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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 3 MAY 2022 VOL 48 NO 40

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 3rd May, 2022

The National Assembly Met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

SYNCHRONISATION OF WATCHES

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the following announcement. You may have noticed that our time is not very accurate. These big watches need to be synchronised or tuned up and the gentleman who was responsible for that unfortunately has passed on. So we are going to go by our wrist watches so that we maintain time until we get someone to adjust them.

ERROR ON THE ORDER PAPER

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I wish to draw your attention to an error by the printer on the Order Paper where Order of the Day No. 18 inadvertently appears as Order of the Day No. 19. Kindly take note Hon. Members of this correction so that the rest of the orders are renumbered accordingly.

          Hon. P. D Sibanda having said something contemptuous to an Hon. Minister

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Order Hon. Members. This is an Hon. House and you know how to address Hon. Ministers. I cannot accept that type of contemptuous behaviour. Can you leave the House? Standing Orders are very clear. Thank you.

          Hon. P. D. Sibanda walked out of the House and was escorted by the Sergeant-at-Arms

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have got some request here for statements of national importance. I hope they are of national importance. I do not want any political posturing to be used for these statements. It should be truly national and please know that it is one minute.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question of national importance arises from the state of the transport sector after the Zimbabwe Republic Police has launched an operation to flush out what they deem illegal transporters at the height of Level 2 of our lockdown in terms of COVID. The Government of Zimbabwe introduced the ZUPCO transport model wherein every transporter was removed or were forced to join the ZUPCO transport model so that the Government would promote safe travel arrangements for the public. Now, the lockdown regulations have been eased and it is my plea Hon. Speaker that ZUPCO has demonstrated incapacity to be able to carry every passenger.  Therefore, I move that the transporters who then operated outside ZUPCO because the ZUPCO model was no longer viable, what would happen is that ZUPCO would delay in payments and paying in RTGs form which was losing value by day.  Now that we have eased lockdown regulations, I move that perhaps the Hon. Minister of Local Government who is in charge of the ZUPCO transport system come to Parliament. He should bring a Ministerial Statement so that at least we interrogate on a Ministerial Statement where we allow these other private transporters to be able to satisfy three conditions: one -availability of transport, two - affordability and three- safe travel. 

          Hon. Speaker, as it is, people are delaying to go to their houses up to around 11 pm.  People are delaying to come to work up to around 0900 to 1000 hours in the morning.  Therefore, it is causing loss of production time and loss of quality time within people’s homes.  Therefore, I move that the Hon. Minister of Local Government comes to Parliament with a Ministerial Statement where Members of Parliament bring issues from their constituents as we interrogate on the viability of ZUPCO and see how best we can assist our transporting public.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Very important observation, I think His Excellency the President made that observation and indicated that the Minister of Local Government must ensure that ZUPCO buses do keep their times and so on.    We will transmit your request accordingly. 

          *HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My issue Hon. Speaker is on inflation.  As I am speaking Hon. Speaker, inflation is 500 dollars against the US dollar, which means that our livelihood as Zimbabwe, all things will go up.  There is nothing valuable that we can buy for our livelihoods.  Our cry is that if we can have a statement from the Minister of Finance and Economic Development on the way forward to alleviate our situation so that our dollar will not continue to be devalued. 

          As I am speaking Hon. Speaker, if you want to buy a loaf of bread it is now costing 400 dollars [HON. BITI:  It is now costing 500] – Hon. Biti is saying it is now costing 500 dollars, which means I was lagging behind.  So it is very difficult to survive.  Mr. Speaker, even boarding a kombi to get into town, it is very difficult.  If this trend continues, we do not know what it will be in weeks to come - probably it will be at 1 000 dollars.  My plea is; may the Hon. Minister of Finance come and give a statement on how we can stabilise our dollar before it gets worse. Thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  The Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development is here.  The issue Hon. Minister is that the runaway exchange rate, particularly in the illegal market is a cause for concern and the request is if you could make a Ministerial Statement.  A statement to indicate to the Hon. House what measures Government is putting in place to arrest the situation.  So Hon. Minister, the ball is in your court, when do you think you can be ready? 

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I thank the Hon. Member, I will give the Ministerial Statement next week Thursday. 

            THE HON. SPEAKER:  Okay, Hon. Minister, next Thursday, agreed to. 

          HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker, you run the House.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I do not have to be told that, do I have to?

          HON. BITI: It is a polite reminder.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: It is an impolite reminder.

          *HON. MADZIMURE: The governing of a country starts with the running of local authorities. The success of good governance in the local authorities cascades to the whole country. You find that most local authorities are not being led very well. For example, at City of Harare, there are seven directors but only one is permanent.  The Town Clerk and Mayor of the city are acting. Therefore, I am requesting the Minister of Local Government, Hon. July Moyo, that he should come to this House and give us a Ministerial Statement on why the local councils are not staffed by professional personnel because devolution funds are channeled to local councils and there are no people who are capable of overseeing those funds.

          We want the Minister to explain why there are no professional employees in local councils and why the local councils are not able to provide clean water and good infrastructure to residents. I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: You can ask that question tomorrow during Question Time.

          HON. BITI: I rise on a matter of national interest in terms of Standing Order 68. Yesterday schools opened but the challenge that parents are facing is that the cost of school fees has gone up dramatically.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, you have been advised by security to remove your tie. You did so and now you have put it back again.

          HON. BITI: This is not yellow.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: You were advised by security outside.

          HON. BITI: This one, I borrowed it here.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: No, comply with what we agreed last time. You are an Hon Member.

          HON. BITI: Can I take it off?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Go and put on a nice one.

          Hon. Biti having tried to take off his neck tie.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Not in the House.  This is not a dressing room – [Laughter.]-

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. NCUBE): I rise to move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 13 and 15 to 17 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Orders of the Day, Numbers 14 and 18 have been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

INSURANCE AND PENSIONS COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 6, 2021]

          HON. DR. NYASHANU:

  • Introduction
  1. The Insurance and Pensions Commission plays a pivotal role in monitoring and regulating the insurance and pensions industry. This role is essential as it protects consumers and service providers in markets where competitive forces are weak and close the information asymmetry gap within the sector. On the other hand, stakeholders in the pension and insurance industry have been calling upon the Government to revamp the sector through undertaking legislative and policy reforms so that it becomes competitive nationally, regionally and internationally. Indeed, the Justice Smith Commission of Inquiry pointed to regulatory failure as one of the major challenges impacting on the industry.

1.2   Hence, the Insurance and Pensions Commission (Amendment) Bill was gazetted on 10 September 2021, as the Government seeks to align the law with the Constitution, and to implement the recommendations as outlined by the Justice Smith Commission of Inquiry of 2017. The Bill also seeks to modernise and strengthen the regulation and supervision of the insurance industry by the Insurance and Pension Commission (IPEC) in line with international practice.

  • Background to the Bill

2.1   Legislative reforms in the pension and insurance sector have been on the drawing board for quite some time and were further buttressed by the Justice Smith Commission of Inquiry Report, which recommended that certain deficiencies, particularly legislation, under the ambit of the sector be strengthened. Among the various pieces of legislation recommended for amendment in the sector is the Insurance and Pensions Commission Act [Chapter 24:21] and the Insurance Act [Chapter 24:07]. The review of these envisaged laws governing insurance, public and private occupational pension funds was viewed as vital in reorganising the industry to become competitive.

2.2   It is against this backdrop that the Insurance Pensions Commission (IPEC) Amendment Bill was gazetted, with the aim of aligning the law with the Constitution, comply with the Justice Smith Commission of Inquiry and modernising, as well as, strengthening the regulation and supervision of the insurance industry in line with international practice.

  • Methodology

3.1   Once a Bill is published in the Gazette, Section 141 of the Constitution requires Parliament to engage the general members of the public in its legislative processes and consult them on any Bills being considered in the august House. Therefore, in fulfilment of this constitutional obligation, Parliament, through the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development conducted public hearings on the IPEC Amendment Bill to gather the views of the key stakeholders and the people of Zimbabwe.

3.2   Given the technical nature of the Bills, the Committee resolved to invite Insurance and Pension Commission (IPEC) to unpack the Bill prior to conducting public hearing in selected provinces in the country. In view of that, the Committee participated at a two-day workshop in Leopard Rock Hotel, Mutare where the Bill was unpacked by IPEC. This workshop was critical in aiding the Committee Members to better understand the provisions of both Bills before embarking on public hearings.

3.3 Public hearings were then conducted from 13 to 16 March 2022 in Bulawayo, Mutare and Harare. Generally, attendance by the people of Zimbabwe was very poor as only a total of 25 people attended the 3 consultative meetings, as follows, Bulawayo (17), Mutare (1) and Harare (7).

3.4 The Committee then deliberated on the submissions received together with the views raised by the Committee and IPEC during the capacity building workshop leading to the development of this report.

  • Summary of Submissions Received on the Bill

4.1 Clause 2: The members of the public raised concern over the missing definition of ‘asset’ in the Bill and the principal act. It was recommended that under this clause, the definition of ‘asset’ be included so that it does not refer to treasury bills or any other assets that may be specified in the Bill. The members of the public argued that the failure to define “asset” and to distinguish between capital assets, investment assets, policyholder assets or shareholder assets left a lot of vagueness on the provisions of the Bill. Therefore, there is need to qualify the word “Asset” in the bill in order to avoid vagueness as to actual meaning of the word. 

4.2 Clause 3: Members of the public supported the inclusion of this provision under clause 3 as it seeks to strengthen the IPEC, a provision which is missing in the principal act. Under this new provision, additional and clear roles of IPEC are defined. This will enable IPEC to exercise its mandate effectively. However, the Committee felt that subsection (c) and (d) must be removed since they are more administrative in nature than a legislative issue.

  • Clause 4: Members of the public supported the submissions to the effect that ‘National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and medical aid societies should be regulated by the Commission and this has been long overdue. This provision whereby NSSA and medical aid societies are added into the basket of institutions that must be monitored and regulated by IPEC is in line with best practices. Currently NSSA is monitored and regulated under the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare while medical aid societies are regulated by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

However, it was noted that although Clause 4 of the Bill proposes for the expansion of the functions of the Commission to include the accreditation of actuaries, auditors, asset managers, credit rating agencies “and other service providers”, it nonetheless fails to set out the procedure by which auditors and actuaries should apply for accreditation, and the duration of the accreditation. It was therefore emphasised that either the bill or a delegated legislation must be put in place to incorporate these important provisions under this clause.

Members of the public also raised concern over a provision for regulating and accrediting asset managers, auditors and actuaries arguing that it was unnecessary. It was highlighted that professions such as asset managers are already regulated under the Asset Management Act, Auditors are regulated by Public Accountants and Auditors Board, among others, hence the involvement of IPEC would be double regulation.

Furthermore, submissions were made that a provision to accredit “other service providers” in this clause was vague as it is an open check to IPEC to do as it pleases. Therefore, there is need for clarity on who the “other service providers” are in the Bill.

  • Clause 5: The provision amends Section 5 of the Act by increasing the number of the board members that the Minister responsible may appoint from ‘five (5)’ to ‘seven (7).’ The people welcomed this new proposal, particularly, the inclusion of their qualifications thereof, in addition to knowledge and expertise in the industry. This provision is welcome as it will ensure diversification in terms of representation of the board members as well as enhancing its capacity to exercise its mandate. The provision ensures that it addresses the need for adequacy and diversity of skills within the Commission.

However, it was further suggested that it was absolutely necessary to review the composition of the board. The people urged provide for the reservation of at least one seat on the board of Commissioners for a “pensioner,” who will then ensure that the interests of other pensioners are represented in the Board.

  • Clause 6: This provision seeks to address issues of conflict of interest by disqualifying anyone who is directly or indirectly involved in the sector. A new insertion is also added, which defines ‘conflict of interest’ in the sector. This provision was welcomed by the Committee as it seeks to enhance good corporate governance in the industry.
  • Clause 7 amends Section 7 of the principal act to increase the number of years an appointed member may serve the board from the current ‘three’ to ‘four’ years and to specify the eligibility criteria for re-appointment in line with the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act Chapter 10:31). Subsection 4 of the principal Act is also amended to comply with the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act which provides that allows a Board Member can only serve for 4 years and be eligible for re-appointment only one more term. Thus, the Committee welcomes these new provisions which strengthen corporate governance practices in the pension and insurance industry for the benefit of the sector.
  • Clause 8 amends section 13 of the principal act by deleting ‘two members’ and substitute with ‘two thirds of members’ in line with the increased number from five to seven members. The Committee and members of the public welcomed this provision as it allows a wider consultation of members of the Board, especially in terms of representation.
  • Clause 9 amends Section 14 of the Act by increasing the number of committees the board may establish from ‘one or more’ to ‘two or more.’ However, the people noted with concern the provision of compelling the Board to appoint at least two committees but highlighted that the clause failed to specify the roles and duties of these two appointed committees. It was therefore recommended that, for the avoidance of doubt, the functions of the two Committees should be made clear in the Bill.
  • Clause 11 was welcomed by the people as it empowers the Commission to co-operate with other regulatory authorities, both local and foreign, in enforcing laws, carrying out investigations and exchanging information. The provision is fundamental in building strong synergies of mutual cooperation between insurance companies and pension funds operating across national boundaries.

However, reservations were made on a provision that amends Section 23(C) of the Principal Act on sharing privileged information with other authorities. The provision allows the Commission to pass on “privileged information” to other authorities, while it will not have to disclose “privileged information” received from the same authorities. Members of the public noted that this provision was unclear and vague. Reference was made to the Civil Evidence Act which underlines that legal privileged information is information that the holder cannot be obliged to disclose. It was therefore submitted that the Bill needs to be amended so that the principle suggested under the clause is clear and straight forward, especially as to the kind of information the Commission will be able to disclose and not disclose in line with the provisions of the Civil Evidence Act on the conferment of the privilege on information.

The public had reservations on the proposed amendment of Clause 11 which outlines the payment of unclaimed benefits of more than five years from the insurers and pensions to a proposed Pensions and Provident Fund Protection Fund. The public noted the need for clarity on where the liability will be transferred to once the unclaimed benefits are transferred to the Fund.

The people also welcomed the provision in clause 11 of the Bill on the establishment of the Policyholder and Pensions and Provident Fund Members Protection Fund to compensate holders of insurance policies and members of pension and provident funds who suffer loss in the event of their insurance companies or funds being insolvent. It was noted that this fund will enhance confidence in the insurance and pension industry.

Nonetheless the participants proffered the following recommendations, that;

  1.       The Fund should be administered by a separate board comprising the Commissioner of Insurance [the CEO of the Commission] and up to seven other members appointed by the Minister and should be financed primarily from contributions by insurers and pension and provident funds.
  2.        The insurers must have a say in the selection and appointment of fund management Board. Reference was made to the appointment of Board members of the Deposit Protection Corporation Board where contributory institutions have a role to play in appointments.
  • There is need to reduce the limit on expenditure on staff remuneration and allowances from the proposed 30 % of the Fund’s annual income to 10%. The 10% should also cover the sitting allowances of the Board members.
    • Clause 13 provides for exemption of members of the Board and staff of the Commission from liability for loss or damage they may cause, unless they acted deliberately or recklessly or with gross negligence. The Public raised concern that the effect of this provision is to place all liability on the Commission rather than the individual who actually caused the loss. Placing liability for loss or damage on the Commission was deemed to imply that the Commission’s board and staff are above the law thus violating the rule of law as enshrined in Section 56 (1) of the Constitution.

The public also raised concern on a provision under Clause 13 amending Section 32 (B) of the Principal Act requiring the Commission to keep asset registers for insurers, insurance brokers, funds and other entities, and prohibits those entities from disposing of assets unless the Commission has been given 14 days’ advance notice of the disposal. The provision was deemed as unduly restrictive, warranting the delay of decisions which sometimes need to be made quickly – for example, the selling of stocks and shares. This was highlighted to be potentially damaging to the operations of insurers if they have to give 14 days-notice at every turn, particularly for cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities (money market instruments and listed shares). The public recommended that 3 working days would suffice in this provision instead of the 14 days proposed by the Bill.

The public welcomed the provision in Clause 13 on appeals where insurers and other people who are aggrieved by decisions of the Commission are allowed to appeal to the responsible Minister. The public however noted that the provision failed to specify what the Minister will do when faced with such an appeal. Reference was made to section 73 of the Banking Act, which gives banks the right of appeal to the Minister against decisions of the Reserve Bank and, if they are dissatisfied with the Minister’s decision, they can appeal to the Administrative Court and from there to the Supreme Court. The public was of the opinion that the same extended right of appeal should be given to persons aggrieved by the Commission’s decisions.

Further concern over clause 13 of the bill was raised citing that the provision for determining when an insurer or pension fund becomes insolvent [and thereby entitling policy holders or members to seek compensation] needs to be clarified. The public observed that there was no provision in the insurance act or the pension and provident funds act for entities to be “declared to be of unsound financial position”, as stated in the amendment bill.

  • Committee Observations
    • That the strengthening of the mandate of IPEC would contribute to the stabilisation of the pension and insurance industry.
    • That the term ‘asset’ was not defined in the main act and the bill. In the insurance and pension industry, asset refers to capital assets, investment assets, policyholder assets or shareholder assets among other assets within the sector.
    • That the inclusion of NSSA in the basket of institutions to be monitored and regulated by IPEC is a welcome development, given the many challenges facing NSSA under the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and medical aid societies under the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
    • That the establishment of the Policyholder and Pensions and Provident Fund Members Protection Fund is a welcome move critical in bringing sanity in the Insurance Industry, particularly when some companies become insolvent and members lose their benefits.
    • The Bill fails to give the key stakeholders in the industry the right to give opinion in the selection and appointment of fund board members.
    • That pensioners make the majority of the contributions into the Policyholder and Pensions and Provident Fund Protection Fund, hence the need to review the composition of the board to also include a “pensioner,” who will then ensure that the interests of other pensioners are represented in the Board.
    • That the proposed 30% allocation of the Policyholders and Pensions and Provident Fund Protection Fund yearly income to the Board’s expenditure was rather exorbitant and possibly detrimental to the Fund’s effective execution of its mandate.
    • That the role of the responsible Minister after receiving appeals from insurers were not provided for in the Bill. This would give rise to vagueness, inconsistencies in the processing of the appeals impacting on the credibility of the appeals process.
    • That the roles and duties of the two standing Committees that the Board may appoint were not elaborated in the Bill, hence the need to make sure that the duties are clearly articulated for the avoidance of doubt.
  • Committee Recommendations
    • That the definition of terms section in the Bill be exhaustive of all the words that can create confusion in the implementation of the Act, such as that of ‘asset.’
    • That the Policyholder and Pensions and Provident Fund should be administered by a separate board comprising the Commissioner of IPEC and up to seven other members appointed by the Minister and the Fund should be financed primarily from contributions by insurers and pension and provident funds.
    • There is need to reduce the limit on expenditure on staff remuneration and allowances from the proposed 30 % of the Fund’s annual income to 10%. The 10% should also cover the sitting allowances of the Board members.
    • The insurers must have a say in the selection and appointment of the Pensions and Provident Fund Protection Fund Management Board since they will be making the bulk of the contributions. Reference can be made to the appointment of Board members of the Deposit Protection Corporation Board where contributory institutions have a role to play in appointments.
    • The reduction of the limit on expenditure on staff remuneration and allowances from the proposed 30% of the Fund’s annual income to 10% is of utmost importance to reduce the fund’s expenditure. The 10% should also cover the sitting allowances of the Board members.
    • The Minister’s responsibilities once receiving appeals from insurers aggrieved by the Commission’s decisions have to be spelt out in the bill or delegated legislation to avoid any doubts in handling the appeals process.
    • The two standing Committees to be set up by the Board should have clearly defined responsibilities and duties.
  • Conclusion
    • The Insurance Bill is a good law which seeks to address some of the major discrepancies arising from the policy and legislative gap which have not kept pace with regional and international practice. The sector is a high risk sector which must be adequately regulated to ensure that policyholders and insurers do not encounter losses unnecessarily, especially, due to events that can be protected by the law.
    • Therefore, the Committee fully supports the passage of the Insurance Bill together with the proposed amendments as highlighted in this report. I thank you.

          HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  This Parliament is an institution that represents people, that is the reason why we have public hearings, to have an input from stakeholders in the laws that we make.  I am totally against this Bill because the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Nyashanu was very clear on the numbers that attended the hearings.  He said 17, 7 and 1- if I am not mistaken. He said 17 one meeting, 7 another meeting and 1, I do not know how we can call a meeting with one person, that was in Mutare. 

          So, for me we cannot say the stakeholders had an input and as Parliament, we must be seen to come up with laws which involve stakeholders. Our debate then arises from that, it becomes extremely difficult to debate on such a Bill when people are not involved.  We would rather do something properly.  My proposal would be to re-do it and  give people enough time, notice, so that we are able to maximise on people’s input and do it professionally.  The country is watching and we will be accused as Parliament of passing Bills which have nothing to do with the people.

  1. therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, am pushing and proposing that the Committee - the communication of Parliament broke down somewhere. The amount of money spent is a lot and we must leave a legacy as being a Parliament that worked with the people and not against the people.  This Bill is very important for the people of Zimbabwe, especially with inflation.  The pensioners, not only that, the banking sector itself, if I am not mistaken is very important in terms of ensuring that things are put in the right perspective. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the Committee Chairperson is competent and he cannot be equally blamed because the Members of Parliament (MPs) are not responsible for communication in terms of dissemination of information.  So, it becomes very difficult to then point a finger at the chairman of the Committee.  Most Members of Parliament of that respective area must be notified but they also need to be resourced.  The MPs at this point in time are incapacitated, they do not have money, fuel, bundles and airtime to call and mobilise people.  So, it is from this point where we must be able to revisit and that is why Mr. Speaker we have been insisting on the information centres.  I am happy that the Minister of Finance is here.

          Minister of Finance, information centres that you talked about in the budget would help in this situation, the dissemination of information to relevant people and people know that any information that is happening in the constituency; any activities, we have an office that they can see on the notice-board.  The community then said that any event happening in the constituency will be put on the notice board but that would happen at the information centre, and without that being in place, it is difficult.  While the Members of Parliament are equally responsible for that, it requires resources and time to enable them to mobilise people. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, I see that at times when we go for these public hearings, Members of Parliament for these constituencies, some of them do not know that there is a hearing.  If the Member of Parliament for the constituency does not know, it becomes difficult for you to expect the ordinary person to know when one of our colleague Hon. Members is in the dark.  So, communication must improve by ensuring that the Member of Parliament knows that there is an activity and an awareness programme done in terms of that.

So Mr. Speaker Sir, without saying much, I would really appreciate your indulgence and I know you are a stickler at doing the right things.  We have a reputation to protect the legacy to live as Parliamentarians, as a Ninth Parliament and I think what has not been done must be done well.  As a former teacher and headmaster, there was nothing wrong with somebody repeating when they failed.  I would like this Committee to repeat, I do not want to say they failed but there was communication breakdown and that I think could give us some dignity and respect in terms of the Bills and the laws that we pass in this House.  They will be taken seriously because the public saw this and they are aware of it. 

It was on social media and the Chairman, if I am not mistaken, was interviewed and it was very difficult for him to say anything beyond what has been before him.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, that is my contribution on this Bill.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. T. Mliswa.  You have made a request for re-engagement with the public.  Now, advertisements were made in all our media papers, social media was used to which Members of Parliament here present and those outside were privy and are privy to the website, the Parliamentary website to the group platform and every Member, whether you have a constituency or no constituency, you are obligated to ensure that the public attends. That is your representative role and your constitutional representative role.  In this case, is it not Mutare where only one person attended? – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Mutare] – Mutare - where were the Members of Parliament from Mutare?  PR members, where were they?  So, Members of Parliament, in their representative role should encourage civil society organisations, those people in the pensions sector, people that pay pensions, mobilise them to attend; that is your representative role but you did not do this.  So, there are so many channels in which the advertisement was done to invite the public to contribute and civil society organisations are very prone to disparaging Government when it comes to law making process, they are not there.  We cannot drag them by the nerves and say come and contribute.  Veritas is an exception because they publicise the times, venues and dates very eloquently and they even go as far as telling the public that they are attending.  They should desist from wearing regalia, they should observe the health protocol and so on; Veritas does that apart from the efforts of Parliament itself.  Justice Gubbay says the law cannot protect the lackadaisical; you have to accept the law as it is. If you wake up tomorrow and you find out the issues about the law, then you can petition Parliament in terms of Section 149 and make your suggestions and the law will be amended accordingly if need be.

HON. BITI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: You do not seem to be connected.

HON. BITI: I am connected.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Why do you always want to argue with the Chair?  I see it from my screen – [HON. T. MLISWA: I think each time the Hon. Speaker intervenes, he will always think of his yellow tie.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Biti, take that with a grain of salt.

HON. BITI: Thank you Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: You can proceed.

HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of pensions is very important in our country and it is important because of the loss of value that pensioners have suffered in this country over two main periods.  The first period was the period associated with the economic meltdown years leading up to 2008.  So, for 11 years between 1997 and 2008, pensioners’ monies lost value.  Mr. Speaker Sir, from the Justice Smith Commission of Inquiry Report which was tabled before this august House in March of 2017, that US5.68 billion worth of pensions was lost as a result of three main factors that were identified in the Justice Commission Report. The first one which caused loss of value was the macro-economic environment or rather, the mismanagement of the economy manifested primarily through the hyper inflation that we experienced during those years.   So you could say that the macro-economic environment is a baby of the Government and the Justice Smith Commission of Enquiry placed 46% of the blame of the loss of values on Government, 46% of the blame.  The second cause was the behaviour, the predatory behaviour of insurance companies and insurance houses and the Justice Smith Commission Report placed 22% blame to insurance companies.  Two insurance companies were singled out for terrible behaviour; one was Old Mutual and the second one was First Mutual, then the 12 or 14% blame was passed on to the regulator, The Insurance Pension Commission that we are debating today.  So, 46%, 22% and 12% was the breakdown of the loss. 

With that background, Mr. Speaker, the Government has gazetted three Bills that are dealing with the Insurance sector, the first one which we are debating today; amendments to the Insurance and Pension Commission Bill.  The second one which we will be debating perhaps this week will be a new Insurance Bill.  The third one which was gazetted in September is amendments to the Pensions and Provident Fund Bill.

Now the   challenge with all these three amendments is that they do not address the causes of the loss of value to pensioners and insured persons that was identified in the Justice Smith Commission of Inquiry Report. So, I agree with Hon. Mliswa that we need to go back to the drawing board but for different reasons.  My different reasons being that the three Bills that the Government has presented in response to the Justice Commission Bill, namely Amendment to the Insurance Pension Commission Act, the regulator, Brand new insurance law and Amendments to the Pensions and Provident Fund Bill, do not attack the     grave man, the cause of the pension crisis which we have in this country.

We need a second commission of inquiry, the Justice Smith Commission of inquiry dealt with loss of value up to 2008 and the conversion of asserts by insurance houses in or around March 2009.   However, we have a second loss after 2009, workers regrouped, employers regrouped and started making contributions in USD but after the passage of   SI 33 of 2019, insurance houses, in particular the same old culprits, Old Mutual, First Mutual Life, are now paying out benefits in RTGS yet contributions from 2009 to February 2019 were being paid in USD. 

Now, I have no idea of the loss of value between 2009 and 2019 but my rough calculations put it around 3 billion. So, if   you add 3 billion to USD5, 68, it means pensioners have lost close to USD9 billion in a space of 8 years. Mr. Speaker, that is not good enough because the pensioner is my grandfather, my father, you and I Mr. Speaker, so we cannot afford an economy to lose pension value.  One of the reasons we cannot afford to lose pension values, pensions represent forced savings and all over the world, the biggest assets holders are pension houses, they hold huge amounts of money in their banks which other people borrow to kick start the economy. So when you do not have pension, it also means that you do not have savings. A normal, decent country requires at least savings which are at least 25% of GDP to have a sustained GDP growth rate.

China which is now the second largest   economy in the word have savings ratio to GDP of 50%, that is why we cannot mess around with     pensions and that is why with great respect, we need to go back to the drawing board  both as the Executive and as the Committee so that we consult citizens.

I heard the Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee saying we consulted the insurance companies but they are the culprits. Let us consult trade unions, workers, employers too because employers also lost.  So, I do not think there was adequate consultation that meets the test in Section 141 of the Constitution which requires adequate consultation.  

Let me now move to the merits of this current Bill.  The first challenge I have with it is that the Bill allows IPEC to register insurance houses and I am using the word insurance in the broad spectrum of all the companies that they allowed and the entire sector that they are allowed to supervise.  Mr. Speaker, once you are given the role and responsibility of registration, it means you are creating.  You   cannot create and then regulate your own baby; it is the problem which we are having in the banking sector.  The RBZ registers banks in terms of the Banking Act and then supervises the same. In the past, there was a registrar of banks housed in the Ministry of Finance, physically used to be called Mr. Chidavaenzi, I think he is still there.  Then you have the        RBZ as the regulator, I submit there must be a registrar of insurance and pension funds who is not IPEC because you cannot regulate your own baby.  So, I submit that that is a fundamental weakness of this Bill.

The second fundamental weakness is that board members of IPEC are also insurance players, some of them own insurance houses, and some of them are employees of insurance houses. I submit that this incest must be done away with. If you work for an insurance company, if you own an insurance company, you cannot sit on the board of IPEC, you cannot regulate yourself. So, if you look at the current board, you will find that there are some actors who are actually running insurance companies.  So, I would like to see a situation, with great respect, that there is a total proscription of board members who are also players because you cannot be a referee and a player at the same time.

The third aspect which was also touched by the Committee is the vague definition of assets in the Bill and I think that was deliberate.   Part of the problem with these insurance houses is that they hedge insurance losses and values through assets, they buy assets, buildings and so forth then they create separate companies that own the assets that they would have created.  If you look at First Mutual life, I think it has a company that owns buildings. So, the companies are now de-linked, yet the assets are insurance assets because they were bought for proceeds of pensions and pension contributions but IPEC the regulator cannot regulate the new company that has been created that owns buildings and shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.   In my submission, the regulator must regulate anything owned and create from insurance assets and values.  Secondly, the aspect of creating shelf companies that then own assets like land, if you look at ZB,  First Mutual Life and the Old Mutual, that should not happen without the approval of IPEC but IPEC should continue regulating those assets because they are essentially insurance assets.  So, I support the Committee that there must be a clearer definition of assets, so that we cover everything because these people hide everything in different companies as was confirmed by the Justice Smith Commission Report.

Fourth, the biggest Insurance House in Zimbabwe is NSSA, it collects over 40 million USD a month but it is not regulated by anyone. The Minister of Labour and Social Services my good friend Prof. Mavhima cannot be a regulator equally, the Minister of Health, the esteemed Vice President of the country cannot regulate medical aid   schemes too, so it is a lacuna that NSSA is not regulated by IPEC.  I submit that NSSA should be regulated by IPEC and NSSA is one of those notorious companies whose asset base, other than contributions, is now bigger than the contributions and the board of NSSA has now forgotten the core  business of NSSA which is to  look after workers; they are now looking after the profits and the companies and the shares that they are busy acquiring on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, and in the economy. The issue of regulation, the issue of IPEC having regulatory insight and oversight over NSSA is very important.

          The next issue is the creation of the fund. The Act creates a policy holder fund. On the face of it, that is a good thing but you read the small print and you will see the problem. This fund is only protecting policy holders against one omission, which is the insolvency of the company. If you look at the challenge that has caused pensioners to earn RTGs$60 - it has nothing to do with the collapse of pension houses. The Old Mutual is there, we found it there and we are going to leave it there because it is a colonial company representing white monopoly capital.

        So the mischief is not the closure and the insolvency. The mischief are those factors which were identified in the Justice Smith Report which was the macro-economic environment and hyper inflation, the greediness and predatory behaviour of insurance companies, the lack of proper supervision by IPEC. Therefore, the fund will not help the majority of pensioners who have suffered from these factors, not insolvency. If the fund is to properly cushion and protect workers in Zimbabwe, it must cushion us against hyperinflation and macro-economic disequilibrium; it must cushion us against predatory insurance companies.

          If you read the Justice Smith Report, there were some companies mentioned by name in the report which were receiving about $10 but they were paying themselves $130. It is not enough to take a pensioner’s money. They overspent that which they do not have and that is the problem with errant people. They stay in Borrowdale, they stay in Highlands and they drive fancy cars. They shop at Sammy Levy’s Village and at Sandton and that is what the Act needs to deal with.

          The fund is inadequate because it is only protecting against insolvency. It is not protecting against hyper-inflation. The Hon. Member raised the issue of the rate going to ZD450. When the rate goes to ZD450, it means pensioners are suffering. How does the pensioner get protected under those circumstances?  I respectfully submit that we need to go back to the drawing board. I respectfully submit that the ILO which is a tripartite UN Organisation consisting of workers, employers - governments and trade unions has got massive expertise to deal with the situation that we faced as a country.   

          One of the case models that they used was Russia in the mid-1990s. The Ruble collapsed in 1985/89 after Gorbachev introduced Perestroika and the ILO moved in to assist the Russian Government in how to rebuild pensions and how to compensate workers in that phase. I submit that let us go back to the drawing board and let us get the help of the ILO and let us fully implement the recommendations of the Justice Smith Commission Report because the three Bills, the proposed amendments to the Insurance Pension Commission Bill, the proposed new insurance law and the proposed amendments to the Pensions and Provident Fund do not meet the expectations of the Justice Smith Commission Report. I thank you Hon. Speaker. 

          (v)HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to contribute to this debate. Those who debated before me started on very important areas of the IPEC Act which has been amended. I would like to add my voice specifically on NSSA regulations. NSSA, unless it is regulated, has a potential to open insurance industry policy of its size that a contribution that goes to NSSA is not solicited, but they are statutory, meaning that they have free money that comes to them and whatever they do in terms of investment and pay out to members, they are free to do it and whatever they do, in my observation, if we want laws in the insurance industry, it is like they are a law unto themselves and without regulation, we are faced with a situation where there is social security system that includes insurance industry. I really support the issue that...

            HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Please Hon. Mliswa, why do you not allow the Hon. Member to debate?

          HON. T. MLISWA: It is quite important Hon. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order please, he is on line and I do not want to miss him.

          HON. T. MLISWA: He is wearing a polo-neck, does he have a tie underneath and that is my simple point of order. Is he well dressed to be a parliamentarian at this point in time?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Togarepi, we do not see your tie, what is happening?

          HON. T. MLISWA: He has no tie and he must show us the tie. We have rules in this House. He is a Chief Whip and he should live by example.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, you do not have a tie as well.

          HON. T. MLISWA: Mine is African wear.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: He is on African wear. Hon. Togarepi, please proceed.

          (v)HON. TOGAREPI: So my recommendation in my debate is that NSSA must be regulated, whether it is regulated by IPEC or a competent financial regulator, not a Ministry. In view of what decision has been made by NSSA in the past, for example investing in collapsing banks and so forth, it is a sign of failure within their decision making processes. These would only be avoided, engineer regulated and given direction on how they have to invest public funds. So, I really recommend that NSSA must be regulated and IPEC has got the capacity to regulate NSSA including the medical aid societies. They are all insurances and they are entitled to the stability of the financial service sector.  They cause a lot of distortion in the financial system.  So, I really support the issue that NSSA must be regulated.  The insurance industry works hand-in-hand with the banking sector.  If there is no relationship, there are meetings between the insurance industry and the banking sector. Much of the premium contributions are deposited with banks before they are invested with any other investment in the country.  If there is failure in the banking system, there is bound to be failure in the performance of the insurance industry. There is nothing Government can do, whatever we intend to do as Government unless monies that go to the banks are protected, then the insurance industry is bound to fail.  In this law, I do not know how the Minister can come up with something that can link the two.  If you look at the failure which we are talking about, which caused the Justice Smith Investigation, most of the financial assets were destroyed when zeros were lost.  The decision was not done by the insurance industry, but it was done by the banking sector and the regulators.  So, people lost the value of their pensions. How do we recover that value, and how do the insurance companies come to meet what they had promised their policy holders?   So, there should be a clear reform in terms of the banking sector, regulations and also linking with the insurance sector so that the insurance sector is not destroyed by the failures in the banking sector. 

          The powers that have been given to IPEC are very important and applauded.  They are going to help in dealing with the arrogance in the insurance industry.  The other thing that the other Hon. Members were raising as culprits in this industry, normally it is powerful individuals in these insurance companies who should be barred from the insurance industry if they tamper around with people’s monies.  The person has been suffering, paying pension contributions for many years and after 50 years, he is told that all you worked for is gone.  You will be told that the decision was made by this insurance guru in the insurance sector.  IPEC should be given powers to ban all these people from working in the insurance industry.

  If you look at the failures that were identified by Justice Smith, these insurance companies are still operating as we speak.  They are very rich but they will be saying we were affected by inflation, Government did not do this; these effects were only felt by policy holders’ investments yet they will be having assets.  They are hypocrites, they transferred policy holders’ money to their allies, they must be arrested and go to jail.  Some people are now poor because the insurance industry was not being honest.  They stole people’s monies. After passing this law, I agree that we must come up with another investigation so that those who stole the monies go to jail.  These insurance companies convert people’s assets to their own assets. They must be made to pay, otherwise the insurance is only to make those who are rich very rich at the expense of the poor people, those who dedicate their incomes to their investments.

Hon. Speaker, I want to support this Bill so that IPEC is given more powers and we expect IPEC to then perform and protect policy holders from those insurance companies who are abusing policy holders’ funds.    Insurance companies are so rich yet they claim that people’s monies were eroded by inflation.  Asset managers are very rich; they are doing very well on those assets yet only policy holders are affected.   Hon. Minister, it is critical that you engage and ask IPEC to protect contributions by policy holders.  It is very bad that we see people who have worked for this country in abject poverty having put a lot of monies to guaranteed safe retirement but the same insurance company asset managers are there, rich and driving beautiful cars.  Where did they get the monies from when the monies were eroded by inflation? 

Mr. Speaker, I also want to comment on the issue of poor attendance during these public hearings. I do not see how people failed to attend these public hearings.  I blame my fellow colleagues; it was not too technical for the public to raise these issues that were affecting them under the insurance industries and what had happened to their pensions.  I think it was because people were scared, people think insurance issues are very technical, but in my view, it is not.  It is very simple, that is why millions of our people contribute to the insurance industry.  These insurance companies must be very transparent.  We need serious insurance companies and pension reforms so that they speak to the interests of our people.  I thank you. 

*HON. DUTIRO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this debate.  Indeed, it is true inflation is very high and it is eroding and affecting pensioners’ benefits although they contribute to insurance companies including NSSA so that they get returns after their retirement.  It is meant to cushion them against hardships when they are aged but that did not happen because insurance and pension companies are only taking people’s money and failing to give them their benefits.  For example, today they get your money and buy 100 bricks but when you get your benefits, the money you get cannot buy you even half a brick but they will be keeping those 100 bricks.  So the suffering of people is not justified because it is caused by some insurance persons who fail to invest wisely.

Insurance companies invested in land and properties but when they pay you back your benefits they do not consider all those contributions you made towards the assets they accrued as a result of  your contributions.  These insurance companies should be evaluated. People’s contributions should be considered and equated into shares considering how much they have contributed.  They end up burdening Government yet in actual fact, they have contributed to pensions.  The problem we have realised with these insurance companies is that they get a lot of money from people and they are the same people who buy money from the illegal market and cause the rise of the illegal markets.  Their contributions must be equated to shares so that when they need the benefits, they can easily access them and reduce the burden on Government since their contributions equate to savings for a long term. The other problem we noticed about these insurance companies is that they are the ones manipulating the parallel market and determining exchange rates because they get a lot of money from their contributors around the same time. They deliberately raise the rates at the same time raising premiums to ensure the contributors do not get value for their money.

There was Old Mutual index that was fixed by these people meant to erode the value of contributions. I remember there was a former teacher who contributed almost half of his salary to insurance companies. After contributing for more than 8 years, he was told that the premium he could get was US$7. So we are saying insurance companies and pension funds must be evaluated to ascertain their real value so that their actual value can be spread to contributors. If you look at NSSA for instance, they have constructed mansions in Borrowdale that are not being used at all. Those houses are constructed by proceeds from contributors who reside in Glen Norah, Glen View and Mbare, yet the contributors are not getting anything and do not have houses and they are stuck in high density suburbs.

What we are saying is that we are taking the US dollar as an asset. The US dollar is not our money and it will never be our money. We should look for a competitor to the US dollar. For example, something like gold because you can easily access it if you dig wherever you stay. Right now Fidelity is the only one allowed to buy gold but how many people benefit from it.  Fidelity is only found in a few pockets of this country. Gold must be bankable. Gold must be bankable at any bank or financial institution. It must also be transferable. This is what has led to these insurance companies and pension funds to compete on the parallel market yet we have gold and everyone knows it and we have all touched it. If we allow gold to be bankable, anyone can use it for banking. If I were to get it today after 5 years, I can go and sell it outside the country and buy a bicycle and pay lobola.

          *HON CHIKWAMA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this debate raised by Hon. Nyashanu about pensions. The issue of pensions is a very painful one because we need to come up with policies that bring together pension associations because some of the things that they do are not helpful at all to people. I spent 31 years on Unified Association of Councils but what you earn after that is just ZW$300. The benefits you get after all those years of contribution cannot help you at all to survive.

          At some point workers were given statements that showed that you had nil contributions yet they acquire assets and conceal those assets. Their statements only reflect money as in cash yet they are supposed to start all over again to contribute after 15 years or so. That is very painful. If you look at NSSA, it has acquired assets here and there and it has buildings such as Joina City and has also built a hospital in Bulawayo on land which is not theirs yet they do not give adequate benefits to people. There should be a law that really scrutinises how pension funds and insurance companies use contributors’ monies.

          There are some people who are not able to claim their money from NSSA because they have relocated to rural areas. Most of the people are not able to claim those funds because of the age stipulations. By the time they are eligible to get the benefits, they will not be able to travel to process the benefits. As Parliament, we need to come up with legislation that regularises insurance companies from time to time because there is no progress. Funds belonging to people are disappearing and there is no progress. There are a lot of insurance and pension funds which are not giving back to the contributors. Most people struggle to claim their benefits because of the bureaucracy. NSSA gets funds from contributors and acquire assets whilst the intended beneficiaries get nothing out of it. They are the ones owning the parallel market because they get a lot of money every month from contributions.

          My appeal is we need to enact legislation to cover all pensioners so that the Government can monitor their intended benefits from their declared assets and values. Right now with this high inflation, you will see in future people statements and bank cards will show zeros although the pension funds and insurance companies own most of these assets we see. For example Old Mutual owns a lot of assets. As Parliament, we need to come up with laws that regulate them and stop the impunity they are currently operating under. I thank you.

          HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for recognizing me to debate on this particular Bill.  First and foremost, I would want to state that like the Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee indicated, we have got to understand that this Bill was drafted sometime around 2015.  When it was drafted, it took longer than necessary for it to be brought to this House.  The Bill was supposed to answer to the issues that have been raised by the Justice Smith Commission.  The other thing that we also noted Mr. Speaker Sir is that the text of the Bill, the Attorney General officials who participated in our workshop actually queried that the text of the Bill has changed midstream. 

          Secondly Mr. Speaker Sir, the other problem that we also noted from this Bill, if you go to other stakeholders who wanted to contribute, there are actually two different texts. If you go to Government Printers today to buy this Bill and you compare it with the other, the texts are different.  That is a challenge which many stakeholders who wanted to contribute to the Bill faced.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Just a point of clarification.  Is the Hon. Member saying the Bill gazetted in 2015 and the one now gazetted in 2021, the texts are different?

          HON. MUSHORIWA:  No, I did not say that Mr. Speaker.  I said the drafting part of the Bill was done in 2015 but the process, going through the Cabinet Legislative Committee and the other processes took longer than necessary.  What I then said which is different is that if you go to the Government Printers today to get this Bill and you then check with the other one, even the one we have on our emails, there are certain clauses which are very different.  Stakeholders were complaining to say, which one is the authentic Bill if these bills are actually different.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you for the explanation.  I am sure the Hon. Minister has noted that. 

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, before I delve into the technical issues, I am not going to repeat the misdemeanors of the insurance and pension companies.  However, I think there is one issue which is critical which is the Government - you know Mr. Speaker Sir that pension and insurance funds are prescribed by law that some of their assets, they should invest in Government stock, Treasury Bills, Government bonds, et cetera.  What has happened is that when the Zimbabwe dollar was losing value, an insurance company goes using insurance money or pensioners’ funds to buy Treasury Bills when they were worth $200 million, for example.  With time, the money loses value and by the time they get back their money, it will be worthless.  The problem is not only the insurance company or the pension company that is suffering.  The people that are suffering are the pensioners and the insurance contributors.  This is the reason why I agree with Hon. Biti to simply say that we needed to make sure that the Justice Smith Commission Report pertaining to the mistakes of Government need to be sorted out. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, if you look into this Bill, there are a number of issues which I think the Minister need to deal with.  I think some of them have been raised by the Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee.  This Bill was badly drafted or was drafted in a hurry.  If you look and start from Clause 2, maybe the only clause which in my view was properly done was Clause 1, which is the Short Title.  Any other clause Mr. Speaker Sir has got a lot of things that need to be explained.  Maybe the reason is because there was a passage of time before the Bill was brought to Parliament and there are a number of things that the Ministry did not consider. 

          The Chairperson of the Committee has raised some of the amendments that we feel strongly need to be brought in.  Most importantly, one of the chief culprits in terms of the different texts, one text says NSSA and the medical insurance companies are excluded from this Bill but another text of the Bill is saying that NSSA and medical insurance companies are now under this Bill.  I think the Hon. Minister needs to clarify which one is the correct position.  If NSSA and the medical aid societies are now part of this Bill, it will be a very important development because that is what we need to happen.  We cannot have a Ministry of Labour supervising or superintending the NSSA.  We need a competent board like IPEC. 

          Hon. Speaker, talking of IPEC, some of the powers that IPEC seeks - are probably too excessive.  It is important that IPEC needs to be fully powered but when they want to usurp powers that have been invested in other bodies, then we will have a problem.  We have got the Public Accounting Auditors Board and the Asset Management Board and we need to make sure that IPEC runs in its own lane rather than to try to criss-cross. 

          I am going to raise two issues to just emphasise before I sit down Mr. Speaker Sir.  One of it pertains to the establishment of a Policyholder and Pension Provident Fund Members’ Protection Fund board.  The manner in which the clause was crafted, we would have loved the Hon. Minister to copy and paste what is found pertaining to the Depositor Protection Fund.  You know the one which the banks contribute to, this is the one that we would have wanted to be copied and pasted into this Bill.  As far as we are concerned, the provision which is in the Deposit Protection Corporation Board is actually better to us. 

          The last one which I also feel needs to be looked into is Clause 32, the one on appeals.  Again Mr. Speaker Sir, we would be happy if the Minister could go and copy Section 73 of the Banking Act and replace 32 (c) there with the provision.  That provision under the Banking Act does justice in terms of the appeal process, rather than which we have in this Bill.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you.  We will be submitting more when we come to the Committee Stage.  Thank you. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  At least I am happy even if the public did not attend.  The level of debate seems to be quite high. 

          HON. B. DUBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The contention before us of the Bill, the mischief of the law is not being clearly addressed.  There is no clear provision relating to the issues that have been the serious problems in the insurance sector.  The first issue being that there has been serious losses before which had not been recovered; which Hon. Biti estimated to be around $9 billion.  So, the mischief of the law must then clearly say, what do we do to that?  Going forward, how do we prevent the future happenings?  So, this is what the law must be addressing because every law must have a specific intention and a specific mischief that it must address once and for all.

          Where we come from, you are now able to tell a pensioner by just looking at them.  They look much neglected and they look very depressed. What we then must remember and take into account is that all of us here, by the passage of a day, we are getting closer to that class.  If we do not make right these laws, we are exactly going to see also ourselves in that same situation.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, this law must also be able, in some way, to address to us what we should do to those rogue insurance companies; majority of them, actually it is good that you have mentioned these companies that are still around but which are actually eating on our savings. However, the worst part relates to those that have actually relocated.  A lot of our pensioners are going to some insurance companies where the addresses are now flea markets because the company has just looted the pensioners’ monies and went away.  This is the situation that is on the ground.  You go to a company where you contributed and the company is no longer there or they are now only at the head office in Harare.  This is the regulatory framework’s duty to put in place to say what the value of insurance is.  The value of insurance, is it supposed to be the money that you have invested or the money that the insurer decides to give you at the time of giving you the money? 

I believe that Minister, you must actually come up with a breakeven point of this situation where actually in as much as they are there for business and for them to sustain business, they need to make profit but they must also be fair in terms of the contributors’ value because I do not believe that the reason for non-payment of the adequate pensions is as a result of inadequate funding because these insurance companies are the richest in terms of what they own.  I think they own about two-thirds of the CBD buildings.  They cannot be sincere to just say you contributed US$, for 20 years you were contributing that much, which enabled us to buy big buildings and now we are compensating you this much.

          This Government, if it is sincere, must actually make sure that the law that is being promulgated now must address all these things and make sure that we mitigate on the prejudice being suffered by our people.  I understand there are people who are holding on to those cheques of 2009.  I think they were $5 or $6 of value for pensions back dated to possibly 1980 up to 2009.  For now, also we still have the pensioners who do not even know what the value of their contributions is.  So, my point is in our law, let there be clarity relating to what is the mechanism, especially relating to that fund, relating to risk.  Our main risk has never been the insolvency issue because none of them have actually applied to be declared as such.  Our main problem is actually the issues of inflation as well as the issues of unfair compensation of the workers.

          Like indicated before by Hon. Mliswa, there was no adequate consultation but where we are now, we still have an opportunity, the Ministry of Finance may not be able to have all the answers although they are the classers of this Bill but ILO is well positioned to actually partner with us in terms of how to address that issue relating to other risks apart from the risk of insolvency that has been decided to be covered.  I believe it is not for Zimbabwe, the fundamental challenge that we have had has been absence of proper security to the pensioners and the workers at the time that the monies are required.

          As I conclude, let there be a consultation with ILO, especially on how we manage this other risk as Russia did some years back when they were in the situation where we are in, so that we mitigate on the losses that are inherently being suffered by our people.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          Hon. Nduna having been pushing to be recognised.   

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I am following the list given by your Whip.  You have been recognised by the Acting Chief Whip and you are there in the list.

          HON. DR. MURIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I also rise to support the Insurance and Pension Fund Bill for it to be implemented.  I rise to share my experiences as a person who actually drafted the blueprint for the NSSA investment policy back in 1992.  I think the Bill must address two issues, one of compliance and that of governance within the insurance industry.  I believe those are the chief problems that we face.

          NSSA was created to address workers’ challenges in terms of pensions.  Initially, it was the private sector that was on the background of Government pension which was regarded as the most secure pension scheme at that time.  Going to NSSA, in terms of governance, you will see that the initial thrust was based on actuarial direction in terms of investment but as we went ahead with the implementation of the NSSA blueprint and changes in management, NSSA lost its direction.  Instead of investing funds in assets that will actually protect the funds for the workers, it became a gambling game where funds were actually directed to risk areas.  NSSA started getting into banking.  It invested in First Mutual.  Itself being an insurance entity, it was investing in another insurance entity and yet itself is not a reinsurance company. 

          Further to that, instead of being guided like I said by the actuarial direction, actuary is a science which I think if complied with, insurance companies will never fail unlike private business. You will see that most insurance companies right now are focused on profit rather than the provision of security to employees who have to retire at the end of their working life, for they are now focused on profit and edged by business interests in their operations, they lose direction.  If the Bill is implemented with those safeguards to ensure that there is strict compliance, then we would avoid a lot of risks and losses that the insurance industry is experiencing. If we look at Government, contributions are based on percentages of one’s salary.  NSSA contributions are also based on one’s salary, of course with a cap.

There is no reason why even if we are experiencing inflation, why an insurance company if pensions are collected on the basis of percentages, would fail to pay its obligations but that happens.  If you go back in terms of losses that NSSA suffered over the years, it was purely because of speculative investments which are not the underlined mode of operation for insurance companies.  Mr. Speaker Sir, a lot has been said.  In my short presentation, I would urge that the Bill focuses mainly on compliance issues and corporate governance issues and ensure that those are observed so that we will also avoid a situation where a general manager of an insurance company for example NSSA, is hired today, tomorrow he is fired and he is given a golden handshake from the contributors’ funds.

The next thing another one resigns, tomorrow he is given a golden handshake; that is a true reflection of lack of corporate governance and I am very happy that the Bill is coming at a right time, where all these previous weakness can actually be avoided and all loopholes closed.  I so submit Mr. Speaker Sir.

(v)HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I will go straight to my points.  There are about four points about this Bill that I want to present to you.  The first one is about the credibility of the Commissioners in the board of IPEC.  This has been touched on but it borders on issues to do with pecuniary interest where the Commissioners should not be involved in the insurance sector as business players. I say this because the current Commissioner, the Chairperson of IPEC is also an owner of an insurance company which ensures vehicles and other automobile with ZINARA and the nation at large.  There is need to separate the issues, there is need before the Minister amends this Act.  There is need to weed out the square plug from the round holes.  Otherwise we keep having the same thing over and over again and expect a different result and that is not possible.

Having said that, the issue of insurance in particular where the Bill now seeks to harmonise or also to include medical insurance; just this yesterday, you received a petition that speaks to and about road insurance or health insurance fund that seeks to compensate those that would have been involved in road traffic accident.  If this sector was being holistically, effectively, efficiently maintained and conducted, there would not be any such petitions that seek to compensate those that would have been involved in road accidents.

I ask that this board becomes robust and resilient first and foremost in order to look at the line insurance portfolios that existed before the inclusion of this Health Insurance Portfolio - that is my clarion call and fervent view. 

I now want to touch on the issue of third party insurance. It has become a cash cow for insurance companies without any compensation, not ability but without any need for compensation or appetite for compensation from the insurance players Mr. Speaker, to those that would have been involved in road accidents.  I will give you a little brief on what third party insurance is. It is money paid quarterly which is about US$35 converted into bonds per quarter and it is paid three times or quarterly per year. What it means is before you pay monies for your licence, you will have to have third party insurance and the vehicle population currently stands at 2 million automobiles. Everybody pays third party insurance but with a view of getting compensated if they are involved in road accidents, especially if there is third parties involved.  This is what third party insurance is and according to calculation using the vehicle population, there is about US$200m going to insurance players annually because of third party insurance.

By any stroke of imagination, this is not  a pittance, this is humongous, gigantic, copious amounts of monies and this needs to be dealt with at an intellectually gifted manner and also in a manner which is faithful by people with a good standing background and who are credible Mr. Speaker.  You know yourself that the Statutory Instrument of 45/2005 which gives some of this money which is 121/2  percent to Traffic Safety Council and now Traffic Safety Council having gotten that 12 ½ percent annually now receives about US$10m annually.  You were the champion of making that carbon note electronic in the Eighth Parliament and you asked the then Minister of Transport to come in to Parliament and to get away from the moribund, rudimentary, antiquated and medieval and manual ways of receiving that remittance and you have made sure it is electronic and to that end, we now have these monies that are now being given to Traffic Safety Council to the tune of US$10m. 

My point exactly Mr. Speaker Sir, the board and the Commissioners need not only to take care of themselves according to one of the clauses that says 10% is what is meant to curb the expenses of the commissioners’ remuneration, allowance and expenses.  The commissioners need to expand their horizon in terms of their capacity. So, this is where I then said there is adjudication and taking care of this third party insurance but more so, they need to make sure that the unsuspecting innocent motorists and citizens are also taken care of using that third party insurance in the event that they are involved in road traffic accident.

 On passenger insurance - it is supposed to take care of those that are in public transport at a rate of $15 per seat that is paid by the operators or the owners of passenger insurance, for instance a 75 seater bus will pay about USD1500 to 4000.  What is a look forward from those that are involved in accidents; those that are injured are supposed to get about USD 1500 to 2000 because of that passenger insurance. Those that are bereaved, the families are supposed to get about USD3 000 to 4000.  That is currently not happening. As soon as a bus is involved in an accident, you will see the passengers going to the owner of the automobile or the passenger transport. It is not supposed to be like that but it is like that because the insurance sectors has turned themselves into cash cows and are using the money that is supposed to be used for compensation to those that are involved in accidents.  The money is already there, you do not get a licence as a public service passenger vehicle operator if you have not paid passenger insurance. 

So, my clarion call is that these commissioners and this board have to look into the boards, the legacy issues involving the buses that are involved in accidents. There are a lot of people out there who are dying because of injuries incurred during an accident whilst they were criss- crossing the width and breadth of this country in insured public service vehicles. It is incumbent upon those that are coming in the amendment of this Act, the Insurance and Providence Act that should see the compensation in retrospect, current and futuristic.

As I conclude, the issue of the threshold, NSSA for argument’s sake and all the other pension houses where at retirement the pension is paid after the age 45, I ask that this Act and amendment takes care of the life expectancy which is 45 for men and women it is now 36 because of the economic hardships, not only in Zimbabwe but in the continent in Africa.  Once the life expectancy goes up to 60, 70 as the Bible says in Psalms 90:10 “where man is appointed to 3 score and 10”, three score is 60 and ten is 10, that is 70. 

Then at that time we will raise the bar again for pensioners to get all their money at maybe 60 but for now, I ask that the aged be given their full pension at 45 so that the pensioners enjoy their gratuity and enjoy their pensions that they have lived for whilst they are still alive. A lot of pensions get to be fought for once there is what is called estate management with the Master of High Court once those who were working for those pensions have passed on.  It is time to make them enjoy the fruits of their labour and give them all their monies at once.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I have spoken about the insurance sector, I have spoken about the pecuniary interest and lastly, I have spoken about the issue that touches on the pith, the core, the heart of my constituency Chegutu West because we have got David Whitehead pensioners, Government pensioners and the ultimately led by Mr. Green who would want to access his pension in full.   It is still there and it was paid when the money still had value but the monies that is now receiving are just but a pittance

I ask that because of the strength of this debate that I have put across, there should be the repeal of the law in order that it takes care of the people of Chegutu West Constituency and also to take care of all the people that are involved in RTA; mind you, there is 43 that are injured each day and there are five that die each day.  More die in the future because of injuries that had been sustained during an RTA way before.  We need to take care of these people in a robust, resilient, effective and efficient manner.  

As I conclude, the Minister should not put new wine in old skins but he should first and foremost remove the commissioners that are currently there because they have got pecuniary interests. He should put in new people that are of a credible nature.  I thank you.

(v)HON. S. BANDA: Firstly, allow me to thank Hon. Dr. Nyashanu who is the Chairperson of the Committee representing the report and Hon. Mushoriwa, I believe he was the one who was supposed to second the motion.

This Bill, for me there is the good, there is the not so good, there is the inconclusive and there is the indeterminate.  When I look at the report, I cannot help but think of the Justice Smith Report.   The Justice Smith Report among other things, sought to attend to the losses and conversion of insurance and pension values from ZWL to USD at that point when it was made. 

This Bill, this proposed amendment, there is really little to show for me that this report is adhering to that aspect of the report.  The H.B. seeks the Insurance and Pension Bill, and it will just have two parts in my presentation, the first one is directly to the Bill and the second one is broad.

The first part Mr. Speaker Sir, firstly I want to support Clause 5 which proposes movement from 5 to 7 members in the board of the Commission. There is Clause 7 which seeks to move from indefinite periods for board members to maximum clear terms of 8 years and I support that. I also support Hon. Dr. Nyashanu where he said a retired pensioner must be among the board members.

Clause 4, attempts to accredit actuaries, auditors, asset managers, credit rating agencies and I put inverted commas on ‘other service providers’. I see no need for auditors and asset managers to be included among those who are going to be regulated because these two are only regulated under the Public Accounts and Auditors Act and the Asset Management Act respectively. So, there is no need for them to be further regulated. I am worried by the term or words like ‘service providers’. Surely, the words ‘service provider’ is too broad and I believe that it should give no room for doubt. Let it be referred to the insurers, actuaries, asset managers, credit rating agencies, and reinsurers, those who do life insurers, funeral insurers, non-life insurers, composite insurers, reinsurers, insurance brokers and non-life reinsurers, not just to say service providers. I think that should not be there. 

          Whilst some information may be seen to be confidential and has to be kept so, the Civil Evidence Act refers to privilege of divulging or loading information to only four circumstances which are privilege against self incrimination, loyal crime privilege and these two are so clear. The other two privileges that the Civil Evidence Act speaks about are privilege to confidential information and privilege in the public interest. These are confessed by the order of a court only. This Bill, through Clause 11, seeks to perform a nullity and must not be seen to be fighting what already exists or else it is fighting the court system.

          I now go to the second part of my debate. It starts with the issue of this Bill which for reference sake, is the Insurance and Pensions Commission Amendment Bill vis-à-vis the Pensions and Provident Funds Act. These Acts are trying to solve one issue and I see no reason why they should be separated. If they are separated, they bring about gaps. For instance, studies have shown that the main issues that the industry faces are what the insurance and pensions industry faces.

          Studies have shown that there are 12 major issues which this industry faces. There is poor corporate governance, liquidity challenges, poor internal controls, real capital levels, poor information systems, high premium debtors, currency risk, low confidence, outdated legislation, low financial retro-levels, group wide exposures and shareholders. These are the 12 challenges that are faced but this Bill does not necessarily try to resolve the issues that are here. These two Bills among themselves were supposed to combine and be able to solve these issues that are based in industry. Any Bill or any Act that is promulgated but does not solve challenges that I have heard or that will be seen in the foreseeable future, does not seem to do what it is supposed to do.    Therefore, I seek amendments rather than total throwing away of this worthy Bill. It has to go back to the drawing board for further enrichment. There is no proposal on how pension funds would be structurally and systematically safeguarded. The proposal that is there is only academic and organisational. It protects the IPEC Commission and board but not the pensioners. The Commission members and staff can get away with murder and be untouchable through Clause 13 of this Bill which exempts the board and staff of the Commission from liability for loss or damage that may arise that they may cause in their personal capacities.

          There is a tendency for them to be protected. Instead of protecting the pensioner, it is now the staff and the board who are being protected. I think that needs to be amended. There is no attempt to cushion contributing and non-contributing pensioners. Currently, there are not many jobs in Zimbabwe and so not many people are able to contribute pension during their working lives. It is not out of their choice but out of the economic circumstance that we are living in now. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, there is need therefore to cushion both the contributory and the non-contributory pensioners. A study in South Africa showed that 11% of families receiving pension are less likely to become poor due to the pension availability and even the amount of pension that they are given in South Africa. That is the kind of system that we want to have here not just a system which is there on paper, but that which does not go into the pensioner’s pockets. Social pressures are high and this amendment does nothing to change that status quo.   

          Instead of Zimbabwe pensioners becoming self reliant, they become extremely poor as to require immediate remedy not an incompetent Amendment Bill. Let us go all the way in producing a Bill which changes the current behaviour being exhibited in the insurance and pensions industry.

          In conclusion, we need to raise national savings and not to steal people’s funds. We need to invest internationally and we need international diversification of pensions and insurance funds so that when the domestic market is not producing a profit for the pensioner, some of the funds can be invested in other nations along the globe thereby pensioners will not lose their pensions. We need local financial market development in infrastructure as it has the most pension promising revenues and avenues of pensions fund investment.

          Investment is at a stand-still. When did we last see a public gigantic investment being made in Zimbabwe since the Joina City Building was built about 20 years ago? We have not seen any other public investment infrastructure.  Where is NSSA and other insurances investing their money? We need to see new buildings and we cannot just wait for China to come here and assist us in building infrastructure like the airport and Parliament. It is a very good initiative and we appreciate what China is doing, but we also need our local money to circulate in our country and to develop our infrastructure. So that is what we want our Pensions Funds to be used for and not to be just eaten by Ask Plus insurers. I thank you so much Mr. Speaker Sir.

          *HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I stand up to support the report raised by Hon. Nyashanu on pensions. Like what most of the Hon. Members alluded to, most of the contributors to pensions are not getting their due benefits. Indeed, it is a very sad story and we saw that when we moved around, although we met just a few people most of them were lamenting the poor benefits they get after contributing for so many years.  Many of the issues have been raised but what I would like to say is the insurance companies should be scrutinised to ascertain whether they are genuine because most of them just take away peoples contributions but do not return the necessary benefits after they retire.

 In most cases, some of the people in the rural areas just contribute to these pensions yet they will not have the knowledge on how to claim the benefits.  There should be mechanisms to ensure that even if someone may have misplaced their contribution documents, he should be able to get his benefits even when they are not able to actively move or travel to process the benefits. In most cases, people contribute whilst they are still fit but when they are due to get those benefits, they will be unfit and retired so they will not be in position to move and process the benefits. Insurance companies must just give their contributors their due benefits because they will have invested using those funds.  They should cushion against inflation and all these other things.  Some of these organisations like Old Mutual have a lot of assets yet they do not give meaningful benefits to the contributors.

          We would also like to consider vehicle insurances.  Some of the people who contribute for full cover scheme are not able to get the benefits because the conditions are so stringent so all those things should be looked into.  I would like to also turn to IPEC that is supposed to monitor the operations of insurance companies.  They should also consider all those issues of whether beneficiaries actually realise the benefits according to contributions or not because if we insure property, you should be able to get the benefits but people struggle to get the benefits.  The law should help people who contribute after their retirement or after they leave employment.  I thank you. 

          (v)HON. CHIBAYA:  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate.  I want to thank all the Hon. Members who have debated before me.   I want to state that as Parliament, we make laws for the citizens of this country and it is important that we consult them adequately.  As a veteran trade unionist Hon. Speaker, the issue of pensioners pains me.  Pensioners in my Constituency Mkoba are crying.  I am sure that is the situation the whole country.  Pensioners are struggling Hon. Speaker.

I have been listening to the report by our Chairperson of the Committee.  Hon. Speaker, I am quite sure that you have heard of the number of people who attended consultation meetings.   It is a clear indication that as Parliament, we did not do enough in terms of awareness campaigns, in terms of disseminating information about these meetings.  Therefore issues presented here by Hon. Members, I kindly submit that it will be good if we can give the Committee another opportunity to go back and consult stakeholders.  We have got trade unionists and pensioners, where there are committees of pensioners, let us go and consult them so that when we pass this Bill, we would have consulted widely. 

          Hon. Speaker, we need to do justice to this Bill and the only way to do justice as alluded by Hon. Biti and Hon. T. Mliswa, let us go back and consult the people.  With these few words, I want to thank you Hon. Speaker.

          (v)HON. MARKHAM: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker.  Mr. Speaker, I have a brief contribution to this Bill. I would like to thank my Chairperson Hon. Dr. Nyashanu.  I would like to bring to the attention of this House the issue of attendance. Firstly, the issue of attendance is a problem, I believe there is lack of effort to discuss the Bill, particularly by pensioners who have lost everything.  It is very difficult to motivate them and particularly when you look at the length of time this Bill and its amendment have taken to come to this stage.    

          Secondly, we have to be very aware of the current economic status and the movement of the currency. I am uncomfortable with the Bill because I am not 100% sure that it stops the insurance companies playing the same game and doing the same issues should we face another massive currency run for devaluation.  We have two insurance companies which are being named Old Mutual and First Mutual on one hand and on the other hand we also have NSSA.  On Old Mutual and First Mutual, in the Justice Smith Report, the issue of self monetary policies to the detriment of the pensioner is blatant but on the other hand, we have NSSA which is Government run and the pension contributions were meant to cushion workers.  NSSA on the other side, there is bad management and corrupt management destroying the pension house and it was the pensioner who suffered. 

          Speaker after speaker mentioned the issue of pensioners who worked for many years and got nothing and they are currently getting nothing.  We must ensure that this Bill covers all those issues.  If we look at the issue of Old Mutual, it is a problem, all these issues I am very uncomfortable if they are covered correctly to prevent the pensioner from being a loser when the currency runs again to devaluation.  I would like to also just mention that I am uncomfortable with the single currency use. There is a facility and probability amongst all the people that the currency denomination might be sectored. We are not covering electronic monies. This must be covered in the Bill because that is the way things are going to go in future. I thank you so much.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  I think the Hon. Members were very robust, thorough and sometimes passionate debate ensued on this IPEC Bill. I really thank them for that. First of all, let me thank the Chair of the Portfolio Committee, Hon. Dr. Nyashanu for the Committee’s hard work.

On the issue of attendance, colleagues will accept that this is quite a technical Bill. It is not the type of the Bill that you can discuss in rural areas. What you tend to see is that the discussions will be confined to the public residing in urban areas. The bottom of the story is that this is a technical Bill and only attracts very few people who feel they are competent enough to discuss the technical intricacies of such a Bill.

          I also listened carefully to what Hon. Markham said that some of the pensioners who would have been interested to attend and discuss maybe felt discouraged. I see no further value in us going back to the field to further consult. I think we will get the same results which is poor attendance. I am very happy with the quality of the debate here. The Members of Parliament are representing the public very well in their contributions. They have done a very good job. Therefore, I do not think there will be any need for further public consultations. They have done a good job themselves. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, there.

          Let me turn to the report by the Chair, Hon. Dr. Nyashanu. He delved into the recommendations and I will agree with him and the report that the definition of asset be clearer and expanded to make companies that acquire assets on the back of assets that are owned by some of these insurance companies be included in this definition so that there is no leakage of asset value for the benefit of pensioners. I support this very strongly.

          On the issue of reducing expenses to below the 30% of total income, again this is a very good point which we take on board recommending 10%. Ten percent maybe a bit too low, maybe there is a midpoint somewhere but the principle of reducing 30% is a good one. We will come up with a good figure after further consultations. On the responsibilities of the two Standing Committees of the board that they should be clearer, I agree with this absolutely. There are obviously many other recommendations that the Committee has put forward and I really see in the main we agree with the proposals of the Committee. We certainly take into account the recommendations.

The issues such as the conflict of interest issues which were amplified by the Hon. Member, including conflict from current board members who are still active in the insurance field ought not to be on the board because of that potential conflict. The Bill is dealing with that now. It is dealing with this conflict of interest in Clause 6. It is an issue of compliance and enforcement which we will certainly deal with.

          The issue of NSSA has been raised by many contributors. Colleagues, initially we had included the issue of NSSA and the medical aid societies principles in the Bill but after a thorough debate in Cabinet, it was felt that perhaps at this stage IPEC may not be equipped as yet to regulate an organisation that is as complex and as strategic as NSSA. They themselves as IPEC need to build a bit more capacity to be able to do that. As we see in Clause 4, it allows for IPEC to expand its functions and reach in terms of regulations. In the future, this is something that is still open to debate and we might include NSSA after thorough analysis.

          The issue of medical aid societies which was also raised by many Hon. Members as a critical one, a separate Bill is being crafted by the Ministry of Health because they have the feeling that this kind of regulatory body from medical aid societies, need specialists in the medical field. Again, it was felt that IPEC as it is structured does not have such specialists who could be effective in regulating medical aid societies. A stand alone regulatory body should be put in place to regulate something as specialised as a medical aid society entity. There will be a regulator but that regulator is not IPEC but some other regulator that will be staffed by specialists in the medical profession. There will be some finance people because at the end of the day you are managing money but there will be some medical people who are competent in medical issues. That pretty much covers broadly the key issues, maybe one or two issues that I need to highlight but I think I have covered those.

          I will now turn to some of the points raised by Hon. Mliswa. That was the issue of consultation. I think I have dispensed with that. Let me turn to Hon. Biti who raised the issue of the Smith Commission, highlighting the three reasons why the losses on pensions came about.  That is, macro-economic issues and there is predatory behaviour from the players in the industry and public sector and the quality of regulation by the regulator IPEC back then.  These three were highlighted by the Smith Commission Report. 

          Hon. Biti posited that this Bill does not address all the causes of losses for pension funds as identified by the Smith Commission Report.  I beg to differ because this IPEC Bill is actually addressing the issue of the regulator, quality of regulation, which is the third reason identified by the Smith Commission.  It is going to the heart of the Smith Commission in identifying that issue and dealing with it by strengthening the powers of the regulator and the quality of the regulatory process.  It is also dealing with the predatory behaviour of the insurance companies or companies that are providing life cover to our hardworking citizens. 

          However, the Bill never sought and is not seeking to deal with the issue of the macro-economic environment losses because that is a different matter altogether.  What do I mean by that?  I will also proceed to explain how we as Government have tried to assist pensioners there.  I say that because in an environment where investment managers or pension fund managers feel that inflation is going up, they should tweak their asset allocation.  It is an investment science to play around with the asset allocation as the macro-economic environment changes.  So, when you think inflation has gone up, you will tilt a portfolio away from the money market because you move into a negative interest rate environment very quickly, you move your portfolio towards the equity market.  That is how you do investments.  When the opposite happens, you tilt the bag.  When interest rates are rising, which means that the equity market has to be punished a little bit, you move back into the fixed income market.  At the same time, when you notice inflation rising, you tilt the portfolio towards the property sector as well.  That is an inflation protector.  Wherever you see a currency depreciating, you tilt your portfolio towards currency stocks in the equity market.  So there is an investment science around managing macro-economic trends.  It is called the asset allocation investment science.  This Bill does not seek to mitigate that.  All it will say is that the science should be managed to best effort for the benefit of the pensioner.  That is what it will say.  It can never prescribe what I am just explaining.  I used to be a professional investment manager when I was much younger.  So, it does not do that and ought not to do that.   I want to be clear. 

          On the issue of S.I 33 and the compensation around that, that is exactly what Government has dealt with Mr. Speaker Sir.  We are compensating and we started the compensation process for depositors and now I am addressing something else.  Also, there is going to be compensation process for pensioners.  So far, we have a database that we are working with.  We have published names of the pension funds and the names of the beneficiaries for this initial round of compensation.  So, we set aside US$400.000 for this first round of compensation.  This is a perpetual compensation fund we have set up, which is funded through dividends which so far are after Government’s investments in Ngunduma Mining House that is yielding dividends.  That is what is being used for the compensation process and we will set up a compensation fund through the S.I 33 amendments or rather the adoption of the local currency as the accounting currency for the country.  We are dealing with it. This has never been done before.  We are a responsible Government and we are acting responsibly.  I must say though Mr. Speaker Sir, I am really disappointed that the numbers on the depositors’ compensation in terms of uptake has been rather too low and we are hoping that we will find people to pay.  I even said to the Deposit Protection Corporation that you have got the names of those who need to be compensated and you have got the database of the Reserve Bank and their I.D numbers, please publish these in social media, newspapers telling them to come forward to be paid and the same thing applies to the pensioners because we have got the database.  We are very systematic about these.  We have begun compensating and we are a responsible Government. 

          On the issue of savings that these are contractual savings, that is what Hon. Biti raised, I think here I will be a bit harsh and say, he is getting his mathematics wrong.  The savings ratio is a ratio. In a ratio we have a numerator and a denominator.  In an economy, we also find that things that affect a numerator such as savings are also affecting denominators, which is your GDP.  So, if your savings are going up in nominal terms because of inflation, your GDP will also go up because of inflation in a similar way.  Your savings ratio does not change much.  The quantum may change but not the ratio because they move in a similar direction.  I thought I should correct you there in the mathematics.

          On the issue about perhaps separating the register of these insurance companies and life companies from the regulator, in some countries there is separation but the global trend and what is considered best practice, now is to keep them together.  There is no conflict of interest here.  You do not say because I registered a company and therefore I will not regulate them well.  No, you do not do that.  Currently, the Central Bank is issuing licences and regulating insurance companies, so does IPEC but I do not think they are doing any favours in terms of regulation.  They are regulating banks properly.  Central banks are also regulated by others through BAZ requirements, Switzerland and so forth.  There are regulators and so forth.  There is no slack here at all.  There is no need to worry about the fact that these two are conjoined. Definitely, the regulator is doing their job.

          He also mentioned the issue of conflict of interest that there should not be players in the market.  I agree with this.  The issue of definition of an asset to be expanded properly, I agree with it.  I have dealt with the issue of NSSA and medical aid.  This was also raised by Hon. Mushoriwa that this should perhaps be similar to the depositor protection fund and we should cut and paste, certainly there is much we can cut and paste from the DPC.  We will do that.  I think this is a good suggestion actually, so we will take that on board. 

          Another issue raised was that IPEC should speak to ILO, making use of the Russia example to see how compensation ought to be down and so forth.  They are already doing this.  IPEC is consulting ILO and other international institutions that have done this elsewhere and I believe that what they have come up with now as a methodology is a good start. 

          Hon. Togarepi spoke on the issue of NSSA which I have dealt with, the macro-economic issues and that companies should be part of the compensation scheme.  I agree with that and they will be in terms of the framework.  Hon. Dutiro, I think he raised that NSSA, the issue of gold that they should be able to bank it and so forth.  Look, these are ideas that are welcome to say we can increase the spread of our asset classes in terms of investment to include gold, why not, in its derivative forms. I must say that at the moment, if we have a small scale miner who sends his gold to Fidelity, which he should get paid in US dollars, you can bank those US dollars.  US dollars are as good as the gold; the gold is as good as US dollars.  So, they should be antagonistic to what you are receiving but if it is about that, we need other additional asset class for others to buy into, that is a good point.  We will see how we can improve it to make that happen.

          Hon. Mushoriwa, the Bill drafted in a hurry, I am not so sure.  I think it was drafted properly and not in a hurry.  It went through several stages, through the draft of the principles, which went to Cabinet for approval, then went to the Legal Committee of Cabinet draft Bill, which then came back to Cabinet for further discussion and then consultations with the public after gazetting by Parliament.  I think it has gone through a lot in terms of the normal stages of a Bill.  I do not think it was done in a hurry at all.

          You also raised the issue of medical aid and of NSSA.  Of course there is an issue that was raised about ever-rich in terms regulation by IPEC in other areas.  Again we take a close look at this and then the areas where may be in one of the paragraphs they were stepped into the PAB while indeed the asset management space, I think this was also raised by the Chairman, Hon. Dr. Nyashanu.  We will work at that and tie it up, we do not want that over rich.  It is unnecessary.

          Hon. B. Dube, you wanted the Bill to be specific and deal with the issue of mischief, absolutely and then again consulting ILO, this is happening.  Also you said some of the companies looted funds and so forth and this whole issue of the insurance holders impose holders’ compensation fund in rushing the set up in a similar way as DPC and not just cut and paste in terms of how it should be set up but with separate management and so forth.  We consider this but may be the cost of setting up these institutions is quite high and yet there is urgency.  That is why you find that in the Bill, we have taken a kind of walk per hundred model where we expect this fund to be supported administratively by IPEC and Ministry of Finance as it goes about with its operations, rather than having a heavy burdensome structure and yet it will not add any value to that serious corporatisation because here we are now asking for a corporatisation of this fund and we feel that it is unnecessary as long as the administration can be handled adequately by IPEC working with the Ministry of Finance.

          Hon. Murire, he basically raised the issue that he was involved in the drafting of the NSSA blueprint and focuses on two principle pillars; one compliance and the other is governance.  His view is that this IPEC Bill, given that experience, he feels that that Bill must be clear on these two principles. So far on governance of the regulating should be clear and should be enforced and I believe that this Bill is certainly going in that direction.  He also went on to explain what is happening at NSSA, I could only listen I cannot confirm or deny.  He was highlighting a point, which I think is worth emphasising that if you go into a typical insurance life company or NSSA, you will find that there are two sources of income.  The first one is what we call premium income, the second one is investment income. 

          So these insurance pension fund entities tend to be two companies in one.  That is what they are.  So the point he was highlighting is that over time, they tend to focus on the investment income side and they are chasing investments and might even forget about the welfare of their beneficiaries, who are policy holders.  It is a correct observation and this is what in the public interest ought to be supervised or regulated.  The regulator must make sure that they go back onto why they were created, which is for the benefit of the insured and not spend their time chasing either investing income or premium income.

          From Hon. Nduna, he spoke about bulled regulators, I think this is an issue of point of interest and I agree with him as I did before with others that we will make sure that industry players are not part of the bulled of the regulators.  Of course he went to town about certain products where he spends a lot of time explain for example the third part insurance issue and so forth.  I think some of this is just operational detail on a specific product and welcome that contribution.  You know he is someone who knows this subject well and I think as we go about making certain adjustments, we will listen to his advice but this is not necessarily a core regulatory issue, it is a specific product that a source is ought to be used in a specific way.

          Hon. Priscilla Moyo, linking inflation to payouts, she is right about this.  That is what I explained earlier that we would want the asset manager or the insurance company whoever, to invest according to macro-economic trends.  So they ought to link the balance of the portfolio with inflationary trends so that they are able to increase the payouts to the beneficiaries as inflation goes up.  That is why we put the portfolio so that we can support higher and higher levels of pension payout because they can afford it because they would have chosen assets that have higher rates of return as the economy dictates.

          Hon. Chibaya, going back to consult again – I do not think we will get much from the public.  They might be the same people coming and most of them may not even show as they have attended before, so you would have no one coming.  I think the MPs here have done a thorough job to the Committee in highlighting issues that are critical to strengthen this Bill. 

          Hon. Markham, you talked about attendance and that the Bill does not stop insurance companies from playing similar games.  I think now that they are being told that they ought to contribute towards the compensation framework, they know that playing similar games will result in losses, will not be easy to succeed because at the end of the day, you will be asked to contribute to the compensation fund.  This is what is going to happen in the future.  I think the rules of the game are being stricter now and they will cough up what is due in terms of their contribution here.  She also raised the issue of recognising electronic money and so forth but you see electronic money is also reference to fiat money.  So for instance, if you recall what we did with SI 33, we said we have the RTGs dollar but really is one to one with the Zimbabwe dollar and later we say it is all Zimbabwe dollar. You can see what we were doing - there is referencing electronic money to fiat money which is your national accounting currency.  I do not think we have difficulty here, but if there is need to tighten the line which will make it obvious, there is no harm in really saying what he is suggesting here. It is a good suggestion.

          Let me see if I missed something here.  One thing to emphasize that cuts across many comments is that when there is currency movements and currency changes, the Bill is suggesting that and also the Pension and Provident Fund Bill has already gone through this House proposing that there should be a proper actuarial evaluation that will try to seek fair value as you translate from one currency to another, this is normaland that is what we do.  This is fair valuation of both assets and liabilities just to make sure that the solvency position of the fund could be established and that the fund is able to proceed to meet its obligation in terms of its liabilities given its solvency position.   That is what actuaries do and that is what the Bill says, it cannot say anymore.  So it is covering this by saying that competent persons should be employed to deal with that fair valuation to make sure there is no prejudice or undue loss to the pensioner.  I am just checking if there may be other points that I missed in this very important debate Hon. Chair.  I think I have covered quite a bit.   With this, I move that the debate be now adjourned

          (v)HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order?

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

          (v)HON. MUSHORIWA: My point or order relates to the presentation by the Hon. Prof. Ncube.  When the Committee considered this Bill, we were using a different text of the Bill which is different from the Bill which the Minister has been referring to.  The Minister said that the Bill that they had does not include NSSA and the medical societies but the one that we used as a Committee and which we thought was authentic was the one which has actually had the NSSA and the medical funds included.  Consequently Mr. Speaker, what it means is that your Committee and indeed the whole House was in a way misled, I do not know whether knowingly or unknowingly and to that extent there is actually a technical challenge for this Bill to even be considered for second reading because I think there are things that need to be tidied up for this process to go forward. I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I thank the Hon. Member for that observation, assuming that was Hon. Mushoriwa from his voice, I recognised him.  What I was referring to in terms of NSSA and medical aid was the principles to the Bill not the Bill itself.  If the Bill has that, then that is the wrong Bill.  The right Bill which we are considering today is Bill without that reference to NSSA and medical aid society as being related to IPEC, that is for the record.  With that Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the Bill be read a second time.

          Motion put and agreed to

           Bill read a second time.

          Committee Stage: Wednesday, 3rd March, 2022.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE ON THE FACT FINDING VISITS TO SABLE CHEMICAL, LANCASHIRE STEEL AND ZISCO STEEL

          HON. S. K. MGUNI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move the motion in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce on the fact-finding visits to Sable Chemical, Lancashire Steel and ZISCO Steel.     

HON. T. MOYO: I second.

          HON. S. K. MGUNI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to read my report on Sable Chemicals.

INTRODUCTION

The Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce undertook fact finding visits to companies that received funds from the 2019 National Budget to date under the Industrialization Programme from the 18th to the 21st of October 2021. The visited companies are Chemplex Corporation, Olivine Industries, Sable Chemicals and Radar Investments. The funds were disbursed through the Industrial Development Corporation’s lending facility. The activity was funded by the African Development Bank (AFDB) under the Tax and Accountability Enhancement Project (TAEP) in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe.

OBJECTIVES

  1. To ascertain how the ZWL20 million loan received by Sable Chemicals, ZWL 170 million by Chemplex Corporation, ZWL 5 million by Olivine Industries and ZWL 20 million by Radar Investments were utilised;
  2. To get a detailed breakdown of the projects that were implemented by loans extended to these companies by IDC in 2019, 2020 and 2021 including but not limited to, projects that were completed, projects that are still in progress, the envisaged benefits of the projects in resuscitating industry and contributing to the attainment of Vision 2030;
  • To appreciate the challenges faced in implementing the projects; and
  1. To appreciate challenges being faced by Willowvale Motor Industries, if any and proffer palatable recommendations.

METHODOLOGY

The Committee held oral evidence sessions with the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe and undertook fact finding visits to Chemplex Corporation, Olivine Industries, Sable Chemicals and Radar Investments. It held meetings with management of all the aforementioned companies and toured the projects that were implemented as a result of the loans granted to them by the IDCZ. The Committee took the opportunity of the said visits and visited Willowvale Motor Industries where it met with management and briefly toured the company’s premises.

COMMITTEE FINDINGS

BRIEF ANATOMY OF THE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF ZIMBABWE: Shareholding Structures

The investment shareholding structures for the IDCZ range from 100% like Chemplex to 17% at Modzone, with Foreign Direct Investment partners like Italians in dimension stone mining and processing, Indians and Singaporeans in Surface Wilmar Investments and Olivine Holdings, Chinese in cement as at SINO Zimbabwe Cement Company and, Iranians at Modzone and Motira, and local conglomerates TA Holdings at Sable chemicals and ZFC.

Group Investments and Sector Clusters

The group investments comprise, large, medium and small, created, acquired or rescued, subsidiary and associate. The acquired or rescued are mostly capital-intensive industries with old and obsolete plant and equipment (Chemplex, Olivine, Willowvale Motor Industries, Deven Engineering, Modzone Enterprises, Ginhole Investments), being mainly subsidiaries except for Modzone Enterprises which is an associate. The relatively newly created regional and export oriented and automated strategic industries are Surface-Wilmar Investments, Sunway City, Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company, Motira (Private Limited) being mostly associates.

Sector coverage-The group covers a wide cross section of sectors, in Argo Industries, Motor and Transport, Glass, Textiles, Packaging, Metal extrusion, Industrial minerals, Animal and health, furniture, chemical and fertiliser, dimension stone, insurance and real estate.

Statutory Objectives of IDCZ:

With the approval of the Minister, to establish and conduct new industries and industrial undertakings;

To facilitate, promote, guide and assist in the financing of: (i) new industries and industrial undertakings (ii) schemes for the expansion, better organisation and modernisation of and the more efficient carrying out of operations in existing industries and industrial undertakings.

Without prejudice to the function and powers conferred upon other relevant agencies or institutions of the Government - and so far, as maybe practicable, to assist and support the development of small scale or medium scale industries and industrial undertakings;

Within the scope of its functions and powers, to implement policies of the Government in regard to decentralisation of industry, choice of technology and such other matters connected with industrial development as the Minister may specify for that purpose.

To undertake the development of management and technical expertise in the carrying out of operations in industries and industrial undertakings, including the development of expertise in project analysis, evaluation of investment opportunities and the provision of consultancy services;

To take such measures as maybe necessary or expedient to enable the corporation to exercise direct and effective control over enterprises in which it has made an investment; to the end that the economic requirements of Zimbabwe maybe met and industrial development within maybe planned, expedited and conducted on sound business principles.

Mandate, Vision and Mission

The IDCZ is mandated to establish and conduct new industries and industrial undertakings. Its Vision is to contribute to the transformation of Zimbabwe to a value adding and beneficiating middle income economy. Lastly, the IDCZ’s mission is to identify, develop, mobilise resources and finance industrial project opportunities into commercially viable ventures in partnership with local, regional and international investors, and technology and market access partners.

The Industrial Development Fund

The corporation is allocated funds through the National Budget under Programme 2 of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce’s Budget known as the Industrialization programme. The Corporation commenced lending activities in 2019, after receiving seed capital from the government as its sole shareholder. It opened a special bank account where all the lending fund movements are being tracked for easier control and transparency. The fund is in local currency (RTGS) and is managed as a revolving facility, meaning that as other beneficiaries repay, the reserve being built becomes available to others. Total funds received from government by IDCZ from 2019 up to 31 October 2021 are as follows, July and December 2019, ZWL$64 000 000, 2020 April to end of year, ZWL$ 60 000 000 and in 2021 from July to end of October ZWL$ 100 000 000. This gives a sum of   ZWL $ 224 000 000 as at 31 October 2021.

The fund targets corporates who are either existing or new who are into manufacturing and value adding activities across the country and priority is given to those who are able to exploit our local currency to export or have the potential to do so or to import substitute.

Disbursement summary -The total amount disbursed by IDCZ as at 19 September 2021 was ZWL$289 522 580 to fifteen companies and out of these, six managed to pay off their loan obligations while the remainder were still running.

Interest Rates & Charges- At inception, the corporation started at 15% per annum, then reviewed to 25% per annum up to the time of the visit where it was charging 35% per annum. The interest rates are guided by the RBZ rates for the productive sector. The corporation also charges an administration fee of 2% of the total amount disbursed to cater for visits related to monitoring to ensure that funds are being used for the approved purpose. 

DISBURSEMENTS SUMMARY FOR THE VISITED COMPANIES

The Acting General Manager for the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe, Mr Tranos Mutingwende presented before the Committee the funds that were disbursed by the corporation to the four visited companies from 2019 to end of October 2021 as illustrated in the table below.

 

Name of Company

Capital Expenditure (ZW$)

Working Capital (ZW$)

Total (ZW$)

Chemplex Corporation

68 000 000

102 000 000

170 000 000

Olivine Industries

-

5 000 000

5 000 000

Sable Chemicals

-

20 000 000

20 000 000

Radar Investments

10 000 000

10 000 000

20 000 000

Total

78 000 000

77 000 000

215 000 000

 

The corporation submitted a document before the Committee that summarizes the general purpose of the funds disbursed to the above companies as well as the utilization of the same funds which was in line with their business proposals. Having been equipped with this information, the Committee conducted field visits to Chemplex Corporation, Olivine Industries, Sable Chemicals and Radar investments to verify the above, assess the progress made in the implementation of the projects and appreciate the challenges faced if any, as illustrated in the subsequent paragraphs.

Chemplex Corporation

The Committee visited Chemplex Corporation on the 18th of October 2021. It was briefed by the Acting CEO, Mr J. Chigwende that the group received ZWL$60 million in 2020 and ZWL$110 million in 2021 from IDCZ. This sums up to ZWL$170 million received as at 31 October 2021, a confirmation of the submissions from the IDCZ. The ZWL$110 million was for capital projects and working capital to enhance capacities and efficiencies in the fertilizer value chain and traded chemicals. The funds were split as follows ZWL$68m (US$0.8m) for fertilizer plants capital projects and ZW$32m (US$0.4m) for working capital for traded chemicals and veterinary remedies. The division was categorised as essential services under COVID-19 as its products which range from sanitizers, water chemicals, cattle dips and fertilizers were key in surviving the scourge as well as curing the January disease that ravaged livestock at the beginning of 2021. It is important to note that, the loan was repaid fully and that it was part bailout for defaulted account by City of Harare then of ZWL $370 million for the supplied water treatment chemicals. The subsequent paragraphs give a detailed breakdown of the utilization of the ZWL$170 million that was granted to Chemplex and its impact.

ZIMPHOS

The company was granted ZWL$ 34 million from the ZWL $ 60 million that was received by Chemplex Corporation in 2020. ZWL$ 23.4 million was used to procure raw materials for water chemicals production namely bauxite, sulphuric acid and coal whilst the balance of ZWL $10.6million was used to service the water treatment production plant, (boilers, compressors and other spares) to enhance increased production.

In 2021, Chemplex Corporation allocated ZWL$60 million to ZIMPHOS for the purchase of a new Granulation Plant and a new Blending plant. ZWL $42.5million was utilized for purchasing the former and ZWL $25.5million the later. At the time of the visit the two plants were not yet delivered at ZIMPHOS, however the procurement process was in motion and delivery and commissioning was expected to take place in January 2022 which was 12-15 weeks from the time of the visit. The selection process of a Civil Works supplier was in motion, running parallel with the equipment manufacture and delivery.

The loan improved the supply of water chemicals by almost double especially to City of Harare where an average of 4 truckloads were done daily from the previous two resulting in improved provision of clean water supply to the City of Harare. It contributed to the improvement of capacity utilization from 45% to 75%. Plant efficiencies also increased which resulted in price reduction of over 30% in 2021 supplies to the customers. However, the City of Harare debt skyrocketed to ZWL$400 million and as at 31 October 2021 it was at ZWL $90 million as required deliveries were being met but with default payments.

G & W Industrial Minerals

Mr Chigwende briefed the Committee that, there was growing demand of agricultural lime for both commercial customers and Government input schemes and stock feeds for various customers.  These products were in short supply but G&W has vast limestone resources to be exploited for these products. The company operations had been suspended over the years. Recently, an amount of US$500 000 was injected from own resources to resume operations for the production of affordable agricultural lime and the ZWL$ 10 million from the government. The later was spent on spares and repairs on the equipment that was at the time of the visit close to 90% available for full production of 3500 tonnes per month to 5000 tonnes per month. The plant was producing 1000 tonnes per month.

Production has already started at one of the mines in Concession Area and refurbishment work being completed at a mine in Rushinga. At the time of the visit, production of 3500 tonnes per month of agricultural lime was projected to be mined in the fourth quarter of 2021 and it was projected to increase to 5000tpm from 2022 onwards. The plant was also to produce stock feeds. It was highlighted that an additional amount to the tune of ZWL$7million working capital was needed for purchasing of spares and packaging material to ensure production and supply of at least 3000tpm.

Chemplex Animal and Public Health (CAPH)

Chemplex Corporation commands a market share of around 55% on animal and public health chemicals through its division, Chemplex Animal and Public Health (CAPH) and has a potential to grow the market share to more than 70%. The division manufactures cattle dips, tick grease, worm remedies, antibiotics and wound remedies. It also manufactures Malaria vector control chemicals, tsetse fly control chemicals, grain protectants, poultry flea dust, rodenticide and sanitizers. Strategic raw materials for cattle dips and public health chemicals are imported from China, India, and South Africa. Adequately financed, CAPH has the potential to supply dipping chemicals and tick grease requirements for the Department of Veterinary Services. The division also has a potential to manufacture and supply grain protectants to protect the bumper harvest from the Pfumvudza initiative thus enhancing the country’s food security. 

CAPH got ZWL$17million from the ZWL$110 million disbursed to Chemplex Corporation by the government through the IDCZ. At the time of the visit, ZWL$7 million worth of raw materials had an allocation at the RBZ auction system queuing for foreign currency release. The balance of ZWL $ 10 million was yet to get foreign currency allocation. In 2020 the division was given ZWL$10 million from the ZWL$ 60 million that was received by Chemplex Corporation from IDCZ. The money was used to procure raw materials for the production of an equivalent of 4 000 litres of sanitisers, raw materials for the production of cattle dips and packaging materials. Part of the money was also used to modify the existing dips plant for the production of sanitizers. At the time of the visit, production and supply of sanitisers was still ongoing. The division also produced cattle dips and these were supplied to the Department of Veterinary Services and other customers. The dips helped to mitigate the impact of the January disease and the program was still ongoing. As a result of the loan, capacity utilization increased by 5% from 25%.

Chemplex Marketing

The Committee was briefed by the Acting CEO, Mr Chigwende that Chemplex Corporation has a market share in traded chemicals of around 15% through its operating division Chemplex Marketing.  It has the potential to increase to 60% from its strong brand and a huge order book which it fails to fulfil due to working capital funding challenges. Cognisant that the ballooning of the import bill is precipitated by the importation of industrial chemicals for mining, food industries, water treatment chemicals for local authorities which can be produced locally, this gives a huge potential for Chemplex Marketing to exploit the market opportunity through production of water treatment chemicals.

The division got ZWL$ 16 million from the ZWL$ 60 million that was granted to Chemplex in 2020. The money was used for importation of raw materials for the manufacture of water treatment chemicals. These are sulphuric acid, hydrated lime and aluminum sulphate for portable water and Power Station water purification chemicals. The loan resulted in improved supply of clean water through provision of adequate water treatment chemicals to the City of Harare and other customers, also, to the uninterrupted supply of power station water, chemicals at ZPC Hwange for national power generation.

The division got ZWL$15 million from the ZWL$110 million that was granted to Chemplex Corporation in 2021. At the time of the visit, ZWL$7 million worth of raw materials had allocation at the Auction Market waiting for foreign currency release. The balance of ZWL $ 8 million was yet to get foreign currency allocation.

Challenges at Chemplex Corporation

The Acting CEO outlined to the Committee, the challenges bedevilling the group. He said that although the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe promised to support on forex allocation, not enough forex has been allocated to the corporation as at 31 October 2021. Compounding the financial challenges was that, the Government through its fertilizer programmes owes Chemplex group (ZFC, ZimPhos, Dorowa) US$11.6m (approximately ZW$1billion) for winter fertilizer supply, thereby holding back funding for summer preparedness. The financial situation was worsened further by the City of Harare’s debt of over ZWL $90 million and the slow payment of the debt was choking the supply chain. The non-payment of the VAT debt by the City of Harare has been a burden on the group.

Electricity charges at Dorowa Mine are at 60% in United States Dollars and 40% in local currency (RTGS$) whilst 70% of the group’s products are supplied to local markets in Zimbabwean dollars. Hence, he appealed for the electricity charges to either be wholly levied in local currency or for the 60% to be in local currency and the 40% to be in foreign currency.

Assistance Required by Chemplex Corporation

Mr Chigwende briefed the Committee on a number of projects that needs funding assistance from the IDCZ. These are, Dorowa magnetite project for US$2.5m, Dorowa Phosphates project for US$13m in tranches, ZimPhos sulphuric acid plant for US$9m, CAPH projects for US$1m and GMP plant for US$3m-US$6m, Bauxite Mine purchase for approximate US$2.5m and Phosphoric acid plant refurbishment for US$30m (medium term). He also highlighted the need and importance of government support for the projects to get some momentum. Also, that, Government fertilizer orders should be released early in the year for ample time to prepare and collections to happen early and avoid congestion. Ideally the ZW$ funding for fertilizer should be put in place as working capital and cash covers for forex.

Further to the above, he appealed to the government through the Committee for the enactment and operationalization of a Statutory Instrument that awards all government tenders to Chemplex Corporation for water treatment chemicals, cattle dipping chemicals, grain pesticides, fertilizers and Agricultural lime. Also, a Statutory Instrument that increases procurement threshold for buying locally from US$300 000 to US$1 million to be operationalised and raw materials for the production of cattle dips and water chemicals to be duty exempted in support of the restocking programme and clean water supply.

Lastly, he appealed for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to continue prioritising allocation of forex to capital projects and project funding. At the time of the visit, this has started happening and should just be followed through.

OLIVINE INDUSTRIES

Olivine Industries manufacture a wide range of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) like margarine, baked beans, bathing and washing soaps, cooking oil among others. The company accessed ZW$ 5 million from IDCZ for working capital to procure raw materials for soap and margarine production lines. The raw materials procured are palm stearin for soaps, I.E fats for margarine, caustic soda, butter flavour and fragrances for making Jade soap.

Challenges and Impact of the Loan.

The CEO, Mr S. Mangani briefed the Committee that, Olivine industries require around US$ 5million to US$ 6million per month to operate optimally on its various product lines. At the time of the visit, the company was operating at 30% capacity due to limitations precipitated by the lack of access to adequate foreign currency from the Auction System. Hence, the ZW$5m which at that time translated to around US$ 60 000 was utilised to purchase ancillary items which had no significant impact on the overall company performance with reference to job creation, import substitution, and exports.

RADAR INVESTMENTS (PVT) LTD T/A MACDONALD BRICKS

The company operates two brick making plants in Bulawayo under a brand name Macdonald Bricks at Willsgrove and Montgomery plants. The two plants operate within clay mining claims with a combined resource that is expected to last for another 80 years.  Their clay deposits produce high quality Standards Association of Zimbabwe certified bricks that meet both local and export standards. The two plants complement each other as Montgomery focuses on face bricks while Willsgrove focuses on the high volume non face bricks.  All Macdonald Brick products are clay based and range as, Face Bricks mainly used for aesthetic reasons, Industrial Bricks commonly used for load bearing structures and Common Bricks used for building walls.

Radar Investments (Pvt) Ltd was granted ZWL $20million loan funding for the purchase of raw materials and for working capital to enhance capacity and efficiencies in the construction value chain. The company split the funding as follows, ZWL $10million for plant and equipment for its Willsgrove Brick Factory, ZWL$5 million for the purchase of raw materials and ZW$5 million for working capital.

The Committee toured the Willsgrove plant and witnessed the factory sheds/structures that were built with some of the loan funds to house the new brick making equipment that was imported by the company from China. The sheds were made of new steel beams and roofed with Inverted Box Rib (IBR) Zinc roofing sheets.

Impact of Loan

As a result of the upgrading of the plant and equipment at Willsgrove, the company has a combined annual output of 100 million bricks per annum. Prior to accessing the loan, the company was operating at 40% capacity due to financial constraints however, at the time of the visit it was operating at +/- 80% capacity due to the positive impact of the loan received from IDCZ. The introduction of new technology at the new Willsgrove plant resulted in low production cost which was being cascaded down to the customers through reduced prices by 3% per pallet of bricks. The company, directly and indirectly created employment for +/-300 people. This is through direct and downstream employment in transport, packaging and other plant spares cluster industries.

SABLE CHEMICALS

Sable Chemicals manufactures Ammonium Nitrate fertilizers from ammonia gas imported from South Africa using railway tankers. The importation follows the impairment of its electrolysis plant which sucked ammonia gas from the air using the electrolysis process which was using a disproportionate amount of electricity. For every tonne of imported ammonia gas, the company produces 2.1 tonnes of fertilizer. It commenced its operations in 1960 and is the sole producer of nitrogenous fertilizer in Zimbabwe with a capacity to produce 240,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate (AN) fertilizers per year which can supply the entire market.

The General Manager, Mr B. Nyajeka briefed the Committee that the company was granted ZWL$ 20million loan for the purchase of ammonia gas, a key raw material in the manufacture of Ammonium Nitrate fertilisers.  The company initially applied for ZW$40million on 25 February 2020 when the exchange was at US$1:18 ZWL$ which at that time was equivalent to US$2.2m which was enough to purchase 4000 tons of Ammonia gas for the manufacture of 8 000 tons of AN. However, on 28 July 2020 an amount of ZWL$ 19.45 million net of charges was disbursed to Sable Chemicals. On 7th August 2020 the company went to the RBZ auction and got the foreign currency at a rate of 1:85, equivalent to US$229 000. The company paid for ammonia equivalent of 407 tons and produced 814 tons of AN. The fertilizer was sold to ZFC, Omnia & National Tested Seeds. The company paid back the loan on the 30th of June 2021. Hence, when the Committee toured the plant there were traces of manufacturing of fertilizer taking place at Sables Chemicals but the fertilizer that was produced as a result of the loan was long sold.

Impact of Loan and appeals by the company

Mr Nyajeka, reiterated the importance of the loan received from the IDCZ as it improved the capacity utilization of Sable Chemicals from 15% in 2020 to 80% in 2021. It also contributed to downstream employment in the agricultural sector, import substitution as well as foreign currency savings.

The General Manager requested for the timely release of ZWL$ funding by the Treasury to local fertilizer manufacturers to allow for perennial production of Ammonium Nitrate fertilizers as this increases the availability of ammonia gas. He also reiterated the need for capacitation of the Land Bank (AFC) and continuation of the IDCZ’s finance facility to fully implement the Import Substitution Program.

WILLOWVALE MOTOR INDUSTRIES

          The Committee visited WMI and it was briefed by the Acting General Manager Mr. Matanhire that the company was established in 1961 and IDCZ bought the company in 1967 and opened it for contractual assembly. The company was restructured into an automotive group called Motec Holdings under a joint venture partnership between Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ), Mazda Corporation of Japan and Itochu Corporation (C Itoh & Co then) of Japan. This agreement was signed in 1989 and expired in 2014. WMI, a subsidiary of Motec Holdings (as it was then), started to concentrate on assembling the Mazda Brand, achieving significant gains in productivity.  Over the years the partnership contributed to the enhancement of production capacity, quality and skills development to enable the company to produce world class vehicles for Zimbabwe and the region. The assembly line is one of the most flexible in the world as it is capable of producing any automotive products that include passenger vehicles, light and heavy commercial vehicles, bus chassis and tractors. The company was operating on contract assembly basis and from 2017 to 2020 has assembled BAIC picks-ups from SKD kits. Below are vehicle brands (Baic and Mazda) assembled at WMI.

           Challenges and Assistance needed at the company

The Committee was informed by Mr. Matanhire that WMI was bedeviled by a plethora challenges and chief among them was a debt of US$ 2.1 million owed to suppliers of vehicle kits in China. The debt antagonized the relationship between the company and the suppliers resulting in the later not sending the kits to WMI. Further to the above, some of the equipment was obsolete. It was backdated to 1920,1961 and 1999. This is exemplified by the second-hand painting facilities that were purchased in 1961.  Having said this, the Acting General Manager appealed for an overhaul retooling of WMI.

Further to the above, the Acting General Manager said that, the company needs an injection of approximately US$ 15 million to produce 150 cars per month and US$5-8milllion for the overall retooling exercise. He proposed that, there was need for the government to buy a minimum of 4000 units/cars per annum to keep the company viable as was before.

COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS

  •     The loans were used for the intended purposes.
  •     The loans contributed to increased capacity utilisation and employment creation.
  •     There is need to adequately fund the Industrial Development Fund so as to contribute substantially to the re-industrialization of the country.
  •      Erratic disbursement of the Industrial Fund by the Treasury affects the planned projects of beneficiaries as the money loses value through inflation due to prolonged periods between the date of approval of the loan and the date of disbursement.
  •      Most equipment at Willowvale Motor Industries was obsolete and the entire factory roof needs to be refurbished.
  •     Electricity charges in foreign currency at Dorowa Mine are too high.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

  •     The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should timeous disburse the budgeted Industrial Fund to the IDCZ for forward lending so as to circumvent waning of the value of the fund through inflation in particular and for it to contribute substantially to the re-industrialization of the Zimbabwean economy in general. Hence, Treasury should make sure that by August 2022, all the budgeted funds for Industrialization are released to the IDCZ.
  •     The government, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should proactively support the local Motor Manufacturing Industry by providing a facility which guarantees loans to civil servants for the purchase of locally produced cars a situation prevailing in South Africa and Botswana by the end of 2023.
  •     The Ministry of Energy and Power Development should engage the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) by the end of July 2022, to lower electricity rates in foreign currency (USD) at Dorowa Mine from 60% to at least 40% so as to improve the viability of the Chemplex group, as 70% of products produced by the group are consumed locally where payments are made in local currency.
  •      The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe through its Auction System should immediately prioritize allocating foreign currency to project funding, particularly the beneficiaries/companies that receive loans from the Industrial Fund for capital projects or import substitution.
  •      The Government, through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, by 31 November 2022, should enact a Statutory Instrument that bans the importation of phosphate which is produced in abundance at Dorowa Mine.

The Committee is in support of the enactment and operationalization of the enactment and operationalization of a Statutory Instrument that awards all government tenders to Chemplex Corporation for water treatment chemicals, cattle dipping chemicals, grain pesticides, fertilizers and Agricultural lime. In this regard, the Government should come up with this Statutory Instrument by the end of December 2023.

CONCLUSION

In reiteration, the Committee commends the above beneficiaries of the Industrialization programme for positively utilizing the loans extended to them by the IDCZ. However, the Committee appeals to the government of Zimbabwe to continue support the reindustrialization program by allocating more funds to the Industrialization programme. I thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am.

(v)HON. S. BANDA: Thank you so much Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this opportunity to be able to contribute to this debate.  I want to first of all thank my brother Hon. Mguni for bringing up this very important subject of industry in particular.  I was once a Member of Industry and Commerce, so I do understand where the Hon. Member is coming from.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, the report was done in 2019 and as it were, I think a number of fundamental things have happened and changed.  So, I may also call upon the same Committee and other aligned Committees to do another report that captures what is happening on the ground now.  At that time, industrial capacity was at 27% and we are told that Sables was operating at 30% capacity, which is almost slightly above what was transpiring at that time.  As we speak, we hear that industrial capacity utilisation has gone up and it is close to 60% in those companies.  In terms of research Madam Speaker Ma’am, that will be the best point because we really know where we were at that point in time, and we will be comparing with what we have now.

          I want to go to the issue of ZISCO Steel, we now hear that there is a new status for ZISCO Steel.  Do we still have the same things that we had at that time or we have a different scenario right now?  We need to know where we are right now Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I will now proceed to Unified Engineering; we heard that most of the ammonium nitrate was being imported from outside Zimbabwe particularly from South Africa.  We have Verified Engineering who is now producing gas around the Mkwasini area.  What change has that brought to Sable Chemicals?  Locally, once we have a reliable manufacturer like Verified Engineering supplying to Sable Chemicals, we expect the cost of chemicals, and fertilizers to go down.  This has a ripple effect on many industries Madam Speaker Ma’am since we are an agro-based country.  So we really need to find out whether the changes that have been brought forward by Verified Engineering have spilled to Sable Chemicals, and the lowering of fertilizer cost so that we become more visible on the international market.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, just recently, CZI was saying that the Zimbabwe Dollar is no longer very viable to use as a currency, and it almost reflects the situation that was prevailing in 2019.  Is the Government learning something from there?  Are we moving forwards or backwards?  We really want something to be done so that the challenge that was faced by Sable Chemicals at that time does not recur.  We were now on a development trajectory, and we do not want to go back and see the fights between the Reserve Bank, the Ministry, CZI, and business.  We really want to move in one accord.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, we are tired of importing raw material such as Ammonium Nitrate which we can now produce on our own.  We are tired Madam Speaker Ma’am of importing powdered milk.  How many cows do we have in Zimbabwe?  Recently, there was the launch of the insemination programme in Chinhoyi.  Has it not yet started bearing fruit?  We want Dairiboard and other companies to start using local raw materials that have an effect of lowering prices.  When we lower our prices, we are more competitive on an international basis when it comes to our exports so that we have more export regions that we can supply.  We need to be self-sufficient in this local and global supply chains.

          Why are we reneging on improving and financially supporting local manufacturers?  We have the Industrial Development Corporation Madam Speaker Ma’am.  They are delaying in offering credit to local firms such that by the time they give them such funds, raw materials on semi-manufactured goods, the amount received would have shrunk by more than half in USD$ terms.  So our competitiveness is lost Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I am urging the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to give more money to organisations like the IDC so that they can supply resources timeously to industry.

          We heard about what was happening at Lancashire Steel and it is a cause for concern because those figures were relevant at that point in time but if you go to Lancashire Steel today, you may find almost the same situation prevailing.  So Madam Speaker Ma’am, we need to change.  As I conclude, I want to thank Hon. Mguni and the Committee for tabling the report, and also want to say that some of these reports – this is now 2022.  The report was written in 2019, where is the cutting point when we say a visit was made and a report should have been tabled by such a time?  I think that portfolio committees need to improve in that aspect so that we do not work on things that are no longer functional or relevant.  We do not want to be seen to be reactive or passive, we need to be progressive.

          Strategic companies like ZISCO Steel and Lancashire, really need those to be there.  Where is ZIDA?  What is it doing now?  Where is the One Stop Investment Centre?  What is it doing now?  The Ease of Doing Business while it has slightly changed, it has slightly improved.  It has not reached a situation whereby companies can freely come to Zimbabwe.  So Madam Speaker Ma’am, we are facing two big elephants.  The first elephant is corruption and the second elephant is of sanctions, and if we do not resolve these two ghosts and enemies of the country then we will not go very far. 

          I propose and add my voice to the call for dialogue so that we dialogue and move away from corruption and sanctions – we unite.  Let us create the Zimbabwe we want, whether we are from CCC, MDC, ZANU PF, business, churches, students, labour, civil sector organisations or whoever.  Let us combine, sit down and build the Zimbabwe we want, without that; we will remain a pale shadow of a country that had the potential or propensity to be.  We need ZISCO Steel, I am responding to the report, to say let us just focus on ZISCO Steel.  I say yes, it is good to concentrate on ZISCO Steel but we should not stop.  We are already in another gear on the Mvuma-Chivhu Iron and Ore Project – we should not go back.  Let us do both and become the steel giant that we used to be.  With that Madam Speaker, I also call for the adoption of the report in its current state.  I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA):  Thank you very much.  You are not the one who is supposed to call for that because you are not the mover of the motion.  The mover of the motion is the one who calls for the adoption of that report.

          (v)HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and good afternoon Madam Speaker Ma’am.  The three-in-one report that has been tabled by the Industry Committee by Hon. Mguni is applauded by the people of Chegutu West Constituency and me.  I debate as follows.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am in the Eighth Parliament, when yours truly was a member of the Transport Committee, and chaired the Committee, Hon. Temba Mliswa was the Chairperson of the Committee on Mines and Minerals Development, which also went around ZISCO Steel in particular and ended up in Hwange at Hwange Colliery.  The reason I talk about this is that the issue was eloquently and elaborately debated – the issue of the coke oven batteries and the issue of the resuscitation of ZISCO Steel.  The report was tabled in Parliament and to date; nothing came out of the revitalisation of ZISCO Steel.

          I remember when Hon. Muzenda who is now Chairperson of the Board at MMCZ was also a member of that Committee which sought to see how we could leverage on the ubiquitous amount of resources that we have, that is iron ore and coal.  The reason I say this is so that those in the Ninth Parliament and indeed those who are coming in 2023 do not continue to bark on an old tree.  When a report is tabled, it is incumbent upon those who are in the Parliament of that time, the Ninth Parliament in particular, to read into history informs us where we are, and informs the future.  This is so that whatever we needed to be done, as long as it has not been done, is just duplication and waste of resources to conduct another Fact Finding Visit – it is the same as flogging a dead horse if I can say.

          I remember when Hon. Wadyajena was the Chairperson of Agriculture; he also went to Sable Chemicals and sought to see the level of production and a report was tabled. I encourage joint Committee sessions if there is any requirement for interrogating the operations of Sable. Another committee like the one on Agriculture was interrogating that operation if there is need to conduct joint Committees, I ask that there be joint.

Be that as it may, it is my thinking that the reports are quite elaborate and they speak to and about the issue of production first and foremost. I am alive to the fact that we have a railway system which can be revitalized by production of iron, steel and its products. The NRZ and the railway were established for goods that are very heavy. As long as we do not have a robust and resilient NRZ, we definitely are going to get our roads dilapidated and in a deplorable state because we are carrying bulk goods which are supposed to be on rail. 

The reason I speak like that is, as long as we do not have the resuscitation of places like ZISCO Steel, it is not easy to resuscitate NRZ. I ask that at the present state, all mining houses use NRZ including Sable Chemicals and Lancaster Steel in order to revitalize it to transport at least 15% of their goods. If all the mining houses transport 15% of their produce and products, we will revitalize, rejuvenate, resuscitate and rehabilitate NRZ second to none. It is my view that in the present status quo, we need to get some of our goods on to rail in order to have some longevity on our road network.

When I was Chairperson of the Transport Committee, the maintenance and resuscitation of our road network needed US$20 billion and thanks to the Second Republic led by His Excellency, Cde. E.D Mnangagwa, we are now using what we can to get what we want. For what resources that we have that are local, I remember when he was Vice President, the clarion call from the contractors was that they needed 40% involvement in roads and infrastructure development. When he became President, he gave them 100% and he has also brought the mantra - nyika inovakwa nevene vayo. It is prudent, just, right and applaudable. Be that as it may, we need to resuscitate the railway using resuscitation of such entities like Lancaster Steel, Sable Chemicals and indeed but not limited to ZISCO Steel.

When yours truly was still Chairperson, I got institutional memory of transport. There was need to elongate and to have a railway system coming from Lion’s Den to Kafue which is about 600 km. At today’s rate, it will then cost about US$2 million to put in a rail link. At that time, there was need to harmonise our rail line gauges with the global trend, the European global trends. Our gauge is about 1,5 and I think the gauge for the European side is 1,6. Be that as it may, there was also need to go from Harare to Mowatise which is in Zambia and about 1000km. The reason I bring up this point is that the railway system was always going to be rejuvenated and establish new lines because we needed to link ourselves with the ports; Zambia and the SADC region. I see now that there is a new Chivhu Steel plant coming up because of Afroxim and there is going to be a link between Chivhu and Nakala Port in Mozambique. All this I mention because there is increased appetite for infrastructure development which is a backbone for any nation.

So, not only looking at resuscitation of ZISCO Steel, Sable Chemicals and Lancaster Steel, there is need to resuscitate other industries and other mineral extraction companies that are going to see us using the rail links that I am talking about. The report and the recommendations spoke to the issue of security on our ZISCO Steel so that there is no further plundering of the limited resources that still remain at ZISCO Steel.

We had a Dabuka line 300 km from Gweru to Harare during my time as the Chairperson of the Committee and the copper lines were plundered. To date, there are no more copper lines on that 300 km network. The issue that the report speaks to and about is the issue curtailing the sale and licencing of products such as copper when Mhangura Copper Mine is still not open. We are living these copper deals to relying on our railway system and continue to plunder, steal and buy nocturnally the copper lines on our rail system for free. As I speak, Dabuka marshalling yard is now a white elephant. So, the issue of security to secure what we still have is very key and I applaud Hon. Mguni for an elaborate report that speaks to the issue of security.

Madam Speaker, I can wind up by applauding the Second Republic on the issue of making sure that we get what we can from what we have especially on the establishment of the Chivhu Steel Plant which is going to be the biggest in the whole of Africa. A nation and infrastructure development which is robust is judged by how much steel that country utilizes. We are not only going to be having enough steel for ourselves as a nation but we are going to have steel enough for the SADC region. As I have said, we are most probably going to be the largest steel producer in the whole continent. Ask Hon. Amb. Mutsvangwa, he is going to eloquently tell you about the establishment of that place. I can only make a clarion call for the establishment of a special economic zone in that area which is a special geographical location whose taxes and conditions are meant to attract investment in that area in order that we can increase the inflows of investment and production that we have.

I once spoke about the resuscitation of the three entities that the report refers to. I also want to applaud the Second Republic on Hwange 7 and 8 which has also seen more than 250 pylons that have been established on the route to getting the electricity on to the grid from Hwange. I was in Bulawayo at the Trade Fair and I saw brand sparkling new pylons which are directing their efforts to Kwekwe substation that is going to feed into the national grid. I really applaud the Second Republic for coming out all guns blazing. I want to applaud the debate by Hon. S. Banda and there is no reason whatsoever that if the consumptions are lifted we cannot takeoff. We are primed for takeoff as a nation to great heights and we have got ubiquitous amounts of mineral wealth which can see both our industry and our economy taking off. I want to give a suggestion to the Minister of Finance, seeing he is in the House that there is no need to sell our gold to countries in exchange for paper which is the US dollar.  We can and we must, it is just and it is right to turn our gold into gold refinite, turn it into gold coins, into 5 cents, dollar coins and what a view according to its weight. We can distribute it to our gogos in the rural areas and the people outside this country are going to start running to us to try and buy the 5 cents coins at usurious and big rates. Madam Speaker, we need to try that because we can have platinum dollar, we can have gold dollar, gold coin. We can have our diamond dollar. There is no reason why we should continue to suffer because we want to exchange our minerals into worthless paper which is called the US dollar. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to eloquently, vociferously, effectively and efficiently debate in the manner that the people of Chegutu West Constituency would have debated. I thank you.

HON. T. MOYO: Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 4th May, 2022.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. T. MOYO: Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 19 to 26 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 27 has been disposed of.

HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON CHALLENGES FACED BY THE AUDITOR GENERAL

Twenty-seventy Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on challenges faced by the Auditor General.

Question again proposed.

HON. B. DUBE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I move that the motion be adopted.

Motion that this House considers and adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on Challenges faced by the Auditor General.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. T. MOYO: Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 28 to 30 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 31 has been disposed of.

HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

THIRD REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON THE SPECIAL MAIZE PROGRAMME/COMMAND AGRICULTURE

Thirty-first Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Third Report of the Public Accounts Committee on Special Maize Programme/Command Agriculture.

Question again proposed.

HON. B. DUBE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I move that the motion be adopted.

Motion that this House considers and adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on Special Maize Programme/Command Agriculture.

Motion put and agreed to.

HON. B. DUBE: Madam Speaker, with your indulgence, only one aspect outstanding. We seek your indulgence that we have Treasury minutes the Ministry Finance has undertaken so that as the House we may get to know the areas that they intend to implement and the areas that they do not and the challenges thereof. I am sure the Minister has undertaken. Maybe the Chief Whips or the Leader of Government Business will liaise with the Ministry of Finance on that. The Speaker is also insisting on that aspect. Thank you Madam Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you. Noted, I am sure the Clerk will be able to take note of that.

On the motion of HON. T. MOYO, seconded by HON. L. SIBANDA, the House adjourned at Twenty-Seven minutes to Seven o’clock p.m.

 

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