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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 30 AUGUST 2022 VOL 48 NO 73

          PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 30th August, 2022.

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that I have received non-adverse reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following Bills:

  • Finance Bill [H. B. 9: 2022]
  • Appropriation Supplementary Bill [H. B. 8: 2022]

        *HON. NYABANI: Thank Mr. Speaker Sir.  This august House led by Hon. Adv. Mudenda, has made me proud in my Constituency, Rushinga.  I was begging for water in my constituency and it has come to fruition, water is now there.  I was also requesting for teachers in Rushinga.  Now teachers are being recruited in Rushinga, this became possible through the leadership of Hon. Mudenda. 

        When we are in our rural areas, if we do not bring concerns to this House, no development will take place.  I see this Parliament has assisted us in getting boreholes as well.  I also want to appreciate the issue of deployment of teachers because our students used to have one teacher from grade one to grade seven.  So, I want to thank this Parliament and the President.

        On the issue of hospitals, it is good to see that the medical facilities in that area have improved.  My request is that we would like to see the outstanding issues being addressed.  I believe that this House has worked hard in terms of addressing the concerns of the people we represent.  I want to thank this House.  I want to thank the Ministers and I want to thank the leadership of Parliament for taking up our concerns.  As representatives, we are honoured for the work that we are doing.  With these few words, I want to thank you Mr. Speaker.

        THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Nyabani, what you have said is what reflects you as a true representative of the people.  You are performing your representative role well.  The little that remains, I urge you to pursue that which you said is still outstanding for it to be addressed; it can also be achieved.  That will improve the lives of the people in your constituency.  Maybe they will re-elect you in 2023.

      (v)HON. SARUWAKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Hon. Speaker, you may be aware of the story and I ask you to imagine the traumatic experience, Mrs. Selina Tadya, the mother of Livingstone Sunhwa, the 19-year old St. Matthias Tsonzo student who went missing on 6 December, 2021.  The traumatised mother has gone through a lot in her failed efforts to locate her missing son; secondly, in her quest to get cooperation and assistance from the police and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to establish what really happened to Livingstone; thirdly, to get closure on whether the human remains that were discovered on 24th June, 2022 are indeed Livingstone’s due to the delays in concluding the DNA investigations.

           This matter hit the headlines via social media in May/June, 2022.  May I request through your Chair, that the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage come to the House and tell the nation why they are taking forever to get done with this matter, considering its gravity.  What difficulties are they meeting?  What processes are they taking and when is the matter going to be concluded so that the nation really knows what happened? I am aware that the school Head was suspended. It is also in the interest of justice that the matter be expedited so that if he is guilty, he pays for his deeds but if he is innocent, he be allowed to continue with his life. Currently everything and everyone is in limbo.

     Is Government waiting for socialites to beat the drums and blow trumpets before the police make progress? May the Minister also use the same opportunity to update the nation on the progress made on the Tapiwa Makore of Murehwa case who was beheaded in September 2020 and Mutasa Central’s Benza cousins, Melisa and Dylan, who were butchered in cold blood in April 2021? I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of privilege Hon. Speaker.  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.  It is always good to have you back.  If the father is in the house, you always feel warm.  So we are grateful you travelled safely and now you are back.  Mr. Speaker Sir, you are aware of the issue that I had brought up on Hon. Wadyajena before the arrest, to say that I did not want to rush into moving a motion for a Privileges Committee to be set up until due diligence was done to see whether it warranted that.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  To see what, I did not quite get that?

HON. T. MLISWA:  To see whether it required a committee to be put in place because of the experience from our Privileges Committee which was set up as a result of the allegations in the Herald and we had never appeared before the courts that at the end of the day there was not much due diligence done.  I think when people think of moving for a Privileges Committee to be put in place, there must be a thorough assessment of the matters to a point where Legal Counsel of Parliament is involved to see whether it warrants it or else the precedence set then becomes a problem.

So then the arrest came through without the answer in terms of what I sought and my capacity as chairman of the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC), in my own capacity as well as a Member of Parliament in the fight against corruption and as Members of Parliament, we must be seen to have a good social standing in terms of attacking these issues.  Now that the matter is before the courts and there was no report back on what I had requested, we must also be seen to be working in collaboration with agencies that fight corruption because we make the laws as well.

Now we read that there was a Cabinet authority which was approved but of course the Cabinet authority would only come about if Parliament has recommended the said person for Cabinet authority to come through.  It then boggles every body’s mind how serious Parliament is in having to tackle corruption.  As APNAC, we believe corruption robs us all.  So I think there is a certainty up there with members of APNAC themselves, Parliamentarians and the public itself to say we see you exposing others for corruption but now when one of your own has allegations, of course bearing in mind that you are innocent until proven guilty.  What set up is Parliament taking to ensure that there is some sort of response to give confidence to the people being the institution that represents people? 

So it is in that light Mr. Speaker Sir that the fight against corruption cannot be fought when institutions like Parliament are quite over one of their own members and it seems there are different strokes for different folks.  If it is Hon. Mliswa, Hon. P. D. Sibanda, the late Hon. Chikomba and Hon. Ndebele, a Privileges Committee is put in place immediately which last time was moved by Hon. Mataranyika.  We were also cleared and again, the Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira has not come to Parliament to exonerate us and unfortunately, Hon. Chikomba died without him being exonerated as per the findings of that Committee, which is rather sad.

So I would also move that the Committee comes and gives its findings and concludes that matter before some of us die because when you die a matter is not concluded.  People can say he was corrupt yet a Privileges Committee was put in place.  There was desire to set it up but there is no desire to think closure.  So we now do not know.  It is in that light that I seek your indulgence before we move for a Privileges Committee to be put in place, the Standing Orders in terms of the asset declaration of Members of Parliament, now it is pretty clear the 25 trucks which are there were they declared?  If not declared, what action is Parliament taking to ensure that they are also seen to be driving home their own rules?  I really seek your indulgence before we blow this out of proportion, knowing very well that you, Hon. Speaker Adv. Jacob Mudende, are a lawyer and an advocate for that, so we are fortunate that we will never bring issues to this place which do not have that legal opinion. 

I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and like I said, I stand here on behalf of the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption as Chairman and on my own behalf as an advocate for fighting against corruption.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  On the first issue of the due process of the report, we had a technical hitch in terms of the process and we are going to ensure that the report is tabled by next week.  I do not want to preempt the findings at this juncture. 

On the question of Hon. Wadyajena, this is a matter that has involved the courts, which is different from the matter that you referred to which was really more of an in-house situation.  I have been in touch with ZACC.  I wanted to know whether indeed there is a docket.  At law, the docket must be there which raises charges against the accused.  As we speak now, before I came here, the Hon. Justice Matandamoyo indicated to me that they are finalising the document because there are other offences that have emerged that involve external stakeholders and these are being asked to expedite to give them information.  So the docket is not ready for me and the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, on the advice of Legal Counsel to Parliament, on the way forward.  That should be clear by 8th September next week.  Once the docket is ready and on the point of probabilities, then we proceed in terms of our Standing Orders accordingly.  So nothing will be swept under the carpet at all.

HON. HWENDE:  On a point of clarification.  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker.  I think the first part, we understand the need for us to wait for the docket, but there is a second part which I think is easy and which is within Parliament’s capacity to interrogate, the issue of the asset declaration because everyone declared their assets and I think it is the easiest thing that we can do as Parliament, just to go into the file to see whether the trucks were declared because if there was an under declaration, then that means there is a case for Parliament to pursue.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you very much for the clarification.  This is why I said due process will take place including what Hon. Mliswa suggested and we affirm to that. We will check in the asset books whether that has been done or not.  That is admitted.  It is part of the due process.  You do not want to rush things as if heavens are falling.  In the end, the integrity of the institution must be protected. In the end, the due process also must be adhered to. So your point of clarification is accepted.

          HON. HWENDE: You are welcome.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 15 be stood over until Order of the Day No. 16 has been disposed of.

          HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.        

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 51ST PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HOSTED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF MALAWI

 

          `

 `       HON. MPARIWA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report on the 51st Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum hosted by the Parliament of Malawi in Lilongwe.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: I second.

          HON. MPARIWA:

1.0      INTRODUCTION:

1.1      The 51st Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum was hosted by the Parliament of Malawi from the 7th to 16th July 2022 under the theme: ‘Towards Energy Sufficiency, Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency in the SADC Region’.

1.2 The Zimbabwe delegation was led by Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, and it comprised the following Members of Parliament: -

  • Tambudzani Mohadi, Member of the Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Infrastructure;
  • Goodluck Kwaramba, Member of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Women Advancement and Youth Development and Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC);
  • Dought Ndiweni, Executive Committee Member and Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights;
  • Anele Ndebele, Member of the Standing Committee on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment; and,
  • Paurina Mpariwa, Member of the Standing Committee on Human and Social Development and Special Programmes.

2.0      OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY

2.1      In her welcome remarks, the Secretary-General of the SADC PF, Ms. Boemo Segkoma, stressed the need to heighten Intra-Africa trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). She also implored Member States to ensure that African women are empowered through entrepreneurship to tap into the envisaged economic gains offered by AfCFTA. She called on the Plenary Assembly to ensure that young girls and women are empowered through opportunities that are offered by an equitable society that does not discriminate based on gender or sex. Furthermore, the Secretary General concluded by tendering credentials of the delegates to the Plenary Assembly and invited the Hon, President of SADC PF to address the Assembly.

2.2      Hon. Christopher Mboso N’kodia Pwanga, the Speaker of the Parliament of DRC and President of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, expressed gratitude to H.E. Dr. Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi for the double achievement in the transformation of the SADC PF which was borne in Blantyre, Malawi in 1997, while the 41st SADC Summit resolved unanimously that SADC PF should transform into a Regional Parliament as one of the organs of SADC PF. On that score, the President of SADC PF commended the Chairman, His Excellency, President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, for chairing the 41st SADC Summit which affirmed the Transformation Agenda of the SADC PF. Furthermore, he pleaded with H.E. President of Malawi to canvass his fellow Heads of State and governments during the 42nd Summit to be held in DRC by encouraging that Summit accedes to the amendment of Article 9 (1) of the SADC Treaty which makes it possible for the envisaged Regional Parliament to be one of its organs.

2.3      Solidarity Messages were presented to the SADC PF Plenary Assembly during the Official Opening Ceremony. The Right Honourable Speaker, Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, emphasised that private sector engagement is fundamental to achieving energy efficiency at regional level. He gave an example of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), as a clear manifestation of a successful public-private partnership initiative which covers 14 of the 15 ECOWAS countries. The WAPP programme promotes power generation and transmission infrastructure as well as coordinating power exchange among the ECOWAS Member States, thereby providing a regular and reliable energy source at a competitive cost for citizens of that region. 

2.3.1   Dr. Sidie encouraged the SADC Region to leverage on private sector engagement as a powerful force in improving livelihoods, among African countries in search of accelerated socio-economic development.

2.4      The President of the Pan-African Parliament, Hon. Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira, saluted the support given by the SADC Region which propelled him to victory in the PAP Presidential elections held on 29th June 2022. He paid tribute to the region for standing firm and resolute in support of the principle of geographical rotational leadership which is one of the cornerstones of the African Union founding values. The PAP President also expressed gratitude for the support received from the Government of Zimbabwe led by H.E. Dr. President Mnangagwa. Furthermore, he saluted Honourable Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe, for being a father figure and a pillar of strength throughout the struggle for rotational leadership. He pledged to work hard to ensure that the continent is united under his leadership.            

2.5      In delivering the keynote address, the Guest of Honour, His Excellency, President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi, noted that the theme was in tandem with the Maseru 1996 SADC Protocol on Energy that recognizes the criticality of energy in pursuit of the SADC vision of economic well-being and poverty eradication in Southern Africa through industrialisation anchored on adequate energy supply.

2.5.1   The President of Malawi expressed confidence that the deliberations of the Plenary Assembly would be guided by the SADC founding principles and decades-long quest to diversify energy sources and transition to green renewable energy.

2.5.2   The President of Malawi recalled that the Summit of Heads of State and Government had approved at the same venue, a proposal to transform the forum into a SADC Regional Parliament in order to make it a legislative body as opposed to being a mere deliberative body. In this regard, as the current Chairperson of SADC, he pledged his total support and commitment towards the transition of the forum into a Regional Parliament as affirmed during the 41st SADC Summit of Heads of State and Governments.

2.6      H.E. President Chakwera lauded the inclusion of the SADC Model Law on Public Finance Management (PFM) on the programme as a commendable initiative by the SADC PF, as the PFM promotes prudential management of public finances. H.E. Dr. Chakwera concluded his address by wishing the 51st SADC PF Assembly constructive deliberations.

2.7      Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara, Speaker of the National Assembly of Malawi, expressed gratitude to the region for assembling in Malawi for a record fourth time in the life of the SADC PF. The Hon. Speaker urged the SADC PF Assembly to come up with robust recommendations on the way forward as she wished all delegates a hospitable stay during the Assembly period.

2.8      Hon. Seioso Joel Mohai, Member of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and Chief Whip, representing Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa and the host of the 52nd SADC PF Plenary Assembly, Hon. Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, graciously thanked Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa for excellently hosting 51st Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC PF. He pledged South Africa’s readiness to welcome delegates to the 52nd Plenary Assembly Meeting to be held in the last quarter of 2022. 

3.0      ZIMBABWE’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE THEME AND THE KEY DELIVERABLES DURING THE SYMPOSIUM

3.1      Hon. Anele Ndebele presented a paper on the theme on behalf of the Hon. Speaker and the delegation and noted that at the continental and global levels, energy was critical to the attainment of the global infrastructural development agenda.

3.2      The Plenary Assembly noted that the SADC region is endowed with abundant and diverse energy sources both renewable (RE) and non-renewable energy resources such as hydro, wind, solar, oil, gas, geothermal, nuclear and coal. There is thus, need to maximize the potential of regional renewable energy resources to ensure energy sustainability, security and self-sufficiency while decarbonizing the energy sector.

3.3      Furthermore, it was noted that, despite the abundant energy resources in the           region, access to electricity remains low in Member States notably in Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Mozambique and Madagascar. It is imperative that the SADC region exploits fully the sources of energy supply such as coal, hydro electricity and natural gas in countries such as Zimbabwe, DRC, Mozambique and Tanzania in order to circumvent the debilitating energy deficit experienced since 2007.  

3.4      One of the main challenges facing the electricity sector was the insignificant capital injection into power generation projects from either the private or the public sector.  Over the past decade, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, among others, have had to resort to load shedding as a stop gap measure to conserve energy. This can only be forestalled by capital injection from the private sector and/or through Public Private Partnership (PPPs).

3.5      The Symposium noted that vandalism of energy infrastructure such as transformers and copper wires has negative effects on uninterrupted energy supply in the region. This vandalism was economic sabotage. Member States should guard against this vandalism and ensure that stolen equipment from other Members States is not sold across borders in other countries within the region. Stiff penalties should be employed in all Member States.

3.6      It was also observed that the Russia/Ukraine conflict had created energy imbalance as the prices of gas and oil increased exponentially resulting in imported hyperinflation. It is, therefore, imperative that SADC countries come up with clear Independent   Power Producers (IPPs) policies in order to mitigate against the energy deficit.

3.7      The SADC Region should leverage the Inga Hydropower project for regional benefits. The Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) must take interest to unlock the potential of the Inga Hydropower project, as an integrated regional project that would result in no less than 50% electricity being supplied to the rest of Africa.  

3.8      In this context, the role of Parliament is to promulgate laws that promote energy supply. In that respect, the Zimbabwean delegation stressed the need for Parliaments to ratify and domesticate the SADC Protocols on energy as well as continental and international energy protocols in order to achieve sustainability in the energy sector within the SADC region.

  4.0    STATEMENT BY HON. ADVOCATE JACOB FRANCIS NZWIDAMILIMO MUDENDA ON DECISIONS OF THE 144TH ASSEMBLY   OF THE IPU AND RELATED MEETINGS HELD IN BALI, INDONESIA FROM 18 TO 24 MARCH 2022 AND THE 288TH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE IPU HELD ON 28TH JUNE, 2022 IN MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY

4.1      The Speaker of Parliament of Zimbabwe, Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, reported on the outcomes of the 144th Assembly of the IPU and Related Meetings as well as the 288th Session of the Executive Committee Meeting.

4.2      He reported that the Hon. Duarte Pachecco, President of the IPU, had implored Parliaments to exercise their legislative, representative, oversight and budgetary roles to ensure that international agreements on climate change are fully implemented. Parliaments were also challenged to share best practices and proffer global solutions to this global climate change phenomenon.

4.3      The report informed the SADC PF Plenary Assembly that the preparations for the 145th Assembly to be held in Rwanda were well on course. In response, the DRC delegation indicated that their country would not attend the 145th IPU Assembly, because Rwanda had invaded the Eastern part of the DRC region. However, the Hon. Speaker of Zimbabwe advised that the invasion of DRC by Rwanda created an invidious position for the SADC Region because Rwanda was in the SADC Region fighting side by side with the Region under the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), repelling insurgency and banditry in Northern Mozambique. Furthermore, the Hon. Speaker appealed to the DRC delegation to embrace the peace efforts which had commenced under the auspices of the Angolan President where both Presidents Félix Tshisekedi and Paul Kagame had been invited to begin the peace process regarding the DRC Eastern Region in the spirit and letter of the 2nd July 2022, Pretoria Agreement and the Sun City Agreement which was signed on 2nd April 2003, all executed in order to find lasting peace in the DRC. The Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe advocated for a diplomatic and peaceful resolution to the conflictual situation.

4.4      Meanwhile, Mr. Ope Pasquet, Acting President of the House of Representatives of Uruguay, applauded the IPU for establishing a Task Force on the Russian Federation/ Ukraine conflict in order to achieve dialogue through mediation between the two sides in the conflict. The region is represented on the Task Force by Speakers of the Parliaments of the Republic of South Africa and Namibia.

4.5      In that regard, the IPU President reported that the Task Force was scheduled to undertake missions to Moscow and Kiev following invitations from both Parliaments of the Russian Federation and Ukraine in July 2022. Hon. Speaker Mudenda emphasized that as the Task Force embarks on its mission, it must be guided by the principle of neutrality and not to be dissuaded by the United States of America’s posture of preventing African States from siding with Russia through its Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act promulgated on 22nd April 2022.

5.0      ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND THE TREASURER’S REPORT

5.1      The Executive Committee (EXCO) tabled its report for consideration and adoption by the 51st Plenary Assembly meeting. The EXCO of the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) had met virtually via the zoom video conferencing platform on 11th March 2022 and again on 10th June 2022.

5.2      The Report expressed gratitude to His Excellency, President Dr. Lazarus MacCarthy Chakwera, for officially opening the 51st Plenary Assembly Session and to the Government and People of Malawi for the warm hospitality.

5.3      The Plenary Assembly reaffirmed the clarion call to Speakers/ Presiding Officers of Member Parliaments to continue lobbying Heads of State and Ministers of Foreign Affairs to support the adoption of the amended SADC Treaty at the 42nd SADC Summit to be held in the DRC. The report emphasised and approved the need for further lobbying initiatives by the Strategic Lobbying Team on the Transformation of the SADC PF into a Regional Parliament to ensure that a two-thirds majority of countries is reached when the Amendment to the SADC Treaty is considered by the 42nd Summit.

5.4      The Plenary Assembly validated the results of the elections of the Chairpersons and Vice-Chairpersons of the RWPC and Standing Committees for 2022 to 2024 and wished the Committees a fruitful tenure of office.

5.5      The Plenary Assembly adopted the decision to participate in the collaborative event twinning the G7 Global Initiative and the SADC PF aimed at sensitising Parliamentarians on the production and transit of chemical waste and biohazards in Africa and the potential risks posed to the environment. The event will take place in Windhoek, Namibia, from the 27th to 29th October 2022.

5.6      The Plenary Assembly noted the need for National Parliaments to second staff on full-time basis to the forum, whose employment costs would be borne by Member Parliaments given the prevailing budgetary constraints being faced by the forum.

5.7      The Plenary Assembly adopted the need to incorporate best practices enunciated by the SADC Model Law on Public Finance Management. The Plenary Assembly commended the PFM Model Law as the first normative legislative instrument to ensure that PFM reflects commitments made at the regional level with regards to prudent management of the national purse in Member States. 

5.8      The Plenary Assembly adopted the proposal for the Forum to participate in upcoming Election Observation Missions (EOMs), particularly in the SADC Region, to avoid losing observer status with some Electoral Commissions. The Plenary Assembly expressed disquiet over having the Commonwealth and the European Union observing elections in the region whilst the forum is visibly not represented.

5.9      The Plenary Assembly exhorted the Speaker of the National Assembly of Seychelles, Hon. Roger Mancienne, to actively secure an appointment for the High-Level Lobby Team to visit the Parliament of the Union of Comoros to entice them to join the forum.

6.0      MOTIONS ADOPTED DURING THE 51st PLENARY ASSEMBLY MEETINGS

6.1      Motion to Amend the Constitution of the SADC Parliamentary Forum to Provide For The Establishment of The SADC Parliamentary Forum and its Successors Trust

6.1.1   Plenary Assembly adopted the constitutional amendments to incorporate the provision to establish the SADC PF Successor’s Trust as a vehicle for SADC PF resource mobilisation.

 

6.2      Adoption of the Model Law on Public Finance Management

6.2.1   The Model Law on Public Finance Management seeks to cure a multiplicity of legal and regulatory gaps in the Financial Management Systems across SADC Member States that impede sound public financial management.

6.2.2           The Plenary Assembly Session adopted the Model Law on Public Financial Management (2022), which aims at good governance, accountability and transparency in the deployment of scarce public resources.

6.3  Report of the Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources

6.3.1   Plenary endorsed the call for SADC governments to strengthen agricultural data collection and management systems to ensure that all Malabo Declarations, goals and targets are met.

6.3.2   The adopted report called on SADC Parliaments to continue capacitating Members of Parliaments with the necessary knowledge to effectively participate in the budget process, and notably contribute on issues relating to public spending in the agriculture sector.

6.3.3   The report implored SADC countries to recognise the critical contribution that women and youths make towards sustainable agriculture in the region. Consequently, a call was made for Member States to set aside a specific quota in their national budgets to ensure food security is achieved in the SADC region.

6.3.4   Plenary Assembly adopted the proposal to leverage on the Inga Dam Project, as a regional intervention which is able to provide electricity to the entire region and facilitate large-scale farming.

6.4      Report of the Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights

6.4.1   The adopted motion encouraged Member States to finance and participate in Election Observation Missions (EOMs), particularly in the SADC Region.

6.4.2   The report recalled that the SADC PF has been known for producing very incisive electoral documents including the Model Law on Elections and Normative Standards on the Democratic Elections, which aim at facilitating the holding of democratic elections in the region. The Plenary Assembly agreed that it would be remiss for the region’s story on elections to be told by Commonwealth Observer Missions or the EU Observer Missions, especially in its own backyard. 

7.0      RESOLUTIONS AND WAY FORWARD

7.1      There is need to create conducive legal frameworks, policies and strategies that are key to unlocking the energy potential in the SADC Region. 

7.2      Biomass, oil, gas and coal dominate the current energy sources in the SADC Region, thus Member States are vulnerable to external shocks and climate change. SADC Member States must embrace renewable energy resources for their energy production. Furthermore, Member States can benchmark against the achievements made by Malawi in the removal of VAT and duty taxes on solar technologies and other renewable energy technologies which has resulted in the addition of 80 megawatts of solar power in the last nine months prior to the 51st Plenary Assembly meeting.

7.3      There is need for the integration of the regional electricity supply network to ensure that Member States can take advantage of economies of scale and reduce the cost of electricity infrastructure development.

7.4      The Plenary Assembly resolved to act against vandalism of energy infrastructure such as theft of transformers and copper wires that affects the energy security situation in the region. Such theft of public assets is economic sabotage. Member States should guard against this vandalism and ensure that stolen equipment from other Members States is not sold in their countries. Punitive laws should be enacted to curtail the vandalism of these public assets.

7.5      The SADC bloc needs to work together to ensure that the Inga Dam project is fully implemented as a sustainable intervention towards regional energy self-sufficiency, if not continentally.  The Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) must therefore, take an interest in unlocking the potential of the Inga Hydro power project.

7.6      Regional Parliaments should organise All Stakeholder Workshops to facilitate the speedy implementation of resolutions from Inter-Parliamentary Organisations, especially on the Model Laws adopted by the Plenary Assemblies of the SADC PF.

 7.7   Through its Standing Committee Reports and submissions from its thematic organs, the Plenary Assembly adopted resolutions aimed at supporting the implementation of regional commitments in view of heightening need for gender equality, youth empowerment, enhanced agriculture, natural resource governance, anti-corruption and the need for pragmatic domestic resource mobilization. It is imperative to have cohesion in tackling the abovementioned subject areas to ensure that they dovetail with broader goals such as the Africa Agenda 2063, Ministerial commitments and the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

7.8      The 51st Plenary Assembly Session unanimously adopted the SADC Model Law on Public Financial Management (PFM). This constituted the fifth Model Law developed by the forum following those on HIV and AIDS (2008), Child Marriage (2016), Elections (2019) and Gender Based Violence (2021). There is need to scale up momentum towards the domestication of these various Model Laws already adopted by the Plenary Assembly.

7.9      The Plenary Assembly reiterated the need for all stakeholders to join hands to support the transformation of the forum into a Regional Parliament which has already been approved as a matter of policy by the 41st SADC Summit held in Lilongwe, Malawi in August 2021, and to ensure that the remaining legal steps are carried to the ultimate end. In this regard, the Plenary Assembly resolved to intensify lobbying efforts at national and regional levels to ensure that the stipulated majority is obtained at Summit level to adopt the Amendment to the SADC Treaty and the Protocol establishing the SADC Parliament.

7.10    The Plenary Assembly resolved to fully implement its Strategic Plan and ensure that the region becomes a vibrant powerhouse for socio-economic development and democratization through parliamentary initiatives that materially advance the standard of living and quality of lives of SADC citizens.

 7.11  The Plenary Assembly stressed the need for Parliaments across the region to continue raising concern on the negative effects of destabilizing forces such as the conflict between DRC and Rwanda in the Eastern DRC as well as the banditry in Northern Mozambique. In respect of the decision by DRC not to attend the 145th Assembly of the IPU to be held in Rwanda, the Plenary Assembly pledged to advocate for dialogue and cessation of hostilities in the Eastern part of DRC, and that Rwanda be persuaded to disengage from further aggression.

7.12    The full dossier of the Plenary Assembly resolutions will be availed by the SADC Parliamentary Forum in due course for consideration by Portfolio and Thematic Committees of the Parliament of Zimbabwe.

8.0      CONCLUSION

8.1      The Plenary Assembly concluded by calling on Member Parliaments to continue intensifying collaborative efforts that ensure self-sufficiency and sustenance in the energy sector within the SADC region.

8.2      Parliament of Zimbabwe continues to play a highly effective leading role in the Transformation Agenda as the holders of the Chairpersonship of the Strategic Lobby Team of Hon. Speakers on the transformation of the forum into a SADC Regional Parliament. There is need to continue lobbying Heads of State and governments on the Transformation Agenda, and in particular the Amendment of the Treaty to officially recognise the SADC Parliament as an organ of SADC.

 8.3     Parliament of Zimbabwe commits itself to the full implementation of the resolutions of the Plenary Assembly which shall be shared among all Members of Parliament to facilitate action by different Portfolio and Thematic Committees. 

8.4      Parliament of Zimbabwe commits itself to ensuring that resources are mobilised towards the establishment of the SADC PF and its Successor’s Trust. 

8.5      The 52nd Plenary Assembly of the SADC PF will be hosted by the Republic of South Africa, who have pledged to choreograph a memorable hosting. 

8.6    Finally and notably, the Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, presented a well-rehearsed infographic treatise on the IPU and all Zimbabwean delegates avidly contributed to the proceedings of the 51st Plenary Assembly Meeting of the SADC PF.  Furthermore, the Plenary Assembly observed a minute of silence on the passing on of former President José Eduardo dos Santos, of the Republic of Angola in recognition of his sterling leadership in the struggle to liberate Angola from the shackles of Portuguese colonialism. I thank you.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to second this report by Hon. Mpariwa in respect to the Fifth Plenary Assembly of…

          HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! I think it is only proper that Members of the SADC PF contribute to this and where are they? They go there to listen, we are not there, so they must buttress and we come in.  Hon. Mushoriwa is not a Member of the SADC PF. It was supposed to be seconded by a Member of the SADC PF. Hon. A. Ndebele is a member, Hon. Ndiweni, so what do they do when they go if they cannot even come and debate on things they talked about?  We are a bit blank on that in terms of - saka varikuite chii ikoko vachinogara mumahotera?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: In terms of our Standing Orders, any Member can second, but you are right, there should have been some coordination with the mover of the motion - point taken.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you for your ruling in terms of our Standing Orders.  Mr. Speaker Sir,  SADC as a board for Southern Africa, the dream by the founders of SADC was for the integration of our countries - economic and political.

          I want to start by saying that we do not seem to be moving at the speed at which the founders of SADC had in mind and because of that, you find that in a number of issues, economic or political. Instead of coming up as a coercive unit as SADC, we tend to have more of competition rather than coming as a grouping.  It is my view that there is need for SADC to enhance that cooperation.  A typical example that comes to mind, if you check the points that were raised by Hon. Mpariwa in her report, the question of the challenges that happened in the northern part of Mozambique where Rwanda had to come in, it is amiss and does not auger well for SADC, given the fact that if we were ready as a regional bloc, we should be in a position to have coordinated and help to avert some of the risks.  You know that we used to laugh and also boast that in SADC, there were no possibilities or the challenges of terrorism were actually very low.  We thought that we could build on the historical integration that we have had in this region.  You know that the Bantu population in SADC; we are related one way or the other and it should have been easier for the integration but the challenges that we now have, to then allow a country like Rwanda to come and take a leading role in stopping terrorist organisations within SADC, does not augur well.  

          Secondly, Hon. Mpariwa raised the issue that in terms of protocols, this Plenary adopted the Public Finance Management Principles but there is a challenge in that this is the fifth.  She has mentioned that the Protocol on HIV was adopted, Child Marriage, Election and Gender Based Violence but five protocols, the pace at which SADC is actually moving is very slow.  I want to support a position that has been taken to say there is need to re-look into the manner in which the SADC Parliamentary Forum is operating so that it becomes a proper SADC Parliament.  That will actually help in terms of building a more robust and economically empowered region.

          The challenge of not having a proper Parliamentary SADC Regional Parliament is that when we go there on SADC Forums, we go there from an individual country perspective and that defeats the whole purpose.  We are aware that most of the SADC countries were former colonies of Britain. We know that we had the Portuguese in Mozambique and Angola but our view is to say that we need to come to a stage as SADC; that we have to take our rightful place on the global platform rather than to continuously allow a divide and rule approach where an investor will come and then we tend to then give favourable or sometimes too generous tax incentives, primarily because Zimbabwe has to compete with Mozambique or Zimbabwe has to compete with South Africa, whereas in a proper regional coercive system, we could actually come up with an agreed platform to simply say - how do we treat investors in mining, et cetera so that as a region, we will actually prosper.

          Lastly, I just want to touch on the issue of energy.  It is true that we are lagging behind.  We know that in South Africa, there is load shedding.  Zimbabwe, there is load shedding and we all have those challenges.  What needs to be done - this is where the integration and coordination need to come into play because as SADC, if we had this proper integration, you would realise that we have got the capacity to generate energy which is sufficient for the region.  Now, our drawback is our failure as a region to properly adhere to the founding values and principles of the SADC fathers.  If we had done that, by now, I think we could actually have moved a big step towards the integration.

          As I sit, I just want also to thank – I noted from Hon. Mpariwa’s report, she cited you Mr. Speaker Sir, for having done well for the country.  I also noted that quite a number of Hon. Members who sit in that SADC, some chair other Committees and some sit in the Executive Committees of SADC, which is a commendable thing and I actually wish that, that spirit could continue so that as Zimbabwe, we continue to raise our flag high.  I thank you. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Listening to the contributions by Hon. Mpariwa, I found it very impressive indeed.  I think you have been following the issues that are taking place within SADC.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTIC, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 31st August, 2022.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, at the beginning of our proceedings, I did announce that I had received a non-adverse report on the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill.  The Hon. Minister was not there.  Now that the Hon. Minister of Finance is there, I am going to make the announcement accordingly and I would want the Hon. Minister to respond accordingly.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that I have received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Finance Bill [H. B. 9: 2022]. 

SECOND READING

FINANCE BILL [H. B. 9, 2022]

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  This Finance Bill [H. B. 9, 2022] seeks to give effect to the revenue tax measures that I announced through the 2022 Mid-Term Review Statement delivered on 28 July, 2022.  The measures are aimed at strengthening tax administration thereby enhancing revenue collection and also providing relief to tax payers. 

          The opportunity of the Finance Bill is also being used to amend other Acts that have fiscal, financial and investment implications.  In summary, the Bill seeks to do the following;

          With effect from 1 August, 2022, the Bill contains Clauses 2 and 3 which will reset the tax free threshold on local currency remuneration from ZWL300 000 to ZWL600 000 per annum and also adjust the tax bands to end at US$12 million from the current US$6 million per annum above which tax will be levied at a rate of 40%

          I will now turn to the automated financial transactions tax.  The Bill seeks to increase the rate of automated financial transactions tax to ZWL0.05 per withdrawal of ZWL1000 or US$0.05 for withdrawals of US$1 000 or less or 2% of the value of the withdrawal in excess of US$1 000.

          The Bill, Mr. Speaker Sir, also seeks to increase the rate of withholding tax chargeable on cross border traders who do not produce tax clearance certificate from 10% to 30% with effect from 1 August, 2022 and this is a compliance measure, it is not a revenue raising measure.

          I now turn to the Intermediated Money Transfer Tax (INTT).  The Bill sets the rate for higher INTT and provides for the minimum amount below which INTT will not be charged as well as the upper limit of the INTT for very large transactions above a certain threshold.  The Bill seeks to reset the value of the tax exempt transactions from ZWL1 000 to ZWL2 500.  In the case of corporates, the proposal is to reset the maximum tax payable per transaction from the current ZWL1.3 million to ZWL3.3 million on transactions with values exceeding ZWL165 million.  In the case of foreign currency denominated transfers, the maximum payable per transaction is reset from US$10 000 to US$20 000 on transaction values exceeding US$500 000.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill also seeks to extend the income tax exempt status granted to the Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) in 1997 to the Peoples Own Savings Bank as a successor to the earlier POSB.  This was omitted in the past. It is just being regularised because the bank has been rebranded.  So, there is a clause in the Bill that seeks to reset the local currency tax free bonus threshold from ZWL100 000 to ZWL500 000 with effect from 1 November, 2022.

In order to facilitate the registration of all members and employees for PAYE tax, there is a clause in the Bill which seeks to mandate the sharing of data on numbers and work permits between ZIMRA the revenue collector and the Department of Immigration.

I now turn to the IMTT tax; this is pertaining to definition of financial services.  The definition of financial services in virtue of which providers of such services are subject to IMTT presently excludes authorised dealers with limited authority.  Here I am referring to the money transfer agencies which are registered in terms of the Exchange Control Act giving these dealers an unfair competitive advantage over mobile banking services and other banking institutions registered in terms of the Banking Act.  There is a clause in the Bill which seeks to extend the IMTT to the internal transfer of money by authorised dealers with limited authority registered in terms of the Exchange Control Act.

I now turn to the export tax on platinum, Mr. Speaker Sir.  The Bill also seeks to suspend the operation of Section 12(d) which pertains to the collection of tax on exportation of unbeneficiated platinum and determination of value thereof of the Value Added Tax Act for a period of 12 months with effect of 1st January, 2022.  This is in consideration of the work in progress to establish a platinum beneficiation plant.  So we have suspended that tax in order to support the platinum companies which are making very good progress, Mr. Speaker Sir.

I now turn to claims on the import tax.  The Bill removes the discretionary power of the Commissioner to allow tax invoices for purposes of claiming input tax that are submitted by a registered operator after the expiry of the statutory period of 12 months and this is an express request from the Commissioner who runs ZIMRA that such discretionary powers only cause a lot of headache and heartache for them and they would want to give up those discretionary powers.

I now turn to electronic currency.  The Bill proposes to align the value added tax to the provisions of the Reserve Bank Act with respect to the recognition of electronic currency as legal tender with effect from 1 February, 2019.  There was still a gap and discrepancy between the Reserve Bank Act, Mr. Speaker Sir, which this Bill wants to close, that gap between the Reserve Bank Act and the VAT Tax Act.

I now turn to the matter of capital gains tax.  The Bill seeks to impose a capital gains tax of 40% on shares disposed in a period less than 270 days or 9 months from the date of purchase.  This we introduce as a policy, Mr. Speaker Sir, to curb speculative behaviour on the stock market and I must say that so far it has worked.  It was done through a Statutory Instrument and this Bill now seeks to enshrine it in law.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill seeks to impose Capital Gains withholding tax of 1.5% on the price of listed marketable securities provided they are held for more than 270 days.  In other words, the status quo continues.  This is from the date of purchase.  In order to curtail speculative tendencies, there is a clause, Clause 25, in the Bill which also introduces Capital Gains withholding tax of 4% of the price of listed marketable securities provided they are held for less than 270 days.  What this means is that before the expiry of 270 days from the period of purchase, we are proposing that the withholding tax of 4% be levied if the holder of the securities, the buyer then disposes before the 270 days, then the final tax is then imposed, being a final tax of 40% and then the 4% is deducted from that 40%.  That is what this really means.  So the 40% is a final tax imposed if one sells before the end of 270 days.

I now turn on the issue of payment of VAT in foreign currency.  Mr. Speaker Sir, there is Clause 28 in the Bill.  This clause for the benefit of VAT registered operators whose sales and purchases are transacted in different currencies will afford them the option to pay duty in foreign currency to facilitate offsetting of output and input tax in the same currency.  This is with effect from September, 2022.  That is the proposal.

I now turn to the issue of illicit cigarettes trade. The Bill through Clause 29, seeks to amend the section of the Customs and Excise Act providing for the procedure on seizure and forfeiture which will require that a contraband cigarettes must be destroyed instead of auctioned. We need to curb illicit cigarette trade. We think this is the way to do it.

          I now address the issue of proliferation of unauthorised agents at the border post. Following the launch of the electronic single window implemented through the ASYCUDA system, it became evident that there was need to regulate the access to border posts of unauthorised agents. There is Clause 40 in the Bill which seeks to designate ZIMRA in the interim and I emphasise in the interim as temporary border post authority until legislation to establish such an authority on a permanent basis is enacted.  ZIMRA as a border post authority will coordinate the cargo and also ensure orderly, efficient and reliable port services.

          I now turn to the issue of mining royalties. Despite the provision for tax payment in the currency of trade, in the interest of promoting the use of local currency, the Bill will mandate that royalties should be paid in both local and foreign currency in the ratio of 50/50. This will pronounce it as a policy when I enshrine it in law through the Finance Bill. Clause 32 in the Bill seeks to amend part of the Finance Act 23 (4) concerned with the fixing of royalties on the sale of minerals. It seeks to increase the royalties on platinum to 5% and introduce a royalty of 5% on lithium as well and this is with effect from 1 January, 2023.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I now turn to Clauses 36, 37 and 38 in the Finance Act. This pertains to the Hon. Members present in this august House. We were trying to assist them. Before I just read what is in here in terms of my notes, I want to explain a situation. There are Members of Parliament who have been MPs since 1980 and they are still serving as Members of Parliament. So what is happening is that they are not young people. You have a situation where they keep winning elections. These Members of Parliament are prejudiced because they just keep contributing to the pension fund. They never even try to draw down from that pension fund.

          So we want to correct this situation and it will help those very successful Members of Parliament who keep winning elections so that they are able to start drawing down from the pension fund after having contributed for so many years. That is what Clauses 36, 37 and 38 in the Bill is trying to assist with and that is all, but the current situation for anyone else who has not been as fortunate with their winning record, it still remains that you receive pension only after serving two terms as a Member of Parliament.

          So the proposed amendment through this Bill to Parliamentary Pensions Act seeks to address deficiencies identified in the Act to the Parliamentary Pensions Act Chapter 2 (21). Currently, the Act does not provide for a pensionable age for Ministers and Members of Parliament. It mainly provides for the payment of pension on the qualifying service, which is the two year term as I explained. There is a Clause 36 which seeks to allow Members to become pensionable at the age of 70 years. The amendment also provides that any service rendered beyond 70 years becomes non-contributory. That is all we are trying to suggest. Hopefully, Hon. Members will find it helpful.

          Currently, a person who is receiving any State pension and becomes a Minister or Member of Parliament is not to be entitled to receive pension during the period which he/she holds such office. The Act currently provides that any Member who contributes towards a second pension during the period of his/her initial pension is cancelled or suspended upon vacation of office. Their pension is calculated on the basis of the post they last held.

          There is Clause 37 in the Bill which also include option to allow those pensioners who become Members in terms of the Parliamentary Pensions Act and are already on pension, to opt to continue receiving their pension without contributing towards a second pension. The new assignment would therefore be a non-contributory basis. There is a subsection on Clause 38 to buttress what I have explained. Clause 38 seeks to include a new section and provide an option for a Minister, Deputy Minister, Member of Parliament who is re-elected and appointed at a higher post than he/she previously held and is already receiving a pension in terms of that previous service to contribute to the Government pension on condition that the existing monthly pension payments are seized.

          Upon vacation of the re-elected office, the pension will be re-calculated using the latest post the Member held. This option should only be exercised whilst a Member is still serving and it is an option. The new amendment will ensure that the Act is aligned to other statutes, thereby addressing a number of deficiencies in the Parliamentary Pensions Act Chapter 2 (21) as well as improving the welfare of the beneficiaries.

On Clause 40 of the Bill, we present revision of the amounts in the Revenue Act. The effect of these revisions is to revise monetary values in the various tax statutes. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. BITI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to make contributions on the Second Reading of the Finance Bill that is before this august House. I want to make the submission with great respect to my learned friend, my esteemed friend, the Minister of Finance, that the general tone of all his Finance Bills is one that is targeted at trying to squeeze the water from rocks. So if you look persistently throughout the Finance Bill, there are increases in tax measures in an economy where the majority are unemployed and the majority are living in extreme poverty. The latest statistics from ZIMVAC indicate that over 60% of our people are living in extreme poverty. Also Mr. Speaker Sir, our economy is prone to recessions and depressions. If you have an economy that is prone to depressions and recessions, you must encourage economic activity to rise out of stagflation by creating disposable income for the citizens. Regrettably, the Minister does not do that in this Finance Bill.

          I want to start Mr. Speaker Sir, with the issue of the proposed increase in the tax free bracket from Z$300 000 to Z$600 000 annually. If you divide Z$600 000 by 12 months, you get an income of Z$50 000. Fifty thousand RTGS hardly buys anything. The consumer price basket for a family of six in Zimbabwe right now is US$300. If you use Z$50 000, it is less than US$50. The tax free threshold of Z$600 000 becomes meaningless. I therefore propose that the minimum tax free threshold must be as close to the poverty datum line of US$300 which would take the tax free threshold to an income of at least Z$4 000 000 per year. That would offer some cushion and relief to the taxpayer. In this inflationary environment, the tax free threshold of Z$50 000 per month does not help or cushion anyone.      

          The same applies to the upper tax threshold. The Minister proposes to impose a punitive tax of 40% on any income over Z$12 000 000. If you divide Z$12 000 000 by the exchange rate, it is a very minimum amount of money. The net effect is that the average Zimbabwean, poorly paid as he is – because he earns slightly above the minimum salary, will end up being overtaxed by the extent of 40%. I urge the Minister to review both the minimum tax entry of Z$600 000 and the maximum tax entry before the punitive rate of 40% to increase the amount so that there can be real benefit to the people of Zimbabwe.

          I have great concern with the mining taxation as proposed by the Minister of Finance. I believe that if the Minister is not captured by mining interest, then he is certainly a slave to mining interest. The first thing I find of major concern is the proposal to suspend by 12 months, the obligation of platinum houses to pay VAT on unbeneficiated platinum that is coming out of Zimbabwe. Ostensibly in his explanation, the reason is to give tax incentives to mining houses so that they can build a refinery in Zimbabwe. ZIMPLATS has been in this country for a period of 20 years and they have not built a refinery. Notwithstanding that, at the time that they signed their MOU with the Government of Zimbabwe, the Minister of Mines then was Hon. Dr. Sekeremayi, they were given massive tax incentive to build a refinery. Up to now, they have not built a refinery.

          Over and above this, platinum is nickel. Nickel is part of the platinum minerals group that comprise of palladium, nickel, platinum, lithium, gold, silver and rhodium. There are about six groups of PMGs. We already have a nickel refinery in Bindura at Bindura Nickel Corporation yet consistently, all the platinum houses have refused to use Bindura Nickel. As a result, you have this anomaly that platinum houses in Zimbabwe, with the key culprit being Mimosa and Unki, are exporting raw platinum out of Zimbabwe. When they do so, instead of declaring the processed by-products of platinum ore, they are only declaring platinum. If you are a platinum miner, you are effectively a lithium miner, palladium miner, nickel miner, gold miner, rhodium miner and a silver miner. What these mining houses are declaring, they are just declaring one mineral. Zimbabwe is being prejudiced.

          If you look at the global trends, the price of the six or so PMGs – lithium is actually selling more. There is a commodity boom yet they are understating what they are getting from lithium. They will tell us what they are getting from platinum is perhaps gold, lithium and rhodium. Meaning, instead of providing with further incentives as the Minister is proposing, of exporting PMGs in raw form, the Minister should actually be raising that tax so that there is an incentive of doing two things – of constructing a refinery and taking their ore to Bindura Nickel Mine which has got the capacity of refining platinum in Zimbabwe.

The second thing that the Minister does in this statement is that, he then says remember our accumulation model is based on extraction. All the minerals that we are extracting in Zimbabwe we sell outside. If you were to wake Cecil John Rhodes right now, he will not get lost by the political economy because we are still exporting raw wealth as we were doing in 1896. All the minerals which we are producing are exported yet the Minister, in his wisdom or more appropriately in his lack of wisdom, he is proposing that royalty should be paid 50% in Zimbabwe dollars and 50% in foreign currency, giving them a further incentive for stealing the much needed resources of this economy. There is no objective reason or rational basis of why miners who are earning in US dollars should then be given an opportunity of paying their taxes in local currency. It does not make sense at all unless the Minister is captured by mining interest.

The third thing I want to mention on his platinum regime is the royalty of 5%. The Minister proposes royalty of 5% on platinum. It is not consistent with international standards. Every platinum producing country has got a royalty of over 10%. In fact, given the fact that these minerals are not permanent, some countries including Australia actually proposed a wealth tax beyond royalties. If you take ZIMPLATS, last week in your absence, I spoke, in fact the Minister spoke about 26 million ounces of platinum that are on the 104 sq km of land in Selous that were hypothecated and pledged to the Chinese, given as mortgage bond as a result of a loan of 200 million dollars that we borrowed from China in 2006. 

ZIMPLANTS is sitting on reserves confirmed, validated platinum reserves of 176 million tonnes.  Whatever price you use, whether it is $1000 an ounce or it is $2000 an ounce; you are talking of billions of dollars. 

          These are already rich companies in terms of what they have underground.  So, to continue giving them tax incentives when they are actually not properly accounting to Zimbabwe because of their continued refusal to construct a refinery in Zimbabwe which will enable Zimbabwe to know what it is getting from the gold that comes from platinum, the lithium that comes from platinum, the palladium that comes from platinum, the rhodium that comes from platinum and the silver that comes from platinum is simply not good enough.

          I want to move to the next issue of this Bill and this is something that you will understand as a lawyer, Mr. Speaker Sir.  The Minister proposes to criminalise the late payment of tax – taxes are a civil obligation.  When you delay in paying taxes, there is an automatic 100% penalty in interest rates.  There is already a punitive rate of interest. 

So, why would you want to impose criminal liability on what is essentially a civil obligation.  Our Constitution makes it very clear that individuals cannot be imprisoned for failure to honour civil obligations.  It is in the Bill of Rights.  Therefore, that proposal is not only unconstitutional, which is why I am surprised that the Parliamentary Legal Committee could issue a certificate of compliance when clearly that is unconstitutional.  Perhaps it is the reason why I am not a member of the PLC despite the fact that you announced that I am a member of that PLC. 

However, the bottom line is that a person cannot be imprisoned for failure to honour civil obligations.  The payment of tax is a civil obligation.  The Minister cannot impose a criminal sanction on the failure to pay tax which is a contractual obligation.

          The next thing I want to raise Mr. Speaker is the issue of the creation of ZIMRA as a port authority.  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development should not abuse the Finance Act to sneak in a major policy decision that requires public debate that requires also the discussion and cooperation of other interested ministers. 

          The issue of a port authority is a major issue whose primary responsibility lies with the Minister responsible for roads and infrastructure who is the esteemed Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Mhona. 

The issue of a port authority requires an independent Bill which the citizens of Zimbabwe must debate as they are entitled to do in terms of the provisions of Section 141 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which requires public debate. Therefore, the Minister cannot step on the shoes of his brother, the esteemed Minister Mhona from Mashonaland East.  The Minister cannot step on the shoes of Zimbabweans who are entitled to give their input on the ports authority.

          So, put simply Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance cannot abuse the Finance Act to make major policy decisions that require debate and discussion by everyone else – he cannot do that. The Finance Act is a money Bill.  There are certain privileges it has in terms of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  One of those privileges is that it is a Bill that we all know is fast tracked, that is why all the Standing Order requirements on the stages are short-cut when it comes to the Finance Bill.  The Minister of Finance cannot use that privilege to abuse Parliament, citizens who have got an obligation and a right to debate.

          The same applies to his proposed amendment to the Revenue Act.  The Revenue Act, as you know in Section 4, sets up the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.  So, it is an independent separate authority.  He is proposing to increase board members of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to 10 instead of 8. There is need for an explanation and that is why there must be proper amendments made separately to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority which will be debated.

          When you do the Finance Bill, you do not prepare principles that go to Cabinet for debate which if accepted by Cabinet, the matter then goes to the Attorney-General to draft the Bill; after that it goes to the Cabinet Committee on legislation.  This Bill does not have that privilege.  So, the Minister cannot abuse a Bill that his colleagues do not debate in the principles to sneak in major amendments. 

If anything, you should actually be strengthening the Zimbabwe Revenue Act.  One of the disturbing things which we have raised in this Parliament is that notwithstanding the Corporate Governance law which says that Permanent Secretaries cannot sit in boards, his own Permanent Secretary Mr. George Guvamatanga is a board Member of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority contrary to the law.

Finally, I have a problem with the intermediated money transfer tax.  The Minister proposes to make increase.  Mr. Speaker, the intermediated money transfer tax is causing damages.  A little transaction even a bank transaction, your bank balance is gone because of the IMTT.  We know that it is a major cash cow but we urge the Minister to review downwards the intermediated money transfer tax codified in Section 22(h) of the Income Tax Act.

It is in his best interest because when citizens have greater disposable income, they will spend the money and most of us including Members of Parliament are low income people and you know from economics that the poorer you are, the higher your marginal propensity to consume. So, because we earn little, we spend our money in Pick and Pay hence you will get the money back through VAT. You must lower the intermediated money transfer tax.

HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order! First of all Hon. Biti mistakenly referred to you as Madam Speaker but let me give credit to Madam Speaker for the way she handled the whole process of the Bill while you were away.  I think it is quite encouraging to see that under your mentorship, she is actually getting much better than you and we are proud to see that as a House.  She handled it well and we have so much confidence in her now and I think it is something worth mentioning.   I think it also talks about SDG 5 of the empowerment and equality of women and it has happened.  Secondly, let me also give credit to Hon. Biti.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Why do you not do that when you make your contribution?

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Ok, thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I did not see accolades from my right about the good work the Deputy Speaker was doing.  Hamunyare, hamunyare, aaaah.

HON. RAIDZA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, Good afternoon to you.  I want to take this opportunity to add my voice to the Bill that is presented by our Minister of Finance.  I have some few issues to comment on.  The first issue that I want to comment on is on the IMTT tax regarding the CDF that we are getting.  Whenever we will be buying outside there, a lot of money ends up going to this tax and in the process the citizens who are supposed to benefit from the projects that we are supposed to undertake with these funds, we end up losing out on the tax.  So I wanted to propose to the Minister that out of his wisdom, if it is possible to exempt this fund from tax because that money comes from tax and it is being taken again through tax.  At the end of the day we go round in circles and we will not achieve what we have planned as Government to achieve in terms of bringing development and services to the people. 

The other issue that I also want to talk about is regarding the issue of general taxation in this country.  If we look at it closely we will realise that the few people who are not dodging from paying tax are the ones you are continuing to overtax.  My proposal to the Minister is that we need to find other means to widen our tax base and make sure that everyone pays tax.  This tax money is the one that brings roads, clinics and social services to the people.  So, when someone is dodging from paying tax and at the same time claim the services, where do you expect the services to come from?  I think in this country we have a lot of tax dodgers in the sense that we have other people who end up being even richer than the country yet if we look at their tax returns or tax obligations we end up being surprised that they are not paying tax at all.  How then do these people get away with murder?  So I am proposing to our Minister to look at the best way to bring everyone into the net, whether rich or poor, so that at the end of the day we all enjoy the benefit of the tax in this country.  Let me give you an example for the benefit of the Minister.  We have other people in this country who are doing business outside the banking system.  If, for instance you go downtown, those foreigners who are busy doing business demanding foreign currency and cash for all the transactions and the good idea that the Minister came with, of IMTT we will not catch up with them.  So how best can we make sure that these people also get involved in paying tax because they enjoy the services of this country yet they do not contribute anything? We understand that in other jurisdictions you cannot have money either in your account or at your home that has not paid tax in one way or the other.  Many of us have money in our pillow cases that never paid tax.  Hon. Minister, my submission is that you need to really look into these issues and make sure that everyone is contributing what is due to this country.  At the end of the day we will not have too many taxes.

My other submission is, I request the Minister to encourage ZIMRA to consolidate its taxes.  We have a lot of taxes that are flying around where by the end of the day even the Hon. Members here have no idea how many taxes there are in this country.  It would not be surprising that many of us only know the one that shows on our pay slips.  The other taxes that we are supposed to be aware of or we are supposed to be promoting for corporates and individuals to be responsible, we might not also be aware of them.  So I am urging ZIMRA to consolidate in their education programmes that they always undertake and ensure all Zimbabweans are aware of their obligations.  It is very critical and some of the people might not be paying taxes because of ignorance or intentionally dodging or evading tax.  I think our tax system needs to be simplified for the benefit of our people.  If it is simplified then all of us will receive a bit of co-operation from our people in this country.

I want to come back again to the issue of wealth tax.  We have been hearing about lifestyle audits Madam Speaker Ma’am.  We are not really seeing much of the work in that area.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I want to encourage our Hon. Minister to push this area with vigour because we do not expect individuals having more money than the country.  So, the only way to deal with that and to bring back integrity in the way we do business, and for us as Zimbabweans to respect our tax authorities, is when we all become accountable for whatever we have.  We can only do that through these lifestyle audits.  So I want to encourage our Minister to take that area very seriously because it is very important to make sure that this country’s wealth is distributed and benefits many of our people.

          On the issue of mining Madam Speaker Ma’am, our tax laws are supposed to be tougher in that area.  I am saying so because after our mineral resources are extracted, they will not come back again.  So, we need to come up with a lot of work in that area to make sure that everything that is extracted in this country at least leaves something for future generations. I have been reading and seeing our Minister of Finance and Economic Developing activating the Sovereign Wealth Fund.  I think we need to push for more money in that area so that our future generations also benefit from what is being extracted today because a lot of gold, platinum is being mined and there are a lot of things that are happening. 

          A lot of small scale miners are mining gold but how much are they bringing to the fiscus?  So Hon. Minister, I think you need to think on how best we can bring everybody so that we benefit as a nation.  We have an opportunity, the resources we have and everything we have in this country, but for us to have that integrity and for us to be responsible, I think we need you Hon. Minister, to help us in that regard by coming up with a tax system that includes everybody and makes sure that everything that I get, I must be responsible to pay tax on that amount.  Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am for that opportunity, tinotenda.

*HON. R. NYATHI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this opportunity and I want to thank the enlightenment that was shared by Hon. Biti and Hon. Raidza. A number of issues that I wanted to talk about have already been debated.  So I will focus on the little that has not been said.

I agree with the assertion that everyone in Zimbabwe should pay tax but this tax, I want to give an example of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).  Once the CDF is deposited into the bank, we are advised that we have been availed ZWL11 million but upon completion of withdrawal of the funds, a quarter or a fifth of the funds will remain with the bank in the form of taxes.  Let us be aware that everyone who is getting a salary that is deposited into the bank is paying tax which is shown on the pay slip, and furthermore taxed when withdrawals are made from the bank.  My opinion is that when the Hon. Minister is coming up with tax brackets, he should put this into consideration as it affects the disposable income of our people. 

I also want to comment on the issue of pensions.  Unfortunately, when we are here, we do not quite understand the deliberations that take place at their level but what I want to say that is important is that our President E. D. Mnangagwa, when he gave the State of the Nation Address, if you remember, he mentioned that he would consider the pensions for Members of Parliament and how they can be addressed.  This is an issue that has not yet been debated in this House.  So in my opinion, considering what the Hon. Minister has said, it is important for him to also consider the different professions.  If one is a Member of Parliament and one is a headmaster, the other a businessman, what it means is sacrifices have been made to serve the nation. So I thought the Hon. Minister would inform us that if a Member of Parliament has served for five years, the Member is eligible for pension.  Maybe what they can consider are the modalities of when the pension will be due, whether at 60 or 65 years or as soon as the Member ceases to be a Member of Parliament.  I think this should be considered because it is quite a critical issue. 

There is a point that was also mentioned by Hon. Biti that most of our people are in the informal sector, and he is very right. Observations reveal that most people are into small scale businesses such as mining and agriculture; everyone is in business.  So when we consider employment, we do not only consider the formally employed because as Zimbabweans, we are educating our children to become entrepreneurs in order to absorb those who have an employer-employee mentality.  What we would want is for everyone to be in business in order to grow our economy.  I thought as the Hon. Minister was speaking, he would give us recommendations on how those in the informal sector can contribute to tax and benefit from it including those in mining and agriculture because tax is the revenue that runs the country; it is the one that lubricates the wheels of Zimbabwe for our civil servants to be paid such as our defence forces, police force, prison service who look after us after we are incarcerated as well as our teachers.  This is something that I was looking forward to hearing from the Hon. Minister.  I thank you. 

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Let me first of all commend Hon. Biti’s presentation; it was rich, and to the point. Once again, we see the brilliant mind he has.  Again Hon. Raidza’s points that buttressed a lot of what is happening, most of the points that I was going to raise were taken out of my mouth.

Madam Speaker, let us talk about the IMTT.  This is where we make a mistake by them talking about a surplus.  You see we are excited about taking money surplus but a surplus does not work in an inflationary environment. This is when the Minister is then asked, you made a surplus, where did the money go? So you have a situation where you are comfortable with taxing in an inflationary environment with poor economy. We were very clear that the budget must be pro-poor and you cannot have a pro-poor budget when you are heavy on taxation. You cannot do that. So it is important for the Minister to look at it and go back to what it is supposed to be – a pro-poor budget.

I am glad that the Minister talks about rebranding the POSB but the details were not very clear. Who is POSB now? Who has taken over POSB and so forth? This was a people’s bank and it helps pensioners. I am sure MPs will agree that people have been walking distances to try and get their money which is not even enough for them to pay for their journey back. Having to centralise that is important and I think even when the POSB was set up, it was to try and ensure that people have access to their money and so forth.

Work permits for the foreigners – Madam Speaker, this is where money is made. You must incentivise companies that are employing locals. The reason why our local people are not employed by for example the Chinese is they are bringing their own. They must be heavily taxed so that the Zimbabwean who does not have a job is now on the dole using that foreigner. A dole is a system in England Members of Parliament is when the Government gives you a salary. The salary must come from those foreigners who are employed. For as long as they are employed by that company, they must also be taking care of the person who has not been employed. You having been to Harvard, to England, you understand the dole system. The dole system is meant for the people who are unemployed but the people who are employed who are foreigners are providing money. There is no point for Government to do that because we have the resources in this country. Why are we apologetic about the resources that we have? Why are we not maximising on the resources we have? We all wonder why we are poor. Why can we not build our own Parliament? We are endowed with resources and they mean nothing at the end of the day if we do not see them benefiting people.

The Finance Bill was responsible for repealing the Indigenous Act. What have you done to now replace it in terms of incentive? The 10% for the community is gone. The 10% for the workers is gone. The 31% for the Sovereign Wealth Fund – I am glad Hon. Raidza brought it up. What is the Sovereign Wealth Fund up to today? To me it is fine. Take that, repeal it and suspend it but let money go into the Sovereign Wealth Fund by taxing these companies through the resources that they have from us. Now we are zero-zero and we now have a situation which is those companies which were supposed to comply with indigenisation are no longer complying because the Government has repealed it but they had started doing it.

The former President was there at the official opening and there was the 10% to the community. I would like to know what happened to the 10% of Unki Community Ownership Trust. Where are the profits? They are dividends and when dividends are out, how much is going to the 10%? This is critical and when the President himself, the late R. G. Mugabe came up with this, it was the most intelligent and brilliant way to protect our resources and our people. So you had a situation where there is 10% share and you are given this money but that 10% again is the dividend. I would like to know how much money has Unki given to the community of Shurugwi in 10%. How much money has Zimplats given on 10% to the community? Blanket Mine, how much have they given? Mimosa, how much have they given? On top of that, it does not stop them from continuing with corporate social responsibilities.

When you are giving the community 10%, that does not stop you from building roads, hospitals, clinics and schools for the community. You are still making money from the community’s resources. Section 13 (4) of the Constitution is very clear about empowering local communities. What are they doing to comply with that section of the Constitution? What is the point of us passing laws here which at the end of the day do not see the light of the day? All these MPs in constituencies where there are resources people are benefiting from, 10% must go to the community. There must be a law MPs. We cannot be poor having to fight you when we have resources. Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo. Constituency yese ine hupfumi hwayo. Ngaidye zvayo. We do not have to question that. Why are we fighting you when the resources are there which God gave us? Let there be law that every company in each community must contribute 10% to the CDF. I am very clear to the CDF because the CDF is monitored. If Ministry of Finance officials want to be on it, we do not care but we are benefiting from our own resources. We are also watching exactly what is happening.

The community ownership trust had chiefs but at the same time, we know the capacity of our chiefs. Can some of them understand the monies involved? Why do MPs not sit on it yet these resources are in their constituencies?  First oversight is the resources in my constituency. Why should I be talking other persons’ resources in whose constituency? The sugarcane in Mwenezi, there must be something which goes to the Constituency Development Fund. After that Minister, you and I will not fight. It would be fight for accountability, how much? Take from those who are making money, those who are having our resources so that they can put money into the CDF. We want to see that.

The issue of tax on the platinum was brought up by Hon. Biti and Hon. Raidza. The issue is that it is the precious group of minerals which is important, which I am saying the issue of beneficiation has been talked about for a very long time. There has been no beneficiation and all the facilities are here. It seems as if, and I will not lie, when the First Republic was there, they seem to have respected or were scared of the former R. G. Mugabe the late but with the current dispensation, whites are having a party and Chinese are having a party. We are busy worried about a doctor in South Africa telling a Zimbabwean that you must pay when they have been treated instead of us saying we are citizens in our country, why are you not fighting the Chinese on our resources? What was the struggle for? You are busy making noise but let us make noise where the money is. Why are the Chinese not giving us anything? Was the agreement for them to give us arms during the struggle and they also then rule this country. Then next we might have a Chinese president in this country yet the people are black. That is where we are going.  Our resources are our resources; we do not negotiate on them.

The Manize that you are talking about Chivhu, people blamed the late Gabriel Mugabe that he was wrong. He did not unleash value. The value has been unleashed, what is in it for Zimbabwe? So it was better to keep it than to give to foreigners. Why give such a resource? Madam Speaker, I have done a finding on that resource and let me say this to you if you did not know this. It is sitting on two thousand hectares of a factory, 50 thousand people to be employed and they will be exporting USD20 billion worth of products per year. The furnaces that they are bringing in are as tall as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. I have gone into it but what is in it Minister? It is the largest deposit of iron ore in the entire world but there is nothing for us. What do we get - a Parliament, an airport? Let us get USD20 billion a year and see what we will not build in this country. We are poor because we have chosen to be poor. We are poor because our laws are pro-foreigners and not pro-people of Zimbabwe. What were the founding principles of the struggle? Are we adhering to them or not? It is time you think about the Josiah Tongogaras, the Nikita Mangenas, the Joshua Nkomos, the Robert Mugabes, the Chitepos and many other greats of this country who went for the struggle. Surely, what is the point of the struggle if war veterans themselves have nothing from what they fought for?  It cannot be a story of everyday - Zimbabwe is endowed with resources, what resources when you do not see the benefit?  You cannot be proud of your father going to work when he cannot feed the family.  He must be seen to be bringing bread, meat and sadza so kids eat.  A good working father is seen by how his kids are educated, what they eat and health, et cetera.  To us, where are we going? 

So this whole issue is a serious one, how much money are they putting to the Social and Welfare Fund?  There must be a percentage.  This country is being mortgaged and there is no need for it to be mortgaged.  Re-engagement and engagement had already started when the former President, the late R. G. Mugabe said we were going East; he was consistent.  Then the Americans wanted to come now and the British wanted to come because they had realised that resources were going.

Russia, the $12 billion economy you are talking about, in my constituency there is Great Dyke Investment, which is mining the biggest platinum claims - (you know that) in the entire world.  It has stopped.  Yes, we support Russia, it is good, they gave us arms but now because we have got American sanctions and right now America is saying anything which you touch with a country sanctioned or not; so Russia is under sanction and Zimbabwe is in sanctions, how clever are we to be going to bed with people sanctioned?  Munhu akasungwa mbira dzakondo, ndiye wamunoda kuti akubatsirei, iye akasungwa mbira dzakondo.  Kungava here kuti tiri ku supporter vanhu? 

Russia is going through a difficult time economically at the end of day.  A good example is Great Dyke Investment, the Minister is aware of.  They are borrowing money from Africa-Exim Bank.  Africa-Exim Bank is not a Russian bank.  To me, these are facts which are there, which we must realise.  Let us not come up with political statements which will hurt us tomorrow.  Tsvaga shamwari inokupa hupfumi, not shamwari yakasungwa mbira dzakondo.   We cannot continue on that.

The 180 days Hon. Biti spoke about; the ZIMRA dry ports, it is an opportunity.  Hon. Biti was correct, the Minister of Transport has cars which mann the airport, I think it is important for him to come up with something that will look at that.  Money in royalties - locals are paying 50% ZWD, 50% USD.  They are not generating money in ZWD, why are you being nice to them?  Let them pay their workers in USD.  Tax those workers in USD.  They are the very same people who are pushing the inflation up.  They have never seen a ZWD; they are sitting on billions of dollars in their accounts, what for?  Let every company which is generating its income in foreign currency pay its workers in foreign currency and tax them in foreign currency.  The Zimbabwean companies must be given a concession to say they must pay royalties in ZWD, tax in ZWD and then you will see that the rate will pretty balance at the end of the day.

I move to the issue of the airport smuggling.  These cross border people are creating employment for you.  The drug issue has gone up, how do we curb drugs when people are not creating their own employment, 30% from 10% to the cross border, why?  This is the time you should be in force strategically.  Open the borders, 30% encourages smuggling. ZIMRA is not known for revenue collection.  ZIMRA is known for corruption.  With smuggling happening, how much stuff is coming in, you know that.  How much are we losing from that?  To me, open the borders. Not only that, the ZWD again gains strength while we have more new USD coming in and why the prices are down because you would have opened the borders. 

Whoever is selling cooking oil at USD5, when borders are open it goes to USD3 and goes to USD2.  Everybody will live well because it is difficult to have an economy of the USD but at the same time you cannot also be using the USD yet markets are not ready.  Do that and make sure to suspend duty on all food commodities.  You will see how much – while we work on our ZWD, we are producing, et cetera.  Right now the only thing we are producing is mining.  Agriculture, the farmers are not going to produce; they are not being paid well.  They are sitting on maize.  I was in my constituency the other day; they said we are sitting on maize, what do we do with it?  How can a farmer take maize and get USD90; the price of inputs has gone up.  Open these fertilisers; let them get fertiliser wherever they are getting it from so that the farmers are prepared, so that when the agricultural season comes – what we want is production.  Where the fertiliser is coming from is neither here nor there.  What we want is production which ensures food security.  So it is important that the borders are open.  We have basically been encouraging smuggling.  So we need to also deal with that.

I also want to talk about the issue of some incentives which have got to be given to the disabled.  There are no schools for them. It is all talk and everything.  Minister, it is about time you leave a legacy.  Can we have a certain percentage from these companies going to the disabled?  They have nothing, they are disabled, they are not able-bodied.  You and I, able bodied at times forget them.  It is only when we are in Parliament when you see people debating but by nature an able-bodied person never thinks of the disabled.  Look at how mothers have done nothing.  So there must be an incentive for a parent who is looking after a disabled child, they must be given money.  Zvandiri kutaura, vana mai havachaindi kumunda nokuti vari kuchengeta mwana, haisi mhosva yavo, asi vanoda futi kufidha mhuri.  Saka ngavapihwe mari. That can be assessed by the Ministry of Social Welfare to what degree can they get a job, can they not get a job?  These disabled too, they want to be independent, give them some money; give them some incentives.  Let it come from the resources that we have and so forth.

 We do not have to build this country by any other means.  May each company that intends to build a mining, to develop, first of all put an infrastructure.  All this infrastructure we are enjoying, in Bindura, Shamva - the roads, this is the Rhodesian Government which gave a condition to any company.  Before you set, before you mine, there must be recreations, hospital, housing, et cetera.  So in terms of the housing, these mining houses can create housing, roads, hospitals and recreation.  So to me, when you put that as a package, we do not have to look anywhere else, we just have to come up with laws that encourage that.

Now we are having problems with Chinese, the roads are being messed up, nothing is happening to them.  I tell you the Chinese cannot build roads.  So may you come up with that law that whoever who is to develop or to get resources from any area, first of all the infrastructure must be in place.  They are destroying the infrastructure of Rhodesia, ivo pasina zvavaita.  So we cannot entertain that.  Members of Parliament, mota dzavo, you heard Hon. Chikomba’s road was in a mess.  They are bringing their own tractors here and so forth.

Taxation on importation of cars - why are you importing cars when we have got Willowvale Motor Industries?  Why are MPs not getting cars from Willowvale Motor Industries?  It creates employment.  So we must have taxation on that.  Let us start from complete knock-down kits.  They start doing their own thing and so forth.  Willowvale Motor Industries did Mazda, Sunny, this and that.  There were great cars which were made in this country during the 1980s; we had our own fathers, uncles driving a 504, which a Minister was driving.  The engine was sound if you remember the 504, it was made in this country by the engineers of this country. 

So engineers are here, we have got a fantastic education system which has produced scientists, great accountants, great lawyers, Hon Biti, great economists like the Hon. Minister himself.  He is a well known economist from Harvard but it is not good to be known as a good economist from Harvard, when your own country cannot turn into Harvard.  I want you Minister to be motivated by that, that you have all the resources in this country, may this country develop? The gold that you see, London was built by our resources. 

I want to end by saying Hon. Minister, this is an opportunity for you to shine.  Use the resources of this country, they want them, they lie to you that they do not want Zimbabwe, it is a sanctioned State, no.  Go to South Africa in the morning, ndege inouya nevarungu varikuuya voinda kuma mines, vodzoka.  So, if Zimbabwe is so bad in terms of publicity, what are they doing here?  They will go and tell the world that Zimbabwe is not good because they want to be the only ones who benefit.  So it is about time we benefit from the resources.  In particular, in my constituency, I have got four platinum mines there.  ZIMPLATS, Bravura, G. D. I and the Chinese one which Hon. Biti talks about; it is there too but the community is poor.  Honestly what was the point of God giving us this great country with resources and we now want to blame everyone – sanctions.  People should be told the requirements needed if they want to mine this gold.

I want to thank you Madam Speaker for your indulgence and I am sure the Hon. Minister, by the way you are well dressed in a pin striped suit.  That is a beautiful suit.  Thank you.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to start my debate on this Finance Bill by looking into the memorandum of this Bill.  Madam Speaker, if you check the memorandum of the Bill, it says that the amendments that are being sought by the Hon. Minister should give effect to certain fiscal measures which were mentioned by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in the Supplementary Budget Statement delivered on 8th August, 2022.

The challenge Madam Speaker, is that there are several things which have been put into this Bill which have no relationship whatsoever from the statement which was given by the Minister in this august House.  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development cannot, like what Hon. Biti has mentioned, bring in some of the amendments to certain legislation through the back door of this Finance Act.  We do not understand what the mischief is, what the rational in bringing in an amendment of the ZIMRA Act by increasing the board members from eight to 10 is.  What does that have to do with the supplementary budget statement by the Hon. Minister?  Why do we not have the proper system of making sure that when it comes to the amendments of an Act, the amendment Bill is actually gazetted, you hear the views of the people and it is debated in this august House?  There should not be any reason why we should actually do that.

The other example was also given by Hon. Biti, the Ports Authority.  All those things Madam Speaker, create an impression that the Hon. Minister is trying to dribble the people of Zimbabwe and the Parliament of Zimbabwe. The belief is that Hon. Members will not have the chance or the time to read through the Finance Bill because as you are aware, the stages of the Bill are always suspended. So this urgency and this fast tracking, we then end up actually putting things that are not supposed to be in there.  We are prepared Madam Speaker, to support the Hon. Minister on revenue measures that he had actually put to support the supplementary budget but what we are not able to do is to support him to do things which bring this House into disrepute.

Secondly Madam Speaker, the Hon. Minister is aware that when we passed the 2022 Budget, the exchange rate was 1:85.  He knows that the auction rate has now just moved close to 500 but here is the challenge.  The Hon. Minister fully knowing those facts then says no, for the tax free threshold, I am going to move from ZWL300 000 to ZWL600 000 when he actually knows that using your own auction rate, the rate has actually gone down by more than five times but you are now telling the poor worker that for you, even though the rate has actually gone down five times, but for you, I am just going to increase double from ZWL300 000 to ZWL600 000.  It does not make sense.  What we should have seen the Hon. Minister do was actually to increase the tax free threshold five times, five times ZWL600 000 to bring it to three million.  That would actually make sense.

Madam Speaker, there is the issue of withholding tax on the border.  I am aware and Madam Speaker I think you are also aware and the Hon. Minister should be very much aware of the fact that we have quite a huge chunk and it is unfortunate, you know with our people facing trying times in South Africa at the moment, it is actually very difficult, but do you know that a number of our people, a number of households are surviving because of the people who are working in South Africa.  If you go to Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North, just when you move along the road, the number of vehicles ferrying goods destined for villagers and even people in Bulawayo and other areas , now I do not think it is right in my view to actually insert and move this to 30%.

The Hon. Minister was telling us today that no, this is more to do with compromise, but you see the effect of such a move is actually punishing the villager who has got his daughter or her son in South Africa who is sending him or her some sugar because the omalayitsha will just increase.  They will just pass the burden from them to the consumer.  So it does not help and this is something that I think is actually not right.

Madam Speaker, others have talked about the intermediated tax.  The intermediated tax - even check here, he says the clause will reset the value of tax from ZWL1 000 to ZWL2 500.  How is that possible that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development can do that when he knows that the value of money when we passed this Bill was around 1:85 and I am using the auction rate.  I am not using the people’s rate.  The auction rate now is around 480 or 500.  Why should you not also move the minimum amount where the 2% tax is chargeable by about times 5, but what does the Minister do?  The Minister goes on to just increase it to ZWL2 500.  It brings in the point that Hon. Biti actually emphasised to say we tend to punish the poor and let the rich live at large because this one Madam Speaker, we need consistency.  If the Hon. Minister is aware and knows that there has actually been a movement of the rate, surely it should also apply so that the people on the lower rung of the ladder will also benefit.  I am just wondering what is it that you can go and buy for $2 500 in a shop because most of the basic things actually cost more than $2 500.  Meaning that the old lady in Dzivarasekwa, every time she wants to go and buy cooking oil and sugar or her groceries, she has to pay the 2% tax and the net effect you will find that most of our people are now living on zvitsaona, small pieces of mealie-meal and small pieces of sugar that they can get from the street primarily because we have made it difficult. I think what Hon. Biti spoke about when it comes to mines and our minerals is an issue and I think Hon. Mliswa touched on it. I think for some reason, do you know this thing that we continuously say that we are rich and we have got a lot of minerals, I have actually told people that in 1980 when we got independence and I want to tell you the challenge that we have with this economy.

          In 1980 when we got independence, do you know what happened? Our economy was exporting raw materials and I will emphasise this by saying in 1980 that was the year I did Grade 1. I then went and did my schooling, got employed, married, have children that are also grown up now. What has happened is that our economy is not transformed. The same thing that we used to do in 1980 and we used to learn that we are an agro-based economy, we have got our gold but we are still exporting that gold and that platinum in raw material.

          By now Madam Speaker, this economy, we should be known that Zimbabwe exports a lot of jewelries. We would not be exporting gold in its raw form but we should be having a lot of jewelry coming out of this country but where are we? We are still where we were and Hon. Biti said that if Rhodes was going to wake up, he would simply say ah, things did not change. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] - But you cannot even be saying that Hon. Nyabani.

          Madam Speaker, there is an issue and I think the Hon. Minister needs to educate me in terms of the cigarettes, the question of seizure and the question of destroying rather than to auction it. Will this not result in higher corruption in the sense that cigarettes will be impounded and let us say ten tonnes are impounded but when it comes to the destruction, we may have two tonnes being destroyed and yet the other eight tonnes being taken back. I think this measure and I am not also sure what is the mischief that the Hon. Minister is trying to deal with but I believe that there is danger in going this route. I would have been happier if the Minister had increased the penalties for those people that are caught on the wrong side.

          The other issue which I wanted to talk about is that I see the Minister has actually put an amendment pertaining to the pensions for Members of Parliament and Ministers. There are two issues that I want to bring to the attention of the Hon. Minister. I am aware that Hon. Members have to serve at least two terms for them to get pension but a Deputy President who has served one term is entitled to a pension.  To that extent, I think it is important that a Member of Parliament that has served a term should be entitled to get a pension.

          Secondly, I think we also need to have a clause to say an Hon. Member that has served and it does not matter whether I have served one year or two months as a Member of Parliament, I should be entitled without any other challenges to get my vehicle duty free. This thing of saying that an Hon. Member is recalled or an Hon. Member does something and then he goes out of Parliament, ZIMRA goes to try to fix that person is wrong. It is double jeopardy because what tends to happen is that you have got a political party that has got an axe to grind with an Hon. Member, you punish that Hon. Member by removing him/her from Parliament, you punish that Hon. Member by subjecting him/her to unbearable pressure from ZIMRA to try to take that car back. 

          In my view, I think... 

          HON. T. MOYO: On a point of Order Madam Speaker. My point of order arises from the long list of people who are going to debate. May I suggest that a Member should be given a maximum of ten minutes so that everyone will be accommodated?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sorry Hon. Moyo, we cannot change it. A member must debate for 20 minutes and that is according to our Standing Rules and Orders.  Hon. Mushoriwa you are left with five minutes.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. That was my contribution in terms of the things that need to be sorted when it comes to the dignity of a Member of Parliament. It does not matter whether you have left Parliament and because you have served the people of this country, there should be some honour that is associated with you. The last issue that I wanted to raise, I want to believe that, Hon. Minister, Clause 33 should just be struck off. We should not allow a debate on increase of the ZIMRA Board in this Finance Bill because there are issues that are under the domain of ZIMRA and we believe that the ZIMRA Act needs serious amendments on a number of issues.

          So this piecemeal should not be entertained and I want to end by simply saying when we come to the Committee Stage, I want to urge Hon. Members to restrict ourselves to purely issues that will answer or talk to the statement by the Hon. Minister pertaining to the supplementary budget. Anything else should be considered on its own merit following proper parliamentary procedure in terms of handling Bills. I thank you.

          *HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: What I would like to point out is that most people in this country are working through informal employment and most of the jobs are not documented and that means we lose a lot of revenue through that way. If you look at other countries like Ethiopia, there is no way you can conduct business without paying taxes. At every corner people pay taxes and that helps Government to get revenue. That is where a lot of revenue is generated. A lot of people in Zimbabwe do not pay taxes when they conduct their businesses.

          There is a lot of revenue leakages in the mining sector and I do not know what you can do Hon. Minister because there is a lot of potential for revenue collection from that sector. That has not been done and there must be ways in which Government can generate taxes from that sector. There are big companies operating in areas like Mwenezi which are making huge profits but they only assist the community by donating small amounts of money.  If they are ploughing back to the community, it must be a reasonable amount of money. Sometimes they just pay school fees or just buy textbooks for children yet the schools do not have proper infrastructure. For example, there is a company called Bubi Valley Conservancy in Mwenezi, which generates a lot of money from hunting concessions yet they are not ploughing back to the community. They just pay for books at school. Is that the money that we can refer to as reasonable tax collection?

          If you look at sugarcane producing companies, every year they make a lot of money yet they do not assist the communities at all. They even refuse to provide villagers with potable clean water. Even the road construction companies are making a lot of money but I wonder if they are being taxed adequately. After road construction they leave a lot of girls with children without a father to take care of because the contractor would have relocated. Government must look at how these companies are working and whether they are paying reasonable taxes.

          A lot of schools do not have properly built infrastructure - why do we not allocate them schools to construct so that they can increase the amount of taxes that they are paying to Government? Some of these companies are keeping their foreign currency under pillows and they are not using banks.  The bulk of foreign currency in this country is being kept at home and not in banks. A lot of foreigners in this country run small shops which generate a lot of money but they do not pay taxes and they do not keep their money in banks. Let us look at all those people making a lot of money in our areas and make them pay reasonable taxes.

          HON. DR. MUTODI: I want to add my voice to the ongoing debate on the Finance Amendment Bill which seeks to ensure revenue and tax measures announced in the Mid Term Budget Review Statement take effect. I support the amendments and revisions made by the Minister.

          Firstly, on the increase of tax free threshold on currency remuneration from Z$300 000 to Z$600 000 per annum is a good development in as far as it ensures that we cushion our workers against the effects of inflation. We need to ensure currency value is preserved. An increase in the tax free amount will increase broad money supply and this works against our efforts to ensure that macro economic factors affecting livelihoods are put under control.

          On Clause 4, among other things, an increase of automated financial transactions tax, five cents per withdrawal will tighten money supply and help stabilise the economy. Research that has been done in the contemporary age has revealed the transmission mechanism of macro-economic variables on dependant factors such as economic growth, stock market performance and other economic determinants is really affected if we do not take cognisance of the effect of money supply and interest rates on the performance of the economy as whole. So, we really need to be conscious about the need not to increase our supply so as not to affect our inflation and other macro-economic factors.

          On Clause 18, the suspension of tax on beneficiated platinum is an incentive to platinum producers and this will help them as they are in the process of adapting to the need to beneficiate our platinum. In my view, this move is business friendly and will actually be of help to economic growth endeavours.

          On Clause 22, the criminalisation of non-payment of tax will go a long way in broadening Government income base and help the Government to finance critical economic activities such as the infrastructure development projects. The country will not develop if we have business people and businesses themselves which are involved in tax evasion practices. However, the issues raised by Hon. Biti on the need to ensure that we do not breach other rights and freedoms that are enshrined in the Constitution need to be taken into consideration. This is actually an important move in view of the fact that we have 60% of our economy involved in informal trade and this also spells the high degree of illicit financial flows. The Minister may need to come up with robust ways of ensuring that the informal sector is adequately taxed for it not to increase pressure on broad money supply.

          The payment of VAT in foreign currency by operators will eliminate the need by operators to first of all liquidate their US dollar earnings into RTGS dollars as this has been fuelling the black market activities.

          On Clause 30, port services have been plagued by agents who continue to circumvent Government policy and involve themselves in criminal activities for self benefit.  So, the flushing out of unauthorised agencies at the border post will plug a smuggling practice.  It will also control overpricing of services and also curtail fraud activities at the border post.  

You find also Madam Speaker, that some of these unauthorised agents are working nicodemously with officials at the ZIMRA offices.  Some of these ZIMRA officials are using those agents to be their front people in extorting and engaging in criminal activities.  So, this clause is very important.

On Clauses 36, 37 and 38, the issue on pension for Members of Parliament and Ministers is critical as these actually offer national service that cannot be rewarded by a mere salary or an allowance.  The non-contributory pension beyond the age of 70 years is important and therefore supported.  However, it is my view as it is also a view of many other Members of Parliament who have added their voices here that Members of Parliament serving at least one term must be eligible for a pension as this service of being a Minister or a Member of Parliament requires a lot of sacrifice. We are not allowed to do any other work as long as we remain Ministers and Members of Parliament in order to make sure that we concentrate on Parliamentary business.  For that reason, any Member of Parliament who would have worked for any period of time must be eligible for pension.

In conclusion Madam Speaker Maam, I want to support the amendments being proposed by the Minister in as far as they broaden the tax base of the Government and ensure that it is more efficient in financing its activities.  As they promote a stable civil service salary, if we get more revenue, obviously that revenue must go down to the payment of civil servants.  The Minister has indicated that about 53% of the budget goes to the payment of civil servants’ remuneration and this Bill will ensure that those financial resources are available. 

The Bill will also ensure that money supply is curtailed, inflation is also put under control and finances are available for infrastructural development.  It will also ensure that speculative activities that result in an unstable macro-economic situation is also brought under control.

  So, I will emphasise that the research that has been carried out by economists will tell you that they need to ensure that our macro economic factors are put under control, especially money supply and other measures – these need to be put under control in order to ensure that our economy is stabilised and we achieve economic growth that we have envisaged to get by the year 2030.

HON. BUSHU: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to contribute to this debate. In your absence, the Speaker indicated that he was very happy with what you were doing in his absence.  I happen to agree with him that being a lady Speaker is commendable, you make us proud as Parliament because there are many people here who are  HeforShe champions and that also includes myself.

I would like to start off with an area that is close to me, it is about pensions.  I think that the issue for Members of Parliament who would have served one term is something that requires serious consideration by the Minister.  It is not right for an Hon. Member who has been called an Hon. Member for five years to end up wallowing in poverty.  I have seen some Members who had served one term who are now living very uncomfortable lives

If they do not have businesses or other sources of income maybe from children and so on especially when they are much older as they leave Parliament after one term, maybe they got into Parliament at 60 or 65 years, so by the time they leave, they will no longer be having energy.

If one is a Member of Parliament and is doing their work, by the time they are done with five years, they will be very tired.  So, we need those people to be protected.  They would have served and would have done a lot of good work.

Madam Speaker, I would also like to look at tax.  The major source of revenue for Government is tax but there is one thing that is very interesting, which is a trend that has taken over, that is Zimbabwe remains one of the countries that taxes personal incomes very highly.  This has encouraged either tax evasions or tax avoidance on the part of individuals.  I remember when I left university, the tax I was paying was 12,5%  and whenever I got a pay slip that did not have a tax deduction, I would go to the Personnel Department and say I have not yet paid my tax.  It was a pleasure to pay tax and I think the top tax rate was 25% at that time but at the moment it is 40%.  It means that half of the money that I would have worked for is taken away and I do not think anyone likes that.

Is there a way of making sure that people enjoy paying tax?  This is the reason why I am saying as a follow up to the discourse around increasing the tax base or increasing the revenue base, charging tax that is reasonable ensures that people enjoy paying tax and you can very easily increase the number of people paying tax. I am imagining those people who are engaged in personal businesses availing them to being taxed, availing themselves to contributing to the Exchequer.  What we are saying here is we learnt something from Uganda where people on the streets actually enjoy paying taxes, those vendors. It is also because what they will be charged as tax is much lower and someone can enjoy paying tax.

In fact, if the tax levels are fair and one is confronted for not paying tax, they can actually feel guilty because they are enjoying the services that Government is providing in terms of water or infrastructure in general. What we are saying is this should actually be looked at. I have no problem with encouraging the Minister to come up with a lot of creative ideas to bring in revenue. The reason why we are having another budget review is because Government has run out of money and has to justify why they have to spend a lot more money. That again requires a lot of attention.  

I would like to dwell on the IMTT. I am one of those people who support and supported the 2% tax but I am uncomfortable with the 4% tax on forex. Somebody confronted me about this issue and their calculation was by the time one accesses their forex, they would have lost something very close to 30% of the value they would have put into the bank. So, that person who is going to lose 30% of their value will not go to the bank. Unfortunately for us, this country is badly under banked. People are not taking their money to the bank. If we impose another tax, we will make sure that people run away from going to the bank.

For crying out loud, human beings are rational beings and if they are rational, they will not take their money to the bank. Firstly because they are taxed and are also charged administration fees by the bank which is supposed to give them interest for bringing money to the bank. So, all that compounded is causing us as a nation to be under banked.  I would like to encourage the Minister to have a look at that.

Madam Speaker, criminalising failure to pay tax, I was listening to an argument earlier on that. I do not think that it would be a good idea to criminalise that. I think that the suggestion made earlier that we need to find ways of ensuring that tax is paid. We need to find systems that cause people to find it easy to pay tax. In fact, if I am a business person in Mutoko and I sell my things, pay sales tax and so forth, how do I find it easy to pay to ZIMRA say income tax for my employees? The system is not there. What we are saying is we need to come up with systems that reach out to the people. If one wants to pay tax, then it must be at arms’ length. If you do not have a system, then we will not be able to collect tax as we would have. I think it is a good thing if we could come up with a way of collecting tax that is friendly, affordable and accessible.

I would like to deal with the cross border to tax. I think that some tax must be paid but I think that 30% is punitive. Is it a situation where we have found that this withholding tax will reduce criminal behaviour on the part of cross border traders? If so, is there a friendlier way of ensuring that we collect the tax but we are not punishing those who are not of a criminal orientation or nature. We think that we cannot continue to punish our people. I know of many families that have survived because of cross border activity.

Even if we want to encourage manufacturing locally, maybe we could look at other ways of not punishing our own but also coming with incentives that cause us to manufacture at competitive prices. Our industry is not competitive and that is the reason why they make goods that are expensive, difficult to afford and what I am simply saying is let us cause our industrialists to charge much less. As a result, I always like to say business is where we get this money. Business is where we get the revenue. Whether it is income tax, excise duty or tax on profit that we get, it is because of business.

I would like to encourage the Minister to come up with incentives for business so that we grow our own businesses and we do not have to depend on imports that are treated badly like in South Africa. If we have our own ways of employing our own people, encourage business to bloom and be successful, then we would have a bigger tax base, a happier people and we will probably not need to have a supplementary budget in the years to come. With those words, I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. SANSOLE: A lot has already been covered but I just want to start with criminalisation of non-payment of tax. I think this can be counter-productive to criminalise tax payers for non-payment of tax. Let us find civil ways of recovering the outstanding tax. Also, it can lead to over-zealousness on the part of some ZIMRA officials. You will also probably find cases where people have engaged in legal ways of tax avoidance like claiming capital allowances which reduce the amount of  tax that one should pay on their income or on their profits.  It is like penalizing people for non-functional fiscalised machines.  That also leads to people defaulting rather than compliance.

          On pensions, in addition to what has been proposed that Members who have served one term be entitled to a pension, I also want to propose that Members be allowed duty free allowance for the purchase of one vehicle at least for five years after leaving Parliament.  We have seen former MPs becoming destitute after leaving Parliament.  I think that would reduce the level of destitution that we see. 

On IMTT, I want to support the scraping of this tax on CDF because of the fact that VAT will have been paid already and it reduces the amount that we can allocate to our projects.  All of us I think spent well over ZWL $200 000 on IMTT from our CDF allocation, which is quite a sizeable amount to take from CDF.  The withholding tax of 30% on cross border traders can also lead to smuggling rather than increased revenue. 

I also want to touch on another item that is in the Minister’s speech regarding the exemption of clay bricks from VAT.  I want to support that.  In addition to exempting clay bricks, I think the brick making industry must be reserved for locals.  We have seen a lot of Chinese involved in brick making and I do not see why we should have foreigners like the Chinese being involved in brick making at the expense of local Zimbabwean youths.  It is very painful seeing local authorities using bull dozers to go and destroy bricks that will have been made by the youths.  That is very unfair.  I think those are my contributions and I would like to thank you Madam Speaker.

          HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I am happy that the Hon. Minister’s officials are hearing me because the Hon. Minister has taken leave a bit.  The gold finger has returned. 

          The IMTT, I ask that the Hon. Minister looks at means and other ways of getting money as opposed to increasing it to 4%, in particular the issue that he proposes from the US dollar transactions.  Why do I say this?  When you want to register a cruise boat company, you have to go through 17 taxes.  If you want to register a helicopter company, in particular the ones that overfly the majestic Victoria Falls and take our tourists, you have to go through 13 taxes.  The local authorities and other arms of Government are using taxes as a way of raising revenue to meet their own ends.  I propose that the Minister brings this to a screeching halt so that when somebody wants to register a cruise boat, they do not have to go through 17 taxes, otherwise they are shooting the gold finger in the foot and then keep looking for other taxes in other places to raise revenue.  The taxes that are attributed to these local authorities and other entities should be directed to the Minister of Finance, reduce the taxes or the licences that are charged, 17 of them before you can register a helicopter or cruise boat company.  He can reduce them to even three or five and takes one of them and gives the other two to the local authorities that are charging the hugeous, humongous, gigantic and copious amounts of taxes which should not be charged for want of a better word Madam Speaker Ma’am.

          Secondly Madam Speaker Ma’am, the issue of the ports authority should not have ZIMRA preside over it.  I want to concur with Hon. Tendai Panonetsa Biti, I say so because he is very fond of that name to say, ZIMRA cannot be a regulator and an operator at the same time … - [HON. BITI:  I need protection Madam Speaker Ma’am!] -  Madam Speaker Ma’am, Hon. Biti should be the last person to request protection.  He is so delinquent in his way of presentation, so treacherous in his speech and he is such a good public orator - if left unchecked, he will tear everybody apart.  So I am just giving back to him.

          Yes, I am just trying to look for what the ports authority’s ethos and values and its work is Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I think I just lost it a bit.  However, amongst other issues, is the revenue generation; the ports authority have to generate revenue, and also has to account for revenue collected.  So if you then put ZIMRA which is supposed to account and both audit the revenue generated; there is no one who is going to police the police.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I ask that the ports authority gets to be the mandate of the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development for three reasons.

          I will give an example,  assuming we had a Ports Authority that has a River Port Authority which presides over what goes on in the river, dam or water body, we would also be looking at not only our boats bringing in revenue and otherwise.  So the boats and all are all maritime transport and that is transport.  We have got Limpopo Bridge; that one is between South Africa and Zimbabwe that we are supposed to collect revenue from everyone else who passes through that bridge.  South Africa has been collecting revenue for the past 20 years, now it is an opportunity for Zimbabwe to collect revenue.  So it is also transport related,  If we leave ZIMRA to collect and run the ports authority, they are on the other side of the Limpopo Bridge.  So transport, in my view, the Ministry should preside over the transport infrastructure so that the Hon. Minister can have optimum collection of monies coming from the Limpopo River.  Similarly, on the Victoria Falls Bridge, I am just giving examples Madam Speaker Ma’am.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is the rehabilitation, revamping, sprucing up, maintenance and rejuvenation of the Beitbridge Port or the Beitbridge Boarder Post, in particular, to separate vehicular and human traffic. Madam Speaker Ma’am, VID is the cash cow of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  It is only fair, just and right for ZIMRA to be subservient to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development or to collect auditable, audit accounts or revenue collected by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development as an audit of last resort, that is ZIMRA.  So they cannot be the ones collecting money from the vehicular transport in the border post that has been spruced up by the Second Republic as we speak, to separate vehicular transport, and human traffic.

          We have a border post second to none, and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development here will concur with me that three quarters of our budget comes in from the Beitbridge Border Post Madam Speaker Ma’am.  He cannot regulate his own self in terms of financial collection.  So let him audit the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and I ask that the ports authority be presided over by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for those three issues; one, so that they are regulating the transport, and I have spoken about the bridges. I have also spoken about the infrastructure that has been established in the Second Republic brick by brick, and I have spoken about the separation of vehicular and human traffic.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, the other issue that I want to touch on is revenue from minerals.  There should be taxes that are taxed on quantified resources that are extracted in our country, and that should also help the country according to Section 13 (4) of the Constitution Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I always want to refer to the law.  I have been told in the law school that you do not know anything, and what you say is what has been said before by others who have gone before you.  So the Constitution has it Madam Speaker Ma’am that our resources should benefit the locals in the places where they are extracted from. 

          So the issues of taxes, over and above what regulation the Minister of Finance and Economic Development should put in regulating, in particular ZIMPLATS, in the manner they extract and pay their taxes on our platinum resources;  I am alive to the fact that the Second Republic has taken 26 000 hectares of land and has given it to KARO Resources to extract platinum, next door to the constituency where I come from.  Aaah chimbomirai imi, vamwe vanga vachitaura ma40 minutes pano apa, mave kuda kuvaudza zvisiri izvo!

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Nduna, you are left with five minutes.

          HON. NDUNA:  Aaaah ndizvo zvandanga ndichitoziva, sei musingade kuti nditaure zvine musoro?  KARO Resources Madam Speaker Ma’am, has been given 26 000 hectares in order to extract.  When they do start extracting, I ask that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development pushes for community ownership, at least even 15%, and also community benefits according to Section 13 (iv) of the Constitution, and increases the chances of value addition, and resource beneficiation.  We are held at ransom by ZIMPLATS.  This amplats of beneficiating and value adding our platinum in South Africa, we are driving whilst blindfolded.  There should be a ban on raw platinum export Madam Speaker Ma’am because it is called Platinum Group of Metals (PGMS), and what they then give back to this country is as though they have just refined platinum.  There is gold, palladium, chrome and everything else in that platinum but we only get to get taxes of platinum.

          ZIMPLATS Madam Speaker Ma’am, should be brought to a screeching halt.  They are trying to influence chiefs in the former Community Share Ownership Trust so that chiefs can now make sure that they distance themselves from the 10% that is supposed to be given and the 15% that is supposed to be given to the community because the chiefs are signatories to that community share ownership trust. The Hon. Minister should watch and his eyes should be kept on the ball because our minerals should benefit our electorate. The reason why the electorate would want to vote some MPs who reside in those places that have vast minerals is because the companies have got too much protection from ministers. You will hear a Minister saying, let the board sit first before a decision of community share ownership can be reached. Madam Speaker, the law of the land which is the Constitution is supreme. Any law that is ultra vires the Constitution should be repudiated to the extent of its inconsistency and that is Section 2. We have got the Preamble, the founding values of the Constitution. They recognise our minerals as the endowment that we have in this nation. In my view the gold finger should concentrate on making sure that the ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth – we have more than 60 and we have only extracted 20 or less. We need to extract more and we need to get what we can and can what we get. We have to get what we want from what we have.

Madam Speaker, the people of Chegutu West Constituency have asked me to come and vociferously, effectively and efficiently debate on the Finance Bill. Madam Speaker, I thank you.

HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I wish to add my voice to the Bill that in this House. I need to debate on a number of issues which I feel are very important, pertinent and highly indispensable. The first issue is contraband trade. In reference to the issue of tobacco products that are confiscated by the State that they need to be destroyed instead of auctioned. It is a brilliant idea because it is a way of ensuring that would be criminals may not continue or carry on with the bad habits of ensuring that they continue to export those products.

Secondly Madam Speaker, I need to consider and debate on Clause 9 which speaks about teachers in particular, that the members of the teaching fraternity will have school fees for their children paid by the Government. Thus walking the talk and I need to commend the Hon. Minister for ensuring that and also to respect the promises that have been given to the teachers so that it becomes a motivating factor, welfare’s factor in motivating them. I am sure you are aware Madam Speaker that for people to work very hard, they need to be highly motivated according to Beige’s hierarchy of needs theory.

I will also talk about the last, Clause 32 which speaks about increasing royalty to 5% on platinum. Madam Speaker, the issue of platinum is a hot issue according to my perspectives. I am saying so because 5% is too little for exports of raw materials. According to Kwame Nkrumah, when a country continues to export raw materials, that is one form of neo-colonialism. That is a new form of colonisation. It is the most dangerous and most insidious form of colonisation. What I believe in is let us encourage people and players who are into the platinum industry like ZIMPLATS and Unki to process those products locally. There are so many minerals inside, gold, palladium and so forth. Let us process locally. The issue of value addition is very important and in line with NDS1, it encourages processing of raw materials locally. We put value rather than exporting those minerals in their raw state. Personally, I think that the increasing of 5% is nothing. It brings very little as revenue collection measure. Let us add value to our minerals.

I will also talk about Clause 5, ‘Increases the rate of withholding tax chargeable to cross border traders who do not produce a tax clearance certificate from 10% to 30% with effect from 1st August, 2022.  Those who do not produce tax clearance, in a way they are not honest.  This is a kind of punishment, which I want to support that people who do cross border trading, I am aware cross border trading affects livelihoods.  So many families depend on cross border trading and they are able to send children to school up to university.  When people are not paying their taxes, then they are not of integrity.  It is not a dignified exercise and that let the 30% be put on those people as a deterring measure.

          Hon. Moyo having debated   on clauses

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Moyo, please may you be advised that the debate on specific clauses will be done during the Committee Stage.

          HON. T. MOYO: So, I will debate on traders or those business people who use two currencies for trading; foreign currency and the local currency.  They need to pay two separate taxes for products.  I need to commend the Hon. Minister for a job well done.  What those business people used to do, they were disadvantaging the State for collecting revenue.  They would sell products in USD, then remit tax in RTGs.  So we want to encourage the Ministry officials to ensure that there is a mechanism of monitoring so that whoever is engaged in that practice should maintain payment of taxation in the currency that is used for the payment of goods and services.

          I will also talk about companies that are given contracts by the Government, who are delaying payment of taxation, that 30% will also be levied on those companies.  I think that is a prudent way of again encouraging companies to pay their taxes on time and also to be honest in their business dealings with the Government. 

          Turning to the issue of pension for legislators, that is another very important issue.  A person may be a legislator may be having five terms in office and would wait until perhaps he gets to 80 years for the Member to be eligible to get the pension.  I think it is important for the Ministry to ensure that even after two years you can still use your pension to acquire property whilst you are a Member of Parliament. I will give an example of what obtains at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).  The system that was there at UZ when I was there, if one has pension that has accumulated, for example one has perhaps saved about US$100 000, you can use that pensionable pension to acquire property whilst you are still a serving member.

          Let me give some specifics - my first house, my pension was around US$120 000 around 2008.  We approached Old Mutual to give some kind of a loan - so you use your pension to get that loan and you will acquire property.  So we want to encourage Hon. Minister of Finance to allow Members to use whatever pension you would have acquired so far to have property.  Even if one is booted out of office after one term should be entitled to pension, not just gratuity.  Gratuity is not a pension.  Let us have one term, you get your pension; two terms you get your pension but 70 years Hon. Minister is quite a long time.  Why not say even when one gets to 60 or 65 years, then one can get a pension. 

          Finally, I need to commend the Hon. Minister for the proposals that he made in this Finance Bill, which I believe are very important and that will make Zimbabwe become a very progressive country in terms of how we manage our finances.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank the Hon. Members for their contributions to these revenue measures from the Finance Bill.  Let me start with the observations by Hon. Biti about the tone of these proposals that perhaps they are all focusing on increases and so forth.  I want to say that, that is not correct.  In our view, this is quiet balanced.  There are areas where we had sought to increase certain things that we believe would go a long way to raise revenue but also have lowered taxes and thresholds in certain areas where we believe that this will provide relief to our hard working citizens.

On the tax free bracket moving from Z$300 000 to Z$ 600 000 which is a 100% shift, we believe this is appropriate.  We did our research and spoke to various employers in the private sector as well as the public sector itself.  We feel that this was adequately argued for based on the facts that we came across as we did our research.  While on that, there is also the argument that perhaps we should move the tax free threshold to ZWL3 million - that would be too high.  We would lose revenue and may in fact fuel inflation, but the role of taxes some of the time is not just to raise revenue but also to control expenditure behaviour.

I will now switch to the issue of the platinum tax where we have suspended it for 12 months.  This was done basically as an incentive to investors.  We received representation from the PGM’s Platinum Group Sector and foreign investors who felt that beneficiation tax was actually retrogressive and discouraging their investment and their expansion and we have got evidence of specific cases.  We then consulted widely beyond the mere representation by the affected companies and then we also asked the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department in Washington to research this matter for us about the proper fiscal regime for the platinum group of companies.  After a month or two, they came back with an advisory note basically saying that they also are of the view that this beneficiation tax was in fact retrogressive and discouraging investment, including just mere expansion from the already existing investors.  They even proposed that we rather suspend it, drop it and perhaps increase the royalty.

So we mulled over this and we came to the view that this made sense.  Let us suspend the beneficiation tax and then increase royalty to 2.5% to 5%.  Thus, it was a very systematic process that we were involved in and we are very happy as Treasury to share the advisory note from the IMF because we believe that it was based on sound analysis but we are talking about a 12 month’s suspension, Mr. Speaker Sir and we stand ready to review and drop the axe after 12 months if we feel that we are not making progress on the promises made by these companies.  Of course I do appreciate the Member’s contributions on this issue.  It is not a small issue and we do not take it lightly. 

On the royalty issue, the payment of royalty - 50% in Zimbabwean dollar and 50% in foreign currency – when this was announced, we said that this was the way to promote the use of the Zimbabwean dollar.  Again, Treasury consulted with the Central Bank, we consulted with players in the market and we consulted widely with experts who felt that this could be a credible measure for promoting the use of the domestic currency.  We were also convinced by that.  So as a result, we thought this is something that we should implement.

On the issue of royalties of 5% that perhaps this is too low, maybe it should be increased to 10% and so forth, look we have just moved from 2% to 5%.  Who knows we might get to the 10% next year or some other year that you propose.  It is a progression.  As I said, we will evaluate and see how effective the policy that we are implementing or proposing, how effective that is in first of all raising revenue and in catching up with the rest of the region in this regard.  By the way, that paper from the IMF, I think we will answer a few questions about how we stack royalty to the region and we are hoping to share it with Hon. Members.

On the issue of criminalising late payment of taxes as opposed to just implementing the civil penalties of 100% and so forth, Mr. Speaker Sir, let me give you a vivid case.  Currently, we have a case or a situation where banks owe ZIMRA US$6 million which they have not been remitting.  This is VAT payments from customers who bank with them and what we have to do in the interim to balance our books, we end up having to borrow as Treasury just because a specific company has not remitted.  So we have been garnishing books.  They are still following the same type or behaviour.  It does not seem garnishing books eventually is effective as well.  So we feel that we should move to the criminalisation route.  This is a credible threat that will cause companies to behave.

The issue of ZIMRA being designated as a temporary port authority, we are just trying to solve a problem.  Currently, there is a problem.  It was there last week, it was there last year, it is there today and it will be there tomorrow and we are just trying to solve it.  We currently do not have a port authority, but if we temporarily have ZIMRA acting that role, which role we will then drop, they will have to relinquish that role as soon as the port authority is put in place.  That is all we are proposing.  We are trying to solve a problem.  The Finance Act should also be used for solving problems in the same way that we are trying to solve other problems that Members have highlighted. 

I now turn to the issue of ZIMRA Board.  ZIMRA is a revenue collection agency for Government.  Its capacity should be strengthened and part of that capacity relates to its governance capacity.  We feel that a larger board, just adding two additional members only two, will still go a long way in strengthening the capacity of the board.  They need to create very effective board committees.  At the moment, with only eight board members, it is not a sufficiently large board size to create the right committees for them to be an effective agency collection entity.

Then on the issue of the IMTT increase, you know the IMTT tax is also partly a tobin tax in this regard.  I think some Members will know what that is, which is a tax designed to slow down speculative activities and when we increase this rate to 4%, it is partly that.  We are saying that if the withdrawal is above US$1 000, we should make sure that we shift that behaviour from the use of United States dollars to use of domestic currency so that we have a balance, otherwise the domestic currency will be overly dominated by the United States dollar.  We want both currencies to be used but we want to make sure that we create a fairer even playing field because we know the Zimbabwean dollar is what is giving the country its much needed competitiveness and has allowed us to do a lot of what we have done as Government in terms of whether it is infrastructural development but also just assisting companies with their competitiveness and it shows with the amount of goods that they are producing which are on our shelves at the moment which did not exist when my Hon. friend here was Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  I withdraw that.  That was a joke Mr. Speaker Sir.  He often pokes, so I have to poke him as well. 

Then I turn to the Hon. Raidza, again on the IMTT tax that perhaps we should direct some resources to the CDF and so forth.  IMTT tax contributes to the entire pot of Government but also in the past, we have designated to dealing with certain road infrastructure, social protection.  We had not as well targeted it towards CDF, but these are proposals and why not, but that is just an administrative issue that we could put in place.  There is no harm in that, but on the IMTT charges, when money moves from the Central Revenue Fund (CRF) to whatever account, we do not charge IMTT tax. It is only beyond that then the tax gets paid for normal transactions and that is normal. Otherwise beyond that, we do not know which money is fundable, where is it going. We cannot start making exemptions beyond the transfer into the designated account from Treasury or from the Central Revenue Fund.

          On widening the tax base, Hon. Raidza is right, like all the other colleagues who have talked about the need to widen the tax base. If I can say a couple of things here – part of the role of the IMTT tax is to be able to net in quite a wider base as long as they are transacting electronically, including  part of the informal sector. That is one strategy and I think that strategy has worked quite well. We introduced a location tax last year where we were saying that for those who are operating informally but under a roof, under a property that has an address, which property is owned by some landlord, that landlord we will designate them as tax collection agent. That is what we approved here and that has gone a long way in netting in some operators who are operating in the informal sector under a known registered address owned by someone else.

          If they are using cash, it does not matter because there is a presumptive tax that we are imposing on that. So these are some of the strategies. We are aware of what other countries are doing for example Malawi and Ethiopia.  We will copy from them and keep improving. This is a very good point and we just have to keep widening the tax base rather than taxing those who are already paying more. Perhaps let us widen and I fully agree with that.

          By the way, I went down to Kaguvi Street yesterday to see for myself. It is a very thriving street in terms of SMES who are operating there. I checked with a few of them and they are paying the presumptive tax and so it is working. I am not saying that all of them are netted in but it is really beginning to work. On ZIMRA consolidating their tax and so forth, I accept this and it is an important point. We should consolidate taxes and there should not be multiple taxes. We should just simplify the tax code. On the wealth tax, lifestyle audit and so forth, I agree that we should accelerate and make sure that those are done and it is normal as we progress in our tax practices that lifestyle audits ought to be done.

          On the mining sector, I am trying to answer it regarding the issue of the beneficiation tax versus the royalties and so forth but there is a broader issue that was raised by Hon. Nduna and Hon. Mushoriwa who also raised it regarding a community investment by these companies, making sure that they look after the commodities where the resource is being extracted. I endorse this and it is a very good point. Going forward, we can think together to see how this can be enforced. May be there is specific rule or levies that we can come up with.

          I must note in the current Acts the Rural Councils Acts for example. There are certain levies and taxes that mining companies ought to pay at that local level and they are specific that it is by mineral and by the size of the exclusive prospecting order or claim wherever they are mining from and these need to be enforced. I am just highlighting just one of the areas but of course which we can do more about enforcing certain standards and revenue heads in terms of supporting local communities.

          On the sovereign wealth fund, I am very happy to come back to Parliament later at some point and give a Ministerial Statement as to the assets that currently sit under the sovereign wealth fund and I agree with the kind of enthusiasm Hon. Members have, who feel this is an important fund. We feel the same in Treasury and in Government. Hon. Nyathi said everyone should pay tax and it was a message about broadening the tax base. There is the issue about the pension for Parliament. There is a proposal that I have put forward and there is broader contribution from Hon. Members.

          Let me start with the latter – the broader contribution from Hon. Members that they want to be pensionable after one term. That is a proposal and I am not opposed to it, but from the way things work, we just need more time and consultation even among ourselves and agree on how to structure that. I would suggest that for that specific amendment, let us work on it and come up with an agreed position for the November presentation. That is what I propose because it will take time to agree. I cannot immediately stand up here and say I agree if these things take time. It has to do with actuarial valuations and so forth. It can be quite a technical process and so, I would not want to agree without further consultation on this issue...

          HON. HWENDE: On a point of Order Hon. Speaker, we have no quorum.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Hwende, thank you very much for raising that point but what we have to do at the moment is to ascertain whether we do not have the quorum as per your point of order. So we need to ascertain. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order Hon. Members, we have got 58 on virtual and 20 in the House. That means the question of no quorum is overruled. So go ahead Hon. Minister.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: There is the issue and I just want to say what I need to say and Hon. Members can disagree on the issue of accessing your pension at the age of 70 if you have been contributing all these years. We were just trying to make sure that an Hon. Member who has been successful, it could be from Hon. Mushoriwa or Hon. Nduna, but they have been so successful and they keep winning elections. They ought to be able to access part of their pension. We can argue about the age 70, but it is a principle that we think will assist Members of Parliament. The issue about one term versus two terms is another issue. For now, I wanted to clean that one up and bring you to speed. 

          Hon. Mliswa went through the issue IMTT as well. Perhaps let me not go through that. Of course he went to the issue of surpluses and so forth. I just want to say for the record, we did not make a surplus last year and we are not likely to make a surplus this year and actually we have deficits. I will share with the Hon. Member as to what those figures are. The issue of POSB is an innocuous issue, they rebranded but we just want to make sure the current legally branded entity is able to assume the privileges of the previous entity. The mandate of POSB has not changed. The issue of foreigners paying higher taxes and work permits - that is a thought.  That will be drastic for investors to say there is another issue that has been included in Zimbabwe’s rules which will discourage investment. Let us just reflect and be careful on that.

          He talked about mining companies supporting communities, this is a point I made and certainly I support it. Let us all think together about the other ways to enforce that kind of support to communities.

          The cross border issue and the withholding tax of 30%, here we are looking at those who are not registered but who claim to be commercial traders because the value of goods that they are trading in is above US$1000. There is a threshold of US$1000 and above. We want to make sure that you register. This is a compliance measure and we are not trying to raise revenue. We are just saying register if you claim you are a commercial trader, why are you not registered and where is your ZIMRA certificate? That is all. It is not meant to punish anyone at all. It is meant to formalise those who are informal.  We have all been yearning for more and more formalization, at least from the contributions I have heard over the years.

          On the incentives for disabled, perhaps Hon. Members may have forgotten that last year I rose and you concurred to say let us extend the tax rebate for the youth employment by companies to the disabled. That is already in place. What we should be doing now is going to check if these companies are in fact complying. If Hon. Members want to propose something further, I am all “ears”. Let us support our disabled. For what it is worth, I have very detailed data on the state of disability in this country which has come out from the Census. I am very happy to share with Hon Members what that date looks like. We have data district by district. We know the exact number of people who are disabled in each district so that we can then target and tailor make our solutions.

          Hon. Mushoriwa mentioned the issue about ZIMRA as a border authority. I have tried to deal with this issue. Again on the board membership size for ZIMRA, again it is just to build governance skills. On the tax threshold that it should be increased, I tried again to answer that.

On the illicit cigarette destruction, let me pause there and say what we found out and this is evidenced based proposal. What we found out is that whenever an auction is conducted on these illicit seizures of cigarettes, we found out that these cigarettes still end up in illicit hands. That is what we are trying to deal with. What we are trying to do is just to remove these from circulation and destroy them. We are not saying that there are no leakages, that is why we have the police to arrest people. That was the reasoning behind it.

          On the issue of cars for recalled Members of Parliament, the interpretation of the Administration of Parliament is that the car is a benefit or tool of trade for a serving Member of Parliament. Therefore, once a Member is not serving for whatever reason, this tool of trade is then withdrawn. That has been the practice. Certainly, we did not make those rules. That is something that Parliament needs to look into. We can think together on that, maybe consult the CSRO and we mull over this together.

          Hon. Mutodi was very supportive overall on these measures. I thank him for that support whether looking at the tax bands, IMMT tax and its roles, suspension of taxes of the mining sector as an investment incentive, dealing with non-compliance in the withholding tax from Government. Surely, we cannot be the ones who need to suffer because someone is withholding what rightfully belongs to us as the tax collectors.

On the issue of pension, he also emphasised the issue of one term as opposed to two terms. This has been well made and well argued by Hon. Members but let us think about it together.

          Hon. Bushu again mentioned the issue of one term in terms of pension as opposed to two terms. He also said personal incomes are too high. Back then the argument was that the tax rates for Zimbabwe are too low. I know that argument very well because I was a young economist and we were the same age group when we went through university. It kept increasing over time until we got to the current 40%. There is also an argument that it should have been increased and it was increased. Anywhere were we can reduce taxes, we will make sure that we do so as long as it does not hurt the ability to raise revenue and it promotes right types of consumption as well as investment.

          When we say we want to compare with countries in the region, we need to try to analyse to say what is really the effective individual tax rate? That analysis has not been done properly. We cannot get the information we need easily from any individual. We should do that study to find out whether the individuals have other incomes; is it really the 40% or 30% they claim is their tax or something lower. The same applies to other countries so that we can then compare.

          Hon Nduna’s contribution regarding IMMT tax and the need for protection, I will leave that to the Speaker. On the 17 taxes that one needs to pay to register a boat or helicopter, that is a lot of taxes. We will seek to rationalise these. I will engage ZIMRA so that over time we rationalise these and simplify the process. On the issue of ZIMRA being a port authority, it was temporary and I tried to argue but let us think together.

On mining companies supporting communities, I fully agree. Hon P. Moyo, thank you for the support.  For example Clause 9 regarding implementing the proposals that teach us ought to be supported through the payment of schools fees up to three children in State schools and Government schools. She highlighted all the issues that the Bill is seeking to push forward to improve our revenue standing and discourage speculation. You highlighted Clauses 32 and 5, I really appreciate that.

Tax for traders will be 30% withholding tax to encourage registration or formalisation. The tax on companies that are supplying Government widgets also need to comply. On the issue of pension, let us debate and see how best to support Members of Parliament. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I really want to thank those who contributed including those who just listened and those who applauded.  I move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a second time.

          Committee Stage: Wednesday, 31st August, 2022.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE), the House adjourned at Twenty-Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m.

 

 

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