I believe the show must be closed now. There is no point in barking like dogs.
People are tired, even people from outside cannot come and invest in a country where no one has never been arrested for corruption yet it is just at a higher level. The big boys are enjoying, they do not care, they control the system, and they have money and so on. It is pretty sad that the aspect of corruption has not been dealt with. For as long as it is not dealt with, no one will put in money in an economy where people who are corrupt are not being arrested. The Minister must try and clarify this on how his Ministry has worked with other Ministries to curb down on corruption if ever he is going to. Thank you.
HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker Sir. I am very grateful to the Hon. Members for their contributions, all of which are valid. The only difference we have is that some of us think that these problems can be solved over night. I look at it as a process and it is a long process and we have to remain steadfast in pursuing the solutions to problems that have gone for a long time without being attended to.
So, we all recognise the problems and in fact, we agree on the solutions. What remains now is to implement those solutions in a steadfast manner, with diligence and without any deviation. However, it is a process and not an event. I think this is where I differ with Hon. Mashakada who thinks that it can be done overnight; it is a process. I have already mentioned in my statement, that already, through the issuance of bond notes, we have been able to generate 12% more exports this year. That is a fact; the Reserve Bank has all the acquittals. All the economic indicators do not justify what happened on Saturday. Gold production is up, in fact, there is now a record produced by artisanal miners. Platinum production is up, ferrochrome is up and I will tell you where the problem is.
Mr. Speaker Sir, coal production, through capitalizing Hwange
Colliery, we have been able to move coal production from a low of 30
000 per month to over 300 000 a month in August. Those who come from Hwange can see what is happening there. We have taken steps to reorganise the diamond sector and it is beginning to look up. We get weekly reports on diamond production, all the diamonds are under the control of the Reserve Bank and being treated in the same manner we treat gold. All those things cannot happen overnight, it is a process.
In the diamond sector, we capitalise ZCDC US$80 million to put right their systems and also to import machinery appropriate for conglomerate mining. That machinery is arriving and we expect that in October, conglomerate mining can begin. By the end of the year, we are confident Mr. Speaker Sir, that we would have exceeded last year’s diamond production this year.
However, let me come to the issues that Hon. Mashakada raised. The issues on what to do on prices which were hiked, it is a matter that is going to be the responsibility of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. They have started undertaking a survey, to determine two things, is there a shortage of any of the essential commodities in the market. We do not think there is but that should be highlighted.
Secondly, to determine the price increases and the justification for increasing those prices. Only when we have scientific data can we justify taking any measures.
What I want to say Mr. Speaker Sir, this happened in a discussion in Cabinet yesterday, I told Cabinet that I am opposed to the reintroduction of price controls – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – they will worsen and exacerbate the situation. We must handle it in a market-friendly way and I think it can be done. The problems that we know are fiscal deficit and this is not a matter that should be a responsibility of a Minister of Finance and Economic Development alone, it is our collective responsibility, here at Parliament.
However, what assistance, what cooperation do I get, none? It cannot be resolved by the Minister of Finance alone, it has to be a collective responsibility. We have said it out here, we are spending 90% of revenue on wages, we have nothing on operations, PSIP infrastructure, and we have nothing. How do we hope to get out of our current situation? Those are the problems and these also trigger some of the instability in the market. People are receiving those high wages. They expect to be paid in cash but we cannot match those amounts in physical cash. They think that because we have put $300 million as a wage payment in their accounts that should translate to $300 million cash every month. It is not possible. So, until we realise that; which is why we are encouraging the usage of electronic money.
On fuel supplies, there are adequate fuel supplies. There is in stock
200 million litres of fuel in the country – [HON. MEMBERS: Where?]
– Yes, we have. At the moment, every week the consumption is about
30 – 35 million litres. After the panic buying emptied the storage tanks, we have put 40 million additional litres into the market for this week. It is now just a question of logistics to deliver it to the service stations.
There is no shortage and I want to underline that.
I agree with Hon. Mashakada that the parallel market is just a symptom of a problem but he puts it wrongly that the demand for cash is exceeding supply. If all the bank depositors and there are about seven billion bank deposits, if you all went out to look for physical cash, there is no physical cash and there is no economy that operates that way. The international best practice is about 10 – 15% of bank deposits that can be cash in circulation. In our case, it is about a billion which is about 16% of bank deposits. That is sufficient. What we have to address is the issue of low circulation of money due to hoarding and this can also be done in our individual capacities.
Hon. Mashakada is also right that in a dollarised economy, the key issue is the availability of foreign currency. So, for as long as foreign currency is not adequate to meet the basic needs, we should expect some de-stabilisation but I regard that Mr. Speaker Sir as a teething problem which we are going through and which can be resolved. One of the issues that has arisen Mr. Speaker Sir, some of our successes are the causes of our temporary problem.
For instance, we put S1 64 to protect local industries. They have been expanding production but to expand production to meet domestic demand they need foreign currency. So, the foreign currency which we have seen being generated, there is now more demand for foreign currency than there was yesterday. For me, it is a problem which is part of growing and we can handle it as we go along giving priority to those issues which we think must be given priority to.
An issue was raised about what priorities we are – the RBZ put out a circular which sets out the priorities that will be given to foreign currency and these are importation of raw materials, health and education materials, fuel, payment of dividends and repatriation of any capital where companies have been closed. We are giving priority to those because we feel those are essential to run this economy. I agree entirely with the list that he gave as sources of our foreign currency.
On exports, like I said, horticulture, gold, tobacco and platinum exports are up. What we have also done in addition is that we have said any foreign exchange receipt from the export of tobacco, gold, chrome, platinum and diamonds are a preserve of the RBZ. This will ensure of course in the first instance, that those who are generating that foreign currency are taken care of and then we will go to meet the needs of the priority items which are on the priority list.
The issue about investment climate - I agree with you and also on the issue of indigenisation which remains in terms of aligning the clarification by His Excellency to the law, remains unattended and continues to be an embarrassment to us but these are issues that we will address more forcefully now than before. I do not agree that bond notes are a problem. The problem is that there is lack of production. We have to increase production and exports. That is the only source of our solution in this country. As we grow the economy, the economy will need more and more foreign currency to import capital goods and raw materials, and we must have that foreign currency available.
Hon. Mandipaka, are there any intentions to introduce a local currency? Not now, we are not ready because we have not yet dealt with issues of confidence – [HON. MUDZURI: When will that happen?] – To get to that position, we must learn first to address the fiscal deficit. We must aim to address the trade imbalance which I must also say Mr. Speaker Sir, is narrowing. We must also address the issue of the current account deficit attracting more foreign currency or foreign direct investment. We must address the issue of a reserve or import cover for at least six months. Currently, it stands at 0,7% cover which is not enough. So, we have to address these issues in order to move forward.
Hon. Muderedzwa, what can we do to minimise leakages? We are doing everything within our power to minimise leakages and this is coming through revenue collection. We are strengthening the security in ZIMRA, passage of cargo transiting our country. We have introduced a cargo tracking system and CCTV systems at border posts. All these are intended to reduce and minimise revenue leakages but I must give this to ZIMRA. Notwithstanding these challenges, since the beginning of the year, because of the efficiency measures that have been introduced ZIMRA has been achieving above target revenue collections. So, the problem is not on the revenue collection but is on fixing or minimising expenditure. That is where the problem is. It is like they are raising more revenue but where is it going - to wages and more wages – [HON.
ENG. MUDZURI: Because the culprit is Government.] – That is where we need to sort out the problem.
Hon. Khupe, thank you very much and I agree with you. Essentially, you make the point that we are scratching where it is not itching. It is not quite so because we are not scratching anybody – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – We are basically dealing with the fundamental issues. She mentioned production; the export incentive scheme is intended to increase production and in fairness to all of us, there is a bumper harvest in agriculture. That is production and because of agriculture being the anchor of the economy and its linkage to other sectors of the economy, we expect that in future this will go a long way in resuscitating, not just the manufacturing industry but the transport sector as well. I think all of you became aware of the transport sector’s involvement in transporting cotton and maize to markets. That is what we should encourage and those figures are very clear that the economy is growing. I agree with her on issues of corruption.
Hon. Mliswa, thank you very much, I agree again with you that what we need is fiscal discipline but it should be a collective effort and not the responsibility of one person. On the issue of the wage bill, let me repeat, we are taking measures to rationalize the Civil Service in order to achieve savings. But we cannot, by nature of its problem – it is not a mechanical exercise. We have to approach it through two strategies. One is to rationalize to achieve efficiencies and the other is basically to grow the cake. If at present for example, our revenue is $100 and $90 is going towards wages, if we increase our revenue to $1000, $90 as a percentage of $1000 will be manageable. That is the approach that personally, I much prefer.
I have already indicated Mr. Speaker Sir, with respect to prioritisation of our foreign currency and I agree with him that empowerment under the indigenisation law should not be empowerment of individuals but of communities. We should have a broad based empowerment and if one looks at the clarification on the indigenisation policy given by His Excellency …
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the Minister for the sterling effort in responding to the questions. But just a clarification – in most of the points, he is saying he is in agreement with Hon. Members, which is okay but we are not expecting you to just be in agreement. We are expecting to hear what you are doing about the agreement. That is the difference. We appreciate you are in agreement but beyond an agreement, what are you doing? We want to hear, if you agree with us that corruption is a problem, this is what Government is doing - one, two, three. Then we go back home and say these are the answers from the Minister. As it is, you are just in agreement and we are now a choir. We do not want to be a choir that is just singing together a chorus that is to no end. We need edification and answers. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Vice President of the MDC was late. I gave my Ministerial Statement and outlined the measures. You were away and you want me to repeat – no. –[HON.
MEMBERS: He was here.] – No, he was not here.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon Mliswa asked about TBs. Let me give this information - as at 30th June this year there were 2.5 billion TBs. We have deployed these TB proceeds towards the following critical areas: This House approved the Reserve Bank Debt Assumption of $1.5 billion. I have used $827 million to retire part of that debt and it constitutes 33.1% of the TBs that I have issued. I have capitalized some to the State owned enterprises which I felt were critical for the revival and recovery of the economy. They include COTTCO and many others – [HON. MEMBER: Which ones?] - I do not have the names at hand but
I can give you. I have utilised $263million which constitutes 10.5%. During the year, we had to import grain and spent money on drought related expenditure. It came to $531million constituting 21.2%. When we realised that the financial sector – the commercial banks were in distress because of non-performing loans, we came to their rescue through the incorporation of ZAMCO and we took over the nonperforming loans. These came to $568 million constituting 22.7% of the TBs that are issued. To pay for the deficit between revenue and expenditure on recurrent expenditure, I have used TBs to the extent of $312 million constituting 12.25% of TBs issued. Thank you Mr.
HON. PARADZA: I just need two clarifications from the Minister with regards to the S.I he said is going to be implemented from today onwards. Does it also cater for those dealers who sell spare parts and are not accepting swipes and RTGs but only accept cash – what are you going to do about that? I am a trucker myself and if I go holding lots of money which you have just outlawed, am I not going to be in trouble because these spare parts dealers require me to pay in cash?
The other issue is with regards to the police. Who is going to police the police because we are going to deal with cash? These policemen are going to deal with dealers who deal with cash. Are you not again now promoting – if we do not have some mechanism to control this - are we not going to create another leeway for the police now to make more money than what they used to make when they were using spikes?
HON. ZIYAMBI: The clarification that I am seeking from the Minister is, when we started experiencing cash shortages, you introduced the bond notes and in fact prior to that there was no hoarding of cash because you would go into the bank, effect your telegraphic transfer and money would go. What then happened is when bond notes were introduced and banks did not have cash whether in Nostro accounts or in their accounts, they then requested individuals and companies to bring their cash to the bank to deposit and then they would do the telegraphic transfer. The genesis of that practice led to selling of cash because if I wanted to buy something outside the country, I would then be forced to go and look for cash to deposit in the bank so that the telegraphic transfer can go through and that was not addressed. So, for as long as we have a practice whereby I am requested to bring my own cash and deposit it in the bank and you unleash a Statutory Instrument on people, we are just going to have a vicious cycle. We are going to have a scenario whereby we will be chasing the people and we will be fighting our own people. This has happened before. What we need is a system that has one structure. If we have several pricing models which have been created by banks by requesting us to come with cash, we are not going to have solutions to this.
The other clarification I wanted from the Minister is, the Minister said there is a Statutory Instrument on Exchange Control that is coming in. I am aware that the Minister came here and said we have demonitised; it is now a multiple currency. When we introduce a Statutory Instrument on Exchange Control in a country where I am allowed to have three currencies in my pocket, then there is somebody unleashed on me. I may be with Hon. Chasi and he is buying my second hand phone and he gives me US dollars and I give him Rand.
Immediately I will be arrested. So, in an environment where you told us that it is a multi-currency regime, how do you go about and arrest somebody holding a US dollar, Bond note, Rand or Pula? I think we are creating a scenario where we are attacking our own people for the things that we are supposed to correct ourselves. Those people who are out there with that money, if we correct the fundamentals, they will not hoard that cash in their homes. So I think this Statutory Instrument Hon.
Minister, you need to have a look at it.
What I wanted to say before I went into my issue is, the Hon. Minister is a very sincere man, very hard working and I think he is amongst the best that there is and we appreciate the effort that he is doing. I appreciate when he speaks about the collective effort that we have to put in but I believe that some of the measures that you are talking about Hon. Minister, we need that collectiveness within the team that is up there to ensure that your efforts are also complemented by the team that is there. All of us will have a buy-in and we move in one direction. I thank you.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would want to thank the Minister and I would want to inform you that you are a lone soldier like Rambo – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - You go there, fight and win a war alone. The most important issue that we wanted to find out was on swipe machines. Out of the 200 businessmen in Shamva, only two were able to acquire point of sale machines. Do we have sufficient point of sale machines? I went to Charter Road and Kaguvi this afternoon. There is not even a single businessman with a swipe machine. Maybe, you could attach a condition that renewal of a business licence is that they should have a point of sale machine. The Chinese and Indians do not have such gadgets because they do not bank their money. Could we have an Act that clearly points out that issue? Banks have stringent conditions as regards the issuing of swipe machines to ordinary businessman. May that be looked into and relaxed.
The banks have been responsible for the black market but we would politely say these are bank workers. We should want to say that should a worker of a bank be arrested for dealings in black market, they should have their licence lost; the bank’s licence should be revoked. This afternoon, I lied to someone that I wanted to do a transaction for a thousand dollars. I asked how much bond notes I should give him. He required $1800 bond notes. When we went to a bank near Samora, which I cannot mention, he came out with US$1000. That shows that there are some issues that need to be tided up with banks. If you managed to have cargo trackers, the RBZ should be able to track its own money because the money was not loose.
We were told that the RBZ last week bought money for three days from the Roadport and we should not deny that. For starters we should accept it and once we accept it we will be able to correct the anomalies.
We can never deny that we are dirty; we should accept it.
I also wanted clarity on the issue of gold buying. We have gold markets in Shamva, Chegutu and Tsholotsho. They are buying gold using the price of the RBZ but they do not have licences and that gold is going into the black market. That is why I likened you to Rambo because the relevant Ministries are maybe concentrating on road blocks when there are such leakages. If small scale miners are bringing 47% to the banks but the money that they are having is 50% and 50% is going through leakages. We should not have dealers that are unlicenced, buying gold in these areas because the money is now going to the black market. Could you take measures to ensure that we look into that?
We now have serious problems with drugs. Countries such as Brazil and Columbia are now bringing drugs into Zimbabwe so that they can mop up our US dollars. Mozambique for instance is bringing in dagga so that they can mop up the US dollars. A lot of children that are on the streets are now drugged. If you go into the schools, the same applies. It is an area where you need to come up with measures Hon.
Minister. I thank you for the opportunity that you have granted me.
*HON. MAHOKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. First and foremost, I would want to thank the Minister for the truth that he has laid bare and some of the revelations that he made. My first question is with regards to our children who are attending schools outside the country. Are there laws within the banks that say that if I have my own money that has come from the maize harvest and I want to pay for my child’s school fees today, I am told that I should bring US dollars so that I can pay for my child’s school fees? Earlier on, you promised us that the US dollar and the Bond note are the same. Why do the banks not use my bond notes and transfer them to my child so that my child can go to school without any problems. This is because you told us that they are the same. I sell my tobacco in US dollars, I already have US dollars. Why am I failing to access US dollars? This means the banks are promoting black market. Can you please look into that issue?
There is also the issue of illness. I do not know whether our workers and yourselves are different. If I fall ill and were to go to the bank, I will get money to be treated in South Africa. My worker at a lower level has their own money. They should have a right to go and be treated outside the country just like those that have the money – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – There should be equality in the treatment of people. The law should apply equally to everyone. Furthermore, we have workers that work for us on the farms whose parents are deceased. They do not have national registration documents so that they can have their money either through Ecocash or any other form. What methods do you have for I know that you have such workers because we have the same scenario? What measures have you put in place to ensure that the bank can be sure that I can get a stipulated amount to give to those employees that do not have documents so that we have sufficient tobacco which will lead to Government harvesting a lot of foreign currency? What measures are you putting in place to address that?
The other question is about the cash on the streets, the truth of the matter is that I want to know who owns that cash. There are new notes on the streets. If there is anyone who can print this currency, can this person print more bonds for all of us so that the country can survive? If we were to go out for five minutes, we will show you where this money is Mr. Speaker with your indulgence. I am talking about clean, crispy notes and it is in several bricks. It is not money from banks. That money is coming from the Reserve Bank because it is the Reserve Bank that gives money. I thank you.
*HON. NDUNA: I just want to say this in Shona. I went into
EcoBank with a view to pay for my child’s examination fees and I was told that ten pounds was required. I was told to bring pounds. I told them that the bond notes that I have were equal to the US dollar so that they should accept it but they said they were not accepting it. The bank is situated along Nelson Mandela near the MDC headquarters. I am elated by what you have mentioned as regards the artisanal miners or small scale miners that you are giving them 5% incentive through banks like ZB and others that help you in buying gold. I would want to confirm what Hon. Mapiki has said that if Government can track 30 000 litres of diesel from the border to ensure whether it has gone out of the country or no trough to Zambia, we would also urge you to have a tracking system of your money so that it cannot leave the bank and go on to the black market. We do not want the artisanal miners to continue suffering when they are the ones that go into the belly of the earth. I was quite hurt by the issue of artisanal miners.
Hon. Minister, you said in the 2016/17 Budget that the theme was growing the national cake. We cannot grow the national cake because Government has assumed the COTTCO debt which is US$68. Government took four seasons worth of seed inputs and gave them to cotton farmers and it came to US$42m. This amount is now more than
$100m in total. We have an animal called David Whitehead Textiles; it has not even started operation since the cotton was harvested. If we use $100m and we plough it into cotton and then take the cotton and export it in raw form, what export are we getting when David Whitehead Textiles can no longer be opened. I am coming in day and night mourning that you should open David Whitehead Textiles. Why is it still in the hands of judicial managers who are thieves, the likes of Chimanye, Hofisi and Toendepi who are fooling you and yet you are taking over the debt of COTTCO of US68 million and giving free seed to farmers. This year you are going to give free cotton seed and inputs. You said 400 000 people are going to be given these inputs per hectare which shows that you really want us to open up industries like David Whitehead Textiles, Cargill and Parogate. There is no mention of cotton beneficiation in here.
We want the national cake to be grown so that the wage bill is reduced from 97% to 45%. Hon Minister, the issue of gold that you have mentioned, you are not lying. Hon Mapiki has talked about 47% but the point is that a lot of gold is leaving our country because you are not buying it using the world price. In South Africa, that is where they buy gold using the world gold price. Every month, five tonnes of gold is going to the Rand refinery. We can protect that leakage if we buy gold using the world gold price. Allow people who have money to come and buy this gold at the world price because if you use sub-standard amounts, whether it is for RBZ, ZB, NMB or CBZ, for as long as it is below the world price, there will continuously be leakages of gold out of the country. We are currently talking of 28 tonnes per year but per month 5 tonnes is going out of the country. Fifty tonnes is going out of the country unaccounted for. We have a lot of gold and I do not believe that all of it is coming to RBZ. It is my plea that you look into that area. Lastly, there is an issue of you being called Rambo holding an MAG rifle. There is an animal called triple Ps which is mentioned 17 times in the Zim Asset document. There are some of your colleagues who do not want these triple Ps because there is no individual benefit for them. Triple Ps are made so that Government is not belaboured with putting in funds but that Government will simply benefit from people who have their money. I want to give you an example of Traffic Safety
Council of Zimbabwe. It went into triple P partnership with others. They have an electronic insurance cover note for a third party. Hon. Minister, you are aware that you have more than US$10 million from May last year to this year, which amount you have never received in the past seven years. This is due to the PPPs. I am making reference to this issue because if you put electronic systems...
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, you can now round off.
*HON. NDUNA: I am ending by saying if we use the electronic technology, as a country we can make a lot of money so that even people in Chegutu can have a change of complexion because of money raised from that and because we have machinery that ensures that our money is not illegally taken out of this country. When tollgates were being used, $7 000 was harnessed everyday per tollgate. When computerisation came, the amounts are now three times what used to be received. We now raise $21 000 per day.
I would want you to allow other private players in revenue generation and collection. We should have PPPs and electronic means.
There should never be a Minister who would not want people to come in and be consulted first because they say that they are more knowledgeable or that they need to go and grease his palm using these Shona terms. We do not want this at all. Allow me Hon. Minister to say, with those few words, I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. I have seen the
interest shown in this matter and that everyone wants to debate. So, I am going to give every Member five minutes to debate. There are those whom I have already recognised. Thank you.
*HON. MUPFUMI: But Hon. Speaker, Parliament is now one
sided. It is only those at the front who are allowed to speak.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order please!
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would
like to thank Hon. Minister Chinamasa for his statement. However, I have got four issues. May the Hon. Minister clarify on why Multi- Choice Zimbabwe is refusing bond notes into their accounts. Clarify on certain goods and services which are being charged in foreign currency, for example vaccines in the pharmacies. The issue of three/four tier pricing system and also clarify on what Government is doing on those trading on reserved sectors in the economy. That is all I want to know.
*HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Hon.
Minister, Initially when you brought the bond notes, we told you that a donkey and a cow are never the same. Today you have admitted that the two are different but you have come up with measures, with a Statutory Instrument that you want to attack or target the ordinary man and woman in the streets, the povo. You did not start from where you had left. You said that you were going to be successful. In your statement you appear to be saying that the bond note succeeded. We are told that there is $3 million of coins and I saw people being given packages of coins. I am also told that I could be given coins worth $100.00 which will be a thousand ten cent pieces.
This is the reality and this is what is on the ground. We go into the streets, Hon. Members and the ordinary men and women in the streets are not getting anything. We are getting the sacks full of coins. How long will it take you to read that? What was the rationale of bringing $3 million in coins? It is tedious to count it. You said you are giving artisanal miners so that they could assist with the exports. Do you not know that all the people who are unemployed are looking at money for their raw materials to medium scale workers? They are also looking for equipment to run. How can they be given the US$ when they are being asked to look for the US$ on the streets?
Have you gone into the shops to see how the three tier pricing system is doing? You said you would leave it to the trading industry. You are the same Government and when you come to us you should agree in Cabinet that this is the SI that works. You should not come here and hoodwink us and say the Minister of Industry and Commerce will go and investigate the issue of the prices. You are lying to us and we are accused when we go back to our constituencies that we are making false representations. May you withdraw your statement and come up with more appropriate words.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, the Minister does not lie.
Find suitable words please.
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: All I am saying Hon. Minister, is that we require the truth. We all blame the banks Hon. Speaker but we want to find out if it is possible that tomorrow we go to any bank with you and ask what the law says; that when you have paid me my salary, little as it is and it is now in my account, I would want to have my Parliament motor vehicle repaired. There is an exchange rate at Croco Motors and you are the one who gave them the exchange rate system. I got a quotation from Croco Motors two weeks ago and you are the ones who gave them. It was $1 300 for the repair of breaks.
They had said I could swipe but they used the exchange rate in the street. When I went back in two weeks, I was told that the price had gone up to $1 700. Where will I get that money? The people that you are chasing away into the streets and you want people arrested, you Minister and your team should be the first people to get arrested; you are arresting the wrong people. Hon. Minister, we want you to be arrested for the offence that you are misleading us that the dollar and the bond are the same.
The other day, I addressed Vice President Mnangagwa that I was looking for cash. If you are given US$20 you will be so happy as if you will have been given something. The common man and woman in the street cannot access the money. Plug the gap where these new notes are coming from. What is it that you call excess money in someone’s pocket? The money that I have worked for is my property, I can use it either as cash or otherwise as long as I use it in the legal means of the country. The banks that you urge us to deposit our money, we are unable to receive a single cent the next morning after we would have deposited today. Swiping is good but if I want to give my mother hard cash so that she can go and have money for milling, she cannot go and swipe. I thank you.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much
Mr. Speaker Sir. I have five issues that I want to ask the Minister to clarify. Firstly, I want to thank him for the issue around the price controls, that you actually took that position. Given the fact that you are not agreeable to price controls which we had before, why do you think that in terms of arrests, you are also going to control the market forces? The exchange that is happening is really about what is happening in the market and not anything else. What you are doing is driving those things underground and in any country or jurisdiction, if you arrest something that is in demand, you do not stop it. All you do is push it underground and it will continue to happen. Perhaps you have a better understanding of how that is going to happen.
The second one is, can the Minister actually tell us what the rate of exchange in the market is, not what you are telling us here. What is the actual rate of exchange between a bond and a US$1? I am sure you know what that rate of exchange is because again, if we are saying let us deal with the market, let us deal with the realities in the market and I think you need to be open with us.
Thirdly Hon. Minister, you said we are letting you down as
Parliament particularly around issues of the wage bill. You are the biggest employers as Government; please be clear and tell us what is your problem in coming out and saying, the wage bill is going to be reduced by 50%. What are your problems so that we can help you because you seem to be saying we are not coming to the party? So, tell us exactly what you want us to do – [AN HON. MEMBER: Parliament yakatowandisa.] – Yes, we approved that issue in the House.
The fourth issue Hon. Minister, can you explain to us what happened between Saturday and yesterday. We did not have fuel, there was no fuel and then it appeared, what happened because we do not want to be doing that kind of speculation? The issue around the coins, you said the person was arrested; why are you arresting him? For telling us lies that there were coins which were printed or for putting the issue on social media? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Lastly, Hon. Minister, what is the problem in giving us a rand as a currency. We have been raising the issue around us just going into a regional currency. What are your problems so that as we begin to work with you and support you as you are saying, we are able to come to the party so to say? I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order. Thank you Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga. Hon. Members who are going to seek clarification, do it as she has done.
*HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I only have two issues, the others have been dealt with by my colleagues. In your presentation Hon. Minister, tell us the measures that you are putting in place to ensure that those people who are failing to access their cash and are spending about three months before withdrawing their salaries, how are you going to alleviate the problem? Lastly, people in this country Hon. Minister now want action and not promises of what the
Government is going to do. If you are going to arrest them, we want to see them being arrested. I thank you.
HON. T. KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question to the Hon. Minister…
HON. MUSANHI: On a point of order. My point of order is that we are the majority here, why is it that we are getting only contributions from that side – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order. If you were able to count 1 to
10, you would not have stood up.
HON. T. KHUMALO: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question to the Hon.
Minister is that we are talking of ghost workers in Government. As Zimbabwean Government, we hired KPMG from India to do a full audit on civil servants and we were told that there were ghost workers. I do not understand him then coming back to us and telling us that we have a problem when the Indian auditors did confirm the ghost workers. So, all what we are asking them to do is, they must stop wasting the tax payers’ money and implement.
Then there is the issue of being given bond coins. This (showing off a five dollar bond note) bond note says, I quote, ‘I promise to pay the bearer on demand.’ Zimbabwean people are demanding their monies in the banks, pay them as per promise.
Lastly Mr. Speaker Sir, who is supplying the money changers with money? If you go to them now Mr. Speaker, they have brand new notes, still sealed, meaning to say it is coming from RBZ. Who is fooling who here? I thank you.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Because of repetition of most on the issues, I am not going to ask the Minister to respond now but will ask for more clarification before the Minister responds.
*HON. MUPFUMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development for a job well done, but the country has been hurt by money issues. There is need for corrective measures to come up with a statutory instrument to arrest the people. The issue of corruption and misuse of money stems from his Ministry permeating downwards. Banks are allocated US1 million, and they do not supervise to see that US$100 that will have been given per person because it gets from the RBZ to the bank and straight on to the streets. That is why we see that there is money on the black market. The problem started from the onset. We cannot have multi-currency and then say you are going to regulate that or control it. We should have different currencies in different accounts. We are banking currencies from our bus transport in the same account. If you want to go out of the country, you are told that you should bank US$. Then I ask where will I get the US$ from when every day I have been banking in multi-currency.
We are here with these problems because of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the related ministries. They should come up with measures to ensure that we have separate accounts so that I can deposit in a bond or US$ account respectively if I want. I thank you.
HON. MUSANHI: Hon. Minister Chinamasa, mining is similar whether you are mining gold, chrome, nickel and so on. What surprises me is that the retention on forex earned on all these minerals, they have got a certain percentage that is given to them but the largest earner in terms of mining which is gold does not have a specific percentage that is retained for them. I want to ask the Hon. Minister why it is like that when everybody else is actually mining. Where a platinum miner needs a diamond drill and is not getting it locally, and where a gold miner also wants a drill and is not getting it locally, he has to import it from somewhere. So, my question is that I want to understand why is it that there is no specific figure for gold miners as their retention.
HON. GONESE: I also want to join colleagues who have thanked the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development for having come back to us as Parliament with a Ministerial Statement attempting to clarify some of the issues which are of great concern to the majority of the people of Zimbabwe. Mr. Speaker, I would like the Hon. Minister to clarify a few issues which are still of concern.
The first one has already been raised by members who spoke before me but I did not get the clarification from the Minister and this relates to the question of the youth officers. It was my understanding that as part of the rationalization, these youth officers had been laid off but at a rally, the Head of State His Excellency then reversed what had been done by the Ministry of Public Service to lay off these workers. I would like the Hon. Minister of Finance to state what is in fact the correct position whether it is his Ministry’s position that this rationalisation and reduction in the wage bill is something which they are going to pursue. It looks like there is a contradiction within Government itself whereby the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing and vice versa.
We want to have some policy consistency in that regard.
The second issue where I want the clarification of the Hon. Minister, Mr. Speaker relates to the establishment of an independent board to monitor the issuance or the release of bond notes. Mr. Speaker and Hon. Minister, I think what is critical and a clarification which I want in respect of the independent board is that when you made your presentation, you gave an indication that there was going to be such an independent board which was going to monitor the issue of bond notes. I would like the Minister to be cognisant of the fact that one of the critical issues which are necessary is the question of trust.
Mr. Speaker and Hon. Minister, a lot of the people in this country do not have trust in this Government, including members of ZANU PF in respect of some of the measures that they will be talking about. When the Hon. Ministers come out saying we are going to address this problem within 48 hours, most people in this country do not believe them. This is the reason why you will find that even senior officials of the party and those in Government, will continue trading on the black market. You find that all those people who are changing bond notes to the US$ are not necessarily the saboteurs because it is almost everyone. No one has got faith that if you keep your money in the bank it is going to retain its value. So, when it comes to the question of trust, does the Minister not think it was important to keep to his word? What is important is to have transparency.
As I speak Mr. Speaker, no one really knows or has got the details about the so called facility from Afrexim Bank. As a result, if the Minister had kept his word and if such a board had been established people would have had some faith in what the Minister or the Reserve Bank Governor was going to say.
The other clarification which I want Mr. Speaker is whether in a multi-currency regime we still have got foreign currency? You will hear the RBZ Governor talking about foreign currency and this afternoon the Hon. Minister in this august House was making reference to foreign currency. I now begin to wonder, if we are in a multi-currency regime whereby we are saying US$, the Rand, Euro, Pound and so on are part of the basket of currencies that we are using as a country, where does this word foreign currency come from and as opposed to what? This is where there is a lot of confusion.
It looks there is lack of appreciation from the Government itself as to where exactly we stand because now the Hon. Minister in response to
Hon. Mandipaka’s question said that we are not going to introduce the Zimbabwean dollar. Some of us were clear at the time of the introduction of the bond notes that this was the introduction of the Zimbabwean dollar through the back door. This is what it appears to be because we are now talking of allocation of foreign currency by the
RBZ. Where does that come from if we do not have our own currency?
The other clarification which I want Mr. Speaker relates to the issue of bond notes, the fiction that they are one to one with the US$. I want the Minister to clarify for us whether he himself believes that because if he does, I will then ask him when he comes back from one of his foreign trips if he has got some change. He can come with some US$ and I will bring the bond notes and then we can exchange at one is to one. If he has got US$100, I would be very happy if he can exchange that with the $100 bond notes which I will have so he shows that he has got faith that they are at par. They are one is to one and other
Government Ministers if they can also do the same. That is, if they have access to any US$, they can exchange for bond notes for those of us, the back benchers who do not have that access to foreign trips because when Hon. Members of Parliament were going out on Parliamentary business, the Reserve Bank used to give them US dollars. Later on they said they were now doing a transfer because the RBZ itself was not able to give the Hon. Members US dollars. Further to that, in the past it was better because some banks were accepting transfers of money direct from the main account to a visa account. But now, almost all banks are no longer accepting that. They are actually asking you to bring hard cash in the form of US dollars before your visa card can be credited for you to use it outside the country. Members of Parliament are having that predicament. I remember one MP phoning and asking what he was supposed to do when going out on Parliament business. I think these are issues which we want the Hon. Minister to clarify.
*HON. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you Mr. Speaker, for the
opportunity that you have granted me to also seek clarity from the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development. First and foremost, Minister you are doing very well. You are doing your best but I want to tell you that all along, things were moving and we were applauding you when you were saying you are now able to pay IMF because the small scale miners were producing gold together with the large scale miners.
The problem at the moment is that two weeks ago things went bad.
Where did it start from, why did we find ourselves in that predicament? Why was there that sudden turn of events? It means that there was a discord. I would want to tell you that we are your eyes, we see, listen and observe what is happening on the ground as people will be mourning saying that these things that have been done are not good. We also observe that you and your team are a big team but I want to highlight where your things went wrong Hon. Minister.
You tampered with the gold which is the mainstay of the country. Bad systems were introduced two weeks ago. You had put in place good measures that when gold was deposited at Fidelity, the miners would choose to be paid in bond notes and receive 3% incentive after being paid in US dollars or bond notes. It was the same and we were happy about it. You then said if you take your money to the bank, you would be given 4% and the bank would take 1% and people were still selling their currency on the streets. We did not have problems.
It was when there was the introduction of a new regulation that once you had sold your gold, which is controlling the economy and is the mainstay of the country that we started getting 60% in US dollars without the 5% incentive. That is where you got it wrong. You killed the goose that was laying the golden eggs. The people that had believed you when you said they would receive 50% bond and 50% US dollars were destroyed. You said 40% was to be received in bond and 5% would be the incentive. Those people that advised you misled you because that is when people then revolted and took advantage, the thieves, uncouth and unscrupulous people.
Remember you have enemies that are out to get you so that you do not go far. They started devaluating the bond note. The 60% and 40%, the black market that we are in competition with over the collection of gold from small scale miners, the black market which led to the depositing of 1.5 tonnes a month unleashed US dollars and gave them 40% but told their buyers not to use the US dollars to buy gold from the artisanal miners but should buy using the bond.
I believe there is someone who is distracting the Minister because he is not listening to what I am saying.
Minister, it is unfortunate that the black market gave its buyers money to buy gold from the small scale miners. After they had given that money, they said they would buy the money on the streets and get all the bond then raise the price of Fidelity Refineries. Gold was purchased. Fidelity had raised the amount to $44 and the black market went to $55 per gram. So when looking at it Hon. Minister, this is where everything went wrong. Even the person selling currency on the black market raised their price so our buyers were now unable to buy the gold. Production has gone down since Monday. You went into this increase of gold prices without the corresponding bond notes available. As a result we are unable to buy sufficient quantities of gold. You did these things when you were not prepared.
Why are there allegations that the RBZ Governor poured money onto the streets when he did not do that? People sent in a lot of gold but they were not paid on that day. They were only paid on a Sunday. Fidelity opened on a Sunday and we were paid. I actually came and collected my money on that day. We were given 40% bond and 60% US dollars. We had delivered a lot of gold so we were given a lot of money and it was in crisp notes. So, we went and bought gold so that we could dispose of it again. This is a system which is not right – it is a drunken system to say the least.
Hon. Minister, I am sorry for you but I am going to plead with you that if it is possible, go and sit down and think. If people are being advised – you have educated economists and we went to workshops and they gave us ideas. They also give you ideas and they are the same people that mislead you. Why do you not listen to people that are not even educated? Sit down with them because they are in the production lines so that they can come up with ideas that work. When I give you ideas you look down upon me as a grade 2 person but you do not look at the value of my ideas and they get lost. That is how the currency was devalued because gold was tampered with. Gold is the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy, Zambia has copper and South Africa has platinum. Once you tamper with such things, you will die and the economy will not grow. I am sorry; I am now code switching to English because I am now going to school.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Matambanadzo,
I have given you five minutes but I allowed you two minutes extra. So, wind up now.
HON. MATAMBANADZO: With those words Hon. Speaker, I
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I do not
want to waste a lot of time but just to also appreciate the contribution from Hon. Matambanadzo. Clearly, his submissions are very honest and I want to thank Hon. Matambanadzo. *I would want to thank Hon. Matambanadzo for giving a chronology of what the money market is doing. That has helped the Minister in clarifying that bricks came from the Reserve Bank. They used it on the market, they exchanged it and it came back as acceptable currency in the form of US dollars. This is what is happening on the market. I would want to thank Hon.
Matambanadzo. If we could have honest men and women like Hon.
Matambanadzo who say the truth and who are Hon. Members of Parliament. He is a gentleman and honourable man. I want to thank him for that. Hon. Minister, I hope you have also understood.
I have four questions that need clarification. Firstly, is the state of affairs in our banks. A bank should be a source of security, convenience and confidence. Even title deeds can be secured in a bank because it is a place of confidence. At the moment, a bank is a place of inconvenience. It is a place of volatility and disgrace because people are spending the whole day and night queuing and at the end of the day the money loses its value. What are you doing Hon. Minister? This is a key issue to restore the banking culture, investment culture and a savings culture. How are we going to have people going to the banks with the confidence that they will get their money? With the long queues, nobody will go to the bank. How are we going to restore our banking culture and investment culture in Zimbabwe? May the Hon. Minister explain to us why we can no longer have monies that we deposited coming back to us? How are you going to do this in terms of restoring confidence in the bank? We would want to say yes, the Minister has spoken to our problems.
Hon. Speaker, the second issue is the surrogate currency that we have, the fake currency we have or the puppet currency called a bond note. I once spoke about it when we were in Bulawayo and you said you were going to scrap it. What are we going to do about it?
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, the Interpreters are getting
difficulty because you are using two languages. So, stick to one language, whichever one you would want to use.
*HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Thank you. Let me stick to Shona. We have the fake currency that we are using. These are bond notes that we agreed to. Why do you not remove the bond note so that it is no longer in use? We would want to have a currency that is acceptable to everyone. Remove the bond note. Are you looking into that so that we use the multi-currency basket? If we come up with our own currency, our production will then restore the Zimbabwean currency after we would have addressed the fundamentals. In the interim, we need to use the multi-currency basket so that there is confidence in banking.
The third clarity that I seek is that if you look at the Senior Government officials and even businessmen in this country, they buy properties outside the country. Senior Government officials in this country bank their currencies in Mauritius, et cetera. A lot of Senior Government officials in this country, a lot of their children are attending universities outside the country. The majority of Ministers’ children are not at the University of Zimbabwe. Former Ministers like Hon. Goche, of course, their children are here but most of the current Ministers, their children are out of the country.
If you look closely at things that will be happening, even holidays they go out of the country. My question to Hon. Minister Chinamasa is, can you not have integrity and lifestyle audit for Senior Government officials in terms of ethics? You urge people to bank their money and that they should suffer when your own money is outside the country. Can you not have this integrity and lifestyle audit? That is important in building the banking sector confidence or confidence in the country.
Lastly, I have another important point. I do not know whether the
Hon. Minister is listening. Hon. Speaker, can you protect me so that the Minister can listen very well. I saw that Hon. Minister Gumbo was distracting the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
The Reserve Bank should be the Reserve Bank with reserves. The
Reserve Bank currently has no reserves. What is being done by the
Minister as regards to ensuring that the Reserve Bank becomes a proper Reserve Bank and not an empty maize stalk in the communal home. It should really be a Reserve Bank because a Reserve Bank should have reserves. No one can live in this life and be hopeful that they will get something from the Reserve Bank. The Reserve Bank should be a repository where if you have difficulties we can be able to draw finances from. I thank you.
HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to ask the Hon. Minister to assure me and to give me confidence. We understand that the shortage of fuel, cooking oil and other commodities that we had started to see were stemmed by the intervention of the Government, especially with the Reserve Bank by $25 million that was drawn from Nostro reserves. My question to him is, can the Hon. Minister indicate whether this was budgeted for? If it is correct, for just one week, it was $25 million; do we have this kind of money that can allow us that if we have a crisis like this, we go and draw from those reserves? Is that the situation? If that is the case, can we sustain it?
Secondly, Hon. Minister, can you please tell us what you will do in order to try and make us, people like me and …
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I do not understand what
you are saying.
HON. MAJOME: Yes, I am asking. Maybe to put it in a different way, where did you get the money to ensure that those reserves of fuel that you were mentioning, where have you drawn that money from? My worry is that have you not drawn it from the Nostro account reserves. If you have, can we sustain this kind of thing if there is some more panic buying, if that is the case?
Secondly, what can you do to try and bring a measure of confidence in a person like myself and the people that I represent in terms of your sincerity and Government for policy consistency to show us that you do indeed want to support the productive sector and limit the consumptive sector and especially to bring foreign currency? I ask because what are you going to do about the following things; you said that you are not going to bring price controls. How can you explain the very passionate enactment of the Competitiveness Commission that
Members of Parliament from that side of the House rushed and enacted? Why did you put in place a Competitiveness Commission one of whose functions is to control prices if you say that you are not going to do that? Thirdly, the issue of bulk Treasury bills proceeds to consumption such as servicing loans that were incurred and condemned by the public in the Reserve Bank Debt Assumption Bill as well as also, how do you explain if you want foreign currency and productivity? What are you going to do for example in issues that are inconsistent such as the blocking of Kwese TV, a Zimbabwean investor who is able to invest in Kenya and bring in multi US million dollars in Kenya but is not allowed to come here. Should we not be able to have that kind of money here? Even on the diaspora vote, it is not a secret that the bulk of our foreign currency inflows come from the diaspora. If you are really serious and I have asked you this before and I will ask again; if you are really serious about wanting to bring in foreign currency, why are you ignoring the issue of the diaspora vote? The usual issue is that no taxation without representation. We are in a crisis and our political egos are bigger than the economic suffering of Zimbabwe, why do you not just let Zimbabweans in the diaspora vote and you will see the money that will flow in when people invest with confidence.
The issue around inconsistency again, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr Mangudya told us that if the bond, pseudo currency/surrogate currency fails to work to resolve the foreign currency crisis, he would resign? What level of failure would it be required to then make him resign. Is this the fact you have to issue a Ministerial Statement and the bricks that are being talked about, is that not failure? We still do not have cash. What is it that must first happen?
This Statutory Instrument that you have promulgated to arrest barons, what new thing is it going to do? Have we not already had criminalisation of illicit foreign currency deals through the regulations in terms of the Exchange Control Act? What is the difference? Is the problem not enforcement? In terms of the illicit flows of currency, I
hope you can say something about trimming the expenditure of Government in delegations that go out of the country. Like for example, we are told that there was a 70 big delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and there are other delegations, clearly that would also go with foreign currency. In my constituency people are not happy with that. They assume that when people go they get foreign currency from the Reserve Bank, and people do not have money out there. Surely, it might not be true but you must answer because it is a confidence building measure.
Finally, what are you going to do in terms of just removing the premium on the bond note? What are you going to do to address the problem where if I decide to buy some goods using mobile transfer of whatever kind, the person that I am paying will want me to pay a premium? I am asking him to tell me what it is that he is going to do. That person will ask me to pay a premium as opposed to when I pay cash. Are you going to do anything about that so that it controls that? I thank you.
HON. CHINAMASA: I feel elated by the level of interest shown by Hon. Members on this subject matter. When I look at our economic evolution, it is an eye opener. We have spent the whole afternoon talking about gold because now we are participants in the production. That was not the case about 17 years ago at the beginning of the Land Reform Programme. We spent the whole afternoon talking about agriculture because now we are participants. I want to emphasise that, that process or transition from non participation to participation cannot take place overnight. It is a process. As we transit through that journey, there will be teething problems. Some of what we are discussing right now are growing problems, problems that are affect any child who is growing. If we accept that, we can then remain on course. That, I think I should emphasise.
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: On a point of order. The Minister has made a very important sweeping statement about the economy moving from non participation to participation. It is a very important observation. I also realise that there is a political divide to it, that our
Members who are in ZANU PF are more on the participants with those in the opposition trying to enter the participation. So, thank you very much for that.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: There is no point of order there.
HON. CHINAMASA: I think we will need another afternoon to
talk about participation because the whole journey of our participation as black people started with the Land Reform Progamme. The positions which were taken by the respective parties have basically decided who participates in the Land Reform and who does not. Those are issues we can leave for another day.
What is important is that now we can talk about concrete issues like gold. Even Hon. Matambanadzo speaks emotionally, he is handling gold everyday which was not the case 17 years ago. We need to recognise that achievement, nurture it and develop it. We hope that one day Hon. Matambanadzo will not be an artisanal miner but will own a proper mine with a shaft. That is our expectation. So, our policies must be geared to nurturing those who are already producing with a view to bringing them into formal economy so that they can make their contribution in terms of tax payment and services.
I had not finished responding to Hon. Mliswa. I was cut short but I only realise that I did not address all his questions. He made reference to, what are we doing on domestic resource mobilisation. The fact of the matter is that Zimbabwe is currently cut off from the international capital markets. We are not in the same situation as Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi. We are not able to raise any new money as was mentioned by Hon. Khupe from the international market. There is no alternative. It is an imperative for us to generate from our own resources. That is what has made us survive up to now. All the infrastructure that we did, the completion of Tokwe-Mukorsi was through domestic resource mobilisation.
Currently, we are undertaking - we have resumed work at
Gwayi/Shangani, Marovanyati in Buhera and at Cogswell in
Mashonaland East. All those are being funded from domestic resources. We are achieving partnership between the private sector, insurance companies and pension funds in order to direct investments towards infrastructure which we consider is necessary for our development.
About a month ago, I went to commission a 1.6 megawatt hydroelectric put by the private sector Old Mutual. This is because we had given fiscal incentives for them to undertake that investment. We are encouraging other independent fund managers to put their money into especially infrastructure like hydro, clean energy, solar energy so that we can put a firm foundation for our economic development. All the issue about command agriculture; this is private sector money but we come to assist so that at least that money is deployed in the area which we think is of top priority.
He made a point which I want to disagree with him. He said you can only spend what you have. This was the slogan of my predecessor. I do not share it and I have not operated on that basis. As I mentioned, I borrow in order to address fundamental issues to do with infrastructure. If I were to wait until I spend what I earn, there is nothing. As I have pointed out, 90% of the revenue is going to wages. So, there will be nothing to spend on anything else, be it command agriculture or infrastructure. That is what the House should understand. What is important is that when you borrow money, for what purpose are you applying that money? In my view, we have tried to balance between consumption and infrastructure and also supporting the productive sector.
Hon. Paradza asked the question about who is going to police the police. I think these are issues that collectively we should address the issues of corruption. I am sure that when collectively all of us also refuse to be complicit in this practice, this practice will come to an end. The issue that he raised about lack of foreign currency to purchase spare parts - that is precisely what I said. The issue which is central to the revival of our economy is to enhance production, to enhance export productive capacity so that we can earn more foreign currency.
I am sorry that Hon. Ziyambi commended on the regulations before he read them. I would have expected that as a lawyer, you would have first read them. We are not penalising possession. We are penalising dealings in currency. So, if you are walking and you have money in your pocket, it is not criminal, but if you use that money and take it out of your pocket on the street and you start trading it, that is when you get arrested. So, we need to emphasise that. Mr. Speaker Sir, let me take this opportunity to just table a copy of the gazetted regulations.
HON. ZIYAMBI: I just need clarification on that. How are you then criminalising somebody when you have a basket of currencies? If I exchange my dollar for a rand with Hon. Gonese, is that criminalising the instrument?
HON. CHINAMASA: Yes, that is dealing in currency.
HON. ZIYAMBI: But we have a basket of currencies in
Zimbabwe. So, if...
HON. CHINAMASA: No, no. You can only do it with a licence and the regulations make it clear. If you have no licence, the problem with this economy is lack of discipline. You can go to a bank; they have got licence to do exactly what you are doing, not by yourself on the street. Let us have discipline. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE ACTING SPEAKER : Order please!
HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank Hon. Mapiki for his questions. I understand that there is a shortage of point of sale machines. Ideally, I think we should have point of sale machines to the level of 100 000. We have moved from 16 000 and we are now at 47 000. We are trying to secure more foreign currency to import these machines and we will not stop. This is why we cannot strictly penalise a trader who is not using point of sale machines until such time that we have adequate supply of point of sale machines. I also recognise Mr. Speaker Sir that those businesses which are unable to secure point of sale machines are losing valuable business opportunities because of the shortage of cash. So, it is a vicious circle so to speak.
He also mentioned something about hard currency and so on. I think that I would leave that to the Ministry of Home Affairs if they have got any questions. Hon. Mahoka, your issue again is coming to the shortage of foreign currency whether to pay for fees or medical care and so on. This is why I am saying at the centre of our recovery, there should be export capacity production so as to increase foreign currency. Because of increased demand, it becomes a long journey before we can achieve adequacy but we cannot allow foreign currency to buy every junk. We have to prioritise what it can purchase and this is what the Reserve Bank has done.
Hon. Mahoka also mentioned farm workers. The trick is to make sure that you get those farm workers obtain IDs. This is something over which you should engage the Registrar General’s office. I do so in my constituency. I do help because once they have got IDs, they can open accounts. I was impressed Mr. Speaker Sir in my constituency. Most of the banks like POSB, CABS and CBZ now have agents. They use some of the shops as agents to open bank accounts on no money and it is being done.
So, it is important and all you need is to make sure that they have got IDs and once they have, they can open bank accounts and they do not have to come to Harare and this is happening. You asked the question as to whose money is in the streets. I also ask you and this is the problem. I have mentioned here – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Let us lower
our voices please.
HON. CHINAMASA: I have mentioned Mr. Speaker Sir that investigations will have to be undertaken. We can only surmise. People go to withdraw money purportedly for lawful purposes and may end up on the streets. We pay like I mentioned to you. After the demand from this Hon. House we were made to pay cash to cotton farmers and tobacco farmers as part of the proceeds from the sale of their products. We do not know whether any of those was abused. I have mentioned that weekly we pay in cash to artisanal miners $5 million.
Again I would not know. Also I would not know how much is on the streets when all is said and done. Is it one million or is it hundred thousand or fifty thousand and so on. But, how have you counted it. Let us not make speculative statements when we do not have the exact information. We come here and we say there is two million or three million, how have you counted it. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjection]- Count first before you come and make a speculative statement.
Hon. Nduna, the issue of tracking payments, it is easier said than done. At the end of the day the Reserve Bank will make payments to commercial banks. May be at that point if it is new bond notes, maybe they will know the serial number. After that, once it is parceled out, how do you trace it? You cannot have an exercise where each note which leaves the bank is being recorded to say it has gone to Hon. Matuke or Hon. Mahoka, that is not business.
Hon. Nduna raised the issue about David Whitehead. David Whitehead is not a Government company. Why is Hon. Nduna not raising or finding private investors to resuscitate David Whitehead.
Why do we always have this mindset that everything must be done by Government? We come here and make statements to say growth must be private-sector led – [HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker.
] – so, it is very important Mr. Speaker Sir, that we as Government – [HON. NDUNA: Sorry Mr. Speaker, I need clarity on that point so that…] – [AN HON. MEMBER: Tanga waita point of order.] –
HON. NDUNA: Point of order Mr. Speaker.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. NDUNA: Sorry Mr. Speaker. So that I get the response that meets the clarification that I sought, I said; Government has put in US$68 million to COTTCO to bail it out. It has given US$40 million to cotton farmers. David Whitehead, private as it might be, Government or quasi-Government as it might be; would it not be prudent for
Government to bail out the present status that David Whitehead is in, in order that it can find suitors and investors. In the present state it cannot find suitors. So, my question is, is it not prudent for Government, after splashing US$100 million, for it to help capacitate this private entity called David Whitehead, which is under judicial management so that it does not export the raw materials for which it has toiled using the US$100 million that it has put out already, unless of course it wants to export raw materials, irrespective.
HON. CHINAMASA: I thank the Hon. Member for that
clarification, but let me explain Mr. Speaker Sir that; at the time we made intervention into the cotton sector, the industry had collapsed. We took a decision in the mid 90s to privatise some of our parastatals and that included COTTCO and those who bought collapsed the country. From a previous production level of around 400 000 metric tones, it came to 10 000. So, the intervention was intended to revive the cotton industry, which employs in excess of 400 000 households and has posed as linkages to David Whitehead Textiles. When we bring up the cotton production to the level that I want, we can then start looking into what incentives we can give to encourage investors into the textile industry to do spinning, weaving and textiles. However, you cannot do intervention in that sector until you are satisfied that you have got the product.
Essentially, that is the thrust of Government.
As you are all aware Mr. Speaker Sir, this coming season, we are supporting in excess of 400 000 households who are occupied in the cotton production industry. This is with a view eventually, to trigger manufacturing and the textile sector. On the David Whitehead more specifically, what helped in COTTCO intervention was that, we had an entity of Government which still had shares there. However, the COTTCO debt was an external debt which was affecting our negotiations with foreign financial institutions, so we needed to put its house in order so as not to spoil our relationship with outside financial institution. That helped. I would be quite happy to entertain any suggestions and proposals coming forward to revive David Whitehead.
He mentioned about the Private Partnership (PP) and that we are not doing anything about it. The Beitbridge/Harare/Chirundu, especially the Beitbridge/Harare, it is a PP, it is a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT), we are not putting our money in there. The investor is putting his money and we are allowing the investor to recoup his investment over a period of 25 years. This model, we are quite happy to roll it out
in any sector of the economy involving infrastructure. We only need the investors to come forward and we discuss. Under My Ministry, we have set up a joint venture unit in terms of the Joint Venture Act and this is to allow joint ventures between the public and the private sector and we are very open to any suggestions for investments in that direction.
Hon. Mukwangwariwa asked about the three tier system, I think I have explained in my statement that this is a matter that the regulations are seeking to address. Over and above that, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, we are in agreement; we will do a scientific study, a survey to find out what is happening in the market. Only after they do that report will we know what measures to take to address the situation. On another forum, I think I had made reference to the fact that we should enforce the legislation relating to participation in the reserved sectors.
My own view Mr. Speaker Sir, there is no justification that people can come from other continents to do gold panning. Gold panning should be the preserve of the people of Zimbabwe and not foreigners. I can understand when they bring huge investments to sink shafts to get to the gold which is a kilometer down, that we accept not, to come with a dish from outside the continent and get alluvial gold, no. We should preserve gold panning for our own people.
Hon. Mudzuri, I do not agree that bond notes have failed…
HON. NDUNA: Hon. Speaker, sorry, I think he is going further and further and has missed my points of clarification. My point that I sought clarification on was why RBZ is buying gold at less than the world price? Why is it not buying at the world price because this might be a cause for illicit outflows and it might be your Achilles heel in terms of revenue leakages in the gold sector? Is RBZ only acting as a middleman in terms of gold buying and selling?
HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I will need to check. My information is that we are paying for gold deliveries at competitive world price, but I need to check. My information is that we are paying well. There is no excuse except indiscipline for our artisanal miners or anybody to smuggle gold out of the country. We are paying well. We reduced royalty fees from almost 5% to 1%, just a token and we still find people complaining.
It is just lack of discipline Mr. Speaker Sir. What I think is important Mr. Speaker Sir, as we take over and we increase participation in this economy, it comes with responsibility. The responsibility is to pay taxes so that we can offer service to our people. Now, if everybody is participating in the economy and they do not want to pay taxes but they still want services, they want teachers, doctors and nurses to be paid and they want their salaries; that will lead us to doom. So I think it is very important that we have discipline amongst ourselves.
Hon. Mudzuri, the point I was making basically is that foreign currency is used and prioritised to import capital goods, raw materials, fuel, medicines and so on, and that I think is the direction we should go. To have foreign currency used for any little thing, any rubbish, I think is not acceptable.
He made reference to the bond coins. As you know, I do not have the day to day details of what the RBZ does. I am not monetary authority. I am fiscal authority and there is no way I would know on a daily basis what is happening but the information I have is that they imported bond coins and someone must carry the bond coins. So, the driver who was carrying the bond coins and had the invoice photographed the invoice and put it on the social media. What for? We do not know.
Again, an act of indiscipline because the Official Secrets Act provides that information is confidential because it can lead to security problems. Imagine they were coming from Beitbridge and he puts it on social media. Everybody knows they are coming all the way to Harare.
They can be waylaid. So, it is a very serious infringement of the Official Secrets Act and I think that rightly so, he was reported to the police and has been arrested.
I want to emphasise again in response to Hon. Mudzuri, that position of cash is not illegal. It is when you start sitting at a street corner and now say you are looking for the Rand, US$ and so on. You are undertaking transactions in currency that is when you get arrested.
Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, thank you very much. You make the point that by doing what we are doing we may end up driving what is happening underground. We have all expressed and are all agreed that what is happening on the streets is unacceptable. We also understand that we cannot resolve it by legislation alone. So, we have again to make sure that there is adequate foreign currency that will generate adequate foreign currency so that whoever has a legitimate demand on foreign currency can find it, especially for importation of raw materials, capital goods and so on. If we get to that level, all these practices will mostly dwindle and maybe disappear. So, the strategy is, let us grow the economy, produce, and export and we are quite ready Mr. Speaker to unfold any policies or incentives that will help people to produce or want to work harder in order to produce.
Again, Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, I agree with you that we have to reduce the wage bill but it is not an easy walk in the park. If I came to Parliament and said, for instance what we agreed in the new
Constitution is not sustainable, let me be very frank with you; it is not sustainable. The size of this Parliament is not sustainable but if I came and say let us amend, there will be populists’ sentiments – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Yes, there is no way. Our population is 14 million and we have about 350 Members of Parliament.
Japan with a population of 90 million has something of that size in
Parliament. We do not have that size of economy like Japan or the UK – [AN HON. MEMBER: 70 Ministers?] – No, but I am saying it does not need to come from me. Nothing stops you from bringing a motion to say let us reduce the size of our Parliament. You have the power to change the Constitution – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Motivate the discussion – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.
HON. CHINAMASA: I am merely saying this in order to provoke debate so that you do not always think that the Minister of Finance and
Economic Development alone can reduce the wage bill. It is all of us.
We know the size of our Government and our Parliament, all that expense is unsustainable – [HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: The
security sector.] – It is like we are using Parliament as a source of employment and not a platform to represent the interests of the people – [HON. MEMBERS: Oh, Yes! Correct, correct.] – [HON. MEMBERS:
Hear, hear.] – [AN HON. MEMBER: Zvauri kutaura zvine musoro.].
Mr. Speaker Sir, I had already answered you on the issue about the arrest of the driver. Why has he been arrested? You asked a question, what happened between Saturday and today? To be honest, what exactly do you mean? What I know is, I was completely surprised because all the economic indicators are in the right direction. Gold, platinum and coal production are going up. Ferro chrome and horticulture exports are going up. The trade imbalance is narrowing. The only problem is the
Now, everything else is going in the right direction. The agricultural production, whether you are talking about maize, soyabean, sugarcane and so on, all going up – [HON. MISIHAIRABWIMUSHONGA: Saka chii chakaitika?] – You should tell me. All I can only say and it is speculation, is that there is an evil force somewhere which triggered panic. It does not matter where the force is coming from but that force is evil and clearly noticing that we are succeeding, did not want us to succeed and triggered panic because everything was caused by panic.
Any panic anywhere in the world, if we all panicked and if people in Europe panicked and said they wanted their money from J. P.
Morgan, it will collapse and it nearly collapsed because of that panic – [AN HON. MEMBER: That is true.] – So in a management of an economy panic should not be the case and what happened was panic.
Fortunately, when they said there is no fuel we knew there was fuel. Like I have mentioned, we have 200 million litres of fuel. So, it is not difficult for us to replenish what has out of the fuel stations. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Kune maqueue, hakuna diesel.] – It is just a question of logistics to deliver the product, that is all. Just imagine every fuel station being empty and the logistical capacity is not there to do it overnight. That exactly is what happened.
You raised a question Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga and this question has been brought up again and again. It is not easy to bring a currency over which you have no control over its value, and how it fluctuates or strengthens. You have no participation in the decision. It is not different from the current situation. So, we cannot translate or exchange a problem we are facing with a similar problem we know is going to happen. In any case, the Rand is part of the basket. Nothing stops anyone from using the Rand. What has just happened is that the Zimbabweans do not want the Rand, the British Pound or Euro; they just want the US$ and understandably so because the US$ is a global reserve currency. Some countries actually build vaults to store United States dollars as a store of value. The problem we are having is that we are using it as a medium of exchange and obviously whoever has got good ideas can come and see how they can siphon that US$ from outside our market. That basically is a problem with the US$. So, I want us to understand that it is not an easy solution. Let us go on the way we are doing; let us try to build our reserves. I was asked a question – what are you doing to build your reserves? We are at the moment trying to capitalise some of our gold companies so that a percentage of their gold production can be set aside for reserves.
Given that we are living from hand to mouth, it is not something that can happen again over night. I think I have answered Hon. Chibaya [HON. CHIBAYA: Ahh.] – Yes, about arrest, I have answered for violators. You are arrested if you trade in currency not for possession –
[HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: US$ versus Bond notes.] –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. CHINAMASA: I cannot say that. All I can say is that if you are talking about the parallel market which is illegal which we are trying to stop, I do not know – [Laughter.] – No, I would not know, it is you who can tell me if you are trading in that market. All I can say in all honesty is, for as long as there is shortage of foreign currency, you cannot entirely wipe out parallel market activities - you cannot. You cannot as a rule of law say it will not happen. It will happen; all we can do is to try to manage it within manageable levels. Hon. Mupfumi, again we are not yet there with respect to the Rand, US$, Euro accounts and I think that we leave it again to the monetary authorities.
Hon. Musanhi, with respect to retention, we will not come there yet until we are in a situation where we have introduced our own currency and we are now building basically having an exchange rate between our local currency and the US$. Hon. Gonese, to be honest, given the levels of bond notes that we are being issued; we did not consider that the expense of an independent board was justified. So, for that reason, we resorted to a mechanism which was already there that the Audit Committee is chaired by the Vice Chairman of the board who is an independent..
HON. MUSANHI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. MUSANHI: Hon. Minister, my question was directed to some minerals that have retention and some minerals that do not have retention when all of these minerals are bringing foreign currency. So, I want clarity on the gold side. Why is gold not given a percentage of retention when all other minerals are getting that retention?
HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am not exactly sure I understand the question. What I know is that all exporters have been enjoying the export incentive varying from 2.5% depending with the class of exporter to 5% with respect to artisanal miners, with respect to tobacco producers. What I also know Mr. Speaker Sir, is that as we are moving away now like I pointed out earlier in my statement; with respect to foreign currency receipts from export of tobacco, gold, platinum, ferrochrome and diamonds, that foreign currency is going to be managed by the Reserve Bank. With the proviso that the Reserve Bank must ensure that it does not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Those who are producing for export will also need to be supported in the importation of spare parts and whatever they need in order to carry their export activities. As to whether there is a fixed amount, I will enquire and advise the Hon. Member accordingly. Currently, I am not aware.
Hon. Matambanadzo, I am not sure what you actually said, I wish I could have understood what you said. But let me say this, the Ministry of Finance or the Reserve Bank have not gone onto the streets to buy foreign currency. I do not know what he said, maybe you can explain.
When Hon. Chamisa stood up, he almost was like saying that is what Hon. Matambanadzo said. So, he was wrong – [HON.
MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: He said he got money from the
Reserve Bank and he took it because anga ari mabond and went to the parallel market to get US$.] – So, we now know who is causing the parallel market but again, it is an abuse. Is Hon. Matambanadzo still here? – [HON. MEMBERS: No.] – it is an abuse because I know Mr.
Speaker, that Mr. Matambanadzo is one of many gold buying agents. When they are given that money it is not to trade on the streets, it is to go and pay for gold deliveries from artisanal miners when they go to where the mining is taking place – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] - So, he is making a confession which basically means that after receiving this information he is not qualified to be a gold buying agent – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Let me say this, ataura muParliament, he is protected but that information is very good. It can be used [HON. CHIBAYA: But he was honest.] – Very good, it can be used. The point I want to make....
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: On a point of order Mr.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I think let us get this
very clear from the Minister because if he now says when an Hon.
Member stood in this House covered by Parliamentary Immunities and Privileges Act, he is now going to be disqualified, I think it is unfair because he is covered by Parliamentary Immunities and Privileges Act. I want the Minister to at least formally withdraw that statement because it is a dangerous statement for some of us who sit here believing that we are protected – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, I think if I heard him well, he
said I am sure when they sell their gold, they are given part of a percentage in US$ and the other in bond notes. So, he was not given the actual US$ he was supposed to be given. That is what he was saying.
HON. CHINAMASA: All I can say is that there is nothing to stop me from investigating information that is given in this House. It is not privileged and we are not excluded from investigating it. All we can say Mr. Speaker Sir, is that it is very important information and the arrangement is that if you are a gold buying agent, you are given money not to buy US$ on the street but to go and buy gold to pay to artisanal miners – [HON. MUTSEYAMI: But maminers anoda US$ka.] – and if
there is a deviation from that procedure, it is wrong. I think we also have the privilege to say that Mr. Speaker Sir, and what I think we need to emphasise is that if we have discipline, if money is given out to a gold buying agent to pay to artisanal miners, I would rather if he had stood to say it was the artisanal miners who went on the street. That I would understand but not as a gold …
HON. NDUNA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker …
HON. CHINAMASA: And also Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, may I put across my point of order?
THE ACTING SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, at inception, the Hon. Minister said that he really did not get clearly what Hon. Matambanadzo said. In order that we do not speculate, for him, even after visiting the Hansard or getting the Hon. Member to clarify his point. Seriously, the way he is articulating what Hon. Matambanadzo articulated is not the way I understood it to mean – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – It is only prudent that facts be put on the table and the points be put there so that the Hon. Member can have an opportunity to be heard correctly. If we go in the manner we are going; the heading and the direction, this man will be interrogated and questioned for a wrong line of thought that
I think the Minister has now taken.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I agree with you because he was so clear only that we have forgotten but he was so clear with what he wanted to explain.
HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker, I am not a vindictive person. I will wait until the Hansard is out to see and read what exactly was said but I was just laying down the position or what should happen; and that if there is a departure from that procedure, it is wrong.
Until recently, Fidelity was not buying gold which weighed five grams and below from artisanal. They considered it too little or whatever. Hon. Matambanadzo and Hon. Nduna approached me here to say that should not happen. I gave a directive that Fidelity should buy any amount of gold irrespective of quantity and to pay cash. I have no problem if artisanal miners are paid cash. What I have a problem with is basically whatever happens between Fidelity and the artisanal miners. I need to make that position very clear.
*HON. MAONDERA: On a point of order. I heard the Minister saying that he will look into this issue; I passed through his shop at Headlands and the personnel refused to accept plastic money and wanted cash only. These people may be doing this without the Minister’s knowledge. I am actually investigating these people at Redan Headlands so that it will be well with all of us – [Laughter.] -
THE ACTING SPEAKER: There is no point of order there.
HON. CHINAMASA: That is just a malicious allegation. It does not deserve my response.
Hon. Chamisa, I agree with you that our institutions should be of integrity and so far, I have no evidence that there are any problems affecting their integrity. There was a question about removing bond notes. Memories are short. Only last year, there was no US dollar
United states in circulation –[AN HON. MEMBER: Aah, yaive iriko.] – No, no, no. In fact, there were loads and loads of US dollars siphoned out of this market and we all know that and there was no medium of exchange at all – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Anyway, when all has been said and done, it is an issue of confidence.
On the lifestyle audits, ZIMRA is actually undertaking them – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – We will start with the Hon. Members of Parliament – [HON. MISIHAIRABWI: Haa ini hapana chamunowana, sorry, huyai.] –
You also asked what we are doing to build reserves. As of now, we are living from hand to mouth as far as foreign currency is concerned. When we are talking about reserves, we are essentially talking about United States dollars and that we should stack it away and try to build a six months cover which is international best practice – import cover. Now, at the moment, like I pointed out; we have 0.7 month cover. So, the strategy is to identify some of our gold mines; support them and capitalise them to produce more gold and to set aside a portion of that gold towards reserves. But again, it cannot happen overnight. To me, I think that building reserves is very critical to the time when we come to introduce our own local currency so that the reserves can anchor and give stability to the new currency when it is introduced.
Hon. Majome, to be honest; I said again that the issue was basically panic buying which triggered people to go and buy groceries to be used within a month or three weeks. I do not know how many months supply you bought going forward. You have probably run out of money because you bought goods that you were supposed to buy next year. Again, what has also come from this phenomenon is; everybody say that people have no money. There is this panic buying and now everybody has got money. The allegation was that they are refusing plastic money but people were buying in cash – [HON. MAJOME: All we can afford.] – No, no, no! It is just lack of discipline. That is the point. Where did the people get the money to do that panic buying for goods to use for the next six months or so? This should tell you something.
You talked about policy consistency and I agree with you. Like I mentioned, I am not in favour of price controls. I believe that we should use market friendly policies to grow our economy. In fact, price controls could worsen the situation. The trick again like I said, is to increase foreign currency generation.
With respect to Kwese TV, I have no objection to it being licensed. I do not know who said it was being refused a license. I do not know where this is coming from. I really do not know but if you ask me, we have DSTV which as you know, there was a question to say that Multichoice refuses to accept other modes of payment – but of course, the regulations are addressing that. Everyone should accept as legal tender any forms of payment which are legal and electronic transfers are legal. You should have an account of course. As to Kwese; to be honest, my own position is that it should be licenced. I have no problem.
On diaspora remittances, you are raising an issue which is beyond me. You said they should be represented and so on – that is up to Parliament. Why did you not sort it out during the Constitution making process – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] - Aaah do not give the blame to anybody. We came up with a new Constitution and we said for now, diasporans cannot have representation. It was not the responsibility of an individual. It was collective action – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you very much for the contributions and I am very grateful for this debate. I now have new insight into our problems and I hope that with this new insight, we can come up with measures that can stabilise our economy. I thank you.
HON. MAJOME: On a point of order, the Hon. Minister did not address what difference is there between the existing statutory instrument criminalising on selling – how different it is from the existing one on exchange of - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. ADV. CHINAMASA: I have addressed all the questions. I have been on the floor on my feet since quarter past two. It is now six o’clock p.m. answering the same questions and explaining the same issues. We can address some of these issues outside the Chamber especially with Hon. Majome - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.
Honestly speaking, we want to thank you and it must be appreciated. We want to really thank you. You are trying your best Hon. Minister. It is a difficult thing but we appreciate. May that effort continue?
We also want to thank Mr. Speaker, if you at the number of MPs who are here, it will tell you that these are serious MPs when it comes to the interests of the people. We also want to thank you Mr. Speaker for being in the Chair, of course you have little options but we appreciate your presence for appreciating the long seeking of clarifications, we thank you. We just hope, Hon. Chinamasa, God will bless you and all the reshuffles will avoid you, we are really praying. Thank you very much – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Chamisa. As a
Pastor, it is not surprising for you to appreciate that.
HON. MAJOME: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.
THE ACTING SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. MAJOME: My point of order Mr. Speaker Sir, is in terms of Standing Order No. 20 (e) of our very own Standing Rules and Orders which requires that Portfolio Committees must consider or deal with all International Treaties, Conventions and Agreements relevant to it which are from time to time negotiated, entered to or agreed upon. I rise to say this because we have become very good at breaking our Standing Rules and Orders. I have raised this point of order numerous times but this is not being adhered to. We do not seem to pay sufficient attention to the terms of treaties. This is an obligatory provision. We might as well amend the Standing Rules and Orders if you do not want the bureaucracy of doing that. So, I rise to say that when the Hon. Ministers give their notices of motion – possibly have they taken them to the Portfolio Committees or are they going to now do it because this is a requirement for all international treaties, conventions and agreements which are from time to time negotiated, entered into and agreed upon. I am sure the Hon, Minister’s treaties have been negotiated, entered into and even agreed upon. May we now for the first time adhere to our own Standing Rules and Orders or we amend them and we just repeal this because if we do not take ourselves seriously - can we just do what we said we would do?
THE ACTING SPEAKER: I am informed that there is nothing that would stop the Committees to debate the same issue. From here, it will go to the committees.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA) the House
adjourned at Two Minutes to Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 3rd October, 2017.