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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 31 December 2017 43-29
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 31st January, 2017
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
ERROR IN THE BUDGET ESTIMATES
THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to draw the attention of the House to an error on Table Number II on page 11 of the Budget Estimates, the Blue Book where there is an omission of number 17, in terms of numbering of Votes. Vote number 17 is reflected as number 18 and consequently, the total Votes are reflected as 42 instead of 41 Votes.
INVITATION TO A CATHOLIC CHURCH SERVICE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also wish to inform the House that there will be a Catholic Service tomorrow, Wednesday, 1st February, 2017 at 12 o’clock noon in the Senate Chamber. All members who are Catholic and non-Catholic are invited.
FINANCE BILL: BUDGET DEBATE
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion that leave be granted to bring in a Finance Bill.
Question again proposed.
HON. DR. SHUMBA:
The Committee on Mines and Energy has an oversight responsibility over the Ministries of Mines and Mining Development and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. The Ministry of
Mines and Mining Development’s mandate is to formulate policies that ensure sustainable mining and marketing of mineral resources, regulate all mining operations by ensuring that all mining activities comply with statutory regulations and ensuring mineral beneficiation and value addition before they are exported. The Ministry of Energy and Power
Development’s mandate is to provide adequate and sustainable energy supply through formulating and implementing effective policies and regulatory frameworks.
The Committee conducted Post Budget Consultations with the two Ministries which showed that there was a reduction in budget allocations to the two Ministries against the 2016 budget allocations. It is disappointing to note that despite the importance of having reliable energy supplies and the tightening financial requirements by foreign power suppliers, the Ministry of Energy’s priority in the total budget has been declining over the past five years.
Ministry of Mines and Mining Development
Overview of Ministry’s 2017 budget allocation:
- The Ministry was allocated US$5.395 million which represent 0.16% of the total vote appropriation for 2017. In 2016, the
Ministry’s allocation constituted 0.18% of the total national budget.
- The overall allocation of the Ministry decreased by 9.54% from US$5.964 million in 2016 to $5.395 million in 2017.
Figure 1: Ministry of Mines and Mining Development’s budget Allocations (2012-2017):
- The Ministry’s allocation has been declining since 2015 and it is also important to note that the allocations have remained lower than those for other non- economic driving Ministries.
- In addition to the allocated amount of US$5.395 million, the Ministry is also expected to get about US$6.935 million from the Mines and Mining Development Fund. However, the viability of the fund is heavily affected by the high default rate in the payment of mining fees by mining title holders.
Economic Classification of the Ministry’s budget:
The Ministry’s budget is skewed towards funding current expenditures at the expense of capital expenditures. Of the Ministry’s
2017 allocation, 75% will go towards employment costs, 16.7% for the
Ministry’s operations and maintenance whilst 8.3% will go towards capital expenditure. Conventional wisdom requires that capital expenditure be increased in order to unlock new revenue streams and effectively contribute to the GDP while creating employment.
Figure 2: Economic Classification of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development’s 2017 budget Allocations:
Key Achievements in 2016
Despite 2016 being a difficult year for the mining sector, some major achievements by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the mining sector in general were noted. Some of these include the following:
- Increase in gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refineries. Gold production worth 15 318kgs as at 30 September 2016 compared to 11 397kg during the same period in 2015. Artisanal miners contributed 43% of gold production whilst 57% came from large scale miners;
- Increased contribution to the fiscus on chrome ores whose total sales accounted to US$9. 545 million (112 046 tonnes)
- Gazetting of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Act, Mineral
Exploration Marketing Corporation (MEMC) and Pan African Minerals University of Science and Technology Bills.
- Licensed 10 diamond cutting and polishing centres which will greatly contribute towards beneficiation and value addition of the diamonds
- Commencement of the Computerised Mining Title System (Cadastre) Project.
- Consolidation of Diamond Companies leading to the formation of
Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Cooperation (ZCDC).
(Oversight activities are currently underway).
- Enhancement of Security at Beitbridge Border Post through the installation of CCTV, XRF and Polygraph Machine (The legality and constitutionality of the use of Polygraph machines is awaiting legal opinion).
- Training of Small Scale Miners through outreach programmes
- Training of 25 Diamond Cutters in China
Measures with potential to affect the mining sector:
Unlike in the 2016 Budget where a number of measures aimed at promoting the development of the mining sector were outlined, the 2017 budget only outlined a few measures. The only notable measures include:
- Deferment of export tax on un-beneficiated platinum to 31
- Supply of gold to Fidelity Printers and Refineries to have a zero rated VAT.
- Allocation of a portion of the $32.7 million for value addition and beneficiation under the ZIMASSET Value Addition and Beneficiation Cluster.
Key Priority areas for the Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development in 2017:
Zimbabwe continues to rely on natural resources for its economic development, and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is central to this process and its priorities all contribute to this. These priorities begin with balancing the Ministry’s budget, to control expenditure and to support the overall government budget. Some of the key priority areas for Ministry of Mines and Mining Development for
2017-2018 fiscal period include the following:
- Beneficiation and Value addition:
The Ministry will focus on enhancing value addition of minerals through:
o Capacitating financially the local cutting and polishing industry and investing in modern diamond sorting technology; o Facilitating the resuscitation of closed iron ore mines smelters and acquisition of modern small to medium furnaces; o Enforcing implementation of Government policy for Base Metal Refinery and Precious Metal Refinery construction.
- Finalisation of various Acts which include: Mines and Minerals Amendment Act, Mineral Exploration Marketing Corporation
(MEMC), Gold Trade Act and Precious Stones Act.
- Capacitating Small to Medium Scale Miners through issuance of loans and equipment from the Mining Industry Loan Fund
- Resuscitation of ZMDC dormant mines such as Kamativi, Sabi Gold Mine, Elvington Gold Mine, Sandawana Mine, Shabanie and
Mashaba Mines and Golden Kopje Gold Mine.
Proposals with potential to raise revenue and contribute to economic growth:
The Committee on Mines and Energy is of the view that the 2017 National Budget should have also followed up on measures announced in both the 2016 Mid-Term Fiscal and Monetary Policy Statements to direct and coordinate responsible Government Departments to implement the proposed measures. The outflows of the measures are as follows:
- Reduction in mining fees and charges: The 2016 Mid-term Policy Reviews and Monetary Policy Statement underscored the need to reduce mining fees and charges, and accordingly recommended the review of mining fees and charges by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. The Committee is also of the view that the process of acquiring a mining licence is too cumbersome and does not dovetail with the ease of doing business policy.
- Reduction and standardisation of RDC charges: Both the Fiscal and Monetary Policy Reviews recommended the streamlining and reduction of RDC charges as well as ensuring that the charges are the same for all RDCs in the country. The Committee appeals for the expeditious implementation of this measure. No response in this regard has been forthcoming from Government.
- Removal of the 2% EMA fee: The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe highlighted the need to remove the 2% EMA fee and the Committee agrees with RBZ. To ensure sustainable environmental rehabilitation, the Industry is in the process of developing an insurance alternative for environmental rehabilitation.
- Reduction of Environmental Impact Assessment fees: The Committee is of the view that the EIA fees need to be revised downwards and applied on a sliding scale where the rate decreases as the value of the project increases. The Committee appeals to the Ministry of Finance to direct Ministry of Environment to implement the proposed prorated system.
- Review of electricity tariff regime: The Mid-Term Fiscal Policy
Review recommended the downward review in electricity tariffs for gold from 12.8c/ KWh, to 8c/KWh and to apply a commodity price linked electricity tariff for the mining industry. The proposed measure is yet to be implemented and the Committee appeals to the Ministry of Finance to persuade relevant authorities to operationalise the measure, however taking note that the sector is VAT exempted. Ministry of Energy and Power Development
Overview of Ministry’s Budget:
The Ministry of Energy and Power Development was allocated
US$6.288 million in the 2017 National Budget. The allocation to the Ministry of Energy and Power Development decreased by 7.67%, from US$6.810 million in 2016.
The Ministry’s budget constitutes 0.18% of the total budget for 2017 which is lower than its allocation in 2016 when it got 0.20% of the total budget. This indicates a slight decrease in priority accorded to the Ministry in 2017 maybe because Treasury views the Ministry as a revenue generating Ministry with potential to generate revenue for its operations.
The overall allocation of the Ministry will decrease by 7.67% in
- The decrease in the Ministry’s allocation is in line with the declining economic performance during the past three years. However, to compensate for the decrease in the amount allocated, the Ministry will be allowed to use statutory funds estimated at US$113.679 million.
Figure 3: Ministry of Energy and Power Development’s budget allocations (2012-2017):
The Ministry is not among the top 10 priorities of Government as judged by the share of the total budget allocated. Between 2012 and
2017, the Ministry’s allocations have been decreasing as shown in figure
Economic classification of the Ministry’s 2017 budget:
Figure 4: Economic classification of the Ministry’s 2017 budget:
Of the total allocation to the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, US$4 million will be for lending and equity and capitalization for repowering Bulawayo Power Station, US$1 million for capital transfer to the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) for solar and biogas projects, US$868 000 for employment costs whilst US$218 500 for goods and services.
Other targeted expenditures from the Ministry’s budget include maintenance – US$53 500, current transfers – US$30 000, Programmes
US$68 000 and Fixed Assets -US$50 000. This is totally inadequate.
Ministry of Energy and Power Development’s 2016 Budget Performance:
Out of a total budget allocation of US$6.81 million for 2016, only a total amount of US$920 984 was released and spent by the Ministry as at 30 October 2016. This amount released constitutes only 13.5% of the
Ministry’s 2016 budget. From the US$920 984 released, US$708 566 was for salaries and US$40 000 for current transfers.
The total amount of US$172 418 was released by Treasury for
Ministry’s operations for the whole period, an amount that falls far below the requirements of the Ministry. The operations of the Ministry were funded mainly by donations from Parastatals of which most of them are struggling to provide efficient service to the nation. The Ministry received a total of US$490 266 as donations to fund its activities in 2016. Most of the funds from donations were used for goods and services and maintenance. It is also disappointing to note that no amount was released for any capital expenditure.
Key achievements in the Energy Sector in 2016:
In 2016, despite the macroeconomic challenges facing the country, the electricity supply in the country improved as there was a decrease in the load shedding. It must be noted that this was against the backdrop of very low demand from the underperforming mining industry. The decrease in load shedding could be attributed partly to the different energy infrastructure projects aimed at increasing the supply of energy in the country that were implemented and are currently at different stages of development. Some of the major achievements in the energy sector include the following:
- Work at the Kariba South Extension began and the project is now 60% complete.
- Commissioning of the Dema Emergency Power Plant (Which is still under Parliamentary oversight programme).
- Operationalisation of mini-hydro power stations at Nyangani and Pungwe and construction has started at Kupinga, Hauna and Ngarura mini-hydro power stations.
- Government secured funding for the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station which will result in the improvement in generation capacity by an additional 60 MW.
- 200 domestic and 39 institutional biogas projects were constructed in 2016.
- Developed the Renewable Energy Policy.
- A draft Bio-fuels policy now in place.
- Initiated the National Solar Water Heating Programme
Implications of the 2017 Budget for the Ministry of Energy and Power Development and the Energy Sector in Zimbabwe:
The Committee noted that the Ministry’s budget allocation for 2017 is lower than its allocation in 2016. This will negatively impact on the Ministry’s activities in 2017. The following are some of the implications of the 2017 budget allocation to the Ministry’s operations.
The amount allocated for employment is higher than the 2016 allocation. The increased amount is in anticipation of filling in of the three vacant posts in the Ministry. With no salary increase the amount will be adequate.
Goods and services:
The allocated amount is short of the Ministry’s requirements towards communication and domestic travel costs and may therefore negatively affect service delivery, monitoring and evaluation of the projects funded by the Ministry.
The inadequate budget will affect maintenance of vehicles, availability of fuel and reduces the monitoring and evaluation trips. The situation will be worsened by the ageing fleet of vehicles which now requires frequent repair and maintenance.
The amount of $30 000 allocated for current transfers is inadequate considering that the Ministry has subscription arrears of €24 000 for 2016 to IAEA. Zimbabwe is also a member state to the African
Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research , Development and
Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology ( AFRA) where its
2016 subscriptions are also in arrears of €9 637. The inadequate allocation will therefore entail that the debt obligations will remain outstanding and the country is likely to lose some of the benefits from its membership in these international organisations.
Acquisition of fixed assets:
The Ministry was allocated US$50 000 for the acquisition of fixed assets. If this amount is released in full, it will go a long way in ensuring that the Ministry replaces old and broken office furniture. However the
Ministry’s old and unreliable vehicles have not been taken into account. No funds have been allocated for new operational vehicles. This will negatively affect the operations of the Ministry especially in the
Of the US$1 million allocated for capital transfers, US$400 000 for funding the institutional bio digesters and US$600 000 towards funding the solar electrification programme. The US$400 000 for bio gas digesters will enable REA to complete construction of 510 bio digesters at public institutions around the country whilst solar technology will be installed at 41 public institutions using the US$600
000 budget allocation.
Lending and Equity:
Treasury allocated US$4 million to Ministry of Energy and Power Development for equity and lending to ZESA. Although the amount is low considering that internal resources amounting to US$12 million is required for the repowering of Bulawayo Power Station, it will go a long way in funding the project which when completed will increase electricity generation in the country by 60MW.
Key Priority areas for the Ministry in 2017:
The Committee is happy to note that despite the low funding to the
Ministry’s operations, the 2017 budget managed to provide some funding allocations to the energy sector that will assist in ensuring that the Ministry achieves its set targets for 2017. The following are some of the key priority areas for Ministry of Energy and Power Development based on the 2017 budget:
Biogas Technology: The Ministry had plans to sustain the biogas digester programme in which it intends to construct 510 biogas digester units in various districts to increase awareness on the technology.
Upgrading of Bulawayo Thermal Power Plant with funding from India Exim Bank and internal resources.
Procurement of prepaid meters for both large electricity users and ordinary customers.
Small Hydropower Development:
The objective is to demonstrate the role of micro-hydro generated electricity in improving the living standards of rural areas. Funding from Treasury will be augmented by generation equipment to be donated by the Chinese Government.
Energy Conservation Programmes:
Studies done in the country proved that over 20% of the energy consumed in the country can be saved through demand side management
(DSM) measures. The Ministry intends to scale up the energy conservation programmes in 2017 to all provinces in the country.
Exhibition at Trade Fairs and Agricultural Shows:
The Ministry participates at Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
(ZITF) and Agricultural Shows annually to exhibit and enhance public knowledge on the Ministry’s functions and programmes. In 2017, the Ministry will exhibit at ZITF and the Harare Agricultural Show.
Implementation of the Mutare Peaking Plant: To urgently lower tariffs and reduce the importation of electricity.
Mining and Mining Development:
Notwithstanding the supportive measures with potential to raise revenue and contribute to economic growth, the Committee recommends the following:
Allow royalty to be deductible as a tax expense: Government proposed to allow royalty as a tax expense in line with best practice. However the measure was not included in the Budget. The current situation where royalties are not tax deductible (which was effected in
2014 budget) has seen the total mining cost going up across all minerals. Important to note, as the case in most countries, royalties which are levied on gross revenue are considered a direct cost and hence must qualify for tax deductibility.
- Addressing foreign payment challenges: The mining industry has been faced by delays in processing of foreign payment requests for importation of critical inputs, resulting in production disruptions. The Committee therefore recommends that Government prioritise the mining industry in view of its importance in foreign exchange (liquidity) generation.
- Allow all gold supplies to be VAT zero rated: Whilst the Committee appreciates the decision by Treasury to allow all gold supplies to Fidelity Printers and Refineries to be VAT zero rated and recommends that Treasury considers allowing all gold sales to
Government authorised dealers or institutions to be VAT zero rated.
- Allow all the statutory fees collected by the Ministry to be submitted to the Treasury: The Committee noted that in the 2017 budget, Treasury allowed the Ministry to retain US$6.935 million from statutory funds. Whilst this is a noble idea as it will increase the
Ministry’s revenue base for its operations, it will also result in failure by the Ministry to significantly review downwards mining fees as this will have direct effects on their revenue.
To avoid the conflict of interest, the Committee recommends that all the statutory fees collected by the Ministry be submitted to the Treasury and the Ministry gets appropriations from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
- Speed up the crafting and implementation of a Minerals Value addition and Beneficiation Strategy: Our minerals continue to be exported in their raw form and thereby prejudicing the country of the much needed revenue and employment. It is therefore necessary for
Government to speed up the crafting and implementation of a Minerals Value addition and Beneficiation Strategy and other policies that support such.
- Treat diamonds the same way as gold: The Committee noted that despite the country being amongst the top diamond producing countries in the world, up to date, no significant earnings have been realised from the diamond mining. Diamond mining continues to be shrouded by lack of transparency. The Committee therefore recommends that Government should consider treating diamonds the same way as gold and auction diamonds through the RBZ for purposes of transparency and accountability.
- Finalisation of the new fiscal regime for the Mining Industry: Reforms are needed to address the fiscal mining regime with a view to simplifying the licencing process, streamlining all fiscal charges and reducing the effective tax in mining in order to attract investment and improve on production. The Minister of Finance should honour his commitment in the 2017 Budget of addressing the fiscal regime governing the mining sector.
- Come up with a Legislative framework for the Zimbabwe
Consolidated Diamond Company ZCDC: The Government should
come up with a legislative framework that clearly outlines the functions of this company because ZCDC has been into gold mining, it may spread itself widely with little profits. In addition, ZCDC should be allowed to operate and generate revenue to the fiscus.
- Seek Financial and Technical partners: Ministry of Mines and
Mining Development is prioritising the opening of ZMDC dormant mines in 2017. This proposal has been on the Ministry’s priority in previous years but nothing has materialised due to financial and technical challenges facing the Government. The Committee therefore recommends that the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should seek for partners who will bring in capital and technical requirements which will assist in the opening of these mines.
- Equitably distribute loans: The Committee recommends that loans to Small and Medium Scale Miners should be distributed equally among all the country’s mining districts. In addition, the fund should
also benefit women and youths in all the mining districts.
Energy and Power Development:
- The Committee observed that most potential investors in the energy sector are being scared away by a number of statutory fees that the investors are required to pay. When these investors compare these fees with what is obtaining in other countries in the region, Zimbabwe’s fees are higher than those in other countries in the region. The
Committee therefore recommends that the 2% EMA fee be scrapped and come up with an alternative insurance for environmental rehabilitation. The Committee appreciates the initiatives by Government in ensuring that the repowering of Bulawayo Power Station is funded; that include the closure of an agreement with the India Exim Bank to fund 85% of the project cost whilst 15% will be funded from internal resources. Previously, it has been noted that Government struggles to raise the 15% required under the Exim Bank agreement. It is recommended that the Government consider partnering with private investors under the PPP in order to raise the required fund. This will be a signal to the financing partners (Exim Bank of India) that we are serious about having the project started.
- It is of concern to note that for the past six years, the Ministry has not been able to get the whole amounts allocated in the budgets. This trend implies that the Ministry’s activities also suffer from the failure by Treasury to timeously release funds allocated in the budgets. For example REA last received funding of US$300 000 from Treasury in 2013 from an allocation of US$3 million whilst last year it did not receive anything from the 2016 budget allocation of US$1.2 million. It is therefore recommended that Treasury releases the 2017 budget allocations for the Ministry of Energy to be able to implement its planned activities in 2017.
- The Committee noted with concern the foreign payment challenges which have been faced by fuel importers in the country. This situation has caused panicking by fuel importers and the general public and has resulted in some hording fuel in anticipation of shortages and some service stations rejecting the use of POS machines and bond notes in favour of hard cash. The Committee recommends that Government prioritises the importation of fuel in view of its importance in the production value chain process.
- The Committee noted with concern that despite the country having some inland dams across the country with capacity to generate electricity such as the recently completed Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam, the country still faces electricity challenges. The Committee therefore recommends that Government should come up with a policy to ensure that major dams are used for electricity generation.
- Ministry of Energy and Power Development raised concern over the inadequate funding for goods and services which have negative impacts on monitoring and evaluation of some projects under the
Ministry’s portfolio. The Committee on Mines and Energy recommends that the Ministry’s provincial offices should be adequately resourced so that Provincial Officers will monitor and evaluate projects in provinces where they are stationed instead of the current situation where Officers from Head Office are responsible for monitoring projects in all provinces around the country.
- The Committee also noted that the failure by Ministry of Energy and Power Development to pay subscriptions to international organisations paints a bad picture of the country. It is therefore recommended that Treasury directs the Ministry of Energy to cut down on the number of delegates to international workshops and conferences and use the savings from this to clear subscription arrears with international organisations.
While there is some provision of funds for capital transfers and for lending and equity participation totaling US$5million for the energy sector and US150 000 for the mining sector, it is the actual disbursement of the funds that will make a difference. If the funds are not availed as happened in 2016, then the provisions are a non-event and render the whole budget process meaningless. It is therefore important that Treasury identifies the low hanging fruits and prioritise them, in the actual allocation of funds to the Mines and Energy Ministries as they will also stimulate growth in other sectors of the economy.
As key economic drivers both the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development require more budgetary support in addition to authorising them to look for and adopt alternative structures of unlocking value for them and the entities under them.
It is therefore, important to note that the Committee on Mines and Energy oversights key economic Ministries that have a direct and immediate contributor effect to the National budget and the economy at large. Consequently, we believe that Treasury must unshackle the two Ministries by providing reasonable budgetary support that will lead to increased revenue.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much
Mr. Speaker Sir. I stood up to also debate on the Budget that was presented by Hon. Minister Chinamasa. Mr. Speaker, for my introduction, I want to start with the positive. I think it is always important to start with the positive. The positive that I found in this budget was obviously the issue around sanitary wear. I just want to thank the Hon. Minister, after all these years begging him to do something about sanitary wear; we see that he actually did something about it.
However, I want to raise two things that I learnt whilst engaging with the Hon. Minister and trying to get the sanitary wear coming. I think it is important for us as Members of Parliament to begin to think about the strategies of trying to get the Minister to do certain things. For a long time, the Hon. Minister refused to discuss sanitary wear because he felt menstrual issues were not right issues to discuss in public. He introduced me to a woman whom I want to celebrate today, Ms. Mhini.
She works in Hon. Minister Chinamasa’s Office. It took her two days for her to do what we have been asking the Hon. Minister to do for many years. Basically, she called the producers of sanitary wear to a meeting, to which I attended, discussed with them why sanitary wear was expensive and before I knew it, we agreed that we were not going to have the materials used to produce sanitary wear carry import duty.
Thankfully, today I had to use sanitary pads, so I went and bought them.
The reason why I am saying so is that we need to begin to change and see what will happen between today, if the Budget is passed on sanitary wear and the next two months. This is because those who are producing sanitary wear are going to import those materials free of duty, which means the price of sanitary wear will go down. If it does not go down, the pressure is no longer on the Minister of Finance and Economic Development; it is on the producers of sanitary wear. What we then expect the Hon. Minister to do is that, if sanitary wear price go down, it means the next Budget, the Minister will be able to provide a budget for free sanitary wear for the young girls in school today. It will also mean that we will have more companies coming in to produce sanitary wear.
This afternoon I was talking to the Hon. Minister of Industry and Commerce that; we need to get our trade attaches to speak to those that produce sanitary wear and not only bring sanitary wear that is already packaged but employ women and create employment in the production of sanitary wear which will be cheap and can be used by the majority of our people. That is what I want to celebrate. For the reason that I am born of a Ndebele woman, my mother always told me that if something good happens, you always say thank you.
So, I have a present for Ms. Mhini, which I am going to ask the Hon. Minister to take to her, just to thank her and say, that is what we expect on all women.- [Hon. Misihairabwi- Mushonga presented flowers to Hon. Minister Chinamasa for Ms. Mhini.] – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the Hon. Minister for accepting to do this. In a typical and traditional way of thanking our males and men, we normally use the totem. I have this t-Shirt for him, it is called Mazvita and printed Shumba, thank you so much – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – [The t-Shirt is presented to Hon. Minister Chinamasa.] – Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker Sir. This is a very important development. We were just hoping that to ensure that there is no problem – we know that there is domestic violence these days, if you may write to Mai Chinamasa to alert her – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - that a t-Shirt has been bought and the Hon. Minister is going to be putting it on. Hon. Speaker on behalf of Parliament.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Mushonga’s
contribution – if you can recall last year, a similar topic was raised in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom and it centred on the dignity of the woman. However, having said that, in future, we will not allow presentations across the table. It can be done outside the House. Thank you.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI- MUSHONGA: I thank you Mr.
Speaker for allowing this to be the last time it happens. Having said that, which is why I said let me start from the positive – as we started this year, the Church which I attend, my Pastor and dad is Dr. Shana – at the beginning of each year, he speaks about the things that one needs to carry through the year. As he spoke on the first Sunday of the year, it became so clear to me that, perhaps this is what I need to carry through and I need to speak to as I debate this particular Budget. He spoke on issues of vision and provision. To some extent, that is what is missing in this particular Budget.
When you look at all the reports Mr. Speaker, that you allowed the Chairpersons to make presentations on, there is one thing that is clear in them, they all have a vision. Each Ministry has a vision where they look forward to doing particular things, but the problem comes with the provision. What are the resources that are being given to that particular
Ministry so that it can attain the vision that it would have articulated.
My Pastor said, “a vision without a provision is an illusion.” Unfortunately, that is what this Budget is all about, it is an illusion. There is absolutely nothing in it saying you are going to find this in the allocations around that Budget.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there are three things which I want to speak about because there is no point in going into the discussions around the Budget allocations because they are basically the same. You can talk about the Foreign Affairs Committee to which I belong, it is exactly the same thing and things have gotten even worse. You can talk about the
Committee on Justice, which fortunately holds on Parliament. Unfortunately, we did not have to look at the Parliamentary Budget, but one can be sure that it is the same. I think what we need to spend our time doing now is having a very frank, honest and not an abusive conversation. We need to speak on something that speaks to what are the fundamentals which are problematic. Why are we in the situation that we are in?
Mr. Speaker Sir, I must say, the state in which Zimbabwe is right now is a sorry state. It does not matter whether you are talking about the roads and potholes, it does not matter whether you are talking about the lack of service delivery where people spend years without water. It does not matter whether you are talking about hospitals where women are dying every other day because they cannot get blood for blood transfusion as they give birth. It is a whole range of things, it is about a crisis.
Mr. Speaker, if you go in your own car park, it speaks a story about what is here. I do not know whether you have been in the car park in the last two days but if you look at the kind of garbage and refuse, lack of refuse collection that is there in the car park, it speaks to what we are saying about this particular Parliament but that is true of every other institution. I think the question we need to ask yourselves is why? Why have we gotten where we are today? Why is it that when we spoke about a vision of creating 2 million jobs, we have created exactly the opposite 2 million people unemployed? Why is it that all the things that we have spoken about have not worked? Let us be honest as a nation and as a country. There is only one thing that has happened. Mr.
Speaker, the centre is not holding in a number of things and this is why I said I emplore on people to not see this as an abusive conversation but to look at the things that I am about to talk about.
Mr. Speaker, there is disunity in every other sector in this country, whether it is Government itself, we have a Government that is at war with itself. Last time when we did the Mid-Term Review, I raised a point of order because just days after the Minister who I have the greatest respect for and I want to be honest, I think if there is a hard working honest Minister in this particular Government, it is Minister Chinamasa – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - however, he is not going to produce as long as we have the kind of divisions that we are beginning to see which make it impossible for people to operate.
Let me just give you an example, I will start with your own House so that you can understand how the divisions that I am talking about can derail the whole process. On Sunday we woke up to this headline ‘I am sorry Kereke’. I just want to tell you a story behind this because I never did but I need to tell you today – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – yes, this is a Government paper it is not a private paper.
I used to be a member of the Budget and Finance Committee from the year 2000. You may have been surprised when I came back and I said to you, I do not want to be part of that Committee. We had been reduced as a Parliamentary Committee to wars that were personal. Every other meeting that we were having were stories that were being brought by the then Hon. Kereke to the Committee and we would spend hours debating those things. In one instance, the issue was about bringing Meikles for a discussion. I personally was taken on because I was now being accused for having been paid by John Moxon. I had taken it to the Committee to say I do not think it should be the
Committee’s business to be following personal wars. I am giving that as an example of saying it is not possible to have things happening in this country as long as the in-fighting, the factions, the issues around succession dominate the issue around this. It will not work. We need to deal with it, we need to address it.
Mr. Speaker, Parliament is only one; right now we have a Judiciary that is at war with itself, not with others, with itself. The whole debate around the Chief Justice and the way it is written not in private papers but in Government papers is indicative of the kind of disunity, the kind of disagreement that exist. I will not go to the twitter or to the social media but you can read the kind of problems that exist that disunity, you cannot convince me that against that disunity, we can run a country. I spoke about the Judiciary, Executive; I am not sure whether the Budget that the Hon. Minister brought in this House has the agreement of all his other Cabinet Ministers because it was not true of the last review. In fact we are beginning to read again in these newspapers, a lot of other of his Executive members challenging the whole basis of that process.
Therefore, I think we need to address that illness because until we address that foundational thing, we cannot build on a weak foundation because nothing will come through. I have my own thesis that I am going to put on the table. This is my thesis, “we have in this country a
President that has been taken into captivity,” and I will explain to you in what manner. Mr. Speaker, if you drive down Borrowdale two days before the President came, they were now fixing the road so the President in my opinion does not see what happens in this country and I have asked so many times in this House, let us have an audience with him.
Mr. Speaker, because of these divisions if I were to move to this House and say please can we have the President so that we can have a conversation with the President as a legislator, people will refuse. Some will say we will be said we are in faction A, some will say we will be said we are in faction B. So, what I am requesting my other colleagues on the other side who have no seats to lose is we are doing a petition and asking the President to meet with us, closed doors but we need to tell the President what is going on.
South African is talking about state capture; we are talking about presidential capture. That man has been taken in some corner where he is told things to do and things to say, where to go, what to do and what not to say. How do you explain that a whole President does not know that his Chief Justice is going to go away? We read in the newspaper, somebody wrote to the Chief Justice and said go away because the President said you do. The Chief Justice said that is not true. How do you explain a whole country to which an entire President does not know that his Chief Justice is going away? We have crisis and typically I am a woman, if I am not getting what I need in the bedroom you will see it in my face and neighbours begin to speak. We should not complain about Malema telling us that things are going wrong, our faces are speaking. Malema is tired, he is like woman who is not getting anything at home, who goes and ask to the neighbour, he gives her and supports her once and twice. The wife begins to say but where is my share I am not getting the stuff you used to give me, you complain. We want to see the Speaker supporting a petition to see the President so we can speak to him.
HON. MLILO: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. MLILO: For purposes of time and for purposes of attention not to be taken away from this very momentous and very important Budget, let us have all people that are presenting reports dwell into the
Budget not into bedroom issues. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Mlilo I thought you were anxious to debate.
HON. MLILO: Thank you Mr. Speaker but I am more worried when the premise of the debate is therefore diverted and funny enough Members on my right seem to be very happy that the Budget has been diverted into the bedroom – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. I thought you wanted to
HON. MLILO: It was a point of order to guide other probably lost Hon. Members accordingly.
HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I have some exhibits to show to the House. Could they be brought forward?
These will help me in my debate.
Exhibits of two blankets were brought forward.
Let me start by saying that Hon. Misiharabwi-Mushonga took two very important issues out of my mouth. The first issue that she took out of my mouth, is the fact that I believe that if there is a man in Government, who has his heart in the right position, who is honest and sincere, it is Hon. Chinamasa. I take my hat off to this man – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Mr. Speaker, I say this for a number of reasons. If you are in the opposition, it does not necessarily mean that everything that comes from the other side is wrong. There are so many things that we oppose from the Government or ZANU PF but there are positives that also come from ZANU PF and the Government. Hon. Chinamasa is one such positive and it must be acknowledged.
Chairpersons of Portfolio Committees gave their reports and the over-aching concern by members of Portfolio Committees is the fact that money is not enough for the various ministries that they oversee. That money which is allocated to their Ministries is not even disbursed in some instances but however there is nobody in this country who knows more than Hon. Chinamasa, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development that money is not enough to go round all the Ministries.
Hon. Chinamasa knows it better than all of us here. One thing that Hon. Chinamasa does not know better than all of us put together though is how to grow the cake. That is what I am going to speak to - ‘how to grow the cake’ so that Hon. Chinamasa does not have unnecessary sleepless nights.
I am holding two invoices here. One is from a company which is called Qingshan Investments and one is from a company called Waverly Blankets. I bought these two blankets on the 23rd of January, 2017. I have here, a fiscalised invoice. What it means is that Hon. Chinamasa is able to collect his money from Waverly because they are fiscalised. I have another invoice here from Qingshan Investments which is hand written. What it means is that Hon. Chinamasa is not able to collect effectively from Qingshan because they are not fiscalised. They give Hon. Chinamasa what they want to give him but not what he is entitled
These are the blankets that I bought Hon. Speaker and I bring these blankets here for a reason – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - These blankets here are sold as double bed blankets –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, order!
HON. HOLDER: On a point of order, we are not hearing what the Hon. Member is saying. May he repeat what he has said – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - We are not the ones. We are trying to counter what he is saying – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am telling the Speaker that I cannot hear because the noise is there at the front and yet you are now complaining that I am complaining.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Members, if you have
something to debate on the Budget, wait for your time. I called out if there was any debate and there was only one person. So, let us listen. If you have nothing to say, hold on.
HON. MARIDADI: Mr. Speaker, this one is from Waverly sold as a double blanket and I bought it for US$30. This one here from Qingshan Investment is also sold also as a double blanket and I bought it for US$23. Both invoices are here. This one from Qingshan is a readymade blanket from China and this is the other one from Waverly manufactured locally. I have here a Statutory Instrument issued by the
Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Public Notice, “Importation of blankets, second hand clothing and second hand shoes.” Most importantly, on this Statutory Instrument, it says here under 1036; polyknitted fabric is currently imported in semi-processed form, hence undergoes very limited local value addition before transformation into a blanket which competes with locally manufactured blankets. I therefore, propose to increase customs duty on poly-knitted fabric from 10% to 40% plus US$2.50 per kilogram as shown on the table below and there is a table which is shown below here.
Mr. Speaker, I then followed up the two organisations and I discovered that when these blankets are imported into Zimbabwe from China, they are meant to be imported as fabric. They declare 0.40 cents per metre for this fabric and yet the total or actual value of this fabric per metre should be US$2.73. The Minister can check those figures. This blanket is then sold for US$26. So, there is no way that a locally manufactured blanket can compete with this one here. I will leave that aside – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
The way this Qingshan product is done is so sub-standard. You must wash it once for you to see how badly done it is. The reason I then went back to buy this blanket is because I had bought a blanket earlier on, when it was washed once, it disintegrated. I can give it to the Minister to see the thread just comes out just like that. It is so badly done - [HON. ZINDI: It is even torn under, there.] - This is a new blanket which has not been used.
Mr. Speaker, I then followed up this company and I discovered that when they bring in these readymade blankets, they declare at Forbes Border post, as fleece fabric which is going to be value added in this country. When a forty foot container was opened, it had readymade blankets; packed in that bag and ready for sale. That container, because they declare fabric at 0.40 cents per metre, the forty foot container was paid for US$4 700 but the actual value of that container is US$95 000. I have all that evidence.
Initially, when they were importing these blankets, they used what is called JJ Transport. JJ Transport which has trackers. ZIMRA can actually track from the time that it leaves Forbes Border post to the time that it gets to Harare. When I went to do my investigation, I was wearing casual clothes, a cap and some dark glasses so that I could not be identified. When they discovered that somebody was investigating, they then changed the transport company and they are now using a Mozambique transport company which does not have tracker and so you cannot track it.
I then phoned ZIMRA and I told them to track a particular truck that had declared US$4 700 at the border. We tracked it and we caught up with it in Marondera. When they opened the forty foot container, they discovered readymade blanket with a value of US$70 000. It had only paid US$4 500 at the border. Mr. Speaker, with this kind of thing, the Hon. Minister will not be able to raise revenue. Mr. Speaker, this Chinese company, I have invoices here of what they declare at the border and how much they make which I will favour the Minister with. In the past one year, the containers that I managed to track were 27. One container that declared the most amount was $6 700 and I have documentary evidence to that effect, yet it should have declared a minimum of $70 thousand. Minister Chinamasa has been prejudiced of over $25 million by this Qingshan Company in the past one year alone.
That company, Mr. Speaker, I am still doing my investigations to check whether it is registered in Zimbabwe, how it is operating and everything. Mr. Speaker, compounding this problem of not paying duty, Qingshan employs people who do not contribute PAYE. They are paid cash for their salaries and there are no records. So, it means the company is prejudicing Government in corporate tax, Pay as You Earn and excise duty at the border. With this kind of attitude in this country Mr. Speaker, we are exporting jobs to China because these blankets are ready-made in China. Here is a good blanket which is made here in
Zimbabwe of Waverly and it is a better blanket than imported from China. This company is struggling to pay salaries because they comply with the country’s corporate tax laws, they comply with the country’s labour laws and they comply with everything but what we are doing Mr.
Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – as Ministers are killing it. There is nobody Mr. Speaker, who is killing this country more than ourselves.
I then understand Hon. Misihairabwi when she says, Members of this side of the House would want to have an audience with the
President. The reason is that if I have an audience with His Excellency, I will give him a true picture of what is happening on the ground because I do not have a Ministry to lose. Mr. Speaker, President Mugabe is an individual, he cannot know about the potholes in Mabvuku, he cannot know what is happening at the border, he cannot know what is happening at the filling station in Samora Machel Avenue. This is why the President appoints Ministers because those are the people who are supposed to do the work on his behalf. When he appoints those people to do work on his behalf, they must work and give the President a true picture.
Mr. Speaker, if the President were to come here and sit in that Chair and ask Members of Parliament to tell him the truth, he will be shocked beyond measure because of some of the things that we will tell him that he does not know are happening. Mr. Speaker, there are people that have almost captured His Excellency. They have put him in a corner and they show him what they want him to see and they tell him what they want him to hear. At the end of the day, the person who takes the blame is not the Minister, It is the President because the buck stops with him.
Mr. Speaker, I want to go to another issue, the issue of this Parliament. If you look at the order of precedence of this country, there is the Presidency and I am talking of His Excellency and his two deputies. That office on the national presidency is followed by the Office of the Speaker of Parliament and then the head of the Judiciary, the Chief Justice. In other jurisdictions, we had a Constitution like that some time back. In the event of the President being incapacitated, the Speaker of Parliament would take over for three months until an election has been done.
I also remember, growing up in Mabvuku, we would go to a field somewhere near Mutare Road and we then had Prime Minister and the President. When the President, Cde. Banana was not in the country, President of the Senate, Nolan Makombe would act as the President and we would hear those outriders, the motorbikes going to his farm. Mr. Speaker, today our Speaker of Parliament, a person who comes as second on the order of precedence of the country, when he travels, he does not have protocol, he does not have security and yet we have a Minister, who when he is travelling, has a lead car and backup car. Why does a Minister need board guards and security?
I am talking of a Minister of Local Government, a Minister of State Security. Who is going to kill a Minister of State Security, who is going to kill a Minister Local Government? The Speaker of Parliament is more important because he leads an institution of the State. A person becomes a minister because the President has just favoured you with that appointment and the President can disappoint you anytime. He can work-up today and say that I no longer want the entire Cabinet and he will appoint new members. The President can even appoint me as a Minister because he is allowed to do that – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Mr. Speaker, President Mugabe is under no obligation to appoint Minister Chinamasa, Minister of Finance. He is under no obligation appointing Hon. Zindi, Minister of Women’s Affairs. The President can even appoint out of Parliament because the Constitution allows him to do that.
If there is one person the President cannot appoint or disappoint it is the Speaker of Parliament. The position of Speaker of Parliament is a creation of the Constitution and not even the President can touch it. That is why I think Parliament should be given precedence. More money should be allocated to Parliament – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We are treated as Members of Parliament, it is because of the capture of the President even Members of Parliament we are treated as ugly cousins from the village by Ministers who think that they are superior. There is nothing superior about Ministers Mr. Speaker, because these people are appointed by the President and they can be fired anytime. What we are telling Ministers is that when you sit in Cabinet with the President, please tell him the truth and do not tell him what you think he wants to hear.
Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, because my time is almost up, let me talk about the Budget of Parliament which is very little. When a Minister is appointed, they get two vehicles, an off-roader which is now a Range Rover, autobiography and a Mercedes Benz E-class. Those they normally get within a week. When MPs are appointed, it takes three years for them to get a vehicle. Let me give you an example, Hon.
Mayor Wadyajena ...
THE HON. SPEAKER: When they are elected.
HON. MARIDADI: When they are elected, Hon. Mayor
Wadyajena, his constituency from where it starts to where it ends, it is
140 km of tattered and dust road. If you give Hon. Wadyajena a Ford Ranger and you tell him to go to his constituency, he only needs to drive to his constituency four or five times and the vehicle is buggered – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Ministers get fuel allocation for them to drive from their homes to the office. When a Minister is venturing just a foot outside Harare, they claim fuel separately. We know that when they claim fuel, they inflate the figures. When a Minister goes to Mutare sleeping at Amber Hotel, they will claim fuel for the furthest part of Manicaland, say Chisumbanje.
HON. CHINOTIMBA: My point of order is that I move that the
Hon. Member’s time be extended by 10 minutes – [HON. MEMBERS:
Hear, hear.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Your point of order Hon. Chinotimba is
accepted, except that the maximum extension of time is five minutes.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. MARIDADI: Mr. Speaker, let me say I am so happy with
Hon. Chinotimba. This is the spirit that we want when we are talking about things that affect all of us, national issues, collectively we must be in unison.
Mr. Speaker, I had left a very important aspect when I spoke about these two companies. When I went to buy these blankets on 23rd January, the owner of this company is a Chinese lady called Michelle. I saw a Minister of Government sitting in Michelle’s office. Michelle knows about me because I approached and said, Michelle I know what you are doing and how you are prejudicing Government and that
Minister is helping you in that criminal endeavour. That Minister is helping you to evade paying Hon. Chinamasa but let me tell you, when it comes to the crunch that Minister will not be able to help you. There was a Minister who was seated in that office and Hon. Chinamasa, when you go for Cabinet, tell them that is what I said. You will see the Minister will start melting on his or her own.
Mr. Speaker, Ministers of this Government need to rise above corruption. Corruption is killing this country and that corruption is not perpetrated by somebody who comes from Mozambique or a poor person who comes from Binga North but by somebody who holds a position of authority and in the majority of cases these corrupt people are based in this capital of Harare. If we do a life audit you will be shocked with the number of things that you will see. Members of this Parliament, and I am one of them, struggle when we go to our constituencies. There is not a Member of Parliament in this House who has a constituency member saying, who would spend a day without receiving a call from a constituency member saying someone is ill or has died or school fees is needed – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Today alone, I received three messages: one is for a young girl who obtained 15 points at Tafara 1 High and wants to go to the School of Medicine but does not even know where to start in terms of fees. They are saying Hon. Member, please help us to be able to get her results, we owe $300 at Tafara I High School.
As I was coming into Parliament, I got another call saying Hon. Member, my mother was doing her laundry and something happened, so there is a needle lodged in her finger and needs $400 to undergo an operation. That is the life of a Member of Parliament on a daily basis, whether ZANU PF or MDC – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – The perception which is created out there is that the Member of Parliament has so much money. He must repair roads, construct clinics, provide water and energy and bury people. There is not a Member of Parliament with the capacity to do that. Maybe Ministers would be in a better position to do that because they drive Government vehicles which are fueled, serviced by Government. Ministers get a huge fuel allocation but some of the Ministers do not even have constituencies so nobody will phone them. The only people who will call them are probably his wife and small house.
In conclusion Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate Hon. Misihairabwi-
Mushonga’s motion. We would respectfully want His Excellency the
President of Zimbabwe, Cde. R.G. Mugabe to come and meet with us Members of Parliament, without the Executive and I will tell you Mr. Speaker, we are going to be very respectful. If we do not respect him as a person, we respect his office. He is going to come to this House and we will tell him like it is. After we have spoken to His Excellency the President, I am telling you half the Cabinet Ministers will be without jobs. Vice President Mphoko, I think they were in Cabinet and the President and Ministers were there in attendance. Somebody spoke about kubiwa kwemari Hon. Mphoko said in response imbavha dzese idzi referring to the Ministers. The President did not disagree. I am told he just smiled and chuckled. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank you for this time.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Chiwetu should have come earlier to present his report for the Committee but because of some tragedy he had to be held back so I will allow him to give us the summary and recommendations of the report.
HON. CHIWETU: Introduction:
The Committee of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment has an oversight responsibility over the Ministry of
Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment. The Ministry of
Youth’s mandate is to develop, promote and implement policies and programmes for the empowerment of youths and indigenous citizens in order to achieve sustainable and equitable development. Post budget consultations conducted with the Ministry and their stakeholders who included Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) and the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) showed that there was a slight reduction in budget allocations to the Ministry from the 2016 allocation.
Overview of the Ministry’s 2017 budget allocation:
- The Ministry was allocated US$17.192 million which represent 0.5% of the total vote appropriations for 2017 against a budget bid of US$39.405 million.
- The overall allocation of the Ministry decreased by 13.18% from US$19.801 million in 2016 to $17.192 million in 2017.
- In addition to the allocated amount of US$17.192 million, the Ministry is also expected to get about US$1.414 million from statutory funds. This amount although is still lower than the
Ministry’s requirements, it will go a long way in ensuring that the Ministry will achieve some of its set objectives.
- The Ministry’s allocations have been declining since 2014 as shown in figure 1.
Figure 1: Ministry of Youth, Indigenization and Economic
Empowerment’s budget Allocations (2012-2017):
Economic Classification of the Ministry’s budget:
In terms of economic classification, the Ministry’s budget is skewed towards funding current expenditures at the expense of capital expenditures. Of the Ministry’s allocation in 2017, 72% will go towards employment costs, 10% will be for the Ministry’s operations, 13% for current transfers whilst 5% will go towards capital expenditure. Figure 2 shows the expenditure breakdown for Ministry’s 2017 budget allocation.
Figure 2. Economic Classification of Ministry of Youth,
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment’s 2017 budget
Key Priority areas for the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment in 2017:
The Ministry is one of the Ministries which was selected to implement Programme Based Budgeting and in 2017; the Ministry prioritised five Programmes which are:
- Youth Development and Empowerment;
- Continuous Human Capital Development;
- Economic Empowerment;
- Further Indigenisation of the Economy;
- Policy and Management;
Key achievements in 2016:
In 2016, the Ministry recorded a number of achievements despite the unfavorable economic environment that prevailed for the greater part of the year. Some of the Ministry’s achièvements in 2016 include the
- Developed a Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy for Investment that recognises the demographic dividend arising from the country’s youthful population;
- Expanded infrastructure in Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) through cooperation with indigenous companies;
- Empowered 50 000 youths through Vocational Training and Skills
- 152 indigenisation transactions and 36 Employee Ownership
Trusts were approved;
- Reviewed the National Youth Service to include skills training and entrepreneurship;
- Made significant progress towards the establishment of the
Empower Bank, a micro finance institution.
Comparison between Ministry of Youths’ 2017 Budget Bids and Budget allocations per Programme:
Overall, the Ministry was allocated 43.6% of the total bid it had submitted to Treasury. In terms of percentages, Policy and
Administration was allocated the highest as it got 76% of its bid whilst Economic empowering programme was allocated 42.6% of its bid. Indigenisation and the Continuous Human Capital Development were allocated 7.5% and 13.1% respectively of what the Ministry had requested from Treasury. Figure 2 shows the bids and budget allocation for the five programmes (Excluding employment costs).
Figure 3: Ministry’s 2017 budget allocation vis-à-vis Budget bids excluding employment costs:
An analysis of Ministry’s 2017 budget economic classification and their implications on the operations of the Ministry of Youth,
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment:
The large variances between the Ministry’s bids and budget allocations for all the five programmes areas is a threat to the Ministry’s planned activities for 2017. The following are some of the implications of the 2017 budget allocation to the Ministry’s operations:
- Goods and Services: the Ministry was allocated US$1.221 million against a bid of US$2.387 million. The allocation falls short of the
Ministry’s requirement towards communication and domestic travel costs and may therefore affect service delivery, monitoring and evaluation activities by the Ministry as most of the projects funded by the Ministry requires constant monitoring and evaluation. The situation of poor funding is worsened by the absence of internet connections at the Ministry’s provincial and district offices which makes them rely on telephone for communication.
- Maintenance: the limited budget allocation of US$546 000 for maintenance against the Ministry’s requirement of US$1.241 million will affect the maintenance of vehicles, availability of fuel and reduces monitoring and evaluation trips. The situation is worsened by ageing motor vehicles which require frequent repair and maintenance.
- Current transfers: Treasury allocated US$2.261 million against a bid of US$14.62 million to the Ministry of Youth for current transfers to be channelled as support to Parastatals that falls under the Ministry.
The thin budget would entail that the National Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment Board’s (NIEEB) debt obligations of US$11.148 million will remain outstanding in 2017 as the allocated budget will only meet employment costs. In addition, the inadequate budget allocation for current transfers will affect Zimbabwe Youth
Council’s programmes of establishing the targeted 20 business hubs
and common service centres since the allocated funds will be enough to establish only 10 business hubs in 2017.
- Capital expenditure: The Committee noted with appreciation that Treasury allocated more than the Ministry’s bids for capital expenditure for the Indigenisation, Youth Development and Economic Empowerment Programmes although it failed to allocate enough funds for the other two programmes. For the 5 programmes, Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment had submitted a bid of US$8.752 million aimed at funding the retooling of 42 VTCs and 18 business hubs during the year 2017 but Treasury only allocated 8.7% of the required amount. With this budget allocation it means that the planned targets for the two Programmes (Skills training and Policy and Administration) will not be met and the Ministry will therefore have to reduce the number of VTCs to be retooled.
Activities/measures with potential to raise revenue and contribute to economic growth:
- Appropriation of US$4 million for supporting various empowerment programmes which include an allocation of US$1 million towards the Youth Development Fund in support of community outreach training services and establishment of agricultural, manufacturing and service production hubs and US$500 000 for the modernisation and retooling of machinery and equipment in VTCs. This will improve the entrepreneurship skills of graduates from the VTCs as the retooling of machinery will entail hands on training for youths in the VTCs.
- Increased high skills training and programme activity support to Ward Officers: If the Ministry successfully implements this programme it will enable Ward Officers to carry out extensive monitoring and evaluation of projects implemented by youths in their wards and reduce projects failure rates, production/project costs and increase output levels. This will improve revenues collected by
- Increased monitoring and evaluation of Youth Projects: More should be done if the youths projects are to effectively contribute to tax revenue. There is need for continuous monitoring of projects funded by the Ministry instead of relying on information from the youths themselves. Depending on youths to declare production figures is not sustainable and this could lead to distorted information on production levels. Without adequate information it would be difficult to effectively plan for successor projects which have potential to contribute more to revenue generation.
- Retooling of machinery and equipment at the VTCs around the country: In 2017, Ministry of Youths should prioritise the retooling of machinery and equipment at selected VTCs so that they become attractive to potential learners. This will make the VTCs justified to charge fees above cost recovery rates and generate funds for rehabilitation of other VTCs around the country. This will reduce pressure on Treasury funds which can then be channeled to other productive sectors of the economy.
- The Committee on Youth, indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment notes with concern that in the past financial years, the Treasury has failed to disburse the whole amounts allocated in the budgets. For example, in 2016, VTCs did not receive anything from the allocated amount of US$214 000 for goods and services. If this trend continues into 2017, this will affect the Ministry’s activities. It is therefore recommended that Treasury timeously release 2017 budget allocations for the Ministry to be able to implement its planned activities in 2017.
- The life blood of any country’s development lies in the participation of the youth in the economy which in itself underscores the essence of youth development. Support of the youth whether financial or non-financial should be guaranteed by the budget for example through the provision of concessionary loans to the youths , enhancing youth skills training, effective administration of the National Youth Council and of course entrepreneurship. It is
therefore recommended that Treasury reconsider the Ministry’s bid for the Human Capital Development Programme where it only allocated 13% of the Ministry’s bid of US$10.038 million for this programme and increase the allocation to maybe 50% of the bid.
- Skills Development is one of the priorities in the country’s National Youth Policy. In light of this, the country has established a number of Vocational Training Centres for training young people on life skills around the whole country. The Vocational Training Centres are a hub of the Integrated Skills Outreach Programme which reaches out to communities imparting livelihood skills to the youth. It is therefore recommended that Government ensures that facilities at these VTCs are of high standards by providing adequate funding for continuous retooling of machinery and equipment so that trainees are exposed to modern technology that will enhance efficient production. One option of funding the VTCs would be through making follow ups on Economic Empowerment Plans for companies operating in areas where the VTCs are located and negotiate with the companies
to adopt the VTCs for them to be exempted from ceding part of their ownership to the communities.
- Post Budget consultations with Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment revealed that the amount allocated falls short of the bids which the Ministry had submitted for some expenditure items. In some cases in 2016, the Ministry had to rely on donations from private companies to support its operations. In light of the tight fiscal space, it is recommended that the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment reprioritise activities for 2017, intensify efforts to generate income through its farming and VTCs and continue to engage more financial institutions to support youths projects and economic empowerment programmes.
- The Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment revealed to the Committee that the Ministry’s motor vehicles are old and now require frequent repairs. The Committee recommends that the Ministry be allowed to use a portion of the allocated maintenance budget of US$760 000 budget to purchase new vehicles to avoid the current scenario where a lot of money is being spent repairing the old vehicles.
Unless measures are taken to meaningfully empower youths to take central role in the socio-economic development of the country, they may be a source of social, economic and political instability. Our Government should view young people as an asset for national development and national cohesion as opposed to an expense or a liability. This perception of young people as an asset should be derived from the role played by the Zimbabwean youths of 1960 to 1979 who liberated our country through a protracted armed struggle where young people sacrificed all for the independence of our motherland hence the enormous respect should be accorded to the youths in this country today.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the former speaker from the opposition for the way he was articulating issues which reflects a mature Parliament. We know that we can scold each other but when we get into Parliament, we should do the work of
Parliament. When we scold each other, we should do it outside Parliament. My interjection is a point of order, but I just want to thank this Member of Parliament for Mabvuku Constituency for the first time. We clash here and there with Hon. Maridadi and he knows that we argue a lot. Today, I want to thank him for the first time because what he was talking about is about building the nation. It is not about Tsvangirai or
Mugabe. It is about nation building.
We once requested the House to allow Hon members carry out investigations and they said there is an Anti-Corruption Commission. This one is not a member of Anti-Corruption but he did his own investigation, and he saw that this is what is killing the nation. We admonish Minister Chinamasa for giving War Veterans, a paltry $18 million which is not enough, but where does he get the money from. We should thank the Hon. Member irrespective of which party he comes from.
So, this issue of political factions should stop so that we build our nation. I have stood up to thank the Hon. Member though I will stand up and comment on the Budget. All those who will stand up to contribute should not get lost, but they should follow what the Hon. Member has showed us. Thank you.
HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. For the first time, I have been impressed by the debate coming specifically from Hon. Maridadi and why do I say so? He has spoken at length about the welfare of Hon. Members of this august House. Whilst I also aknowledge that out Minister of Finance and Economic Development is a hard working man and tivape sando dzavo, I also wanted to say this is reflective of the Government of President Robert Mugabe. It has very good Ministers.
Mr. Speaker, I was looking at Section 119 of the Constitution that talks about the role of Parliament. If you look at the role entrusted by this nation upon Parliament, it is a very important role, very critical and very necessary for this nation to tick. Now, for anyone to suggest that we are less important than the Executive, that is a misnomer. I want to strongly believe that what the Executive does, what the Judiciary does and what Parliament does, these things are equally very important for the smooth running of the nation and so when it comes to the welfare of Members of this august House, we want to seriously take a relook and say, are we giving enough to Hon. Members for their sustenance? Are we providing enough for Hon. Members so that they are able to conduct their day to day duties in various constituencies? So, it is incumbent upon this Government to also look after Hon. Members of Parliament in terms of welfare. It is very important and it is very critical because we play a significant role in the whole process of running this country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I am at loss to hear from Hon. Misihairabwi, in fact, I got worried to hear that the President is now in captivity. I failed to make sense out of it because I thought, for someone who could fly to Ethiopia, come back, go to his House and go to his office - I wanted to believe that he is still in his senses and can actually perform for the betterment of this country. So, I was surprised to hear the sentiments by Hon. Misihairabwi.
Mr. Speaker, I also heard Hon. Misihairabwi talking about divisions and factions – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker, I seek to be protected because I am debating. When they were debating, we were quiet.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order. Can we have order
HON. TOFFA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Thank you
Madam Speaker, I just want to…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Could
you please allow me to hear the one I have acknowledged?
HON. TOFFA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I just wanted to help guide the Hon. Member, Hon. Mandipaka. When Hon. Misihairabwi spoke about the President being in captivity, it was a figure of speech.
In Shona, I think it is called madimikira – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. MANDIPAKA: Madam Speaker, that is why I initially indicated that I failed to make head or tail of what she had said because I thought and I am entitled to my thoughts…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Could
you please allow me to hear the person who is debating? I do not understand what he is saying because of your noise – [AN HON.
MEMBER: Because he is saying nothing.] - No, how can you say that?
HON. MANDIPAKA: Madam Speaker, I am saying, when I
heard Hon. Misihairabwi saying the President is in captivity, I failed to make head or tail of that statement because I thought perhaps he is just a man who in all his senses is able to travel to other countries, come back and go to his home. So, I failed to make head or tail of it. Be that as it may, Hon. Speaker, I would like to get back to the welfare of Hon. Members of Parliament. I pray that for this financial year, Members of Parliament should get their Constituency Development Funds (CDF).
Why do I say so? The impression that is created by people who we represent is that we have everything. Even the Budget, they think it is within our control. They think it is us who are going to splash the money for development. Given that scenario, Madam Speaker, we cannot take from our little coffers and cater for the entire constituency unless Government provides a Constituency Development Fund which we will take to the people and cause the development we want to take place. So in other words, I am supporting the debate by Hon. Maridadi that the welfare of Members of Parliament should be taken seriously, especially this financial year because it is important for Members of
Parliament to be catered for so that they discharge their duties in earnest.
Madam Speaker, you have heard about Hon. Members who represent constituencies deep down in the rural areas and I am one of them. We have bad roads to the extent that at the expiry of five years, I will be having no Ford Ranger at all. So all it means is that if perhaps we get two or more vehicles, we will be able to access rugged terrains. After the expiry of five years, perhaps I might not be coming back into Parliament, I will be able to look good to the constituents, look good to the people because we want to continue portraying a positive image of the Parliament. We cannot be destitute after leaving this Parliament. So, Madam Speaker, we pray that the budget for this august House is going to be raised so that we are catered for. I thank you.
HON. CROSS: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to try this afternoon…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, order.
Would you please lower your whispers? We want to hear the Hon.
Member who is debating.
HON. CROSS: I want to attempt this afternoon, Madam Speaker, to just summerise the Budget position as I see it today in Zimbabwe. I think the first fundamental issue is that the country is generating insufficient revenue to meet the fundamental needs of the country. So, I think the first thing we have to do in respect to the Minister, is to discuss with him how we can increase the amount of money which is available to the exchequer in the present situation.
A more fundamental issue which we have to discuss, but in another forum perhaps, is how do we get the country growing again? How do we get the economy expanding again? I think that is an important and fundamental issue, but for today I think the issue is how do we increase the revenue to the State.
The Minister will know that I have brought to his attention now for three years the fact that average customs revenues to the exchequer were are 5% of the total cost of imports. Now Madam Speaker, we imported last year more than $5 billion worth of imports. It seems to me incomprehensible that we cannot collect more than $380 million from $5 billion of imports. If you simply look at one item which is motor vehicles which drew $1.4 billion, Madam Speaker, the average duty on an imported vehicle is 60%. Just that one item on our import bill should generate twice as much customs duty as we are collecting. We can look at Hon. Maridadi’s example this afternoon and see how the leakages occur. I want to say to the Hon. Minister, the situation at our border post is chaotic and corrupt. You can see that in the charges that are levied against Mr. Pasi, the Commissioner General for ZIMRA - if the highest post in ZIMRA is involved in corruption to that extend, to what extent is that corruption as we go down the line. One of the most sought after positions in the administration is that of Customs Officer at Beitbridge.
I want to tell you, these people are making millions on the side. I can bring to the Hon. Minister’s attention; I have brought to ZIMRA’s attention time and time again, importers who are importing goods they are not paying duty on and selling at full value here. I think if we tighten up our administration on our borders and pay close attention to what we are doing there, we can at least double customs revenues immediately.
The second point which I want to raise this afternoon is what I have made in the Committee and the Hon. Minister is aware of this. We are paying US$1.36 a litre for petrol in Zimbabwe and US$1.20 for diesel. Madam Speaker, in 2016, the average cost of refined fuel on the international market was 32 cents a litre. If you take the average price of fuel in South Africa, it is about 85 cents; it is the same in Zambia. In Mozambique it is cheaper. Madam Speaker, we have to ask ourselves, why we are paying 25cents to 30 cents a litre more for fuel in Zimbabwe than in our neghbouring states. I want to tell you that the reason is corruption. I can provide the Hon. Minister with a breakdown given to me by a member of the fuel industry. I can tell you Hon. Minister that on average, in 2016, we paid 74 cents a litre for fuel in bulk at sea when the world market price was 32 cents. Now, who is getting that money, US$400 million a year?
This has two impacts in Zimbabwe. The first means that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is having to provide US$1.2 billion a year, more than US$100 million a month for the purchase of bulk fuels when that bill should be US$50 million. I want to know and the Hon. Minister needs to know where this leakage is taking place. The other mystery to me, is that all our fuel purchases are conducted through Singapore, why?
What on earth is in Singapore that is not anywhere else in the world?
Madam Speaker, the other thing that concerns me is that on pipeline tariff charges between Beira and Harare at the moment averages 8.7 cents a litre where the cost of running the pipeline is US$1.5 million; who is taking the additional US$60 million? Madam Speaker, if we could eliminate these corrupt practices in the operation of our fuel industry, which I think we can do that at in the stroke of a pen, it will be very simple. The Hon. Minister could double the revenue he is receiving from the fuel industry without effecting pump prices. These two items, customs duties and fuel levies alone could generate an additional US$800/900 million a year. If we give the Hon. Minister another US$900 million a year, he would be able to solve all the problems which are confronting him today in respect to budget allocations – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –
The third item I want to raise with the Hon. Minister is the issue of cigarettes smuggling. Madam Speaker, you know that South Africa had complained on continuous occasions about the volume of smuggling into South Africa. We ask the question why? It is simple, I talked to a
Marketing Executive in British American Tobacco (BAT) and he said South African prices are 40% higher than they are in Zimbabwe. Why are they 40% higher, because South Africa has a much higher excise duty on cigarettes. Let us adjust the excise duty in Zimbabwe to the same level as South Africa, it is quite simple. It will increase revenue to the Exchequer and eliminate the justification for smuggling.
Madam Speaker, coming to the question of individual allocations in the Budget, I just want to raise a couple of issues. First and foremost, the allocation to the Auditor-General, I am a member of the Public
Finance Committee and I can tell you; if there is one department in Zimbabwe that is working well, competently, honestly and doing a professional job, it is the Auditor-General – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - Last year we have increased her responsibilities from 130 state institutions to over 300. We doubled her workload, but we reduced her budget. I do not see any justification for that. I would just say to the
Hon. Minister, these institutions of oversight such as Parliament and the Auditor-General need specific and close attention. I think we underfund these institutions at our peril – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
My other concerns Madam Speaker, are the reduction in the allocation to the Ministry of Health and Child Care and I think this is an extremely serious development. Perhaps, most importantly this afternoon is the reduction in allocations to the Ministry of Tertiary and Higher Education. Madam Speaker, we have reduced the allocation to this Ministry by a third. The allocation to state universities is down by 50%. I cannot see how we can operate our universities in this kind of situation. I am told that even the salaries of professional staff at the universities is now under threat and to put the burden of funding our universities on the backs of already overburdened students is simply going too far.
Madam Speaker, I believe that the Hon. Minister is going to do a Budget review in March. I do not think we can do much about the Budget in its present form today or in the next few days. However, as we pass this Budget, what I would do is urge the Hon. Minister to consult on how we can increase the amount of revenue coming into the Exchequer under present circumstances without impacting on the quality of life in Zimbabwe.
The last point I would make Madam Speaker is a question on how you fund the budget deficit? This is a mystery to me because the budget deficit budgeted for in the present Budget is US$400 million and I believe it is going to be bigger than that. In 2016 our budget deficit was US$1.1 billion, 22% to the Budget, which is completely unsustainable. I think the Hon. Minister is a magic man because he funded those deficits from almost nowhere. I do not believe that is possible today. I just want to warn the Hon. Minister, that if there is any attempt to print money to cover the budget deficit, it will have serious consequences. Thank You Madam Speaker.
HON. CHAKONA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development for the Budget that he presented under very difficult circumstances. However, there are certain issues that I think I need to highlight to the Hon. Minister in line with our theme as Parliament; that we are trying to harness local resources in trying to buttress revenue for our nation. The first thing that I would like to highlight is the issue of the retail sector, our shops. Madam Speaker, VAT is collected at source, what it actually means is that if a manufacturer manufactures anything, when they sell that product they charge VAT and then it is bought by the wholesaler, the wholesaler also puts VAT and at the end of the day the retailer also puts VAT on it. Surprisingly, most retail shops for indigenous people are not VAT registered. So, what it actually means is VAT is – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members
particularly those at my right, please you are making too much noise.
HON. CHAKONA: What I want to highlight to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is that VAT is collected at source from the manufacturer and the wholesaler. When it comes to retail shops which are mostly run by indigenous people in the rural areas, they are not VAT registered and hence they pay VAT to the wholesaler and that VAT is collected by ZIMARA. What is happening now is that ZIMRA is also following up with those unregistered shops in the rural areas penalising them for VAT and also penalising them for statutory taxes. What is happening is that most indigenous shops are now closing because the amount of money that they are being penalised far exceeds even their monthly or annual sales.
Madam Speaker, mark ups in retail shops are merely 10% or 15% and at the most 20%. You actually find out that a rural business operator has to travel from wherever they operate from to the wholesaler to buy their goods. They incur transport costs and operational costs whilst bigger shops OK, Pick and Pay and so forth do not incur all these expenses. It is the manufacturer, the distributor who actually come and distributes their goods at their shops. So, in essence what they are simply doing is that if they put a 10% mark up it is basically their money because they have no distribution costs which the small operator is incurring.
So, I want the Minister to review this policy on small to medium operators who are in the rural areas that they pay their VAT at the point of purchasing their goods not to be followed to their operational areas because they are not VAT registered and they do not have to be vindicated.
Madam Speaker, ZIMRA is also affecting and closing mostly small operators especially SMEs and when I look at it, the SPB in 2016 issued tenders close to almost US$3 billion and these were won by mostly local enterprises. If you go to check, they charge VAT to state enterprises or to Government after winning the tenders, surprisingly none of these companies pay meaningful VAT back to Government. They are simply just collecting and they are not paying. Madam Speaker, what is disturbing is what we have noted that when ZIMRA follows up trying to collect VAT or tax from these companies, they are shielded; they actually go to Ministers offices for protection. So, they do not pay any VAT or any corporate tax and that is how we are losing money and Government is losing money. They charge tax to
Government and to state enterprises and at the end of the day that money is not paid back to Government and it is affecting revenues.
Madam Speaker, I also just want to highlight that there is a lot of duplication of roles in Government, for example, in ICT we have got Power-Tel which is owned by ZESA, we have ZARNET which is owned by the Ministry of ICT and then we also have Net-One and TelOne. All these are companies that are offering almost similar services and yet they are state enterprises, they have got boards, management and infrastructure, they are also competing on infrastructure doing almost exactly the same thing and I would recall that Tel-One had a loan approved by this Parliament of US$98m wanting to upgrade their infrastructure. Net-One is also doing the same thing; they are also approaching Government wanting to borrow money to improve on their infrastructure. That infrastructure is almost the same.
Madam Speaker if you look at the fiber network roll out in this nation, we have got almost 5 companies all doing exactly the same in this nation. They are all importing fiber network and they are all building infrastructure between Harare and Bulawayo. Right now I think we have got more than 5 to 6 fiber networks between Harare and Bulawayo and it is 5 trenches all going the same direction. That fiber is imported at very high cost and the nation is losing foreign currency and revenue which is supposed to be used in this nation.
Another issue that I just want to highlight which the Minister has to take note of, is the issue of data centres. Tel-One built a very robust data centre at Mazowe and they also have their data disaster recovery centre here in Harare. They are even looking for companies to rent space on that infrastructure. Surprisingly, the Minister of ICT also wants to build a data centre at the Central Computing Services at the same cost of
US$6m which Tel-One spend that money. In the Minister’s own Budget Statement, he actually allocated US$8.5m to the OPC for the construction of a data centre. That will be a third data centre in Government doing exactly the same thing.
Madam Speaker, suffice to say the University of Zimbabwe spend another US$6m for a high performance computer which is almost the same as the data centre that we are talking about, an intelligent computer that they have put at the cost of US$6m and it is running right now at the University of Zimbabwe. That computer has managed to link all the universities and they are using it only as an intelligent tool not even to warehouse data. So, these are all duplications that are happening within
Government and draining the fiscus of the much needed revenue. I think there is need to harmonise the way Government is operating so that it knows what the right hand is doing and the left hand is doing.
Something that I may also want to highlight is the issue Ministries.
We have got four Ministries of Education. We have got the Ministry of Psychomotor, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and Ministry of Sports and Culture. If you look at all these Ministries, they are almost duplication whatever they are doing – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - You even find out that the programme on “stematisation” was taken from one Ministry and is running in another Ministry and because the other Ministry does not know what to do so they actually have to overlap their roles and go to the other Ministry.
Suffice to say is that there is a very critical component of the Higher and Tertiary Education that is being continuously ignored which is the Science and Technology Department. For a nation to develop it needs science and technology development. If you look at it during the
Smith regime to bust sanctions in 1965 they had to establish a Department of Science and Technology in the Prime Minister’s office and that department was the one that was responsible for the industrialisation of Rhodesia from 1965 to almost 1969. That is the department which brought about the industrialization that we are talking about - reviving and so forth and the value addition and beneficiation that we are talking about in present day ideologies.
Madam Speaker, I think if we have to establish a Ministry that has to be a stand alone, it has to be the Ministry of Science and Technology so that it looks at how we can develop science and technology in this country. It is very disturbing that SIRDC is now in the Office of the President and Cabinet and it is receiving very little financing when in actual fact, it is supposed to be the institution which drives industrialisation in this nation. It is supposed to be the institution that should be speaking highly of the value addition and beneficiation and doing all the research and development.
It is very disturbing that there are certain researches that were done and were even established to a greater extend. Let me talk about the biodiesel plant which even has a plant that is sitting in Mt. Hampden and it is rotting. That is technology that we have invented in this country. What is simply lacking is just the operationalisation of that particular plant. These are institutions that we need to fund and get them off the ground and ensure that bio-diesel is commercialised in this nation. If you listen to them speaking, there is very little that is required for them to operationalise that plant. We are continuously ignoring financing that organisation and nothing is happening.
At the University of Zimbabwe, the department of Nanotechnology has invented an albino lotion which no other country in this world has come up or invented. It is there. The only problem is that it has not been patented. That is the only problem. They are failing to raise money to patent or trademark that particular lotion so that it can be sold worldwide and commercialised.
Basically, we are talking of millions and millions of dollars and we are talking of an invention that has happened at our own university and the department of Nanotechnology is simply asking for a paltry US$6 million for them to buy a set of equipment that enables them to do the analysis of data here in Zimbabwe. At the moment, they are basically taking all their experiments to South Africa. What it actually means is that whatever they have discovered and found here in Zimbabwe is now taken to South Africa and the South Africans will know the results before we even know them. These are not patented or protected, hence the South Africans can take those experiments and make use of them or even commercialise them.
I am appealing to the Minister of Finance to seriously look at some of these discoveries and entities that we think very little is required and we can sacrifice as a nation to actually give those Ministries and Departments to run and commercialise.
Madam Speaker, I do not want to labour you with a lot of data, I thank you for giving me this opportunity.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Members who debated before me on the budget. I also want to thank Minister Chinamasa for the budget presentation.
However, I would also want to add some things that Hon. Maridadi left out as he was on the floor referring to Ministers. Issues to do with corruption are shameful amongst Ministers. When the President arrives at the airport, all the Ministers rush to the airport to welcome him. There is no Minister who tells the President that people are dying of hunger, they only back-bite other people. We want to build the nation and not go and welcome the President and not telling him the truth of the matter on the ground. Our Ministers should work hard and they should not be corrupt.
Yesterday I interacted with the Police Commissioner, Cde. Chihuri and I asked him whether the police officers are corrupt and he said it is not only his officers who are corrupt but even Ministers, ZIMRA and many others are also corrupt. This was shameful to hear and I said this man is now talking.
Today, if we look at the budget, each Ministry has its own allocation. There is no way we can say there is no money in this country because money is available in this country. This nation is richer than South Africa that we talk about. We spend a lot of time doing improper things.
If you look at Civil Servants, they are 315 000 to 515 000 in numbers. It was said that if there is no money, we will give them stands – where do we get all these stands to give them? During war time, there was a man called Julius Misihairambwi, he would always say when we were hungry that we would have enough when we get home at Monomotapa Hotel. That is what he used to say to encourage us. Right now, how many war veterans have been to Monomotapa Hotel? There is none. The same thing is being said by Hon. Chinamasa, Hon. Mupfumira and all those who have to do with the Civil Servants. Where are you going to get all those stands? That is destroying our country.
We have to take the whole of Mazowe to accommodate all the Civil Servants. We should not lie. We should just tell the people that there is no money. It does not kill us to say the truth. Whether political parties can come and complain, but the truth is that there is no money.
That is the first thing.
Hon. Chinamasa said that he wanted to give Civil Servants stands – that is very painful to hear that. Now, it seems the Civil Servants are now seen as more superior than the War Veterans. War Veterans are living in shacks. We used to stay in shacks during war time and up to now, even war veterans who have been allocated land, it is being taken away. They do not consider War Veterans. That is why I stood up that this year all the war veterans who have children who completed form four, up to now, they do not have their results because Minister Dokora is saying that if a person is transferring to another school, they should be given a transfer letter which shows that they are clear of debt. So, none of our children proceeded to ‘A’ level because the budget that was allocated to the war veterans was like a spite on them that why did you go for war.
If you compare with other war veterans in South Africa, Namibia and even in America, they have war veterans but they are respected as people who worked for the people. I am talking about the budget of the war veterans. The $18 million is nothing and it is in the Blue Book. It does not get to us, so there is no money. It is not only that I am a war veteran but I am pained. If I did not go to war, probably it was better but I was also affected together with my family. If I die, I will leave my family in trouble because of the budget that we are allocated. The President always says that give these things to the war veterans but our voices are not heard.
I am pleading with Parliament that when we are passing this
Budget, we should make sure that war veterans are given their money. That is the only way people would know that we did not fight for a political party but we fought for the country and the country is the one which is represented here. Madam Speaker, I am of the apostolic sect and I wanted to say, peace be with you because I wanted to hear if you would say Amen. If you do that, you will be agreeing with what I am saying. The issue of houses that are to be given to civil servants, we should also look at the issue of war veterans.
If we look at other people as if they are not people, it will haunt us in years to come because our children will ask why we went for war, which is not good. The children of civil servants will be coming out of beautiful houses and ministers’ children as well. I wonder if everyone could be a minister. That is why I believe what the Clerk of Parliament used to say, that we should declare our assets. It is very important because if one becomes a Minister and all of a sudden, they are rich, where did the wealth come from because we all went to war and fought together. How is it that you are now more wealthier than I? Where did you get the wealth?
Minister Chinamasa, it is not only on our side but even on the opposite side. If one is appointed as a Minister, you would find that Mangoma was now owning a filling station. When I am talking like this, I am not talking on behalf of a party but am talking as a citizen of Zimbabwe.
Thirdly, coming to ZIMRA, Minister Chinamasa, that is very painful. If ZIMRA is not investigated properly, it will kill our country.
There are no other avenues of getting revenue besides ZIMRA. What
Hon. Maridadi was referring to is very true. Trucks are coming in loaded. They would pass through the border and offload the luggage in the industries and no revenue is coming in. Like what Hon. Maridadi has said, we are pleading with you Hon. Chinamasa that there should be investigation on imports and exports.
The issue of incentives, Hon. Chinamasa, we do not have anyone making follow-ups. Why do we not engage people to investigate who owns those companies and to who do they sell the items to. We grow macadamia and we sell them for $1.50 or $2 and pay tax from that. These macadamias are exported to China and we are just given money but we have not sent people to China to find out how much they cost and who are the buyers there. No one is going to Egypt or China and we have not sent anyone to German to go and make a follow up. We are only given peanuts therefore, our economy will not grow. You then give those people $5 incentives whilst they are stealing from us.
Madam Speaker, I have stood up to thank Hon. Chinamasa but the issue of war veterans should be investigated. There are some people who left their families and forgo all so that we are free. Some of them had to forgo a lot but you will find that those who did not lose anything are the ones benefiting. Most of them are now mentally challenged because of staying in the forests. You can say Hon. Zindi is crazy but the doctors said that we should visit psychiatric doctors because the gunpowders gave us problems. Therefore, you should give us money.
Hon. Zindi having stood up on a point of order.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Zindi, if it is a point of order, I am not taking it and I am sorry, I am being told that you debated on this Budget.
HON. DR. CHIMEDZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise to debate on the Budget allocation of the Ministry of Health. Let me thank the Minister of Finance for the job he is doing...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Dr. Chimedza. I am wondering why Hon. Members are all sitting close to the Minister when there is a lot of space here. Could you please proceed?
HON. DR. CHIMEDZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. First of all, let me acknowledge the job by the Minister of Finance, working under a very tight fiscal space to come up with these proposals he has put on paper. But, let me draw his attention to the budget of the Ministry of Health and maybe before that, a little background on what is happening in the Ministry of Health. In 2016, you are all aware that Harare Hospital closed theatres because they did not have money to continue operations. We are also aware that Mpilo Hospital closed theatres because they had no money to continue operations as well as Gwanda Hospital; the list is long on what has been happening. The drugs that we are using especially in the public sector, 98% of those drugs are actually from donor communities; they are not from the Government of this country.
Right now, we have a problem with typhoid, something that can be prevented. We are still battling and grappling with HIV, there are new diseases that have come to the fore - the cancers and the noncommunicable diseases. In short, the disease burden of this country has increased over the years.
However, what we have seen is less prioritisation of the Ministry of Health and Child Care. It has moved from what it used to be, second to fifth. The Abuja Declaration states that we should have at least 15% of our total budget allocated to the Ministry of Health but we have a paltry 6, 7% being allocated to this Ministry. I think we are very clear that, what it means when we say a theatre has been closed; it means people are going to die. Diseases do not stop because manyimwa mari, the diseases do not stop because tamboshaya mari yekutenga mushonga. So, when we say Harare Hospital has closed, it means our people are dying. When we say Gwanda Hospital has closed, it means vanhu varikufa.
So, when we then sit and allocate in terms of priority, toziva kuti mari hapana but we are saying of the money that is there, why not prioritise the Ministry of Health pane iripo yacho iyoyo –[HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- What we are seeing is a relegation of the Ministry of Health and Child Care to a very less important issue. The Ministry of Defence is important, Education is important but if you do not get these things, you will not die. If you do not have your health you will die.
We have stood and said we have a policy where people who are 65 years and above are treated free, children who are under five are treated free, and those who cannot afford are treated free. However, when they go into these hospitals they are going into empty shelves. You go into a hospital, you are told there are no drugs, you cannot have an X-ray done, maybe you have a nurse who can write a prescription for you to go and buy. So, it is actually more expensive for you to go and buy. It is actually more expensive for you to be poor because you have to pay for everything that is supposed to be provided by Government. The
Constitution says every citizen of this country has a right to health.
We also have a situation where we have trained nurses and the nurses are in the streets selling tomatoes. Now, we have trained doctors and they are also finding it difficult to get employment, not because our hospitals are full of doctors, not because our hospitals are full of nurses, but because we have frozen uptake of these cadres; they cannot be employed. The establishment of the Ministry of Health and Child Care was put in 1980, meaning the number of employees that are required by the whole Ministry; we put and decided in 1980. If you look at 1980 and 2017, the disease burden has changed, the population has changed. The situation has totally changed and we are still sticking to that because we have no money. I think we are not doing justice to ourselves Hon.
Minister of Finance.
Yes, you may say the fiscal space is tight but it is a life and death issue we are talking about. I will give you a very good example. Every one of us here is a potential patient; you do not decide where you get sick. Sometime in 2008, one of my colleagues, a professor, very well to do, sold his own private jet- that is how much he had. We had a congress in Victoria Falls; he decided to take a short-cut, not to use the Bulawayo road, I think the road that goes in Kadoma to Victoria Falls and he had an accident. He was put in a scotch cart drawn by two donkeys by a certain old man who was the first man to come to the accident scene. He was carried to the nearest clinic where they did not even have paracetamol or a bandage. He was then moved 70 km away in a cart drawn by a donkey and this is a very well-to-do medical professor with all the resources that some of us think because we have resources, it will not affect us but you will one day wake up in a hospital where there is nothing and this will be your first point of call for you to survive.
So, when we do these things we must be aware that we are not making a budget for someone else. We are making a budget for this country and ourselves. For the Ministry of Health to be the fifth on the line, for us to be closing theatres, to be closing hospitals, to be putting nurses in the streets, to be putting doctors that we have already wasted money on, in the streets - when the ratio of one doctor is to almost 10 000 patients, what are we saying to ourselves, to our people?
So, Madam Speaker, I am proposing and I am sure the Hon.
Members will support me; we have to re-look at the allocation we have given to the Ministry of Health. No one else from anywhere else is going to do that for us. Yes, we have had partners coming in but we are demonstrating that we do not think that our health care is important. People will only come to assist you when you show seriousness in what you want to do and with this, we have shown that it is a priority but not as important.
Madam Speaker, I am urging the Minister of Finance to reconsider the allocation of the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Previously, most of the money that has been allocated to the Ministry has not been disbursed. So we are talking of a phantom budget where you allocate money, plan on that money and the money never comes to you. Besides that, the money that has been allocated here is little, the money might not even come. So, can we re-look at this and really prioritise, let us put our money where our mouth is. I think health is important for all of us, whether we are rich, poor, yellow, green, whether we are opposition or ruling, health is important to all of us –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- We should all support this budget when this re-allocation has been done. I thank you.
HON. P.D. SIBANDA: Thank you so much Hon. Speaker for allowing me to also add my voice to the budget. Madam Speaker, let me state that I am actually impressed by the way that Hon. Members are converging on the issue of the budget, realising that this budget is not about a ruling party or an opposition party. It is about our nation that we jointly stay in as Zimbabweans. So, it is important that when we debate, we debate about the real issues that are affecting us. Madam Speaker, when I listen to my colleagues as they are debating, everyone seems to be sympathising with the Hon. Minister and Economic Development saying that he is operating within a tight fiscal space, continuously saying there is no money. How do we say there is no money when we have got a Government that is charged with the responsibility to create money for this nation? I will come to that at the end, but I am not really going to deal much about figures. I am going to look at fundamental principles that the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, as he is walking out, is supposed to look into in order for the fiscal space to be increased.
In addition to other issues that have been said, especially by the last speaker, I believe that we have mentioned other areas of the Budget that need consideration. I believe that Hon. Speaker, if those are not considered, I think it is high time as Parliament that we stand up and reclaim our teeth and stop this Budget from passing, unless those things are revised.
On figures, I will only speak about the budget of Parliament. Madam Speaker, when we are talking about Parliament, we are talking about this arm of Government that has got the responsibility of oversight. It is the representative, it is the bastion of democracy…
The Hon. Minister Finance and Economic Development having not returned to the House.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Member. I
do not know whether the Hon. Minister is hearing you because he is supposed to respond but he has just gone out. Anyway you can proceed.
Hon. Dr. Gumbo having indicated that he is taking his notes.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are taking his notes?
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I was saying
that when we are talking about Parliament, Parliament is the bastion of democracy. It is the voice of the voiceless. The people down in Lunga, Binga North, when I am speaking, they are hearing their own voices.
Therefore, I cannot overemphasise the importance of this institution of
Government called Parliament. When I was looking at the budget that Parliament was given, compared to – let me just look at only one area of the Executive. The Office of the President and Cabinet, this was given about 663% more than what the whole institution of Parliament was given.
It is this same Parliament that has got the responsibility of oversight over the whole Executive. How do you oversee your richer cousin when you are poor? Therefore, what I am simply saying is that unless the Ministry of Finance and Economic; unless Treasury rationalises the budget of Parliament to the amount that Parliament had stated in order for us to entrench our democracy and in order for us to entrench the spirit of transparency then this budget should not be passed.– [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
When we are talking about the budget of Parliament, we are not simply talking about Parliament. We are not reducing it to the allowances or salaries of Hon. Members. We are talking about the capacity of Parliament to discharge its responsibilities properly. Therefore, the $50 million or so that was spoken of as the budget that we require as Parliament, unless Treasury allocates that amount of money, I suggest that as Parliament, we should not allow this budget to pass.
Hon. Speaker, if you look at the theme of the budget for this year, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is talking about productivity. When we are talking productivity, we are talking about growing the cake. When we are talking about growing the cake, we are talking about improving the welfare of the citizens of this country; we are talking about the capacity to create and generate employment for our people. We are talking about the capacity to reduce the levels of poverty that our people are going through.
Therefore, we begin to ask ourselves questions like, why is it that productivity is not increasing. If you look at our economy Hon. Speaker, since about 1998, it has been on an uninterrupted downward slide. Since about 1998, our economy has been going down with the exception of during the time of the Government of National Unity (GNU), when it slightly went up but again it continues to go down. We are not improving, our economy continues to decline but we have got a Government that has been there in perpetuity looking at an economy that is declining. Do they really understand the problems that we are facing as a nation that we need to deal with? Those are the issues that I am going to speak to Hon. Speaker.
When we are talking about question of productivity, we are talking about issues that will address our negative current account balance. The difference between what we import and what we export. Why are importing? We are importing because we do not have those goods that we are importing from outside; we are not producing. What is the other reason why we are importing? We are importing because if we have those products here, they are being produced at a very high cost such that we are not able to buy them even as a people that are resident in this nation.
We are talking about issues of competitiveness. Our goods are not able to fairly trade with other goods produced in other economies, but what is the problem? The problem starts with access to capital, both domestic and foreign capital. Most of our industry is not able to access loans, either internally or externally. When they access loans internally, the loans are just too expensive and why is it so? The reason is that the capacity of our access to capital is being seriously reduced by expenditure of the Government. The Government is over-borrowing from the domestic market, leaving the private sector without any room for them to access cheaper loans. What else makes us to suffer from this is the fact that we are not able to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and the Government has not been able to deal with those issues in a proper way.
I have said that since about 1998, our economy has been continuously going down but how have we been responding as a Government? Let me talk about issues that were said by a colleague, issues of duplicity. Look at the size of our Cabinet, we do not really need to call a rocket scientist to come and see that the size of our Cabinet is not commensurate with the size of economy. My colleague spoke about the four Ministries that are in the education sector - Higher and Tertiary, Primary and Secondary, Psychomotor and Sports and Culture. If we were sensitive to the size of our economy and the size of our cake, we would only have one Minister running all those Ministries. You know what that means Hon. Speaker; it means that we have made three Permanent Secretaries redundant, numerous directors and all the perks that are attached to those positions. That would mean that we are reducing Government expenditure.
Let us look at how much Cabinet Ministers get in terms of vehicles. If a Cabinet Minister is fired today and a new one is hired tomorrow, they will get a new Mercedes Benz; at what cost? So, if we fire three Ministers in the education sector and we have one left, it means that we have saved all those costs that are associated with running around those Ministers that we have in Cabinet.
Let me also look at this, we have got the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development but we also have this other funny Ministry called Macro-Economic Planning. It is a funny Ministry. We have another funny Ministry called Investment Promotion and whatever it is called. Hon. Speaker, we do not need four Cabinet Ministers to run those portfolios. We simply need two or three people to mann desks in the
Minister’s office and we reduce all the expenditure which is associated with all those Cabinet positions that we have, but have we been able to respond to the size of our cake as a Cabinet, no. I think when my colleagues were calling for the President to come to Parliament; these are the issues that the President needs to know because if we tell Hon.
Chinamasa he will not be able to tell the President. Even if he tells him, he will ignore or reverse whatever decision takes like he has done on issues of bonuses. So, we need the President to come here and make him also understand that the size of cake is not commensurate with the size of expenditure that is taking place in Government.
Let me look at foreign travels. Hon. Speaker, I know that people are sensitive when it comes to speaking about the Office of the
President. I think the Office of the President is accountable to the people of this country and we need to talk about it. Is the amount of foreign travels that the President of this country undertakes commensurate with the level of the economic activity that is taking place on the ground? Why is the President going out each and every week to attend summits and conferences? – [HON. MEMBERS: A-ah.] – Why does he need to do that? You can go hang; I am going to say it again. Hon Speaker, I do not mind …
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can we have order in the
HON. P.D. SIBANDA: Hon. Speaker, our economy is shrinking but we have got a President that rarely spends a week in his own country. How much money does the President utilise each time that he goes outside the country. Last time we were talking about the outbreak of typhoid in this country. People that were talking about it were saying we need about a quarter of a million to deal with typhoid, the challenge that we had. What were we doing? We were already throwing out our begging baskets to foreign countries to assist us with $250 000 but it was the same week that a whole plane flew from Harare to somewhere in the Middle East to pick up the President, take him to China and then to Dubai and fly him back to this country. At what cost was that flight?
Hon. Speaker, we can talk about these small figures that we have here but the reality of the matter is that we do not have money and the Government that we have is not sensitive to how we can grow the economy. The behaviour of the Government is not commensurate or sensitive to how the economy of the country is declining. Therefore, it is my belief that rather than the Government continuously finding scapegoats and trying to blame everyone except itself, it is high time that the Government looks in the mirror and take the necessary steps to reduce its consumption of the little available resources. We can then take those resources and throw them into the critical areas that are going to resuscitate the economy. If the Government cannot do that and expect that the people of this country will continue to live in an economy that cannot support its hospitals or tolerate a Government that cannot fund its higher education, I think Madam Speaker, we will be expecting too much from our people.
We, therefore, call upon the Government to ensure that it becomes sensitive in the manner that it spends these meager resources that we have, so that we can be able to share the resources and put them in critical areas where they are required. I believe we can do better with a smaller Cabinet of about 20 – 25 Cabinet Ministers rather than the 60 – 70 Ministers that we currently have. What role are they really playing? If we can put each Minister to task and ask them to tell us what they are producing for this country, the majority of them are doing nothing. They are on holiday.
That is my contribution Hon. Speaker and on the budget of Parliament, I will insist that unless it is increased to $50 million, then Parliament should not pass this Budget. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
*HON. CHINANZVAVANA: Thank you Madam Speaker for
giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on the Budget
Speech. I would like to thank Hon. Chinamasa, Minister of Finance and Economic Development for crafting such a budget under difficult conditions. He has no alternative but to craft this Budget. During the fiscal statement he alluded to the fact that we may not have a Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review. Let me say this may present some difficulties because the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review was a mechanism which we used to check the progress of the Budget. Whenever there were any adjustments to be made, we would make them but this House has been deprived of that oversight role.
Madam Speaker, let me talk about the amount allocated to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. It has been allocated the highest amount in the Budget which is more than $800 million. When we look at the Budget, about 98% of the amount will be going towards salaries. When we talk of education, we are saying 25% of our Budget should be allocated to education yet a bigger portion has been put towards the payment of salaries. I think we are going beyond the set down policies. If we are saying 98% should go towards salaries, is 2% going to lead to any development. We know we have had a lot of rain this season which has caused a lot of destruction especially to schools. How are we going to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure when we have set aside only 2%? We also know that our country needs some additional schools but are we going to afford to do that when we have set aside only 2% on the Budget.
The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Dr. Dokora has set out a new curriculum to be followed. Are we going to afford the rolling out of this new curriculum when we have only set aside 2%? Are we going to rely on donor funding to roll out this new curriculum? I feel this is against our dignity and morality, and yet we know we have to invest on our youngsters because Zimbabwe will have a brighter future if we work on the education of our children.
Still looking at Primary and Secondary Education, we have the vulnerable groups who are supposed to benefit from the BEAM but because of the amount which has been allocated which is just 2%, are we going to be able to pay the fees for the vulnerable groups? We think some of these monies should have been allocated to schools. Let us know that the education of our children is not a social right but it is a right and we need to put more money into BEAM because among the vulnerable, we have the orphans, poor and disabled who should benefit.
I will now turn my attention to tourism. We know that tourism is a revenue earner and the amount allocated to this amount especially looking at the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, we are not going to benefit anything if we do not go out there and invite tourists from other countries. We need to put more money on advertisements in other countries. We should have put an amount of more than $5 million because we need to have travel tours. When we have embarked on them, we will benefit from what we will have ceded because visitors will definitely come.
We need to look at the amount allocated to the Ministry of Environment and Water where we talk of climate change. We have seen and we are observing that definitely, there is climate change. A typical example was last season where we had drought. When we put our money on the Budget, are we aware of the fact that tomorrow we may need more money? This year, we have been lucky because we have had more rains, but this has led to flooding and soaking off our fields. We need to put more money into this Ministry. I have got a feeling that the budget was under allocated because we need to concentrate on climate change. This is because climate change is the life line of our country Zimbabwe.
We need to take some mitigation priorities in fighting this climate change. I will not repeat what has been said by my colleagues, but when we look at the $30 million which was allocated to the other Ministries, we know that this was meant for Parliament to be able to print the Hansard and clean our houses, but there will not be any programmes or projects to be undertaken by Parliament if it has been allocated a paltry $30 million.
HON. HOLDER: Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to this noble debate. I want to start off my debate with two quotes. One is from Warren Buffet. It says ‘honesty is very expensive, you do not expect it from cheap people.’ The reason why I quoted this is that I wanted to say to the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic
Development that he is an honest man. He is telling the truth that we are in a crisis. There is no money and 99% of the money is going towards wages.
Secondly, I also want to quote from Martin Luther King Junior. He said, ‘the day we become silent on things that matter, our lives end.’ We want to talk about the Budget that has been allocated. There are several things that I think we need to put our attention to. We went to a PreBudget Seminar in Bulawayo and we spoke about growing the cake. We went to the Victoria Falls and it is the same story. We should always try and encourage. Instead of crying all the time to say we are not getting enough, we need to encourage the Minister on how to promote and get more money into the fiscus.
I was happy with the way Hon. Maridadi contributed. He came with facts and he mentioned exactly the facts. You find that the reason why these things are happening is that Parliament is not carrying its oversight role because it is under-funded. There is negative publicity and the Executive do not respect parliamentarians the way we respect them. The idea of us Hon. Members who are here is to highlight and try and show the Minister a different prospective of where to get more money into the fiscus.
We are looking at the issues like the Mines Department. There is a whole lot of chaos going on in Chiadzwa. I am a member that belongs to the Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee and I am a miner by profession. What I have seen there is not pleasing at all simply because I can see there is going to be lack of transparency and accountability towards the fiscus. Mr. Speaker Sir, what I wanted to say is that $6.81 million was allocated to the Energy Department but, when the Kariba South Extension started being put into place, the quote if I remember then was $354 million. It has gone up by almost twice and I think $500 or almost $600 million.
It is a good concept but the only problem is that it is overpriced somewhere somehow and something has happened. Somebody has managed to get their fingers into the cookie jar. Mr. Speaker, if we look at the Media and Broadcasting where it was allocated $3.6 million, that allocation in order for us to meet the digitalisation target is not adequate. I think we need something like $140 million. Although the President has gone to China and concluded the mega deal, it is not clear exactly how it is going to benefit on the digitalisation programme. We need to come clear and see how we are going to benefit on that.
The second issue is that Trans-media has got so many digitalised stations all over the country. Is it not easier for a policy to come out where they can rent out part of these base stations to these network firms and get some fiscus in order for them to complete the digitalisation programme? This is the infrastructure sharing which I think instead of having Net-One, Econet, Telecel and Tel-One boosters all at the same station, they could share one infrastructure. That is a lot of money that is going to waste. I think a policy should come up where part of the booster can be rented out by individual companies.
Mr. Speaker, on the Mines Department, as I spoke that there is a lot of chaos going on in Chiadzwa, I did not hear anything about Shabani/Mashaba Mines which would bring in a lot of income to the fiscus through taxes and exports. A lot of stuff has been exported and yet 90% of this country is actually based on asbestos from the sewer pipes, the roofing and so on, but nothing has been allocated to resuscitate this mine.
Mr. Speaker Sir, going back to Parliament where the budget was only $30 million; it is inadequate for us to carry out our oversight role when we are under capacitated as Members of Parliament that we do not have adequate fuel to travel to our constituencies to assist in identifying how Government could get funds. Mr. Speaker, I think the Parliament budget needs to be expanded. That way, we can combat corruption because that is where the root of corruption is that nobody is there to check on us. As there is a saying that goes, ‘when the cats are away the mice get out and play’ and this is what is happening.
When Members of Parliament go and attend oversight roles, you will find that they will attend, but most of the issues that they need to identify and bring to this House, because of being underfunded, there is a problem. I think we have to review the Parliament budget. We need adequate resources to carry our oversight role. Yes, we have a year and a half to go whilst we are still in Parliament, but this is not just for us, there are also future parliamentarians that will come in and if we are going to carry on with the same trend where we do not have coupons, we do not have proper allocation and our allowances are down, you will find that we are easily corruptible. We are given something and told to keep quiet.
I have noted there were some Committees that were very vocal but have been silenced. I do not know what is going on there. People are no longer talking and pointing out facts to this august House. I am sure maybe brown envelopes have passed through them. That is corruption. Mr. Speaker, the reason why I talk about this, when we want to clean up, we need to start cleaning up here in Parliament first, where if we are given adequate resources and Parliament is funded adequately, we are able to carry out our oversight role.
I was happy that Dr. Chimedza mentioned the issue of health. I am not in the Health Committee, but I will tell you one thing I know for sure. Health is normally number one priority. If you are not healthy, you cannot do your oversight role, you cannot be a representative, you cannot be a leader, you cannot be a Minister and you cannot do anything. So, it is important that our health department is empowered first. It is important that those areas we are able to get funds from – the mining sector - to empower the mining sector properly and deregulate some of the issues that are in the mining sector that are hindering it from growth. I think also the Ministers of Mines and Mining Development sometimes have the wrong concept of measuring the success in the mining department. They are now measuring it with what they are collecting, which is the fiscas, instead of measuring it from the magnitude of the type of mining that is happening in this country.
Mr. Speaker, just on a quick note, I have been to Zambia and the type of mining that is going on in Zambia, it is a hive of activity and here, we are playing doll house. The machinery is passing through Zimbabwe and going to Zambia and they are mining a commodity - we are not even mining copper, but they are mining copper with machinery that you have never seen before. All they do to us is they give Hon.
Joram Gumbo a big headache of leaving potholes in the road from Beitbridge up to Chirundu.
On our way to Kariba to go and see this Kariba South Extension, Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to say the road is damaged. There is no road there. There are big potholes and that is caused by machinery that has gone to Zambia, that has gone to mine. They are benefiting from our roads. They are benefiting from the access resources. Mr. Speaker, we have been talking about small scale miners, we have been talking about empowering them.
I sometimes wonder and say to myself, are the people telling the President the truth because what we see is different to what we hear and we can see that the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic
Development is battling to put money into the fiscas. There are so many loopholes. The amount of smuggling that is taking place between the borders and the main towns is totally unreal. I was shocked because I mine in Mberengwa, but you will find that there are buses moving on a road where I think the modern cars would write on the dash board ‘no road’. The road between Mberengwa and West Nicholson is a road used for smuggling. The road between the borders, I think Chikombedzi and so on, is used by smugglers. What is contributing more to the smuggling is the availability of the police during the day. At night, all the buses and trucks and everything starts moving at night because they have gone off the road.
When a person passes the border there, Mr. Speaker, he has to pass maybe 26 to 30 roadblocks and every roadblock is a toll gate because no one will be convicted. A brown envelope is passed and the vehicle passes. People fly with Fast Jet to South Africa to buy goods and the goods are brought in by those people called usiphatheleni - what have you brought for us. That is what it means. And they deliver to your door step.
I heard a story where an old lady from Zvegona had her wardrobes and kitchen units confiscated which her daughter had sent from abroad, but she had no idea of how these things had been brought in. She was just told go to town, you will meet usiphatheleni there. That is how corrupt our borders are. So, I think if the Minister of Finance and Economic Development could actually come up with policies where we can look into and try and curb the smuggling, I am sure more money will get into the fiscas.
Mr. Speaker, on those few notes, I would like to thank you and I hope the Minister of Finance and Economic Development will take my advice into consideration of allocating also some money to Shabani Mashava Mines. I thank you.
*HON. MAHOKA: I want to thank you for according me this opportunity to add my voice on this budget. Firstly, I want to thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for coming up with a budget. We know you had a lot of problems in trying to come up with the budget. It was very difficult, but I can see that it is like it is only his baby because if he had other people to help him it would have been easy. Even if you look at his face, you will see that he has changed because he is toiling for the nation on his own. The issue that I want to talk about concerns this Parliament. It is difficult to conclude that Parliament is being funded or whether it is included in the budget, I do not think it is there.
I am troubled when I think about Members of Parliament and even the staff of Parliament, if you look at them, they are here in this House – if you take a look at them, what they are wearing does not give us pride, if we have visitors seated in the Speaker’s Gallery – even those who work in the kitchen wear more descent clothing than our own Parliament staff. Let us begin from there, that we want our Parliament staff to look good, wearing beautiful suits and ties. Some of them look as if they would have taken belts from dresses and use as ties because the money they are paid is pathetic.
I move to the Hon. Members of Parliament themselves, it is pathetic, even a herd boy is much better. Some Members of Parliament are now hitch-hiking on other people’s transportation because they are too poor to purchase fuel. They are even unable to service their cars. Hon. Minister, I think the Members of Parliament vehicles should be serviced by Government because they are unable to do that out of their own pockets. If there is bereavement in the constituency, people look forward to receiving help such as food provision from their Member of Parliament yet the salary you give to your Members of Parliament is not adequate. Let us emulate other countries such as Zambia and Tanzania which are poorer than us, our country is very rich but have loopholes which I earlier own referred to that you are not receiving any help. The loopholes are too many.
Hon. Maridadi gave an example which is evident here where the papers have been provided. If we were to multiply the 17 cars by 95
000, what amount do we get, of which it is not the only one, there is also
ZIMRA and Anti-Corruption Commission. Anti-Corruption Commission hunt for someone they dislike or that the individual does not relate well to my grandmother, that is who they choose to persecute. It should investigate and persecute every individual who engages in corrupt activities so that we know that it is Anti-Corruption. This way, the Hon. Minister will be helped fully. I think the Anti-Corruption Commission should not be allocated any funds because what it has done in this country is not tangible.
I move on to tourism, I am not happy about this Ministry because the money you allocated to this Ministry is pathetic and is already finished before allocation. If you look at the debt they have, the money is non-existent at all. Of this money, are you expecting the country to market itself without allocating any monies? Hon. Minister, you are an Hon. Member, would you expect to win an election without prior campaigns? You campaign first so that you show yourself to the electorate what type of a leader you are so that people will choose you. We want our country to be marketed, so we are requesting you Hon. Minister to add on to the allocation so that our country can be marketed fully. When we marry off our children, we charge a lot of money because we look back at the education we would have given her and her outlook, it is not possible to obtain nice looks when one does not have adequate cosmetics and soaps to clean themselves. Our country should be allocated such marketing strategies and the Hon. Minister should have a relook at the allocation before we can move on.
On the issue of roads, if our visitors come, we welcome them at the Airport and immediately they are on pot-hole infested roads, how will they view us in future? I wish you could allocate adequate money on the roads so that our visitors will view us with respect as a respectable nation. It is unfortunate that the roads are in a worst scenario because
the bridges in the rural areas have been swept away. These bridges need to be reconstructed. The maize which is being distributed in rural areas has led to some people walking a distance of 15km. For example, people in Ward 14 in Hurungwe East walk 14 to 15km to receive maize allocations because there are no bridges to transport the maize to where these people live. Therefore, the allocation of funds to the roads should be revisited in order to improve the lives of people.
In agriculture, the farmers in this august House are happy because their tobacco is doing well and our Government is at peace because cash will soon be trickling in. The allocation to Agriculture should be revisited. It should be given more money to purchase tractors for tilling the land so that farming becomes easy for farmers and the Government will improve revenue through agricultural produce. Our plight as a country will be reduced.
I would also like to talk about health. Hon. Minister, I would have loved to see you moving around the country before the budget allocations are made so that you will have an overview of the condition of service in our health institutions. Let us champion the provision of health to the people. If you take a look at nurses in hospitals, they are pathetic here in Zimbabwe. It is not practical to expect them to do their usual work of health provision to the public, they are now operating their private health provision institutions so that they obtain some extra money for their upkeep. If you visit a hospital and pay a fee of say, US$2, you will be told that there are no drugs. Those who are suffering from chronic diseases and those which have spread across the world in recent years, are dying without attention because we wait for donors to receive drugs yet our own budget had reduced allocations. I am requesting that the budget allocation for the Ministry of Health and Child Care be revised upward.
Hon. Minister, on Home Affairs, police officers from urban areas are better than those working in rural areas. Even if we were to call two police officers from outside, you will see that they are looking well but those in the rural areas do not have decent clothing as their uniforms will be visibly tattered on the back. In the same Ministry, there are no vehicles to attend to urgent cases. We are fast approaching the tobacco selling season and many women will try to commit suicide after their husbands will have taken all the proceeds from tobacco sales without accountability. In such cases, the vehicles to attend such events are not there. I am requesting that the budget be revised upwards in terms of allocation to such causes so that vehicles for rural use by police officers will be purchased. Most urgent and serious cases are met with in the rural areas and vehicles which are durable like land cruisers should be purchased for that purpose other than purchasing cheap quality cars which are quick to break down. Police officers should also be cautioned that these cars if purchased should be driven by seasoned drivers and not reckless drivers who cause accidents.
I am not referring only to staff of Parliament, but all civil servants. Even if you take a look at those who preside over court cases, the magistrates, it is pathetic because they wear faded suits and they loose their dignity. It is fortunate that they wear gowns like the ones they are wearing here in Parliament, they cover up the shabby look but when they take off the gowns when they get out of the court room, they are a laughing stalk Hon. Minister. The salaries should be increased even if we know it is not adequate. We cannot say our country Zimbabwe does not have money, there is a lot of money in this country. We have artisanal miners or korokozas to whom we spend a lot of time chasing them through our police officers, can we not just legalise their activities and equip them with technical expertise – [HON. MEMBERS:Hear, hear.] – so that they will bring in revenue as well instead of them running away and playing hide and seek with the police. This is what we want to see.
Coming to toll gates, it is now a laughing stock because you pay money at the toll gates but you take about six hours to get into Harare from Karoi because of pot holes. The roads that lead to our borders should also be repaired so that we pay toll gates willingly.
On environment and climate change, we welcome the rains and this year we have received a fair share. On the other side, it came with some troubles as well. Before we passed the budget, there were other places which are in a sorry state because of the rain. In other places, it has alleviated hunger because the money that was allocated last year to farmers has assisted them. With these few words, I want to thank you. I think your head should not grow big but you should just add a little bit so that we go further properly.
*HON. SARUWAKA: Thank you for giving me an opportunity
to contribute. I will start by thanking Hon. Chinamasa because of the budget that he crafted. It is clear that out of the budget, 95% was allocated to salaries and only 5% is for infrastructural development and other related issues. We know that the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has a formula which has been set aside. The formula says, 70% of revenue should go to capital and operational costs and 30% is for salary payments and yet the National Budget is skewed. There is an anomaly which has to be rectified – 95% salaries and 5% developmental.
As far as we are concerned, the crafting of the National Budget should lead as an example to the Council and other related institutions.
Therefore, in the same vein we are saying, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing is fighting a war with local authorities saying they are spending more money on salaries and yet the case should be that the National Budget should be leading by example. More money should be allocated to development and less on salaries. The big chunk is being taken by salaries.
I am of the idea that salaries should be allocated to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services in order that we know that the budget is aimed at paying salaries and that Ministries are given a real amount which is aimed at development. At the moment, it is a skewed percentage which has been presented as if it has been allocated for development and yet it is only being used for salaries. Therefore, next time when the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is making allocations, he should put a straight line which divides monies for salaries and development. The salaries should be directed to the right coffers, to the Ministry of Public Service.
On the spot fines that are being collected by police at road blocks, I think that these monies should be put into the national coffers so that there is development. When this idea was put in place, there was a problem that was existing, there was hyperinflation. As far as we are concerned, the situation has since changed and yet the policemen are still collecting fines. This money is being put into the police coffers. As a result, we can say that the police as if that is their main function. I am suggesting that it would be progressive if this money is put into the national coffers. Now that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is now a fund raising organisation, they are now engrossed in this business such that they are now spiking cars, stopping them so that they collect money.
A terrible accident happened on the road next to the ZANU PF HQ when policemen wanted to collect money from the motorist. It is my feeling that if the money is channeled to the national coffers, we may see a reduction on the road blocks because at the moment, they are now abusing this money by buying teargas, button sticks and spikes which they are now using as fund raising tools.
My colleagues have also talked about the paltry amount which was allocated to the Legislature – Parliament. We are saying, as the Minister who is coming to solicit for support from Parliament, definitely, you should take some steps to look into their problems and give Parliament an allocation which is equivalent to the amount they need for their operations. Therefore, we request that you raise the amounts asked for by the leadership of Parliament, the Speaker and Clerk of Parliament.
I think there is no seriousness on the budget of the Ministry of Sport because if they value sport, they should allocate more money to this Ministry. I am sure that the Minister is aware that sport is an industry which can be a money spinning venture. Looking at the amounts earned by sport in countries like Brazil, Britain, Spain or any other countries, sport is a money spinner. If we invest more money in this Ministry, we can generate more funds for the nation because at the moment, we are reacting to a situation. When a team is about to go out of the country, that is when we see the Ministry or the Minister of
Finance chipping in – giving money to these groups that will be going out. I think this is not right. We need to definitely allocate more monies so that these sports can be developed and we would avoid running around at the last minute like headless chickens.
We need to develop the sporting talent given to our sports persons. Let us support them financially. I wish the Minister would look into these issuesand develop our country. I thank you.
HON. J. TSHUMA: Mr. Speaker Sir, may I take this time to also thank the Minister of Finance for labouring so hard to come up with the Budget for our nation.
We are all aware that we are not in a rosy position per se but under the circumstances that we are in, I think that the Hon. Minister must be commended for a job well done although I will then ask, probably for his indulgence in reviewing some of the things that I think are of importance right now.
The first one that I want to speak on is the issue of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. Mr. Speaker Sir, that Ministry has been allocated a paltry $14 million in total. That is the money they had been allocated for technical use, for their operations. The remainder of the money like what other Hon. Members have alluded to, goes to employment costs. Why I am looking at the education sector with that kind of critical eye Mr. Speaker Sir, in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, we are looking at a very critical component that we have introduced.
We have introduced the issue of ECDs where we have our little children going to school. When they go to these schools, there is no infrastructure at all to deal with their needs. We are talking of small children who are going to school where the toilet system that has been put there was for juniors who are way older than what these children are. If we look at the health implication, it means my child is going kunobata chamber kuti agone kuita whatever business they want to do because there is no proper infrastructure for that small child.
Therefore, it speaks to the issue that the Ministry should have been given more money so that while we say we are adopting the issue of the ECDs, let us create an environment that will enable our children to go and learn in a clean and healthy environment. I want to appeal to the Minister that, let us review the Budget of the Ministry of Education because we cannot depend on donor funding for them to look at such issues like that. We must remember that already we are tied down because donors have always been of the idea that whatever money they bring, they must take to the rural area. They are not coming into towns at all. The World Vision, the UNICEF, you name them all, are going to the rural areas and it is not even adequate.
That is why the Hon. Minister of Finance needs to make an upward review of the money for that Ministry so that we sort out the issue of infrastructure for our children. We are not going back on that curriculum change, it has been done and as the House, let us support that by making sure that our children are going to school and find proper infrastructure which is going to support their purpose of being there and learn in a clean environment. It is very important that we look at it from that angle.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to look at the pertinent issue of how to harness or get revenue into our system. It does not need a rocket scientist to know that Zimbabwe has got vast mineral enrichment, plenty of it. What we are lacking now are the ways of sitting back, look at proper ways of adding value to that and give us money so that we do not come here and always say that hakuna mari, hakuna mari yet we have all those kinds of minerals. The other day I was doing simple permutation of mathematics and I discovered that the minerals that we have here in Zimbabwe can easily make us all millionaires, the 15 million of us, if they are properly extracted and put into play. Why are we failing to have those minerals work for us? It is because, like what one Hon. Member has said, the Minister is not being helped. There are some people who are sleeping on duty in their offices when they are supposed to be helping to make sure that things move for our country. For how long are we going to protect these people? For how long are we going to let them compromise our status as a country?
Yesterday, we were called all glorious names - the breadbasket of Africa, this and that of Africa. We were the darling of the world but today, because another person decides to sit in their office and sabotage, we are in this mess. It is important that the Minister goes out of his way to make sure that he plays the chief whip of the whole Executive system because at the end of the day, the headache comes to him. If the Minister is not telling the President the truth about what is happening all over elsewhere, he is not helping himself either. We are saying, we need to make sure that, for example, we have the makorokozas, those people are extracting a lot of gold. The problem is they are arrested everyday. What do they do now? They go to the illegal buyers of that gold and it goes out of the country. Why are we not saying, let us open up for these people to come in and bring that gold for the benefit of the country? Why are we chasing after them? That is clear money that Hon. Minister Chinamasa can use and have less headaches.
The next issue that Hon. Chinamasa has to look at is the issue of the doctors that are now said they are not going to be employed. How can we honestly do that? They have been trained and after we train them, we say we cannot employ you, what are we doing? All because Minister Chinamasa does not have the money to do that when we have got a lot of things going for ourselves.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I sometimes say that if God had Monday meetings in the mornings, he will be laughing at Zimbabwe to say “these people are very stupid. I have given them everything but they still suffer.” Look at us now, we have solar for free. It is there for almost 80 percent of the year, we have solar but up to today; we cannot even harness that energy to help us to say we are going to cut on coal bills and the Kariba expansion bills. We need to get panels, put them in our land, get the solar, that energy and reduce our costs. We cannot do that as a nation. Honestly speaking, where are we going?
I want to encourage the Minister of Finance to look at ways of trying to get this money. The money is there. God gave us everything but we are not reasonable. Tirikuda kunyeberana tichifadzana nenhema, it cannot work. Let us be honest to each other and stop corruption please. Let us stop corruption. I hope that while we speak to the Budget, we will also have people like the Minister of Lands going out there to check if somebody has two farms. Please, take one away from them and give the other so that we are productive.
Our economy is either agro-based or mineral based. Hon. Made is going to smile if people are working hard on their land and producing. Today, he has a headache because you will find a farm that is lying idle because I took two farms - for what? I cannot even work on one but I have two. It is wrong and we should not hide behind our fingers. It is wrong, it should never happen and we say it here in this august House. We are not fighting anybody but we are saying for once, as Zimbabwe, let us do proper things. Let us do things that when we retire from this House, people are not going to point fingers at us and say, what the hell were you doing there? We want to retire dignified. We want to leave this Parliament and make sure there is progress for our future generations. That can only happen if we become truthful to ourselves.
I hope when the Minister looks at this Budget, he will review just those two areas that I asked for, especially the education system so that he puts more money to have infrastructure for our children. Also the health sector so that doctors and nurses that are jobless can come back and start working and we can start getting medicine in our hospitals. One of the Honourables here, gave a good example of one professor with all the money even a jet but he had to be carried 70 km in a donkey cart. When he got to the hospital, there was no medication - what abomination is that? We do not want that Mr. Speaker Sir. Let us be honest people, let us serve our nation diligently so that at the end of the day we are not going to be called fools.
With that contribution, I hope the Hon. Minister of Finance and
Economic Development is going to be kind enough to review that Health, Education and Parliament, we are facing problems. We have no money for constituency visits and allowances to just help somebody who is suffering in my constituency, it has to come from my pocket. So, capacitate us as Members of Parliament so that we do our job.
+HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to add my voice on what has been said by others. I will focus more on the health issues taking into consideration that ever since I was elected a Member of Parliament there is one thing that really disturbs me and that is the issue of sanitary ware and Ingutsheni Hospital.
Ingutsheni Hospital caters for those with disabilities for example the mentally disturbed. If we look at Chapter 2 of our Constitution,
Section 22 is very clear Minister when it comes to the disabled people. When I look at Ingutsheni Hospital, we realise that there is no clothing, medication, food and even when we look at the infrastructure – the building needs to be repaired. There is a shortage of medication which becomes a challenge even to the staff members. They have said it over and over again that they need assistance at the hospital.
Hon. Minister, it is stated in the Constitution that those who are living with disabilities are supposed to be catered for fully. We wish that you assist us the same way you assisted on the issue of sanitary ware. I would also want to thank you Hon. Minister with the effort that you are putting like what Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga did. If it is possible visit the Ingutsheni hospital and see exactly what is happening.
As one of the members of the Budget Committee, I will look at the gender mainstreaming expenditures. We have policies that cater for women so that they are not violated. There are issues to do with shelter, where single mothers are supposed to benefit. Most of the times, if someone does not have shelter, the people who are always troubled are women and they are not catered for. When it comes to education, yes, you have allocated some amounts but it is not enough and most of the times it is the women who are troubled on how to assist their children. I have been to Mpilo Hospital where I observed mothers nursing their babies clean the wards. I know that when you deliver a baby, you should just concentrate on feeding the baby but it is a different thing at Mpilo. This means that Mpilo Hospital does not have enough funds to pay for cleaners to clean up the maternity ward. These are some of the things we are not in agreement with especially as women. Yesterday we went around police headquarters and spoke to the Commissioner
General where we realised that you have given them some funds but they were even complaining that the funds were not enough to buy things like stationery. So, they are also requesting that you consider their allocation.
Yes, we say that the police here and there are getting funds especially on the roadblocks but yesterday when we visited them as a Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services I had first hand information. We toured the factory where their uniforms are done but it is a very small room. However, if they are given more funds, they can build a more spacious room to do their uniforms.
Hon. Minister, the army is also complaining with the issue to do with their uniforms, almost three quarters of them put on old uniforms.
They have their hospitals in their camps where there is no medication. The salaries that they get are not enough for them to do everything. I will also touch on the Prison Services who are also complaining over the issue of medication and everything that can sustain them.
I am also in the Committee on Foreign Affairs where we send people to be our ambassadors in different countries. I had an opportunity to go the Zimbabwean Embassy in Botswana, when I left that place I was deeply hurt after hearing the state of our ambassadors who are staying there. Their cars are not road-worthy and I would like to ask the Minister that whatever that they are doing in their Budget; they should try and cater for the staff in our embassies for they reflect the image of country. If only the Budget could cater for them, they will be able to pay for the fees of their children back at home.
HON. MLILO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Firstly, I would like to thank Hon. Maridadi for his contribution. There is no place where we can go to as a nation if as Members of Parliament we do not have a unity of purpose and are not patriotic.
There are so many things that need to be improved in the Budget and I will start on the Vote of Parliament. The allocation that was given to Parliament is too little and I will not take time on what others have already highlighted. On the issue of the cars that are given to the Members of Parliament. I have realised that the cars that are given to the Members of Parliament, they are taking them under the loan system and the end of the day they pay for those cars whilst they are working for the country. It will be a good thing if the Government could say that the Members of Parliament should be given that car using the book value at the end of the life of Parliament. We realise that when they are using the loan system to deduct the payment of the car, the MP will not be able to cater for his day to day expenses. For example, I indicated that if a Member of a constituency has bereavement, it comes back to the MP to assist their constituents.
I also want to talk about health. I have always said it is better for me to have a medical cover than to invest in a funeral policy. Health issues are very important. Health is a security issue. I realise that there are so many diseases and most of our hospitals do not have the required medication. Most of the times, those who go to the hospitals seeking medical attention, end up dying due to lack of medication.
There is also the allocation that was given to education. The money that was allocated to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is not enough. If we take Bulawayo, there are so many locations for example Cowdry Park where I represent. Most of the constituents that are there, for example at Cowdry Park Primary School, there are only two classrooms. During the rain season, pupils are affected a lot. Hon. Minister we kindly request that you increase the budget that was allocated to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education so that the money allocated to them will be able to assist, especially in building the classrooms so that pupils are protected against bad weather.
I would also want to add my voice on the Ministry of Home Affairs, particularly on the policemen. There is no much difference when we compare it with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary
Education. There is need for us to empower the Ministry of Home Affairs. If you look at, for example at Cowdry Park, there was a lady who was murdered. The main reason is that there are no resources to build a police camp in order to deploy more policemen so that they can maintain peace and order in that area. My wish is that if the Minister, could increase the Budget that was allocated to these Minitries - things like police camps, hospitals with enough medication and schools with enough stationery. If only the budget is increased, it will assist a lot.
I would also touch on the budget allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. You will realise that we have been practicing the Command Agriculture but most of the rivers are silted, especially with the rains that we have been receiving, people have been complaining that the rains are destroying their crops but a few months back we were crying saying we need more rainfall. If only we could prepare in time, during such a season we will be having enough time to save that water. We also need enough inputs in order to produce enough yields. I would like to urge the Minister to assist in the Ministry of Agriculture.
On the Ministry of Mining, it is good that we have artisanal miners but like what Hon. Tshuma hinted, that is what is said most of the times, especially Hon. Nduna normally says this. If we look at four months back, most of the artisanal miners were arrested and the gold that was brought to Fidelity Refiners was affected. We get most of our funds from the gold that is brought by artisanal miners. We want to urge the Government or even our President to come up with a policy that says artisanal miners are not supposed to be arrested. Instead we can should put buying points where there are artisanal miners so that the Government can buy that gold.
We have been talking about the issue of working together so that we bring improvement in our country. I want to urge all our Members of Parliament, especially from the opposition, let us work together so that the bond notes can work efficiently. At the end of the day when we are using the bond notes, people from the Reserve Bank will go and buy the gold that is being mined and it will assist in improving our country. We realise that Zimbabwe is rich in mineral and other issues that can be
It will be good Hon. Minister if we sell our minerals using the intrinsic value. Yes, we might not be having enough money to mine the gold but if we know that in such an areas, there is this amount of gold, why not sell it to the people who want to mine it. I know we cannot be poor as a country if we know that we are so rich in the minerals. Let us know all the minerals that we have at intrinsic value and save others for the future so that our children can use them as well.
Hon. Maridadi highlighted that there are so many leakages and loopholes; yes they are there but if only we can increase the allocation to the Ministry of ICT, which is the same Ministry that can be used to bring infrastructure especially in closing the loopholes. If we look especially at the border post, we realise that most of the loopholes are created because of lack of good infrastructure. If we increase the allocation to the Ministry of ICT, I know they can put many systems that can improve even the modules of the Government and it will indicate that whatever funds were transferred to ZIMRA at the end of the day were transferred to which bank.
I will also touch on the Ministry of Local Government, I also believe the money that allocated to them was too low. We realise that in urban areas it is now more like in rural areas. For example, they have got lack of water or electricity. If only we can allocate more funds to them so that we can improve our infrastructure. By so doing, we will attract even people from outside to assist with FDI so that we can improve our economy. Hon. Minister, when you meet as Cabinet try to encourage each other on the ease of doing business so that it is not something that is talked about but something that is also implemented. Last year we had so many workshops on the ease of doing business but up to now there are no fruits that are tangible where we can say this was after people trained on the ease of doing business. If we implement most of the things that are taught on the ease of doing business, we realise that it will improve our infrastructure so that it can attract more people to come and work in Zimbabwe. To all the Hon. Members who are present for the improvement of our country, it is good to always put economy first and put aside politics and if we can work together as Zimbabweans, we will realise that it will assist us a lot.
HON. K. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. First and
foremost, I want to thank the Minister of Finance on the Budget that he presented. I was happy with the amounts that were allocated to Agriculture and Mining. Agriculture is the one that will help in improving our industry as most of the things that are done in the industry come from the agriculture. Everything that is done in the Ministry of Mining helps a lot in developing our country. I will also say even the incentives that were given to exporters, will assist in attracting most of the people to export.
I also want to add my voice on the issue of the incentives that were given to the Diaspora. I want to ask the Minister to check on the incentives that were given to the Diaspora especially the neighbouring countries. What will happen is that most of the people will start making business using the incentives that is being given. For example, someone will send $50 000.00 and come back to collect the incentive and go back again to the country and send so that they keep on getting the incentive.
At the end of the year, they would have managed to spin the money and make business out of it. There are also tax incentives especially in the economic zone. Yes, it is correct for him to improve on the FDI because of the incentive that is given to the tax.
Let us also take note Hon. Minister, and be cautious that some of the countries especially the foreign investors; when they come to Zimbabwe, they should put up infrastructure where they will be conducting their business. If they do not do that, what will happen is if they stay for five years, because of the incentive that they have been given and they are renting, after five years they will move out of the country and they will look for the incentive somewhere else whilst they have not paid their tax in Zimbabwe. But if we encourage them to build infrastructure or to build somewhere where they can conduct their business, we know that person is there for a long time. Our minimum wage is higher than in other countries but if you go to countries like Malawi, they will tell you that their minimum wage is $30.00. Therefore, most of the things that we produce will be too expensive compared to other countries. If we reduce Statutory Instrument 34, we realise that we will be protecting our own industry. I would like to urge everyone of us to view it that way.
Since this year, Parliament has asked that all MPs be given the Constituency Development Fund. Some of the Members of Parliament who spoke before me highlighted that there are other problems that the
Members of Parliament are facing, for example the PCICs whereby the Members of Parliament are supposed to rent the PCICs and to pay the person who is manning the PCICs. The coupons that we are given as Members of Parliament are allocated based on the distance that I cover from my House to Parliament. This brings a big challenge to us as Members of Parliament. If only the allocation of fuel coupons is increased so that we are able to travel even to our Constituencies. If only the Minister could have a re-look on the allocation that was given to Parliament, and if all the Members of Parliament could be given a certain allocation in allowances so that they can be able to travel right round their Constituencies.
There is also an issue on the ease of doing business. The Member who spoke before me highlighted that it should not be something that is just spoken about and not being implemented. Most of the people have actually realised that the issue to do with the ease of doing business is something that is spoken about and not being implemented. I will give an example of something that I saw in Binga. If you want to see that the issue to do with the issue of businesses is floating; there were those who where fishing. They buy licences for example from the council and from the National Parks. At the end of the day, one person is holding two licences. We realise at the end of the day that even the person who wants to buy the fish will have to hold two licences, at the end of the day and this will go on and on. Everyone who is involved in that will have to have two licences, one from the National Parks and the other one from the Council. What are we saying about those who are not able to buy all those licences? At the end of the day, one person is holding three licences. This is affecting so many people. People are requesting that why can we not have a one stop center whereby someone can acquire their licences. I do not think it necessary for buyers to acquire licences but sellers. For example, in any shop, you cannot expect those who are coming to buy, the customers to acquire licences to buy whatever products they need so that they can resale them. Those are some of the things that I would like to ask the Minister to have a relook at. My wish is that when the Cabinet is sitting, if they can discuss on issues like the cashflow that we have, for example, in our army they have civil engineering. Why can we not have such projects like the refurbishment of roads done by those qualified professionals who are within the army? At the end of the day, that money is paid to the army or the State and it will help in improving our economy.
Lastly Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister of Finance that if all the collections that are being done, for example, funds that are collected and retained by the police or the courts and any other statutory funds, why do we not keep all the funds in one place kept by the Treasury.
With these few words Mr. Speaker, I thank you.
+HON. BHUDA-MASARA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving
me the opportunity to add my voice on the budget which was raised by the Minister where he highlighted how the budget for 2016/2017 is going to be operated. I think I have great praise for the Minister because he is a dedicated man and has shown the dedication by sitting through the debates until so late.
Hon. Minister, Zimbabwe is a very rich country with lots of natural resources and that can even be put into financial terms. We have lots of wealthy coming from the mines. When we attended the Pre-Budget Seminar in Bulawayo, Minister, you informed the gathering that the Botswana economy relies mainly on mining, especially diamonds.
Unfortunately, we did not hear about the amount which was raised by Zimbabwe through the sale of diamonds. We do not know how much we are earning from platinum and yet other countries are benefitting from diamonds, platinum and even gold. Mining is the cash cow of many countries.
As a Committee, we visited Chiadzwa on our oversight mission. There was a lot of disarray and no straight forward production. You could not take stock of where we are coming from or going, yet we had members of the police force guarding that area. We were saying what were they guarding? We are persuading and asking you Minister to play an oversight role on mining activities especially of diamonds and check on how much they are bringing into the fiscus.
Let me now turn to the Ministry of Health and Child Care. Why should such an important Ministry be put on Vote 5? I know we put emphasise on the importance of education but despite that fact, I still think the Ministry of Health and Child Care should have been allocated more money. Again, we look at areas like Victoria Falls which is a tourist hub but the health facilities are so bad. We are supposed to be working hard so that we have tourists coming, they can benefit and this can only happen if we invest more money in tourism especially regarding the health sector.
It is pathetic that the people of Zimbabwe in Victoria Falls cross the border and go for treatment in Zambia when they fall ill. Zimbabwe has lots of educated people yet instead of getting this top of the range equipment on health being found in our Government hospitals, they are instead found in private health institutions. I think as a Minister you should look at this and create a balance between health and education.
These are essential areas in the development of the country.
Hon. Minister, I will not practice tautology and repeat what has already been said. Agriculture is the mainstay of the development of Zimbabwe. In other words we say, the Zimbabwean economy is agrobased. I know we have had lots of rains and I think more than we thought we would have but we have a lot of Ministries which is unnecessary and we are now talking of the seed for agriculture. We are reacting after an incident has happened rather than being proactive. That is why the President saw it necessary that he has three ministries all talking about agriculture. Please, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, play an oversight role and make it a point that when we talk about agriculture, the seed, farming equipment and fertilisers come to the farmer on time.
I will make my last contribution regarding the welfare of Members of Parliament. When we are talking of these Members of Parliament who are performing the same things, they should be given CDF whether one is the Senate, Proportional Representation or National Assembly because people are now questioning the authenticity and necessity of proportional representation, Members of the National Assembly and Senate because they are saying if they are so important and necessary, why are you not allocated the CDF. We needed to be treated at the same
I will talk about our national roads. You are talking about the Beitbridge – Harare – Chirundu Road. It is on a priority list because you have allocated funds for it. When we look at the road from Bulawayo to
Victoria Falls, it is a death trap. It is full of potholes and very dangerous. We are asking ourselves what number it is on your priority list because it may await the completion of the road from Beitbridge to Chirundu. The road to Victoria Falls goes to one of the Seven Wonders of the World and hence, a tourist attraction. We need to put it on our priority list because Zimbabwe is not poor. Zimbabwe is rich. Zimbabwe has highly educated people but our only problem is that Government workers especially those in different ministries lack supervision and perform as they want.
HON. DR. MUKANDURI: I would like to thank the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development for crafting this budget for the year 2017. I will just zero in on three issues. The first one is the Vote for the Ministry of Higher Education. Hon. Minister, our education is highly rated in the region and world over because it is an area where Government was putting a lot of funds so that the quality of our education is not compromised. This financial year, I noticed that the Vote was reduced by US$100 million and that has consequences for the students and also for the lecturers.
Let me move on to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. When we had our Pre-Budget Seminar in Victoria Falls, we debated on the issue of ZISCO and we thought that we had put our issue to the Minister. The Ministry is not well funded and ZISCO is not going to be resuscitated. The Minister said that the budget’s theme was to concentrate on the productive sector. Unless we resuscitate ZISCO Steel, I think as a country, we are not going anywhere. This is because ZISCO is one of the backbone industries of our country.
Lastly, I now come to the institution of Parliament. In theory, we had some scholars. We had Dicey and the Montesquieu. They talked about the separation of powers. In theory we have the Judiciary, the Executive and Parliament as the institutions of the State. We feel that they should be treated equally the same but, it would appear that Parliament is a small brother. The big brother who controls the purse can manipulate Parliament. So, we really feel that the Vote for Parliament this year should be upgraded to the level for which the bureaucrats had bided for. I think it was around US$48 million if not US$49 million.
So, we feel that the Minister should review the Vote for the budget because some of the legislators who are in this 8th Parliament are still owed money for allowances for the 7th Parliament and this does not augur well. Not only that, in this 8th Parliament, legislators are not getting their allowances, fuel coupons and a number of allowances. We feel that the Minister should look into this and consider that the bid for Parliament is upgraded to the level for which it was bided for.
Hon. Minister, in terms of comparison, Zimbabwe is one of the SADC countries and one of the 14 countries in the region. When we travel abroad or in the region, we are like destitutes because our counterparts are well catered for. Even if we put on our ties and suits, they are not comparable to us because as the Hon. Member from Karoi has mentioned, we are like destitutes in the region and yet our country is very rich. This is why I was saying the Executive takes Parliament as a small brother and we do not want that treatment.
We want to be treated equally because the Executive and the Ministers have two if not three vehicles. They travel throughout the country and do not have any fuel problems because they control the purse. So, Hon. Minister, Parliament should not be used like a rubber stamp where the budget passes through Parliament. We want to scrutinise it. In fact, we have the feeling that even the Ministers should come and defend their budgets here in Parliament. We go Vote by Vote quizzing them because we see a lot of allowances being put on the Vote sand this is an extra burden to the fiscus.
On the issue of Constitutional Development Fund, we really want this fund to be given to the Hon. Members this year. It is very important, but we are not sure because there should be a legal instrument. We were told that there should be a Bill to deal with (CDF) and this has never come to Parliament. We wonder whether we are going to get the CDF because the issue of the legal instrument is going to be used as an excuse so that MPs are denied the CDF for them to develop their constituencies. That is the fairest manner for the development of the country because each MP will concentrate in his/her constituency and countrywide, resources are distributed fairly.
So, I honestly appeal to the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to consider the Vote of Parliament. We are a small brother in practice because we are treated like that. In fact, we are treated as a kindergarten brother. We feel that, that should be upgraded to the level for which the bureaucrats had bided for, US$49 million. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to
add a few things. Firstly, I agree with the former speakers. I want to look at Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services. I plead with you Hon. Minister that you should look at projects that are within the Ministry of Home Affairs. We have a building which was built in 1999. Up to date, that building has not been completed; it was almost 75% complete. For that building to be completed, they need about US$2 million. It is a good building for the CID Headquarters which is now dilapidated. Hon. Minister, I think you should look into that issue so that, that building is completed as a matter of urgency.
On the issue of building, through you Hon. Minister, I think the Hon. Member should not disturb the Hon. Minister so that he should listen and note down what we are saying. The building that we are referring to, we have flats which are being renovated so that the police officers can use. These flats were built in 2011 and were 70% complete but they have stopped. For the flats to be completed, they are looking at about US$3 million. Hon. Minister, I think you should look into this issue urgently. On that same issue, what I want to plead with you is that if we get this money for completion, it should not channeled to the
Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
This money should be channeled straight to the Ministry of Home Affairs and we supervise because already, the Ministry of Home Affairs has builders, painters and everything in their Ministry. If we channel this money to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, before they embark on the completion of a project they say they want to purchase vehicles and other equipment including cell phones and already, US$1 million is used to purchase these before the start of the project. So, in order to stop this bureaucracy, I think this money should be channeled straight to the Ministry of Home Affairs and be monitored until after completion of a project.
If you see the houses that police officers and their families are staying in, they were condemned. They are supposed to be brought down. We have raw sewage flowing and you find children playing in the raw sewage. Some drink the sewage because they will be young.
Someone even said that the children are now immune to diseases. Hon. Minister, I think we should look into the issue of these houses and flats so that the police have better housing.
I will go to the other issue of the Ministry of Welfare Services for
War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and
Restrictees. Right now, there are debts dating back from three years. War veterans are unable to pay school fees for their children. There are no funds to pay for school fees for the children of the people who fought for us to be free, but you find that the children of a few, those who are lucky such as Ministers, who do not know how a gun operates are going to good schools. Their fees are being paid and they are even going on holidays. Some of them did not engage in the war and some were even on the side of Ian Smith. These are the same people you could find being given the task of presiding over the funerals of war veterans and yet they were working with Ian Smith only because they are Ministers now.
Hon. Speaker, money should be channeled to the war veterans. I am pained when I see war veterans, when they die; the money they are allocated to buy coffins and blankets is too little, less than $500 to bury a war veteran because there is no money. They are supposed to go and get burial policies - for what? The fact that they fought for our freedom means that they should be buried by the State. The Government should put in place resources so that our war veterans will have decent burials.
If you look at people who are accorded the heroes status and are buried at the National Heroes Acre - the casket that is there, the ZUPCO buses that ferry all the people going to the National Heroes Acre, the food that is eaten and Government officers that will be there, even the flowers that are put there, if you add that money it will be around US$10000 or more, but for those who were on the war front, who have died in Rukangare; because there is no money, the coffin is made at
Checheche. The coffins are made from ceiling boards and the funeral
car is hired for US$100 that would have been contributed by family members because the money to bury that war veteran is supposed to come from Mutare and it will take about four days for the money to get to Checheche. There is no mortuary and so the body cannot be kept waiting for four days until that money arrives. The Guard of Honour is not even present because of poor communication. They are just put there in a coffin worth US$40.
The Ministry of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees should be allocated more money so war veterans do not receive pauper’s burials. The Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees should look into that issue. Right now we have war veterans who need medication. Money should be channeled there so that war veterans get their medical requirements not only from Mutare General Hospital. If their ailments need attention at Avenues hospital, should they die because they do not have medical cover?
I am pained when I see how war veterans are being treated. I am a child, but I know that our fathers who fought for this country are crying that they need fees, decent burials and access to medical treatment. Are you not hearing their cry? The Ministers are the ones who are buried in coffins that are worth US$6 000 and some of them, their coffins are even imported. We should allocate more money there. I will not say much because I am pained when I think of how war veterans are being treated.
Thank you Hon. Speaker.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I feel
honoured to respond to the very constructive contributions made by Hon. Members across the political divide. Of the three budgets I have presented, I think this has been the most constructive debate that I have undertaken and I think it is due to the process that we started last year.
We started a process last year with the Pre-Budget Seminar, the involvement of Members of Parliament - the meeting we had after the Pre-Budget Seminar when we discussed what should go into the 2017 Budget and I am happy to say that to the extent possible given the circumstances, I have been able to incorporate a lot of suggestions that came from Hon. Members. But I want Hon. Members to also understand that the situation we find ourselves in and I think that all Hon. Members who have contributed understand where we are, we have a situation where above 90% of revenue is going to wages. What this means is that there is no money for operations, capital formation, service delivery, repair the roads and fill up the pot-holes. This is basically the naked truth. We now need to focus our attention on how to get us out of that hole, how do we do that? There are two routes that we should follow and we are following. One is to basically cap expenditure where it is and where possible to reduce it so that we reduce the proportion of revenues going to expenditure. Our own projections were that we will be able to do so over a three-year period by 50%. If we can reduce the proportion of revenue going to expenditure to something like 50/ 55%, a lot of the complaints that are being raised here will actually be taken care of.
Another route to be followed simultaneously is that we must grow the cake. This is why the theme of our Budget is to ‘increase production.’ Mr. Speaker Sir, our biggest challenge right now is that we have low production across all sectors of the economy. As long as we are in that situation, it means we have no revenue base to support our expenditure. In fact, if we increase the revenue base, the wage bill will take its proportion within a bigger cake. Currently, that is a solution which is eluding all of us. However, I am happy to say that we are now beginning to focus our attention to the issue of production. I want to say that the contributions which Hon. Members made are addressing that
I have noted the contributions and reports of the Portfolio
Committees, but I just want to take common themes that run across all Portfolio Committee reports and I seek to address these comments. All complaints point to the fact that there is underfunding across all Government ministries and I agree. The contributions by Hon. Members are basically to say, please increase expenditure, give more money to Health, Education, Defence, Home Affairs, War Veterans, and so on. I wish I could do that, but all my money is going to wages. I have very little left to do all the things that you are asking me to do, which is why it is important that we should work together to increase the productive sectors. In fact, all the people who come to see me are adding on to the expenditure pressures on the fiscus. There is very little advice on how and where I should get the money or what we should do.
We must also bear in mind that when we are growing the cake, it is not a one day wonder, it is a process. Sometimes we lack that patience to understand that it is a process to make the productive sector or supply side respond, it does not respond overnight. If you are going to open a closed mine, it is not a one day thing and if it requires US$20 million, you need a long process through either raising a loan, argue on how and whether to justify that loan to whoever will be lending you. Whatever we are going to do on the supply side, I want us to understand that it is not a one day wonder.
Mr. Speaker Sir, our difficulty has been that the revenue we collect has been declining, largely through a combination of factors, companies closing, downsizing, commodity prices of our minerals declining worldwide and our overreliance on the export of primary products. All these things cannot be corrected overnight. On company closures, I want to correct a bit on the contributions made here. Yes, jobs were lost, but some jobs were created through the informal sector. When you see houses coming up in all our urban centres, that is the outcome of the informal sector; they are built for cash and are luxurious structures. What it suggests is that, those people created jobs for themselves and sometimes for their relatives but they are not paying taxes and unless you locate them, it is very difficult to collect taxes from the informal sector. We are currently working with ZIMRA to come up with new strategies on how to reach out to the informal sector economic players who are contributing greatly to our Gross Domestic Product. So, I want to emphasise that, whilst jobs were lost in the formal sector, they were created in the formal sector.
The tobacco and cotton sectors as we know, are composed of people who regard themselves as informal players. I always chide some of them when I ask ‘where are you employed?’ They do not say ‘I am a tobacco farmer,’ they will say ‘I am not employed but ‘I am growing tobacco.’ There is that mindset that does not appreciate and realise that in fact growing tobacco, whether it is one hectare or two hectares, you are already creating employment for yourself, family and relatives. We have enjoyed production figures in the tobacco sector and gold sector, the artisanal miners who are now contributing 45% to gold production. I think as of last year, we produced something like 23 metric tonnes, we fell short of our target by one tonne and of that, 45% is produced by artisanal miners or makorokoza – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – we cannot say those people are unemployed. We pump out about US$15 million from Fidelity per week to pay those artisanal miners. They may not dress the way you think people with money should dress, but clearly they have got money.
We are implementing measures to grow the economy through the provision of incentives to enhance productive sectors. All across my Budget in 2017, we are basically looking at those who produce for export. We have come up with a diversity and a variety of incentives to encourage production because that is the way to go. If you look at the Budget also, we have come up with incentives to attract investors into the Special Economic Zones. Through the discussions we have been conducting with would-be investors, I am confident that once the Budget is approved, we should be able to get somewhere. I said to the would-be investors into Special Economic Zones, look at the incentives that I have given, if you think there are any additional incentives that you think of, please come to my office and we discuss and agree on whether we should grant you those further additional incentives. All the reforms that we are conducting on ease of doing business, these are all expected to improve the country’s competitiveness.
Mr. Speaker Sir, our biggest problem is that we are too expensive a producer. Our wage structure not just in Government, all the wages that we are mourning about, they were contributions to that effect about what we pay in Government. We do not compare with other countries. We are too high. These are United States Dollars and not Zimbabwean dollars that we are talking about. In Ethiopia, it is US$100 per month for an engineer coming from university. This is also similar to Tanzania.
If we compare ourselves with respect to competitiveness, where would an investor go? To Zimbabwe where you have to pay US$500 and Ethiopia is paying US$150. Right now in Tanzania, they are spending 40% of revenue towards wages. We are at above 90%. Let us understand those comparisons and we will see where we should be. It is all very well to be populists. I also want to be a populist. I wish I could because I would just be promising everything that you ask I will just give and of course, I will not deliver. That is my problem. Other people just promise because they are not brought to account whether to deliver or not. In my case, I cannot promise that which I cannot deliver. I cannot say that we are going to give you money which I do not have and which I know we are going to create over a period of time. I thought I should emphasise that the process of enhancing the supply side of our economy is not an event but a process.
I want to thank Hon. Maridadi for his illustration of what is happening in our economy. The only disappointment I had and I was telling him is that I was expecting him to surrender or donate the blankets to me – [Laughter.] - He should have followed Hon.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s example. At least I have a t-shirt. I could be having two blankets to take home. I want to say to all of you and to Hon. Maridadi that through ZIMRA, we are doing all that we can to address the issue of corruption. We have started with audits. These were done. We are now pursuing to try to rid ZIMRA – of all those people who were accused of malpractices. We are also introducing cargo tracking, scanning and fiscalisation. We have had some challenges on fiscalisation largely to do with importation of machines but it is a problem that we are handling. We hope that given the dispensation that we have given to ZIMRA, we can secure fiscalisation machines as soon as possible. Hon. Maridadi illustrated the difference between a fiscal and a non fiscal receipt. My disappointment is that even the biggest operators do not have fiscalised gadgets. That needs to be corrected.
I must admit that we put in the Budget an allocation but sometimes we are unable to fulfill that allocation. You will find that across the board, there will be under-disbursements. This is so because we run a cash budget. Sometimes the words that are used are inappropriate. Treasury must release so much money; it is assumed that I have got a bucket of money which I can just release. At that time you say that I must release, I will not have the money. I will have to wait until revenue comes in, - in order for me to meet the wage bill. We cannot pay piecemeal. For instance, if we are looking at the army, we must pay everybody. I have to wait until I have enough money to pay everybody in the army, education sector and so on. That is what a cash budget means.
I acknowledge the revenue leakages in the economy which is making it difficult to meet revenue targets to fulfill source requirements by Ministries.
I would also need you to understand that disbursements are only possible after fulfillment of non-discretionary costs. I am a prisoner of the employment costs. I believe, in terms of image, it is not a good image to say that we have failed to pay wages. That is the truth. I become a prisoner of the wage bill which is why I speak repeatedly that we must do something to reduce the wage bill.
I agree with the comments made that recurrent expenditure is crowding out capital expenditure; that is true. What I think Hon. Members should understand it that I have been borrowing from the market to meet the wage bill. That also is not good. It crowds out lending to the private sector and businesses so that they grow, they are productive and that they can pay taxes. It is a situation I would very much love to get out of – borrowing to pay wages. It means you are eating what you do not have. You are eating into tomorrow. That also is not a good situation. We have been funding all capital projects from borrowing and not from the Budget. You can think of Kariba South, you can talk about what we are going to do at Hwange 7 and 8, you can talk about Tokwe-Mukorsi, Gwayi-Shangani Dam; it is all borrowing but at least when I borrow for capital projects which are going to create the wealth in future, I am happy. I do not feel happy borrowing to pay for consumption.
With respect to Civil Servants, which is also a recurrent item. We are engaged in civil service reforms, rationalisation, we have been engaging the Apex Council. I was a bit sad when Hon. Chinotimba was casting aspersions on one of the options that I gave to the Civil Servants. It is not true that we are talking about a million stands. Civil Servants in total are about 350 000. Do not think about Harare only. You must think about all of them across the country in every city, town and every growth point. We can create those stands. The beauty of this option is that it has a ripple effect on the economy. That is how other countries like China have been doing it; infrastructure development.
You expand your cement industry, you create a lot of jobs in industry which manufacture bricks and construction materials right across the board. You create jobs through those land surveyors who will be able to survey the land. You create a lot of jobs for those who do the developments that is, putting roads and sewers. So, it has some ripple effect. It is not like I am borrowing to give money for consumption. We will be borrowing to create capital for our country and to create real jobs and not like what we are doing currently. We are paying people in the Civil Service and because there is no money for operations, we are paying them to sit in their offices. I want us to understand that.
What I am saying is, while we are collapsing some jobs, we will be creating real jobs and the real jobs are basically to go the housing way, infrastructure way, whether we are talking about roads, putting up sewers, water reticulation sewers and so on. That is where real jobs are created and I can borrow with a clear conscience, if we are going to do that but I would not want to be a prisoner of the wage bill. We then feel constrained to move into the future because we are bound by the present.
I want us on this wage bill, Mr. Speaker Sir, that I think we all understand that when we started in 1999 and because of the strikes that happened, we had two million jobs in the formal sector. Those strikes collapsed companies and that trend continues. Currently, we have now about half a million formal jobs. Of that half a million, the big chunk of them are Government. Government depends on the private sector for its livelihood. If taxes are not paid and taxes are paid by the private businesses, if private businesses are not flourishing, do not expect that we have revenue into the fiscus. Right now, the private sector needs a lot of revenue into the fiscus. Right now, it needs a lot of nurturing and nursing and some of them have not paid wages for months, you ask them. If you go and ask them, they are not paying and some have not been paid wages. Some also have not been paying and for a lot of companies, they have not been paying bonuses at the moment, yet they are the tax payers. Those are the questions that I think we need to be asking ourselves and to see that there is a paradigm shift in the way we look at things.
Corruption, I agree Mr. Speaker Sir, it is endemic and I think that it has become a cancer. When it is endemic and is a cancer, when the body politic is now cancerous, who comes with the scissors to cut the cancerous cells? That is the problem but we are doing everything in our power to address this issue, both at ZIMRA and across the board to stop leakages from our economy. Misuse of public resources, this was also something that came through repeatedly. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is something that clearly, we are seeking to address.
Let me Mr. Speaker Sir, highlight some of the points that came out from the Portfolio Committees. There was the issue of the unallocated reserves in 2000 and I was surprised that it was 106. I am going to propose an amendment because there was some error that was done. I am going to propose an amendment to increase the Vote of Parliament by the unpaid allowances from last year, $9 million. The $10 million is already there. That will bring the Budget to $49 for their Vote – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – The amendment will also address the issue about a mistake, maybe it is not a mistake but whoever did it, in the Estimates, the Vote to Universities was reduced by 50 percent. That was never the intention and is going to be corrected.
What it means is that, by correcting it, it will reduce the amount in the unallocated reserve by the amount that is going to go towards collection of the allocation to the Universities. Let me make it clear, in my conversation with the Minister responsible for Higher and Tertiary Education, I am engaging everybody, every Minister, every Department to understand what is going on and I pray and plead with colleagues and with whoever I interact with, it is not out of malice. It is to understand how our money is being used and to see whether we can correct anything that may emerge as anomalous. With the universities, I know they collect tuition fees. I just want to understand and I ask this question, where is the tuition fees being applied to and to what purpose.
I have a reason as Minister of Finance and Economic Development to ask questions and I expect to get honest answers. If I do, I am a reasonable person, we can then move forward. I would not want colleagues or any Departments to feel defensive because we then cannot correct anything. We cannot continue to do the same thing and hope to achieve a different outcome – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Let us understand what we are doing and if it needs corrections, let us correct it honestly. Let us have a constructive dialogue so that we can move forward but no one should feel defensive when we are trying to find solutions to our problems.
I understand Mr. Speaker Sir, that the allocation to the Ministry of Health is not 15 percent as required by the Abuja Declaration. It is around 8 percent or so, something still very low. I also know the state of hospitals, the conditions, I know that but I have to take care of this from the 3 percent of revenue, that we must understand; which becomes an impossible task. Which is why I came up with the levy on airtime, the five cents per every dollar of airtime and I am going to monitor it to see whether it generates enough resources for the Ministry of Health. This is now going to be ring-fenced to purchase drugs and to purchase medical equipment.
I think I have already discussed the issue about the proportion of employment cost to revenue expenditure that I think is a matter we are currently addressing. I agree with the observation Mr. Speaker, for the need to fight corruption and that more should be done in this area.
Coming to the issue of retention funds, to me it is no longer a problem, frankly. I directed in the 2016 Budget that all retention funds should now be open accounts at the Reserve Bank as part of the consolidated revenue fund. I know all those that have been complied with. All the retention funds, I know how much money is in the retention funds, certainly, the accounting general knows. As Minister, I have right to read any of those pension funds. If there were huge amounts, I would not be having any qualms to read any of those. I want to assure Hon. Members that all the retention funds are now housed at the Reserve Bank as sub-accounts of the consolidated revenue fund but we have continued to allow the retentions for different and good reasons.
So, there was an issue which was raised with respect to retention funds that there maybe one or two who may still be running parallel commercial bank accounts. Clearly, this is a matter I will go into and if I discover any, which are still operating accounts with commercial banks, we will certainly proceed to close them. With respect to the request that we continue to support vulnerable members of the community, yes we are going to continue doing it. I am very pleased with the way we did this season, especially in the agricultural sector. The support we gave in the Presidential input scheme, the support we are giving to the Command Agriculture, the support we have given to the cotton input scheme. I think heavens also smiled on us; so far the indications are that it is going to give me different problems. When I look at the maize crop, if it matures, it means we are going to have problems on harvesting, meaning we need more combine harvesters. We are also going to have lots of problems on storage, it means we need to look at our silos; we need to rehabilitate starting now. We may also need to consider acquiring some driers, and then there will be problems about transportation logistics to get the maize from the farmer to GMB, not to talk about finding money to buy the maize. So, far I think that I feel proud and I think Dr. Made feels proud too that in the last season,
we acquitted ourselves with respect to maize and wheat farmers. We paid in time, in two weeks time; most farmers were able to get back into farming because we had paid them promptly. So, our headache now is to find money for the 2016-17 maize crops.
I agree that there should be policy consistency. So far, I think if we are honest, there is no longer any dichotomy over policy. I think that is something that is now behind us. As I see it, we are quite in unison in the way we pronounce our policies. With respect to capacitating SEDCO, we have made a provision for it, US$2 million, but we have also said any taxes from SME’s is going to be ring-fenced to capitalise SEDCO. So, any presumptive taxes are going to capacitate SEDCO.
We are going to capitalise women’s bank with US$10 million, it is a micro-finance bank. I am also going to give an equal amount of US$10 million to the youth bank. All this is recognising that the new economy now are SME’s and that they should have access to funding.
With respect to honouring our regional and international obligations, we will do so, we will try but when we are looking at priorities, sometimes they fall into insignificance when we look at some of the pressing priorities that we are facing. So, I want again to thank the Committee on Lands, Agriculture for commending Government for supporting agriculture. I want to say, maybe I am not presumptuous, as we go into 2017-18, I would want to extend the support we give to 1,7 million households and not to confine it to vulnerable households so that we can build agriculture so that it becomes the anchor of our economy and consequently drive industry and manufacturing and other sectors around it.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we are also hoping to extend it as has been requested to other strategic crops such as soya beans and wheat. In particular soya beans, we should avoid importing soya beans for our cooking oil. We are aware that companies that manufacture cooking are importing crude oil; we should move beyond that and have our own soya beans, our own cotton seed to do that. I am happy, Mr. Speaker Sir, Dr. Made and I were sent pictures of the current cotton crop, and I wish I had brought the pictures here. I have higher expectation that we will get a higher cotton output. If we do, it means we will have more cotton seed to feed into the cotton oil companies.
One issue which we have been discussing with Dr. Made, I am talking about agriculture here, it is live stock production. We have been discussing what exactly can we do to support communal A1 and A2 live stock production particularly in the area in Matabeleland provinces where the key livelihood source is livestock production. I am sure we should be able to come up with an answer soon.
I have already discussed the rehabilitation of our silos and we are working very hard to provide the necessary resources. There was also mention of the army worm and I am happy with the intervention that was made by the Ministry of Agriculture. It has been a difficult challenge but I think teams have been deployed country wide to identify, map out and manage areas where the army worm has been sighted. Our biggest challenge to the revival of agriculture is availability of fertilizer. Our national requirement, all things being equal should not be less than
300 000 metric tonnes. It should be always be above and we are going
to work hard to ensure that we have these quantities way before the beginning of the agricultural season.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me now address the issue on Mines and Power Energy. I just want to say that we are working very hard to reduce the mining fees which are charged for claims, for what have you. We have been working hard with the Ministry of Mines and we hope that we should be able to do so. It is part of the cost of reducing business and we hope that we should be able to succeed.
A question was raised about diamonds, we have been consulting, and both consultations are not yet complete that we treat diamonds in the same way that we treat gold. In other words, the Reserve Bank should have a say in the marketing of diamonds. In other words it should buy it straight and market it when the market is favourable and also for transparency and also with a view eventually to built a reserve. As you are aware Mr. Speaker Sir, we are hoping we can go into the future to build a gold reserve so that we can anchor any future currency that we may decide to introduce into the future.
The fiscal regime, I hope that we should be able to produce it this year. It has taken longer than I thought. Again still on diamonds, I want to assure Hon. Members that in my discussion with Minister Chidhakwa, right now, he is focusing solely on bringing back diamond production. In fact most of the meetings that we had including this morning are basically focusing on how to restore diamond production. To do that we had to find an accommodation with those diamond companies that took us to court and we had one such meeting with one of the companies to see whether we can resolve the disputes amicably so that we do not lose the opportunity, I have not had any meaningful revenue from diamonds since I became Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
In my 2014 Budget, I had anticipated projected 13 million carats but I have not been lucky to get anything more than 2 million. So, we need to address that issue and address it, we will. The issue about mining fees and EMA fees, those will be addressed in the context of the ease and scope of doing business. We want to do it intelligently; we do not want to do it arbitrarily and then perhaps end up undermining the very institutions which were being supported by the fees and not from the budget.
The Bulawayo Power Stations - as you are aware, we borrowed money from Exim Bank. I signed for US$87 million from Exim Bank. It should be implemented and I think should start commencement this
On the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, I want to emphasise that we are capitalising the Youth Bank, which they prefer to call Empower Bank. We are going to give them US$10 million in terms of capitalisation. With respect to Hon. Chinotimba, I want to emphasise that, let us create real jobs. Let us not be in this situation where we pay for people to sit in their offices. At times I listen to Minister Chimene and I wonder whether she knows that her civil servants have no transport to go to where they should go to work. There is no money for transport or fuel. All the money, we are paying wages. So, when you see them sitting in their offices, you may shout as you may, they will not get to Checheche. I just want you to understand.
Hon. Mandipaka, yes, I understand and I think I need to be potted with respect to conditions of service. Yes, we have difficulties but in very difficult circumstances, we have been able to do the Parliamentary car scheme and I do not think Hon. Members appreciate how difficult it has been to put those schemes together. I remain alive to the need that the life of Parliamentarians should be made comfortable. Where it is within my power, I will not hesitate to do so. –HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Hon. Cross, I get what you said. What we should do at border posts; what we should do to stop leakages – you also drew my attention to something I did not know about the cost of fuel on the ICs, which you say it is 32 cents per litre and we are buying it at 74 cents. Those are issues I that I am going to the Minister responsible to understand why that is so. With respect to importers who are not paying duty, clearly that is corruption.
What I want to advise Hon. Members is that we put up a hotline at ZIMRA which you can dial and report anything amiss that you think is going on at ZIMRA. I was interrogating Hon. Maridadi, to say your information was very accurate and clearly it is like an insider, where did you get the information. He said he reported on the hotline, ZIMRA responded and they intercepted the truck. If people can report and not just complain, identify yourself because if we had to track the corruption, you need to identify yourself so that you become a witness. Now, if you give us anonymous information, generally some of the information is malicious. Munhu haamufariri, wondomunyepera kuti ari corrupt iye asiri. I want to encourage Hon. Members, basically to use this facility to report on any corruption that they say is taking place within ZIMRA.
I think I have already responded on the issue of allocation to universities. It is going to be corrected without fail. All I have indicated is that we need to engage each other. I need information; when I ask for information do not refuse to give me the information so that we can engage each other rationally and meaningfully.
Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, she should have been an actress in my view, not an Hon. Member of Parliament. She has put a lot of drama in this House. The last time I presented my budget, she threw me used underwear but I think this time around, this is a better gift. I want to say to her, she is right. A vision without a provision is an illusion. Again, she is looking at it as an event. She does not understand the many processes that we have engaged to create the resources to fund the vision.
We need money, right now we do not have money but we cannot say because we have no money we cannot have a vision. What makes us work hard is a vision. That is what makes us wake up in the evening to do some work. We have a vision but we realise we have no money to fund that vision. So we have to work backwards and say what can we do to get that money. This is why we are giving support to agriculture.
The policies that we are introducing in manufacturing, mining, and road construction, I am hoping that the dualisation – at least I was signing some papers to allow importation of equipment by the contractor to come into the country. That is what we are doing to create the resources to fund the vision and we need to understand that.
When the agricultural season is looking as it is, I am happier even when I know I have no money. I know tomorrow I am going to have money and the resources will be used to fund the vision. I have already mentioned basically that 2 million jobs, maybe 1.5 million formal jobs were lost but according to the FinScope Survey of 2012, it found that 5.7 million jobs had been created in the informal sector by 3.5 million small businesses, some one man or one woman businesses but they were able to create 5.7 million jobs and that is the contribution that makes this country tick. This is why we need to nurture and nurse it.
She went on to talk about visions and so on. Clearly there is nothing, I must say this. There are no divisions in Government that militate against my work. What people need to understand is that whenever you are taking a different route and when we are talking about reform, we are talking about change. Change may mean turning left, right or making a u-turn. There has to be a discussion. Now, that discussion and the disagreements is not division. Basically, people are coming from different perspectives; whether the move being undertaken or being proposed is the right move, for me I entertain it which is why I say that I want all of us to put all our ideas on the table. The way the debate today has been undertaken gives me confidence that we are one in trying to change the economic fortunes of our country.
So, let us not read everything as division or as undesirable. We need debate first and once we take a position, then we must move in unison. I want to say this clearly that there is no division that worry me or that inhibit my work or progress on my work. Of course, she used strong words about the President being in captive, under capture and so on, it is not true. I think I can speak clearly –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- confidently about our President, he is not a prisoner. He understands the situation we are in. He also understands the imperatives, what we need to do. A lot of the things that we do is because he has prodded us to do them. Now, obviously it is because he understands what is there and there is no way we could make reforms which are not cleared by the Head of State. Please, let us be very clear. All the things that we do, he is briefed both outside and in Cabinet. So, I want us to understand that my President is not a captive.
Hon. Maridadi, thank you very much. His presentation was superb. My only complaint, like I said was that –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- I wish he had donated the blankets to me but otherwise that is how we should investigate and prod these issues. That is the only way they can be corrected. I want to emphasize the hot line is there. So, these are issues that we are looking into with respect to fiscalised gadgets. We going to emphasize and work very hard to get these introduced, all this with a view to growing the cake but from the information we had from Hon. Maridadi, it means the cake is very big and someone is eating it unlawfully. The cake is already big. If we can account for all these cakes which are being eaten by mice, we should be able to be okay.
With respect to conditions generally, one of the issues that we were looking at is conditions of service right across the board whether we are talking of Ministers, civil servants, we are just looking at everybody. Who is getting a Government car? Right now, it is an issue which we are looking into. In the past, about five years ago only the permanent secretary in the Ministry or equivalent grade could get a Government car which would be serviced and fueled by Government. That benefit was extended and we are looking into that. We moved away from a loan scheme to make every one drive a car as a personal car, owned by the Government, repaired and maintained by the Government, fueled by Government and so on. That is not sustainable and so, those are some of the issues we have to look at. Can we not limit those entitled to the official personal vehicles and let those we think deserve be given loans to buy their own cars so that they can themselves maintain their own cars and so on?
I have already I think mentioned the issue about CDF. We are going to give about $50 000.00 per each constituency. Life style audit is easier said than done. What it will mean is that we will introduce intrusiveness into people’s lives and this is also where corruption can take place because they will choose who to target. A lot of us are living beyond our means and we show that by having a fleet of cars, a luxurious three story building for my residence and so on but then the targeting can be very much personalized, which is something that I am aware of it. It can be used, in other words with discrimination not to everybody.
Hon. Chakona, I heard you and it is a matter that I am going to look at; the issue about indigenous shops which are not VAT registered which might have paid their VAT at the wholesalers and are now being pursued. It is a matter that I will look at and I will refer to ZIMRA so that they give me some response. I agree with you about the duplication in the telecom industry. You need to know that we took already as Cabinet a decision to consolidate. Certainly, to consolidate the fiber optic infrastructure so that we have one company that is responsible for fiber optic infrastructure but it is a process. It is undergoing and we hope that it should be concluded. I agree with you on the multiplication of data centres. I agree with you that SADC, the Research Unit can do much more but I want us all to understand that the issue about
Ministries, whether it should be about one, two or four Ministries is not the prerogative of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
Hon. Chinotimba, I think I did respond to him with respect to the bonus issue. I want to assure him and to assure civil servants that it is doable and it will do wonders to our economy overnight through creation of real jobs and I have already mentioned some of the jobs that will be created. It is called forced savings and I was carrying comparisons. I got so impressed with Ethiopia when I went to Addis Ababa. I asked my colleague there to invite me. So, I went there last week to spend a week there. I was told that they are putting up Renaissance Dam which when complete will generate 6 000 megawatts of electricity. Who is building it? They are not borrowing from anybody. The civil servants were asked to buy bonds using their 12th cheque not 13th cheque. They go and subscribe to the Infrastructure Bank, the bond which is building the Renaissance Dam. At the end of the day, if it is complete the country can sell the electricity and redeem the bond.
Those are some of the options that I am also looking at. It is capital formation which will be beneficial to the wealth creation of the country. We finished in December Tokwe-Mukorsi but we do not want to do what has happened with all our dams, whether Biriri or Osborne, gets silted after 30 years but no irrigation or anything for which it was intended. So, we need to concentrate and try to give focus on development projects which creates wealth, jobs and production.
I understand the issue about war veterans and it is an issue which that is also very dear to my heart. I know Hon. Mutseyami made a spirited contribution over this issue. I was not aware that you are a child of a war veteran. The only surprise was now how did he come to be in the opposition now. I was asking myself that question and you still need to give me the answer because he should have properly brought you up to remain in the revolutionary party.
I took the contribution by Hon. Chinotimba about macadamia nuts. You know the issue he raised, as long as you are using a middle person, you are not able to go to the ultimate market, people will short-change you and there is nothing you can do about it. You will need to build the critical mass because to be able to go to the source market it is very expensive. You need to go direct to China, travel many trips to Israel or Germany and know who is buying the macadamia nuts, and be able to promise that person to say I can supply you this quantity if you give me the order. Then be able to come back to Zimbabwe and muster and produce that quantity in order to gain access to that market. There is no other trick. If you abuse the middlemen before you have secured your own market, you will find that the macadamia inoora uinayo.
That exactly is what happened to that industry after the land reform because the markets were closed in Europe and I think they are currently still closed because they said they do not want to buy any produce from contested land. This is why you find now the middlemen here are
Chinese businesses. Ah well, Hon. Dr. Made says they are now opening up but initially they said they will not buy from contested land.
Obviously, they realised it is now irreversible and they want the product, and they find that other markets are getting the product so they have to bend over backwards to accommodate us.
Hon. Dr. Chimedza, I share with you the sentiments you mentioned about the Abuja Declaration that we should be giving 15% but I have given you the answers. It is no good for my heart when I know that we cannot hire doctors and nurses that we are training very expensively because we are unable to reduce the wage bill to accommodate the necessary personnel. We cannot make decisions on who is a priority and who are not. All we need to do generally Mr. Speaker Sir is just to agree as a country to give priority to our health and education. Once we have those priorities, we make sure that everything else may suffer but at least let us be a proud people to say in Zimbabwe education and health are excellent and so on. Just like Cuba, it has gone through hardships to a point where sometime food was a problem but everybody testifies worldwide that it has the best health and education system – [HON. MUTSEYAMI: And cigars.] – Sure.
Hon. Sibanda, I think I have already responded to issues of which Ministries, what and so forth, it is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. The responsibility of the Ministry of Finance is to find resources to fund the entirety of Government. You are quite right, our problem is production which has being going down and it is incumbent on all of us to make a contribution to production in our own small way.
I thank Hon. Chinanzvavana and agree with all that you have said about the need to give more resources to education but I have already told you the reasons why that is not so. Hon. Mahoka, I share again the sentiments with you but I just want you to understand that you need to produce more tobacco so that we can have more production and exports. From there, we should be able to have more revenue into the Exchequer. Already being a tobacco farmer, you are already creating employment for our people. If you can employ even more people the better and tobacco is unique in that it is labour intensive. So, I thank you for that.
Hon. Mahoka, you are also saying tourism is too little. The roads too little, what we have spent for agriculture is still too little. The health and police vote is too little. I agree with you but we still need to take the right measures to grow the economy so that we are able to fund all our needs which is why I agree with you. I am surprised that makorokoza are still being arrested. I am really surprised because we have long since taken a view and I hope that; maybe we need legislature. It is a matter that we all agreed that we should decriminalise the activity of artisanal miners but that is not to say, Hon. Nduna that you can pan anywhere. We need to understand each other. When we say do not pan in Angwa River, we arrest you. So, we need to have that kind of understanding. When you pan in Mazowe River and we have prohibited it, we arrest you – [HON. MAHOKA: Ndomune mari manje.] – Zvino manje ndozvinonetsa, we end up without rivers and that is a problem. So, we need to choose our priorities.
I think with respect to tollgates, the Minister of Transport is looking at how we can raise more resources to rehabilitate our roads through erection of more toll gates on those roads which do not have tollgates. There has been a debate which was started by Hon. Minister Kasukuwere that we should consider tolling on urban roads. It is a debate, but let the debate continue and we see whether or not we can conclude the issue.
Thank you Hon. Saruwaka for your support. I have already responded to the issue about the retention funds. I agree with you on sport that we need conversation on how to make our sport an industry so that it can create employment. What is on my mind is to consider incentives that we can give to private sector companies to support the development of sport. That is what is generally happening elsewhere. So, if you have any ideas on what incentives we can give to private companies who may want to build stadiums, promote sport among the youth and among all sections of the population, please come to me and we discuss.
Thank you Hon. Tshuma for your support and I have responded to the issue. The big issue is about makorokoza. I have also responded about us not hiring nurses and doctors. Hon. Sibanda, I cannot agree with you more. There are no contributions that you have made about conditions of hospitals that I do not know. Hon. Mlilo, thank you for your support. I think I have done what we could with respect to conditions of service, especially with the car loan scheme. We look at other ways to improve the conditions of service for our Hon. Members.
Hon. Sibanda, you make the point about tax incentives in our Special Economic Zones. I have already responded to the Diaspora remittanances and the incentives that we are going to give. Talking of incentives Mr. Speaker Sir, let me say that I have been discussing with my colleague the Hon. Minister of Agriculture that from this year’s crop, we want to extend the incentive scheme to cotton farmers as well. Hon. Masara, I thank you for your contribution. I have already said that the diamond sector is as good as dead. We are working on it on a daily basis to revive that sector. I hope that by the time I give my 2018 Budget, I will have a different story to tell.
I thank you Hon. Dr. Mukanduri for your support and for the comments that you have made which I share. Hon. Mutseyami, thank you very much. I think what you need to understand about uncompleted budgets it is not just at the police. The whole PSIP projects are a sorry state. The reason was that we started everywhere in order to show presence. So, we would just start to get to foundation and so on. We decided that we are going to do Tokwe-Mukorsi and we completed it but that was forced on us because of the threat on the dam wall. We had to divert resources from Gwayi-Shangani to put to Tokwe-Mukorsi because it was now threatening the dam wall.
So, this time we should focus on Gwayi-Shangani. I have been having a lot of discussions on that matter. I hope that some of the investors who have come to me, we can conclude some. The incomplete projects, I have asked for a list right across all Ministries so that we know which ones are incomplete and we can move forward thereafter.
The complaint you made about children of war veterans is well understood. I will endeavour to do whatever I can to correct that position.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me conclude. The issue of transport and roads is a national disaster exacerbated and worsened by the heavy rains that have pounded our roads. The amount necessary to rehabilitate goes into billions of dollars. I have to sit down with the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to see what we can do to come up with a financing model for the rehabilitation of our roads. It is a matter that I have already started a discussion with him both in urban and rural roads. We made some small disbursement of US$40 million to address the issue of potholes, but when I see the damage, it will not go very far. It is a drop in the ocean. So we have to look, see and come up with a financing model for our road infrastructure.
This discussion about tolling is part of that effort to see whether we can raise the necessary resources. The other issue is that you cannot talk about the condition of roads without talking about rehabilitating the railways. A lot of the heavy traffic that traverses our roads should not be on the roads, but on the railways. We cannot force those heavy loads onto the railways without first ensuring that we have rehabilitated the railways. To rehabilitate it, we are looking at US$600 to US$700 million.
We have all explored and we are open to Joint Ventures, BOTs and so on, but it is easier said than done. When the investors come and I tell them that they are free and whether they want a BOT, Joint Venture etc. We have a Joint Venture Act, which is the legal framework for that. At the end of the day, what I think we need to understand in Zimbabwe is that people do not bring their money here. We have not received equity investment in this country. Even the so called investment, when you go behind it, it is a loan. They come to Zimbabwe and form a Zimbabwean company and they go and borrow outside. That borrowing is a risk to the country. It is a country debt.
You may call it whatever investment and so on. The only difference is that the person who has formed his company here invariably from Europe or China is able to raise capital in his home country, but he brings it here as a loan. When it is a loan, you are paying the principle amount and you are paying the interest. I know of an investment – I thought it was an investment. I visited it, I toured it and then I was asking the question how much it cost, how have you financed it and then it turns out it is a loan. I further asked at what interest rate – 18%.
Now I know in Europe, in the First World, they have got negative interest rates. So, you can see that clearly, we are being taken for a ride which is why it is important for us to create the necessary environment to attract real capital which comes as equity and not a loan. As long as we keep on financing our capital, projects and our businesses through loans, we are further burdening the country as such. Mr. Speaker Sir, with these remarks, I therefore move that the motion be adopted.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill ordered to be brought in by the Minister of Finance and
FINANCE BILL [H.B. 3, 2017]
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA) present the Finance Bill
[H.B. 3, 2017]
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA), the National
Assembly adjourned at Nineteen Minutes past Eight o’clock p.m.