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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 5 JUNE 2013 VOL. 39 NO. 16
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 5th June, 2013.
The House of Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR. SPEAKER
PRIME MINISTER’S QUESTION TIME
- SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the Prime
Minister’s Question Time has been postponed to a later date to be advised.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- MADZIMURE: My question is directed to the Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion. Hon Minister can you update the House on the progress of the effectiveness of the one-stop shop for investment whether it has worked in the positive to attract more investment? If it has not, what could be the reasons for failure?
THE MINISTER OF ECONOMIC PLANNING AND
INVESTMENT PROMOTION (DR. MASHAKADA): I want to
thank the hon. member for asking this very pertinent question regarding the improvement of the investment climate in the country. I can confirm that in 2010, the Government established a one-stop investment centre whose objectives were to try and expedite investment applications and issuance of licences and investment permits.
Previously, it would take 49 days for an investor to get a license. So we tried to establish a one-stop centre so that we could reduce the turnaround time from 49 days to five working days. We managed to achieve this by putting under one roof, eight Government departments that would facilitate the processing of investment applications. These departments include the Registrar of Companies, Department of Taxes which is ZIMRA, the indigenisation desk, the Environment Management Agency and other departments that have something to do with the facilitation of investment. I can confirm that because of this arrangement, it now takes only five working days for an investor to get an investor licence whereas previously like I said, it used to take 49 days.
The challenge still lies in the sense that all these departments that I referred to, that were put under the one-stop shop centre have had the tendency to still want to refer applications to their parent ministries or to their parent departments. This defeats the whole concept of a one-stop shop centre if one is going to rivet to the head office or headquarters instead of making decisions right away. What we are working on is a law that will compel those assigned officers to process or make decisions on investment application rather than refer the applications back.
The other thing we are trying to do is to digitalise the one-stop shop centre so that all application forms offered by these departments can be uploaded electronically and that investment applications can be done from the one-stop shop centre rather than going back to the parent ministry.
- CHINYADZA: I just wanted to find out since the Minister referred to conditions of doing business, where are we, with respect to the investment climate as compared to other countries in the world?
- MASHAKADA: When it comes to the assessment of doing business in Zimbabwe, we depend on the World Bank ease of doing business surveys as well as the World Economic Forum competitiveness indices and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development indicators on the ease of doing business. I can say that when it comes to the World Bank ranking, we are still rated very poorly in terms of our ease of doing business. When it comes to World Economic Forum indices, they still rate us very poorly in terms of our ease of doing business. We are responding to those indices to make sure that we improve our doing business in Zimbabwe.
We have engaged COMESA to assist us in unlocking our investment climate and address those challenges that make us not fare very well in rankings by these international bodies. One of the key issue which was raised is the question of indigenisation. Most investors are very risk averse and they do not want 51% to be seeded. There is still a challenge when it comes to that legislation. The other area which also makes us very difficult as an investment destination is on our visa regime. Most investors consider that it takes quite long to issue visas and that hampers their free entry into the country. There are other laws, like the Environmental Management Laws which also makes it very difficult to do business. For example, EMA would say for every investment project that has been approved, they would claim 10%. That is really hurting investors because suppose an investor puts $100 million worth of investment and then you take 10%. It really, from the onset, affects his investment. We are still trying to address these challenges so that we become a friendly investment destination. If you look at other African countries, they are way ahead of us in terms FDI attraction.
Mozambique is now receiving FDI worth $2 billion annually. Zambia,
$1 billion annually, South Africa, $5 billion and Angola, $4 billion; but Zimbabwe is still around $400 million to $600 million. So, we are still lagging behind when it comes to the attraction of investment; but we have got all the resources and all the opportunities in all the sectors that we will need to tape FDI. It is our doing business culture which is inhibiting investors from doing business in Zimbabwe.
I can say, despite these difficulties, we still have got more investors coming from China. In fact, China’s FDI in Zimbabwe now stands at $600 million per annum and the trade between China and Zimbabwe now stands at a billion United States dollars. So, China over the years has become the first choice of FDI partner when it comes to investing in Zimbabwe. South Africa is also leading the perk in terms of source market of FDI but we are trying to improve the image of the country. I thank you.
- J. M. GUMBO: Mr. Speaker Sir, in the absence of the Prime Minister, I will direct my question to the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Prof. Mutambara. What are the implications on the Zimbabwe political scenario, regarding the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the elections?
THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA):
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the hon. member for that difficult question – [Laughter]-. I will try to be technical and stay at a policy level on that question.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we are a constitutional democracy with three pillars of Government, the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature. These three pillars are based on and governed by a Constitution, supplementary laws and statutes. At any point in time, it is important to have the three pillars in existence, the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. This is important for the three provide checks and balance against each other. As you know, the role of the Executive is running the country using the rule of law within the framework of the Constitution, while the Legislature - here, our role is to make laws and act as oversight to the Executive. The Judiciary has a function of interpretation of the law and resolving any disputes among parties in the country. This is the context in which I want to answer that question.
In our constitutional democracy, only our courts have the power to do the interpretation of our law. Only our courts have the mandate to resolve disputes among Zimbabweans and the final arbiter, the final court of the land is the Constitutional Court.
Now, with respect to the issue you asked me, as I said, I am going to remain very technical, it does not matter how that issue got to the Supreme Court, to the Constitutional Court. It does not matter who is in that Supreme Court or the Constitutional Court. In so far as we are concerned as a country, as a constitutional democracy, the final court in our country is the Constitutional Court. It is the final arbiter. Once the final arbiter has spoken, once the final court in the land has spoken, constitutionalism demands that we respect that judgement and we are bound by it. We must comply with its ruling. Whether we like the decision or not, as people who are creatures of constitutionalism, we are duty bound to at least respect and comply with the ruling of th constitutional court.
The issue we need to ask ourselves as Zimbabweans is as follows, given the deadline given to us by the Supreme Court of 31st July 2013, what is our charge? What is our responsibility and task? What should we do? The first task is that we must make sure that every Zimbabwean who is eligible as a voter is given an opportunity to become a voter. Every Zimbabwean who is eligible to vote must be given an opportunity to vote. That is principle number one.
Principle number two is that we must ensure that this election is free and fair before the elections, free and fair during the elections and free and fair after the elections so that we can deliver a credible and legitimate election outcome in the country. The question we ask ourselves as Zimbabweans is, given the ruling which we must abide with, which we must respect from the Constitutional Court, can we achieve the two principles that is, ensuring that every Zimbabwean who is eligible as a voter is given an opportunity to vote?
Secondly, can we ensure that we deliver a peaceful, free and fair eenvironment before the elections, during the elections and after the elections? Media reforms are part of making the elections free and fair. My answer Mr. Speaker Sir, to the daunting question; can we do all these things before 31st July, 2013 is yes and no.
I will go for the yes first. Yes, we can achieve this in two months. Yes, we can achieve this by the 31st of July but it requires us to have the political will to do the reforms. It requires us to deploy the required resources and more so that we have bonafide voter registration. We open up our media and we create an environment for credible and conducive election. Yes, we can if we work as team Zimbabwe. Yes, we can if we do not spend too much time debating a decision which we cannot correct.
By the way, by definition, the decision of the ultimate arbiter, the decision of the final court, even if it is wrong, it is uncorrectable. Mr. Speaker Sir, if the decision of the Constitutional Court is wrong, unfortunately, it is uncorrectable. So do not waste time discussing the correctness or lack of it or the decision. Let us work together as team Zimbabwe to fulfill the deadline given to us by the constitutional court by mastering the political will, by putting the resources required and by working together so that somehow, we can deliver a credible outcome which is not disputed by those who would have lost in that activity.
The debate Mr. Speaker Sir, about the correctness or lack of it of the judgement is a good exercise for scholars and intellectuals and not for litigants, who were parties to the dispute. No, we do not encourage you as litigants; we do not encourage you as parties to the dispute to be discussing the correctness or lack of it. Obviously Mr. Speaker Sir, when you go to court, you think you are correct and when the court does rule, one or two litigants would be unhappy. Obviously, the loser will feel that the ruling was wrong. So it is not advisable for parties to the dispute to be discussing the correctness or lack of it, of a constitutional court decision. That exercise is for the universities. That is for the scholars. We must now work hard as team Zimbabwe to deliver a credible election, within the confines of the decision of the final court in our land.
Remedies for the future, I am staying technical here. Remedies for the future judgments, if you are strongly offended, if you feel very strongly that the decision was wrong, you can do the following in future, not for the current decision. For other future decisions, go and change the law that you feel was poorly interpreted. Go and change the law that was not clear and led to the ‘wrong’ decision. You are the legislators; change the Constitution so that in future there are no wrong decision and wrong interpretation. Remedy number one, change the law but for now, respect the decision. Future decisions can be influenced by changing the constitution.
Second remedy, if you are in power, if you have authority to appoint, if you have influence on those who do appoint, because when you say the decision was wrong, Mr. Speaker Sir, you are implying that those nine men or seven of them are not very clever or able men and women. That is what you are implying. If that is the implication that there is lack of gravitas, lack of intellectual capacity, in the constitutional court when you do have the power or the opportunity to influence those that appoint, appoint people whom you think are cleverer. Appoint people whom you think have better intellectual aptitude. Those are your remedies for the future, not for now.
Furthermore, remedy number three. We also say to the bench, look when you are the final arbiter in a country, when you are the final court in the country, try to be as judicious as possible. Try to be as thorough as possible so that your final decision does not create acrimony. We are encouraging those on the bench to be thorough and organised to ensure that they do not create unnecessary disharmony in the country through disputable decision. These are issues for the future. Change the law, appoint different judges and the judges must exercise as much as possible their minds and be thorough so that we do not go into these arguments in future. For now, let us work together. In fact we should have started on the 31st of May, 2013 to implement and work together not discussing the correctness or lack of the judgment. We have already lost a week out of the two months we were given. Shame on us.
For foreigners, it is the last message to our friends from South Africa, SADC and AU. Please, whatever we do as Zimbabweans, our differences as parties or different views on this decision, we must not allow foreigners to desecrate and violate our national sovereignty.
Whatever your view on this contentious subject, whatever you think about the judgment, we must all defend Zimbabwe’s national sovereignty. You cannot have a foreigner saying things such as and I quote, “with or without a court ruling, we will do the following…” How dare you stick your foreign head above your hind legs and say that about our country? Respect our sovereignty and constitutional democracy.
You must say “the Constitutional Court in Zimbabwe has made a final and binding determination. We as foreigners are going to respect Zimbabwean laws and legal process and it is within the context of the Zimbabwean laws that we are going to encourage them to work on a roadmap together”. This is the language we expect from the foreign individuals and institutions. I am simply saying, yes to help from SADC, yes to help from South Africa but they must acknowledge the sovereignty of our nation and work within that context. If there is going to be any challenging of our Constitutional Court, if that was even possible, it must come from Zimbabweans, not foreigners. Foreigners must back off. So I urge SADC, the AU and South Africa to respect our national sovereignty. As Zimbabweans, let us not be petty and opportunistic. In spite of our differences, we must work together to defend our national sovereignty. None of us must allow foreigners to disrespect us.
I want to thank the member for that question and say these are trying times for the country. It is the time to try and find each other. Working together we should be able to deliver a free and fair election and ensure that eligible voters are able to participate in our elections.
- MWONZORA: I thank the Deputy Prime Minister for the answers. I just want to ask a supplementary question. Hon. Deputy Prime Minister, we now have a Constitution that makes specific provisions and I just want to cite four of those. Firstly, there must be a voter registration exercise, 30 days compulsory. Secondly, all contesting parties must have equal access to the media – [AN HON MEMBER: Which media?] – State media. Thirdly, Zimbabweans have a right to elections, free from violence. Fourth, in Chapter 11, soldiers, CIO and the police must not interfere with the election. Now the question is; is the date subservient to the constitutional provisions or are the constitutional provisions subservient to the date? Should these provisions be followed or not followed?
PROF. MUTAMBARA: I want to thank the hon. member for that question. He is in total agreement with me and I am in total agreement with him. My view is the four things you raise are very critical. They are so fundamental because they are the ones which will allow us to do the two things I outlined. Allow every Zimbabwean who is eligible as a voter to vote. Secondly, allow for a peaceful, free and fair election which will deliver a credible and legitimate election.
Those four things must be done, but guess what, my view is that those four can be done if there is political will. Those four can be done if Zimbabweans work as team Zimbabwe. Those four can be done if we deploy the resources required. Those can be done if we put Zimbabwe first and stop bickering and trading in insults on a decision which we cannot reverse.
As I am just trying to act as your conscience. I am trying to say to us as Zimbabweans, we are supposed to be masters of our own destiny on this subject. We must, in the remaining four weeks do what we have to do to deliver a free and fair election. None but ourselves will deliver this outcome. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
- CHINYADZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just wanted to follow up on the issue raised by the Deputy Prime Minister particularly with respect to the means/resources, whether Government has enough resources to ensure that the election is done by the date which he mentioned?
PROF. MUTAMBARA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am very happy that my job has been made very easy because the Minister of Resources has just arrived. So, I will not go into the details of resources but only to say that there is a thing called resourcefulness which is more important than resources. There is a thing called political will which is more important than resources. Why do we not work on our political will and deploy resourcefulness? Why do we not work on our administrative capacity, our competence, and our organisational skills? Once we have done all those things, we will then go to Finance and say here is our political will, resourcefulness and competence together with our spirit of working together, give us some cash and then cash will come. And beyond that, there is also potential support coming from SADC and also from the UNDP. All these are possible sources of financing. Let us get our act together.
However, as I said, that is a question for the Minister of Finance and he is here.
- S. NCUBE: My question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister, Prof. Mutambara. If he can enlighten the House about the voter registration vis-à-vis, whether the parties are involved in coming up with the ward centres because we are trying to avoid the situation where the ward centres were sort of biased. What action are they taking now so that we will not cry in this voter registration?
- SPEAKER: Order hon. member, that question is more
specific, I do not think the Deputy Prime Minister will be in a position to respond to that. The co-Ministers of Home Affairs are not in.
THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA):
Mr. Speaker Sir, I will speak on the general policy framework. We have taken an inclusive approach to all the things to do with our elections – all the political parties, all the relevant ministers are involved. Every Tuesday, voter registration is now a standing item on our Cabinet agenda. That shows the extent of our commitment. Of course, in terms of the details, the two Ministers of Home Affairs and the Minister of Justice will be able to answer you in detail but we are committed to an inclusive approach on the way we manage and prepare for our elections. We want to make sure that we carry everyone on board. I would want the hon. member to put the question in writing for the relevant Ministers to give a much more specific response.
- CHIMHINI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance. Minister, we are said to be a very rich country in terms of our mineral resources. Can you explain how much, in terms of contribution from the mining sector, has been given to your Ministry so that it can assist in paying all that is required for us to run either a credible election or running the ministries?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (MR. BITI): Thank you Mr.
Speaker. The contribution of mining as a whole to our coffers has left a lot to be desired in the last few years. We have not gotten any assistance for the elections and in the Referendum from mining resources. The most notorious party with omissions has been diamonds.
Mr. Speaker, diamonds exports in 2012 were US$800 million and what only came to the fiscus was US$45 million. In the first quarter of the year, that is to say, January to March of 2012, total diamond exports were US$117 million and what has come to the Treasury is zero. So, diamonds which we co-own, the difference between companies like Anjin, Mbada and Marange Resources is that we own those companies but we do not own Zimplats and we are getting absolutely nothing from diamonds. If we were to get what is due to us from diamonds in 2012, which is at least US$400 million out of US$800 million, then we ought to have been able to fund the census, the Referendum and the election.
On the election Mr. Speaker, I want to say that even though we have secured money for the intensive voter registration exercise that is defined in Schedule 6 of our Constitution and we have disbursed as
Treasury last week on Monday, a sum of $20 million to ZEC via the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs. We do not have any other resource to fund the election. I want to restate this – we do not have any other resource to fund the election.
As the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara has said, there is a lot of good will out there in funding this election but unfortunately, there is a political deficit/kwashiorkor. People are not interested in ensuring that we fund these elections and the person at the epicenter of obstructing resources in this country is the Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa.
On the issue of the United Nations (UN) Mr. Speaker, we reached an agreement. We were asked by the Principals to write a letter to the UN. It is Zimbabwe which requested money from the UN and we wrote a letter on the 14th February, 2013. The UN at that stage put conditions and their conditions were not abnormal. They were simply saying, show us that if we give you money, the money will not go to waste through an unsustainable, illegitimate, violent ridden election. But, be that as it may, Mr. Speaker, Minister Chinamasa and I met on the 14th of April, 2013 and agreed that, to define terms of reference for the UN team and we said they can come into Zimbabwe and we will discuss the issue of election financing and the budget, not the terms of references that they defined in their letter of the 17th of February, 2013.
We also agreed on the persons that they were going to come and see namely, the Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance, Co-Ministers of Home Affairs, Minister of Regional Integration, Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, Registrar General, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister
Prof. Mutambara, Chief Secretary to Cabinet, the Ambassadors from the Fish Mongers, and Ambassadors from SADC region. Notwithstanding that agreement, it has been made clear to the UN that if they come here, they will be arrested which is not on - because we reached an agreement in black and white.
People are frustrating the capacity of Zimbabwe to raise money because the UN and its member states are ready and willing to support the election. SADC too is willing to support the election but no one is prepared to finance a process that is not going to work. No one is going to put their tax payers’ money in a hole if there are no reforms. The bottom line is that we have no money for the elections but there is goodwill from the international community. We have to show and demonstrate the goodwill and political will that the Deputy Prime Minister, Prof. Mutambara has talked about which unfortunately is not there.
- KARENYI: I would like the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon
Khupe to enlighten this House about the issue of maternity user fees and I understand some of the hospitals are still charging maternity fees. I understand that the Government’s policy is that women are supposed to go and access it for free.
THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (MS. KHUPE): This is a
very important question and first of all, I would like to give a background to it. Out of every 100 000 live births, 960 women die which translates to 15 women dying every day when they give life. We are saying this is unacceptable. Women are giving life to people like you sitting in this House. Therefore, they cannot be punished for giving life. This is the reason why we advocated for free maternity when women go to give birth. They are not supposed to pay a single cent.
I would like to inform this august House that Government’s policy as we speak right now is that women must not pay a cent when they go to give birth. That is Government’s policy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our development partners for putting money into the Health Transition Fund. I would like to thank the Government because it also contributed something into the Health Transition Fund so that women do not pay a cent when they go to give birth.
However, what I would like to say is that there are logistical problems on how this money is supposed to be disbursed. What I can say is that, I would request the hon. member to put the question in writing so that the minister can come in with a correct answer on what is stopping Government or the Ministry of Health to make sure that those resources are disbursed to clinics and hospitals. The bottom line is that women should not pay a single cent when they go to give birth.
- J. M. GUMBO: Can something be done urgently to make
sure that the policy is made known to hospitals. Just yesterday, I had two women coming into my office with papers that their household goods were being removed by Harare Hospital. I have the papers that they must go and pay some $120.00, failure which their property will be removed.
Can something be done because if we have to write questions we do not know what might happen, maybe next week we might not be there? It can be too late and women will still continue giving birth. The policy is a good one but can something be done in the meantime.
THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (MS. KHUPE): I am happy
because the Minister of Finance is here. I think he is going to do something about it. I hear you and I thank you very much. As soon as I leave this House I am going to talk to the Minister of Health to make sure that they address this issue as soon as possible. We are definitely going to do something about it.
- CHIMBETETE: Now that we have passed the Constitution into law, what is Government’s position regarding security forces who
do not respect the leaders after an election?
THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA):
To address the question by the hon. member, the most important thing to do is to make sure that we understand what we have in the new Constitution and then respect that Constitution. The Constitution is very clear on the security sector that they must be above party - that they must serve civilian authority. The starting point is to ensure that there is civic education amongst Zimbabweans, security forces and people so that the input and the message from the Constitution is understood because we have tried in that Constitution to address this subject.
The challenge now is on execution and implementation. While we have a good document, we do not walk the talk. That is why I am emphasising the subject of constitutionalism; the behaviour, the tradition, the culture of respecting the Constitution. If our security forces, if our people respect the document we have adopted, that problem will be half solved. Whatever is outstanding and not addressed in the constitution, we can then proceed by way of security sector realignment and other laws or statutes to ensure that our security sector in Zimbabwe is supportive of democracy – and that our security sector in Zimbabwe does not subvert the people’s will.
Remember the objective is to ensure that there is freeness and fairness before the elections, freeness and fairness during the election, freeness and fairness of the counting, freeness and fairness after the elections. Our security forces, soldiers, police and CIO must not work against the interest of the people. They must work for the people and I think we have made an effort in the Constitution to address that matter. If there are outstanding matters, we can then proceed by way of other changes and reforms and may I thank the hon. member for that question that he has given.
MRS. MATAMISA: My question is directed to the Minister of
Health and Child Welfare. Minister, as a matter of policy, what is Government position with regards to the assistance of cancer patients, if there is any?
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE:
(DR. MADZORERA): I want to thank the hon. member for asking about cancer which is a very big problem in Zimbabwe. At the moment we have serious constraints in terms of cancer treatment. We have just started revitalising our cancer treatment institutions at Parirenyatwa Hospital and Mpilo Central Hospital. The state over the last ten years has not been good. We are just in the process of installing new equipment at Parirenyatwa Hospital and Mpilo Central Hospital. In other words, it has not been possible to assist cancer patients. Many patients have been going out of the country for radio therapy and chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is extremely expensive and Government is struggling. As
Cabinet we are trying to find sources of funds to make cancer treatment free in Zimbabwe. We have realised that the expense is far beyond what ordinary members of the society can afford. So, it is work in progress.
We are looking at innovative financing mechanisms for cancer, but remember that at this stage, we are still struggling to provide the ordinary routine day to day care for our patients. I want to thank all those donors and partners who are assisting us in the procurement of medicines for day to day conditions like malaria, HIV/AIDS and so forth. So we are still a long way from being independent and doing what we as Government, have purpose to do, which is to ensure that cancer patients and other patients with chronic diseases like renal failure are treated free because these conditions are extremely expensive for the individual members of society. So it is work in progress. I thank you.
- MUDARIKWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. I want to find out from him whether there is a change this year, when we deliver maize to GMB, is there a time lag whereby if we deliver our maize today, then we get our money tomorrow, next week, next month or next year?
Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION
AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (DR. MADE): Thank you
Mr. Speaker. There are two things that are going to happen this year. First of all, it is the introduction of the commodity exchange for the agriculture commodities. We are in the process of setting that up. The agriculture commodity exchange is coming into play. The second aspect is that GMB will also be a buyer along with other buyers. I hope that they will be having resources to do that but at least the farmers will be able to make a choice in terms of the agriculture commodity exchange. I think that is all I can say at the moment.
- ZHANDA: Can the Minister of Agriculture enlighten us, in view of the fact that all the grains and commodities will be traded on that exchange? Can the Minister enlighten us on the current position of wheat?
- MADE: I responded to a similar question some three weeks ago. Certainly, the wheat farmers have got to depend on their bags. I made it clear that Government is constrained this year to support farmers in wheat. Thank you.
- ZHANDA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I must thank the Minister for that answer. My follow-up question is, what is the policy in place now in order to make sure that wheat is grown locally since Government can no longer fund the growing of wheat?
- MADE: Without dialoging with the hon. member, I have made reference to the fact that banks have got to support the farmers. We have been trying to see what we can do in terms of the wheat users, for example, the millers and other traders of wheat particularly the aspect of getting them to support wheat instead of being dependent on import permits. That is work in progress and the hon. member is privy to some of the discussions that we have been having because he has also been contributing to that debate. I think we should continue on that but whatever instruments we come up with, they must be well considered and well debated and discussed. Otherwise the position is that we should try to get farmers supported by those that use wheat products. Thank you.
- TACHIONA: My question is directed to the Minister of
Agriculture. What is the correct position regarding the ban or importation of maize meal or grain?
- MADE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. There is no ban on the importation of anything.
- GWIYO: My question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister Prof. Mutambara. Can you please update this House with regards to progress at Chisumbanje? Also enlighten the House with regards to drinking water in Zimbabwe? What is the position of the Executive?
THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA):
Mr. Speaker Sir, I think the question on drinking water is better addressed by the Ministry of Water and also the Ministry of Local
Government. On Chisumbanje, without pre-empting our work, I have to say to this House that the Cabinet of Zimbabwe has worked with the developer. They have come up with an agreement after serious negotiations and a final position from Government has been obtained. As of now, the investor has not signed on. We are getting exasperated as a Government because what we have done is to try to reach out, look after the national interest, look at the interests of the community and look at the interest of the investor. We have thoroughly engaged the investor. Now, we have an agreement and what is holding us back is the investor, Green Fuels. They have not signed and we are quickly approaching a point where we are going to say to them, shape up or ship out. The agreement is there on the table and the investor is refusing to sign. This is completely unacceptable.
We have finalised a position and there are no more negotiations. We are simply waiting for a signature from the investor. I will end there to encourage the investor to come through but we are not going to wait forever. It is going to be shape-up or ship-out to the investor. We have a country to run, an economy to develop and a community in Chisumbanje to protect.
Questions without notice were suspended by MR SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 34.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
MAINTENANCE WORK ON LOWER GWERU-CROSSROAD
- MR MADUBEKO asked the Minister of Transport and
Infrastructural Development to inform the House on when the Ministry intends to carry out maintenance work on Lower Gweru-Crossroads road.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (SENATOR
KOMICHI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The Ministry is ceased with the challenge that we have on the roads outside the main highway. The road that has been referred to is actually on our programme this year. As soon as we get money from the Treasury, work will just commence.
We have started a bit of some work on the road in the previous years. The road is actually made up of three sections; there is a section from 5.1 to 49.6 which is surfaced. There is a section from 4.96 to 87.6 which is gravel road and a section from 87.6 to 96.1 which is an earth road. We would like to make sure that this road is gravelled. Due to limited funding we will be able to do just grading. So, there is a programme that is there, we are waiting for the money, when the money comes, we will do the work on the road that you have raised.
AVAILABILITY OF ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY DRUGS
- MR CHIMHINI asked the Minister of Health and Child
Welfare to inform the House regarding
- the availability of Antiretroviral Therapy Drugs for adults and pediatrics in the country specifying for how many days, weeks and months people on Antiretroviral Therapy can access the drugs;
- the drug stock status for Stavudine and Tenofovir, giving stock levels in days, weeks or months for each regimen, in view of the decision by the Ministry to transit from Stavudine to Tenofovir;
- the distribution status of the above drugs by regimen, for adult and pediatric patients to Provinces, Districts and other Health facilities;
- what practical steps are being taken by Government to ensure that no patients on Antiretroviral Therapy will fail to get the life saving drugs.
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE (DR
MADZORERA): I would like to thank the hon. member for asking this question. On how much therapy we have in terms of days, weeks and months for people on Antiretroviral Therapy, drug stocks are very dynamic, they change every day but we have enough stocks. I would like to confirm for this year and for the next year and up to 2015. By that, I mean we have enough money and enough current stocks to manage everybody on Antiretrovirals at the moment.
If I may read out to you what we have right now. We have at hand for Tenofovir/Lamivudine and Nevirapine regimen seven months of stock. For the Stavudien/Lamivudine/Nevarapine regimen, we have 26 months of stock. For the pediatric ARVs, we have eleven months of stock at hand. Our problem at some instances is running through the stock in good time before they expire because these drugs expire. So, we are currently finding ways of disposing some of our antiretroviral stocks for pediatric patients because we actually know that we will not finish these stocks before they expire. So, what we do in such instances is to collaborate with neighbouring countries who want these stocks and we give them or exchange as we have always done.
Secondly, the hon. Member would like to know drug stocks for Stavudine and Tenofovir. I think I have already answered this. We have adequate stocks for all the antiretroviral. What we are doing at the moment is we are transitioning from the Stavudine based regiments to the Tenofovir based regiments and we are doing it slowly. We are not going to suddenly wake up with everybody on Tenofovir but we will change anybody who reacts to Stavudine or who develops other chronic side effects.
At the moment, 65% of our adults are on the Tenofovir based regiment and 33% are on the Stavudine based regiment. The transition is very slow. We will continue to use Stavudine until we have used all the stocks of Stavudine that we have and then we will transition everybody to Tenofovir. We are not going to throw away good drugs because we have just changed a policy except of course for those who react.
In terms of distribution status of the drugs for adults and children in the districts, we pushed these drugs to the institutions. The National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe carries out the distributions and every two months they take drugs to the districts. We have always ensured that we have a minimum of five months’ supply of medicines.
Storage of these drugs is decentralised. We have provincial drug stores. In terms of ensuring that our antiretroviral programme does not suffer any setbacks particularly from financial hardships, I am pleased to advise that we have enough money to run the antiretroviral programme until 2015. We have enough arrangements with the Global Fund and we also have our National Aids Council which is contributing to antiretroviral therapy. A lot of our drugs are donor funded and I was going to implore the Minister of Finance to ensure that we, as a country also chip in from the budget beyond what the National Aids Trust Funds is doing. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HIRING OF PRIVATE CONTRACTORS TO DO
- MR MUSHONGA asked the Minister of Public Works – (a) what the policy of the ministry is in hiring private contractors to do
- who is financing the intelligence school being built along the
Harare – Mazowe – Glendale Highway on the 10km peg;
- who is undertaking the construction work at this school of intelligence and;
- how much the Government is going to spend on this project.
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS (MR. GABUZZA):
Mr. Speaker, with your leave, that is a straight forward question and it has a one word answer. The policy of the ministry is very clear. When we are hiring private contractors, we have to do it through the State Procurement Board and they are given jobs depending on their level of capacity. Those that are able to do complex jobs, we are able to give them bigger jobs and it is the same for those who cannot do complex jobs who we give smaller jobs. Otherwise all the contracting of contractors is done through an objective means by the State Procurement Board.
Secondly, it is the Government that is financing the intelligence school being built along the Harare – Mazowe – Glendale Highway on the 10km peg. It is Government, through the Ministry of Public Works. So the Ministry of Finance is giving us money to put up that school.
Thirdly, this is a direct labour job where we hire our artisans from the private sector but basically, it is the Ministry of Public Works doing the construction. We have no private contractor on site and as of when, we have run out of specific skill, we then hire in those private artisans but they are paid directly and supervised under the Ministry of Public Works.
Lastly, when you are calculating financing of projects, you may not come up with a specific figure but the baseline figure is anywhere in the region of US$21 million. There is what we normally call variation orders depending on various things that we might notice on site. The cost may vary if say, for example, suddenly the cost of bricks increases from wherever we get them. The figure may go slightly higher than what was initially planned but Government is funding it in phases. It is not an amount that has been given to the ministry. So annually, we get some trenches of about US$5 million, US$5 million depending on the availability of resources. Thank you.
POLICY REGARDING RECRUITMENT OF NURSES
- MR MUSHONGA asked the Minister of Health and Child Welfare – (a) whether it is the Ministry’s policy to recruit nurses at
Provincial Governor’s offices and District Administrator’s Offices as happened on Monday, 18th February, 2013, at Bindura’s Governor’s
- Whether it is the Ministry’s policy to indulge in partisan political recruitment of new nurses as is being done in Mahonaland
Central by the Privincial Governor;
- why the Ministry does not advertise nursing vacancies in the public press as opposed to using ZANU PF’s party structures as is being done in Mashonaland Central.
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE
(DR. MADZORERA): First of all, as to whether it is the Ministry’s policy to recruit nurses at Provincial Governor’s offices and District
Offices as happened on that particular day in Bindura, I do not know. What I can answer is that, as a matter of policy, we do not recruit nurses through the office of the Governor. The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare does its own recruiting through the schools of nursing and through Head Office. I am not exonerating the Governor in any way but this is a matter that we could look into and find out if actually something outside the policies of the ministry took place. Again, it is not our policy to use any political party for recruitment of new nurses. So it is not our policy to indulge in partisan politics in the recruitment of nurses.
Also, when deploying nurses we do not use party political structures. When nurses complete their training, they indicate the places where they wish to be deployed. The lists are sent to the Nursing
Directorate of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare. The Nursing Directorate identifies institutions where vacancies are available and deploys the nurses.
In terms of advertising for nursing vacancies, we do advertise in the public media in the newspapers. We do not advertise through ZANU PF party structures. Once again, we will look into this Madam Speaker to see whether this incident actually happened. May be, the hon. member will be aware that when we got a little relief from Treasury and we are allowed to employ up to 2000 nurses over the last six months or so, we actually did advertise in the public media and told would be workers to go back to their schools of nursing where they trained and register there so that we can be able us to recruit them and that process, is taking place quite reasonably. I thank you Madam Speaker.
- CHEBUNDO: My follow up question Madam Speaker is for the Minister to inform us whether they are now geared as a Ministry to absorb all the graduate nurses who are not employed; whether they are still pursuing the issue of exporting nurses as a policy; and whether that is rational in his view?
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE
(DR. MADZORERA): Thank you Madam Speaker. The Ministry of
Health and Child Welfare is very well able to absorb all the nurses on the market and all the nurses who are going to train over the next two years or so. Our constraint is not vacancies within the hospitals and clinics, but our constraint is the employment freeze from Treasury. If Treasury today says, employ another 5 thousand nurses, we have got places for them within our institutions because there are people who died, who retired and so forth. So, I think that question should be referred to the Minister of Finance.
In terms of our attempt to “export” nurses, I will put export in quotes because we want to call it some form of human resources for health cooperation with other countries. This is not something unique to Zimbabwe, many countries are doing it. It is a way of helping each other, particularly in the SADC region, we have a key endowment in Zimbabwe which some may not know. Our ability and capacity to train workers is far above the capacity of many countries in the region and we are currently helping them. Some bring their doctors here for training; others bring nurses and so forth. We are already doing it. We have 40 students every year from Lesotho, for example, being trained at the medical school here in Harare.
So, we want to expand that in line with what we call the code of ethical recruitment of health personnel which we adopted at the World Health Assembly, three years ago. That allows us to cooperate with other countries as a way of dealing with brain drain and senseless loss of human resources from the country without any form of compensation.
Health workers will always go outside of the country but what we want is some return from all the training that we do for our health workers. This arrangement will allow us as a country to get something and train more health workers.
- CHIMHINI: My follow up question is, does the freeze also cater for the PCN?
- MADZORERA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The freeze is for everybody, from the general hand to the most highly qualified surgeon in the country. There is no one exempt. So, we cannot employ a general hand, a PCN, an RGN or a physiotherapist without treasury concurrence.
CRITERIA USED IN THE SELECTION OF THE
INDEGENISATION PROGRAMME AND LIST OF ALL
- MR. GARADHI asked the Minister of Indigenisation and Empowerment to state to the House the criteria used to select beneficiaries of the indigenisation programme and provide a list of all beneficiaries.
THE MINISTER OF INDIGENISATION AND
EMPOWERMENT (MR. KASUKUWERE): Thank you Madam
Speaker. This is the opportunity I have been waiting for. Madam
Speaker, allow me to give the background to the entire Indigenisation, Economic and Empowerment Programme, what we seek to achieve and
then I will go into the criteria, the beneficiaries and so forth.
This programme was conceived by the Government after being discussed in this Parliament in 2007. The objective was to ensure that we build an economy which is driven and for the benefit of the majority of Zimbabweans. In so doing, Madam Speaker, it was seen within the wisdom of Parliament to ensure that 51 percent of our entities, companies, mines and so forth are controlled by the majority
Zimbabweans. It is to ensure as well that we democratize the ownership of our resources. The majority of our people must benefit from these God-given resources, be it the mineral resource, be it our natural resources and so forth.
Further to that, it was also seen necessary that in the same breath, as we talk of indigenisation, we must ensure that we craft empowerment programmes that will uplift the standards of living for our people. That will ensure that the majority of our people become involved in the economy; that will help us build the economy owned by and for the majority Zimbabweans. In so doing Madam Speaker, the empowerment agenda seeks to ensure that we bring down barriers of entry. We make it easy to train our people to participate in the economy, we also make it easy for our people to access resources and we create the necessary opportunities for us to build an economy that is in the hands of majority Zimbabweans.
Pursuant to that, the Indigenization, Economic and Empowerment Programme, with specific regard on the question posed by Hon. Garadhi, has been to ask the Minister to state to the House the criteria used to select the beneficiaries of the indigenisation programme. Madam Speaker, as we implemented this law and the policy, we said, when it comes to the mineral resources of this country; the communities, the employees and the country at large must benefit from these God-given resources; to the extent that we have formed 59 community share ownership schemes across the country. We have also set up employee ownership schemes across the country in all districts where there are mining entities.
Further, the National Indigenisation and Economic Fund shall act as our national sovereign fund which will house on behalf of the majority Zimbabweans the greater part of the shareholding. To that extent, a number of communities across the country have already benefited. Like I am talking about 59, I can give you from the statistics point of view; over a $100 million has been committed in pledges and commitments by the various companies and entities.
To date, over US$24, 5 million has been used in the construction of necessary infrastructure in all our communities across the country. As an example, Madam Speaker, 20 schools are under construction, as I speak to you right now in the Mhondoro District as part of the ZimPlats/Mhondoro/Ngezi/Zvimba Community Share Ownership Scheme.
Further to that, in Matabeleland South, the Gwanda community has just completed the building of about three hospitals and rehabilitation of their irrigation schemes. Once again, this is because of the community empowerment programmes.
Madam Speaker, in the Zvishavane community, I am sure the hon. member from Zvishavane, Hon. Matshalaga, my dear brother can confirm that several schools have been built. Where children had no schools, these have been provided for. Hospitals have been built –
[HON. MEMBER: Arikuramba Matshalaga] – THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order.
THE MINISTER OF INDIGENISATION AND
EMPOWERMENT: Madam Speaker, we have also seen communities
acquire the necessary equipment like borehole drilling equipment. I want to congratulate the communities in the Shurugwi area, the
Tongogara Community Scheme, we purchased one of the state of the art borehole drilling machines. This is benefitting the entire community.
Not only them, we also want to congratulate the Gwanda Community Trust which has gone on to acquire their own necessary borehole drilling machine. You will all agree with me that Matabeleland South is a drought prone region which will require that, of necessity water is proved to our communities. This has being done because of the indigenization programme.
Further to that, even in the Bindura community, boreholes are being drilled, schools built because of these funds. In the Ngezi community, I want to congratulate those two communities who have been able to buy their own motorised graders to ensure that the roads and the necessary infrastructure are maintained through the empowerment programme. The list of beneficiaries comprised of all the people who live in these areas.
Secondly, we are now just at the verge of completion of the Mashonaland East Community Trust that will also ensure that the communities in Mashonaland East province, do benefit and can start benefitting from their resources in the construction of the necessary equipment, necessary infrastructure, buy the necessary equipment and move the process of development further.
Madam Speaker, the second set of beneficiaries are the workers of this great country. We have seen the empowerment of workers at Schweppes. Over 30% shareholding has passed hands into the workers at Schweppes. We have registered a number of worker employee schemes across the country and we are pleased with the support the workers are giving to these initiatives. We are seeing already some of these companies and the workers’ ownership schemes going out there to build necessary housing units that will house the workers.
Secondly, with regards to Zimplats, Unki, Mimosa and all the other companies where we are carrying out our programmes, workers are entitled to a shareholding that will ensure that at the end of their service, workers are not left poor. You will agree with me that our workers are the greatest asset that our nation has. They work underground for years under very difficult conditions and for the first time as Government, we have recognised our workers, hence the empowerment of the workers.
BAT for instance, has just completed a process where the workers have been empowered to the extent of 10%. Workers at BAT now are proud shareholders of their own companies and many of the entities. At Old Mutual, workers are now shareholders to the extent of 10%. Of course, Madam Speaker, we have come across some of the challenges of individuals who want to sabotage the programme but the programme will not fail. I am saying so because we should have completed the empowerment of the workers at Barclays Bank, Standard Bank and et cetera. This afternoon I authorised the setting up of the Barclays Bank Share Ownership Scheme that will allow the employees at Barclays to become proud shareholders to the extent of 10% in the bank. What this does Madam Speaker, is substantially changing the circumstances of the majority of our people.
Apart from that Madam Speaker, I have talked about the structures that we have come up with in the financial service sector. I have talked about the empowerment that we are carrying out for the workers in the mining sector and across industry, Meikles empowerment scheme and et cetera. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection] – That is one of the beneficiaries of the indigenisation. – [MR. MUSHONGA: Was that indigenization?] –
Madam Speaker – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Tauraka] – through the indigenisation programme, we have further gone to ensure that the youths in the various areas and communities where the empowerment programmes are taking place, the young people become beneficiaries. I will talk about the young people in the Nyanga community who are now benefitting from this programme. We supported the young people to the tune of $250 000 and we are pleased as a Ministry to inform this honourable House that now, over 1 000 of our young people are engaged in productive production of potatoes in the eastern region of our country of Manicaland, Nyanga in particular.
Further to that Madam Speaker, US$10 million was made available through the empowerment initiatives at CABS. This programme, I will be able to give you all the names because I have about 6 000 names of the young people who have benefitted from the programme, I am sure. I will ask the colleagues to bear with me as I give you the 6 000 names – [AN HON. MEMBER: Aah!] – That was the question. The question wants me to answer and give the names of all the beneficiaries and I have got over 6 000. I want to be able to read one by one so that there is no doubt:
1.Rabson Mangwende, Mashonaland East Province, benefitted to the extent of US$3 000;
Madam Speaker, what I think I will do is to leave the details with the officials [list of names not supplied] but I am pleased to say, with the CABS facility, over US$4,7 million has now been disbursed across the country to our young people. On that facility, close to about US$5 million is still available for us to continue empowering our young people. Admittedly, there have been challenges, bureaucratic ones but those we are overcoming. I am pleased to say the quality of the programmes and projects that our young people are coming up with are very encouraging.
Secondly, through this same agreement and arrangement, with Stanbic Bank we were able to structure a transaction with them to the tune of US$20 million and to date over US$5,3 million has been made available and our young people have accessed these resources. There is about US$14,7 million to go. The same also goes for our facility with CBZ where over US$2 million has been made available to our young people across the country. Consequently, in all these facilities, over
5 000 jobs have been created and we are pleased to say that our young people are getting to grips with the responsibility of taking part in running their own economy.
I want to say in conclusion, that as we empower the young people of this country, we are also aware that our women and the disabled must be and should be part and parcel of these structures. To that extent, in the BAT Empowerment Trust, it is going to be benefitting the women and the youth of this country. This speaks to almost about US$14 million worth of stocks that will now be in the hands of our women and the young people. We believe all these will go a long way in uplifting and ensuring that the majority of our people become beneficiaries and are involved in the economy.
Apart from that, Madam Speaker, a special arrangement has been made for the disabled members of our community through an advisory community chaired by one of our young people Mabhaudhi, who has been working very closely with us to structure a disabled facility to support young people in this sector. Apart from that, we believe in general and in total that the empowerment programme is uplifting the spirits of many of our people. It is a programme that will intensify after the elections. It is a programme that will ensure that Zimbabweans take full ownership of their resources.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased also to say entities and companies in this country have realised that there is no way out other than to join the State and ensure that we empower the people of Zimbabwe. What I want to disabuse colleagues in this room from is to undermine a process that will lead to the upliftment of the majority of our people. We must be well aware that there is majority who must benefit from the laws that this country embarks upon. Madam Speaker, on that note I want to thank you very much.
- MUSHONGA: Follow up question Madam Speaker. May
the minister advise this House whether the Brain Works Consultancy which he engaged in his indigenisation enterprises was awarded to him by the State Procurement Board, Tender Board or they are his colleagues? Why did he resist enquiries from the Anti-Corruption Commission when they visited Brain Works? Is the minister hiding a skeleton in his wardrobe?
- KASUKUWERE: When a lawyer talks about hiding
skeletons, I do not understand which university he attended but let me answer. First and foremost, the board has a responsibility of advising Government and they are the ones authorised to sit and ensure that they have a consultancy that works with us and that will ultimately advise the minister. So, that is to do with the Brain Works.
Secondly Madam Speaker, with regards to the Anti-Corruption
Commission, nobody ran away from the Anti-Corruption Commission. If they did come with defective documentation and they have dirty hands, Madam Speaker, our programme is available for scrutiny by anybody.
But, what we will also not entertain is when it is carried out in a manner to try and destabilise the whole agenda, and when it is carried out because individuals want to satisfy their ambitions. We will not allow for the derailment of the national programmes Madam Speaker, to the extent that the Anti-Corruption Commission is still free to come and discuss. But, what we will also not allow is for them to corruptly obtain search warrants. What we will not allow for is that they are allowed to break the laws of this land. No, they must follow the laws like anybody else. Thank you very much Madam Speaker.
- MATSHALAGA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker.
May I take this opportunity to congratulate the Hon. Minister of
Indigenisation for a very comprehensive presentation?
My question is, Hon. Minister, you have pointed out that the youths are engaged in all sorts of business activities, is it possible to inform this House examples of areas in which the youths are involved in? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT,
INDIGENISATION AND EMPOWERMENT (MR.
KASUKUWERE): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank Hon.
Matshalaga for a very good question that he has raised and posed to me. Apart from the entrepreneurial programmes that my ministry is running, we are also carrying out a lot of campaigns around the vocational training programmes. We ensure that young people are given the necessary skills to better themselves and participate in the economy to the extent that the TREE programme, the training for rural and economic empowerment Programme has taken off with the support of our cooperating partners. We have spread this programme to over six provinces to date and young people are being given the necessary skills for them to subsist and look after themselves.
We are pleased in that our young people are showing lots of enthusiasm and it is necessary that we create a base of young people who can be relied upon, a decade from now to run our economy.
Apart from that Madam Speaker, we are also empowering our young people on issues to do with their health, HIV and so on because we believe that a healthy mind and a healthy body are good for the country. These are some of the centres that we believe, as we empower our young people entrepreneurially, we must also look after our young people in terms of their skills and in terms of their health. Thank you Madam Speaker.
- ZHUWAO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to ask
the minister to clarify the conflicting policy positions that seem to be coming from the leader of the opposition, Hon. Tsvangirai that the indigenisation policy will be reversed?
- CHITANDO: On a point of order Madam Speaker. The
hon. member seems to say that we have an opposition in here and as far as I understand, we do not have any opposition political party in this House. The second thing is that he knows correctly that his relative was clearly defeated in an election by ….
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. member, what is your point of
- CHITANDO: My point of order is that we do not have an opposition party in this House.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Zhuwao, can you withdraw
- ZHUWAO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will rephrase my
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Zhuwao, can you kindly
withdraw what you said about the opposition?
- ZHUWAO: I withdraw Madam Speaker. My question is to
the minister, can he clarify the conflicting message that is coming from the Hon. Prime Minister, that indigenisation will be reversed?
THE MINISTER OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT,
INDIGENISATION AND EMPOWERMENT (MR.
KASUKUWERE): Thank you Madam Speaker and I want to thank the hon. member for his question. It could be a question of people indicating left and turning right.
Madam Speaker, there is a Government policy position to ensure that the people of this country are empowered. There was a Parliament of this country which sat down to debate and passed the Empowerment Bill. After that, it was signed into law by His Excellency.
- MUNENGAMI: I think the Hon. Minister is answering a
question which is not directed to him. He is not the Prime Minister and that question should have been directed to the Prime Minister of this country. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order hon. member, I think the
minister has a right to answer that question since it is directed to his ministry.
- KASUKUWERE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker
for your wisdom. I indicated earlier on that some of the conflicting policy positions arise because some individuals indicate left and turn right.
Secondly, it might be a difficulty in facing up to reality and advising bankers who might be white or so, that the country has taken a different position. What I can say Madam Speaker is that this policy will not be reversed. This is the national policy, this is the Government policy and this is what we are pursuing. We intend to ensure that the people of this country do benefit from the resources of this nation.
Further to that Madam Speaker, with specific regards to the question posed by my colleague. I am sure it might be a question of two messages for different audiences. When we are in Cabinet with our colleagues, we agree but at night depending on who they will be meeting they disagree.
I do not take seriously the view by the MDC-T, our partners in Government that at night they behave as opposition party and during the day, they behave as ruling party.
- MAVHIMA: I need to find out from the minister, how many
of those have defaulted, if any, and what measures are in place to avoid defaults in future so that this fund can become revolving?
- KASUKUWERE: I would like to thank the question by Hon. Mavhima and provide the following statistics. With regards to the CABS facility, to date we have had about 52% defaults and we are aware of why many of our young people have been defaulting.
I am giving the statistics and if the hon. member across the table feels it is benefiting only ZANU PF nothing stops them from asking their young people to join ZANU PF. With regards to their defaults, it is as a result of young people requiring necessary skills. We are now going through a process of continuous training to upgrade our young people’s capacity to run businesses.
Secondly, with regards to the CBZ facility – that facility has performed to an extent very well, about 45% defaults. We are aware that we must continue mentoring our young people, sitting down with them and ensuring that they pay back the loans. This kind of spirit and attitude – I am sure if we continue insisting on our young people they will be better businessmen. Notwithstanding that, it is an accepted fact that in any business venture that is run, there will certainly be some failures. I am not very disappointed at this point with our young people. I think with the right support and training we will be able to get there.
RECRUITMENT OF SOLDIERS BY ZNA
- MR. GARADHI asked the Minister of Defence to explain and justify why the Zimbabwe National Army keeps on recruiting and training soldiers when the fiscus is under performing?
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (MR MNANGAGWA):
Thank you very much for according me the opportunity to respond to
Hon. Garadhi’s question. Mr Speaker Sir, Sections 211 and 212 of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe state that for the purpose of defending Zimbabwe, there shall be Defence Forces consisting of an Army, Air Force and such other branches, if any, of the Defence Forces as may be provided for by or under an Act of Parliament. The existence of the Defence Forces is therefore a constitutional requirement.
The current authorised strength is 40 000 members and currently we stand at only 36 000, falling short by 4 000. Presently, the filled posts are well below the authorised strength. As such, the current engagements are not massive or over recruitment. I also wish to remind Hon. Members that due to deaths and retirements, among other factors, the force’s strength continues to dwindle and we need to replace the retired and dead members by recruiting new members into the system.
More importantly, it should be borne in mind that the majority of the members who founded the ZNA were former freedom fighters who, since 1980, have attained the retirement age. The youngest of such members at Independence was 18 years of age and 33 years down the line, those members are now 51 years old and have to retire according to the regulations.
Any pause in replacing members wasted through retirement, resignations, deaths, court martial dismissals and other causes, creates shortfalls which take time to fill thereby affecting the strength of the ZDF and its effectiveness. The ZDF therefore needs to continuously recruit as part of the replacement process.
For Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) to achieve total defence of the nation and uphold its constitutional mandate, it must always be ready to respond to any threats at any time in the correct strength and correct level of training. It is important to note that security goes beyond physical protection but it also covers other pillars like human, environment, economic and political aspects of national security in order to fulfill the purpose of defending the nation.
Training of the ZDF members is a process and not an event. It takes six months to train a general duty soldier and eighteen months to train an officer cadet. Because of the length of these training cycles, any gaps in terms of recruitment creates lapses in national security.
The ZDF consists of different ranks and the duties of these ranks are commensurate to certain age groups for efficiency. For example, a private soldier must be in a certain age group (18 – 25 years of age) to effectively perform expected duties. As such, there is need for continuous injection of new blood.
Military threats should be understood in the context of an escalation of all other threats. The Defence Forces therefore are the ultimate insurer/guarantors to the survival of any nation. Its existence and preparedness is therefore critical whether or not the economy is performing well. It must also be remembered that for the economy to perform, there is need for peace and stability in the country.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE: I
move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 17 be stood down until
Order of the Day, Number 18 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION
FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON TOBACCO CONTROL
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE
(DR. MADZORERA): I move the motion standing in my name:
THAT WHEREAS, Subsection (1) of Section 111B of the Constitution provided that any Convention, Treaty or Agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more Foreign States or Governments or
International Organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS the World Health Organisation Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) was opened for signature on 16 June to 22 June 2003 in Geneva and from 29 June, 2003 to 28
June in New York;
AND WHEREAS the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the aforementioned Convention, and is desirous of becoming a party to the Convention;
AND WHEREAS Article 35 of the World Health Organisation
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control provides for the deposition of instruments of ratification or accession with the depository;
NOW THEREFORE in terms of Subsection (1) of Section 111B of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Convention be and is hereby approved for accession.
Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death. The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600 000 are people exposed to second hand smoke. Tobacco causes disease in nearly every part of the body that you may think of. The major pathology caused is cancer, and this can occur in the lung, the throat, the eyes, the limbs and everywhere. Other diseases caused include peripheral vascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular conditions, tooth decay, hair loss, premature ageing, hearing loss, impotence and stomach ulcers. Tobacco is a major predisposing factor for most non-communicable diseases. Passive smoking is just as dangerous as active smoking.
The WHO FCTC was developed in response to the globalisation of the tobacco epidemic, and is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The Convention represents a milestone for the promotion of public health and provides new legal dimensions for international health cooperation. Let me underscore once again the fact that the WHO FCTC is purely a health Convention that seeks to promote and protect the health of the public in our countries.
Article 3 clearly states the objective as follows:
“The objective of this Convention and its protocols is to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke by providing a framework for tobacco control measures to be implemented by the Parties at the national, regional and international levels in order to reduce continually and substantially the prevalence of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.”
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco control (WHO
FCTC) is the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of
WHO. It was adopted by the World Health Assembly on 21 May 2003 and entered into force on 27 February 2005. It has since become one of the most rapidly and widely embraced treaties in United Nations history.
As at November 2011, the FCTC had 174 Parties. In Africa, 40 out of 46 WHO Afro-region countries have signed, ratified the FCTC and have become parties. Three countries namely Zimbabwe, Malawi and Eritrea have not signed the FCTC. The other three namely Cote d’voir, Ethiopia and Mozambique have signed but not yet ratified. The deadline for signing was June 2004 but countries like Zimbabwe which did not sign still have an opportunity to be parties to this Convention through accession. Let me now say a little bit about the guiding principles of the FCTC as set out in Article 4:
- Every person should be informed of the health consequences, addictive nature and mortal threat posed by tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.
- We need strong political commitment to develop and support comprehensive multisectoral measures and coordinated responses, taking into consideration:
- the need to take measures to protect all persons from exposure to tobacco smoke;
- the need to take measures to prevent the initiation to promote and support cessation, and to decrease the consumption of tobacco products in any form;
- the need to take measures to promote the participation of indigenous individuals and communities in all tobacco control programmes;
- the need to address gender-specific issues in tobacco control strategies.
- International cooperation, particularly transfer of technology, knowledge and financial assistance.
- Comprehensive multisectoral measures and responses to reduce consumption of all tobacco products to prevent the incidence of diseases and premature disability and mortality due to tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.
- Deal with issues relating to liability.
- The importance of technical and financial assistance to aid the economic transition of tobacco growers and workers whose livelihoods are seriously affected as a consequence of tobacco control programmes.
- The participation of civil society as essential in achieving the objective of the Convention and its protocols.
Article 5 sets out the obligations of the State under this protocol, and these include employing effective legislative, executive, administrative and other measures to achieve the stated objective. In particular, the State must protect public health policies so developed from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry according to national law.
The main provisions of the QHO FCTC include demand side and supply side management as follows:
The core demand reduction provisions in the WHO FCTC are
contained in articles 6-14:
Price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco, particularly for the youth, and may include restrictions on the importations of duty free tobacco products by travellers.
Non-price measures to reduce the demand for tobacco, namely:
- Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor working places, buses, kombis, and other public places.
- Regulation of the contents of tobacco products;
- Regulation of tobacco product disclosures, including disclosure of all toxic constituents and emissions.
- Ensuring that tobacco product packaging and labelling do not promote a tobacco product by any means that are false, misleading, deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about its characteristics, health effects, hazards or emissions, including any term, descriptor, trademark, figurative or any other sign that directly or indirectly creates the false impression that a particular tobacco product is less harmful than other tobacco products. These may include terms such as “low tar”. “light”, “ultra-light”, or “mild”. Health warnings describing the harmful effects of tobacco use will also be prescribed for every packet of tobacco product.
- Education, communication, training and public awareness of tobacco control issues, in particular the health risks and the addictive nature of tobacco consumption and exposure.
- Put in place a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship subject to our legal environment; and,
- Promote cessation of tobacco use and provide adequate treatment for tobacco dependence.
The core supply reduction provisions are contained in articles 1517:
- Combat illicit trade in tobacco products; this includes putting in place a tracking and tracing regime to assist in investigation of illicit trade.
- Prohibit sales to and by minors; prohibit the manufacture and sale of toys, sweets, snacks and other items that appeal to minors, in the form of tobacco products.
- Provide support for economically viable alternative activities for tobacco growers and workers, in cooperation with regional and international organisations.
Article 19 deals with issues of civil and criminal liability, including issues of compensation. State parties are to cooperate with each other through the COP and exchange current information on health effects of tobacco, share information on legislation and regulations, and assist each other in legal proceedings relating to criminal or civil liability.
Mechanisms for scientific and technical cooperation and exchange of information are set out in Articles 20-22. Parties are to initiate and cooperate in research that addresses determinants and consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke, as well as research for identification of viable alternative crops. National, regional and global surveillance of tobacco should be integrated into the tobacco control programme.
Article 21 sets out the reporting requirements under this Convention, and the information that should be reported on and shared by the parties. The reporting interval has been set at 2 years by the COP.
Article 23 to 27, to establish the institutional arrangements and financial resources of the Convention.
The Conference of the Parties is the governing body of the WHO FCTC and comprises all Parties to the Convention. It regularly reviews the implementation of the Convention and takes decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation. The Conference of the Parties may also adopt protocol, annexes and amendments to the Convention. Its regular sessions are held every two years.
The Convention Secretariat serves the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies. It supports Parties in fulfilling their obligations under the Convention and translates the decisions of the Conference of the Parties into programme activities. The Secretariat cooperates in its work with relevant departments of WHO and other international organisations and bodies. Both national and international resources shall be employed to achieve the objective of this Convention.
Zimbabwe wishes to accede to the FCTC with the following
- “The Republic of Zimbabwe declares that the national strategy targeted at encouraging tobacco production and exports will continue to be pursued because of tobacco’s critical contribution to the GDP”.
- In addition, Zimbabwe declares it to be imperative that the
Convention be an effective instrument for the international mobilisation of technical and financial resources in order to help developing countries to make economic alternatives to the agricultural production of tobacco viable, as part of their national strategies for sustainable development.
- Zimbabwe also declares that it will not support any proposal with a view to utilising the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control of the World Health Organisation as an instrument for discriminatory practices to free trade and competition.
- The Government of Zimbabwe declares that, in the context of Article 5.3 and noting the chapeau to this declaration, consultations in respect of this treaty will be in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe.
- The Republic of Zimbabwe declares that its interpretation, in the context of Article 21.1 (e) (4) of the Convention, is that the implementation of Article 13.4 (d) of the Convention, concerning disclosure to relevant governmental authorities of expenditures by the tobacco industry on advertising, promotion and sponsorship not yet prohibited, will be subject to national laws regarding confidentiality and privacy.
- In considering the protection of the country’s interests upon acceding to the FCTC, it should be noted that Article 30 of the FCTC states unequivocally that; “no reservation can be made to this treaty”
In this regard, Zimbabwe, therefore signs the FCTC with the
Interpretative Declaration as per the United Nations Treaty Clause 3.6.2
Interpretative Declaration. This is the essence of the FCTC Madam Speaker and I lay it before the House for approval. Thank you Madam Speaker.
Motion put and agreed to.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE, the House adjourned at Twenty Seven Minutes to Five
th June, 2013. o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 11