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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 8 MARCH 2022 VOL 48 NO 29

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

 Tuesday, 8th March, 2022

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have this statement to make. Parliament of Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Women’s Day – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – held every year on the 8th of March. The day is set aside to celebrate – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Can we have some order please?  The Whips there, can you listen to the statement. The Hon. Minister, you will do your consultation after my statement. Please if you can take your seat – held every year on the 8th of March.  The day is set aside to celebrate women kind and to give impetus to the struggle for women so that they get equal treatment as their male counterparts in all aspects of life.

          As Parliament of Zimbabwe, through the Women’s Caucus and the Committee on Women’s Affairs, Parliament will continue to consolidate on the gains that the country has made in so far as championing women’s rights, which are human rights, in all spheres of human endeavor. In executing its Constitutional mandate, Parliament commits itself to embracing issues of gender parity and equity as informed by our Constitution unequivocally.

          To that end, we celebrate with you our mothers, sisters and daughters, who are the anchor of our socio-economic development in Zimbabwe and globally. Happy Women’s Day and be blessed always.  

          (v)HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for recognizing me.  On a point of national importance and interest, I recognize that on the 3rd of March, the Minister of Transport, Hon. Mhona presented a Bi-Lateral Service Agreement.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to applaud his action as I was not in Parliament on the day.  I also say he should add impetuous to the agreement that was presented after your report on the Qatar visit, on the Qatar Airlines Agreement that was also pushed by Zimbabwe after your visit to Qatar.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, what also needs to happen is to take advantage of the more than 3500 airports and a thousand air flights Mr. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS ON VIRTUAL: Inaudible interjections.] -  I am getting feedback from the other members that have not been muted.       THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, can you be muted please.

          (v)HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, as I conclude, I just want to applaud the Minister for concluding that Bi-Lateral Air Service Agreement also as you said that there is need for airlines such as Emirates, Japan Airlines that are aligned with Emirates, to also refuel in Zimbabwe as we also go into partnership with them either on all the freedom rights and also on the cabotage rights.   I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: On a point of correction, that Air Services Agreement is in response to the Air Services Agreement ratified by the UA in February 2012 and that was after a delegation had visited Abu Dhabi where there was an air show and the Zimbabwean delegation did invite the Emirates Airline to land in Zimbabwe -  it did so within a few months and we were actually outstanding in so far as ratification of that Agreement is concerned.  Once more, thank you very much Hon. Nduna for your suggestions as well.

          (v)HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. MPARIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, a very good afternoon to you.  Let me begin by acknowledging and thanking you for the message on the International Women’s Day to all women in Zimbabwe, all women in this Parliament and to all the women in the world.  I know that you are a HeForShe champion; you have stood with us as women, as part of us, accommodating the work of the Parliamentary Caucus and the work of every woman in this Parliament.  I want to thank you.  Even the delegation of the Speaker’s Panel, there is gender balance and we want to acknowledge and thank you for that.  Hon. Speaker Sir, as a country, we have done a lot in terms of actually accommodating women.   Alas to say Hon. Speaker Sir, questions have been raised, motions have been raised in relation to the International Women’s Day to be declared a public holiday in Zimbabwe. I think we have had 10 years of questions, motions and reports in this Parliament where women have bemoaned the absence of the 52%, which is the majority of the population to have a holiday just to celebrate International Women’s Day.  How good would it have been for you Hon. Speaker to be behind the kitchen in an apron, cooking for Mhamha Amai Mudenda today as it is International Women’s Day.  How good would it have been for all the men in here to be behind the kitchens or just seated with their mamazala at home just relaxing.  How good would it have been for all the widows just to be with their grandchildren and their children just to commemorate or celebrate the work that they have done.

          Hon. Speaker Sir, I know it will be a tired speech and a tired appeal, Parliament has played its part, you have played your part.  The part that is left now as we have to pass on the baton is for the Executive to implement the recommendations of the previous report of 2021 where we moved the motion (and I was the seconder) that was moved by the Chairperson of the Gender Committee where it was adopted by Parliament, to actually declare the 8th of March, International Women’s Day as a holiday.     

          As I conclude, I want to wish all the women, a happy International Women’s Day.  I want to wish the women in this Parliament and everywhere else, including our own grandmothers in the rural areas, those women with disabilities, those women in the streets, the destitutes and women that do not have anyone who claim to say this is my relative, I want to wish them a happy Women’s International Day as we enter this month which is called the Women’s month.  It is my fervent hope and trust that you also carry this message to the Executive quietly behind the scenes to say it has been a long battle and we are hoping to see results.  I thank you for affording me this opportunity – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you for your observations Hon. Mpariwa. I think all men here in this august House and anywhere else have been asked to do some cooking today – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]­ – I think that is possible because each one of them has been a bachelor and bachelors do cook for themselves, so they have some degree of experience to just make that different on this particular day.   Others like me will not be able since I will be here, you have got to prepare muriwo and so on and so on, could be on a weekend, it is possible.  On a more serious matter or observation which I will kindly ask the Leader of Government Business to please elicit some response from the Executive, there was a request that 8th March be declared a public holiday.  So you may want to take it up with His Excellency, the President in Cabinet and get the response, but other countries have declared 8th March a public holiday in recognition of the role of women in our society.  Thank you Hon. Minister.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of privilege Mr. Speaker Sir.  I will start by Abraham Lincoln’s quote, ‘For what I am and hope to be, I owe it to my mother.’ my mother being a woman and I think it sums it up and for that, the Women’s Day must be declared a public holiday without any debate.  I think His Excellency would certainly support that because that is why we are here today.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to equally say to you; of national interest, your Members of Parliament must be commended for attending Parliament when they are incapacitated.  It is something that we all know the economy has not been good and some have gone on strike in different sectors and all that, but your Members of Parliament have been committed and dedicated to serving this nation. We get lambasted a lot of times for many things which we are not really linked to, but for the first time, I want to say this Parliament has shown its commitment to serving these people.  They are incapacitated and they are not even talking about striking or not coming. They have been doing their work diligently despite the hardships.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, while it is Women’s Day today, some of them do not even have money to go and buy perfume for themselves.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: They do not have money to do what?

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Buy perfume for themselves, which is important for a woman on a day like this.  The smell of a woman means a lot to a woman and to many people around.  I do not know what sort of perfume they are using because they keep smelling good despite being incapacitated.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the welfare has been an issue which you have also tackled in many ways and the Standing Rules Committee and the Chief Whips…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Did you say the smell of a woman?

HON. T. MLISWA:  Is important.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  It is odor or scent.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Scent is the word.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I was being misled by others.  The scent of a woman is important.

Mr. Speaker Sir, going to the point, we hear that through the negotiations held, there is a duty free of US$40 000 for a vehicle.  It is not official to us and we do not know if it is true or not.  We have not received any communication pertaining to that.  For me, being an independent and not being part of these political parties where they have caucuses, maybe I missed out something. 

In terms of the stands, I do not know where we are again, including information centres and allowances in the constituencies.  You could see the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care talking about us doing awareness campaigns on national programmes like COVID, but because we are incapacitated, we do not have money, we cannot and everybody looks at us to carry the message.  We have been doing it with our own resources but it gets to a point where you have no resources anymore and what do you do when things are so important?

It is important Mr. Speaker Sir, that this august House encourages the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and other ministries to come for supplementary budgets.  The reason why I am saying that is, these Ministers tend to get away with murder saying we have no money, but they have never come to this House for a supplementary budget.  A supplementary budget is then able to cover for whatever needs to be done and in this inflationary environment, it is important that it becomes the order of the day because all they say on Wednesday question time is, we do not have money, but have you spoken to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in terms of more money you need?  He comes here and the supplementary budget is passed.

Since I have been in this Parliament, hardly have I seen a Minister of Finance and Economic Development coming with a supplementary budget for other ministries.  So it is important that they exercise that because if there is…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Your point of privilege is elongated please.

HON. T. MLISWA:  So it is important Mr. Speaker Sir, that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, through the other ministries, comes here with a supplementary budget which we can pass in no time so that all these problems, the incapacitation of the MPs and civil servants is dealt with at the end of the day.  What are they doing by not giving the figures that they want so that this House can discharge its duties?  So with your guidance and your indulgence Mr. Speaker Sir, when is the supplementary budget coming to deal with inflation that we are facing?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, can you ask that question tomorrow to the rightful Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development on the supplementary budget.

On the issue of constituency offices, I have approved the proposal from our senior management led by the Clerk and we should start any time now to build those offices.  On the duty free certificate for the vehicles, we are likely to conclude positively on that issue with the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  So keep your fingers crossed accordingly.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to7 be stood over until Order Number 8 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.  I thank you.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, can you be muted please otherwise we are going to mute you from here and you will not be able to join us on line.  Please be muted.

RECOMMITTAL TO COMMITTEE STAGE

MARRIAGES BILL [H. B. 7B, 2019]

          Eighth Order read:  Recommittal to Committee Stage: Marriages Bill [H.B. 7B, 2019].

House in Committee

Clauses 9, 16. 41, 43 and 45 as amended by the Senate, put and

 agreed to.

House Resumed.

Bill as amended, adopted.

Third Reading: with leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

MARRIAGES BILL [H. B. 7B 2019]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you

Mr. Speaker Sir.  I now move that the Bill be read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

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

you asked ‘is there any debate? I said yes’.  What power do you have to override that, within the Standing Orders?

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): I did not hear you Hon. Mliswa.

          HON. T. MLISWA: Most Members made noise for me not to, but I said yes, meaning that I needed to debate on it.  Notwithstanding that, I will feel I need to let it go. There are certain fights you just allow to pass.  I will allow this one to pass.

          My point of order is, today is International Women’s Day and women in this House did not say anything about this Bill.  They are always complaining about being ill treated and they all said yes.  It must be recorded that they did not represent themselves.  I thought today they will be standing up and representing their own.  We have Proportional Representation in Parliament.  You wonder what they are doing and yet you want more seats while you cannot debate on issues which touch you and other women.

          I say this because as a male, I am a HeForShe champion and it is important that next time they have caucuses to do these issues.  You blame the law; you blame the Minister but you would not have caucused.  I want to know from the Chief Whips, was there a caucus amongst women to talk about this.  If the answer is no, if I am not mistaken; then it is very sad, women must be represented honestly and if women are not having caucuses – the only caucuses they have are caucuses when they want to travel, when they want this to happen but they never have caucuses to debate on laws which affect women; which affect the girl child.  So, I am very disappointed that the women’s caucuses were sleeping on duty and now they blame the law and they blame everybody. 

          May the nation know that the women in Parliament did absolutely nothing to represent them on this issue.  It must be on record, they must vote wisely next time and find women who will stand for them.  Do not expect us men to be doing it when the law has given 76 seats to women to stand for women.  We are going to the last leg of our tenure and you are still quiet. 

          The other issue I wanted to say, I would have liked to see the traditional leaders being involved too in this – [AN HON. MEMBER:  They were.] – Thank you very much.  So, my point of order is done.  I am disappointed with women only saying yes, yes, yes. 

          HON. MAVETERA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):  What is your point of order?

          HON. MAVETERA:  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir.  I do not want to seem as if I am debating.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  You are not connected Hon. Mavetera.

          HON. MAVETERA:  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir for the opportunity.  I do not want to seem as if I am debating but it is quite important for us to be able to set the record straight on what Hon. Mliswa has just said.  Hon. Mliswa mentioned that we did not make any noise as female parliamentarians, especially the Proportional Representation MPs concerning the issues of the Marriages Bill.

          Hon. Speaker Sir, I think it is quite on record that we finished with the Marriages Bill in the National Assembly.  It went to the Senate and that is where it had a challenge.  When the Bill came to the House, we debated enough and raised all our concerns.  The only reason why it is back today is because there are amendments which were made in the Senate.  What we now need to do is to assent to what the Senate did.  When it comes to the Marriages Bill, I think we made enough noise even through the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus whereby we had our own concerns.  We sat down and spoke about this. So for Hon. Mliswa to come and misrepresent and misinform us is not fair.  Truly speaking, we made enough noise when it comes to the Marriages Bill.  Hon. Speaker Sir, he has to retract what he said because he is misinforming the House and is not speaking in earnest truth.  As female parliamentarians, we stood very much and spoke about the Marriages Bill – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

          Hon. Speaker Sir, it is not fair for Hon. Mliswa to be victimizing women.  Truly speaking, he has to say the truth.  He does not have to come here and misinform the House.  We expect Hon. Mliswa to withdraw the statement that female parliamentarians did not say anything about the Marriages Bill.  We made enough noise about the Bill.  It is just that it has come today and Hon. Mliswa has to withdraw. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you very much.  Hon. Mliswa, please can you withdraw.  These are the women that you are saying did not make noise.  One of them is saying they made enough noise in the House.  Besides that, the Bill was actually in the Committee Stage.  You were supposed to have raised your issues during the Committee Stage, not after the Bill has been passed.  Hon. Mliswa, can you withdraw please. 

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I earlier on said there are certain little battles you must allow to pass.  This is one such battle.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, I do not want to rule you out of order.  You just have to withdraw the statement.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, to be honest …

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I did not give you the floor to debate Hon. Mliswa.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, we must look at the Hansard to see how many contributed from a percentage point of view, because the Hansard is the only record of truth. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, you are out of order. 

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hansard is the record of truth.  Can it be analysed and if they did debate, I will apologize.  It is the Hansard which is a record for the truth. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, I have just given you the floor to withdraw the statement and now you seem to be setting some conditions. 

          HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, she is not the head of the Women’s Caucus.  Hon. Kwaramba is the head of the Women’s Caucus and Hon. Bhuda on this side. On what authority is she speaking on behalf of women?

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, I am the Speaker.  I am directing you to withdraw your statement.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Hon. Speaker, I will do as what pleases you and for that I will withdraw the statement and urge them to debate next time.  Thank you. 

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 15 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 16 has been disposed of.

          HON. TEKESHE:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          (v)HON. MUSHORIWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I am not objecting per se but could we be advised because apparently we do not seem to have a track of the business of the House.  There is no longer a formula that a Member can actually prepare in terms of debates and other stuff.  More often than not, since Parliament resumed, we have never had a proper system in place to the extent that sometimes we are actually …

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Go ahead Hon. Member.

          (v)HON. MUSHORIWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, sorry I have been muted.  I was saying my point of order is in respect of the Business of the House Committee and whether it is still in place. What we now have is a situation where as Hon. Members of Parliament, we are no longer in a position to prepare our line of debate. More often than not, orders of the day are always jumped, there is no system in place and sometimes we are ambushed.  Just like now, the Marriages Bill, we were just ambushed.  When we prepare, we will want to find whether your Chairperson could ensure that the Business of the House Committee sits …

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Member.  What you are saying now has got nothing to do with what we are doing at the moment.

          (v)HON. MUSHORIWA: It was when we were asking whether there was any objection and I wanted to highlight the frustration that we are now feeling in terms of following the Orders of the Day.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON MUTOMBA): Thank you.

MOTION

SECOND REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION, MEDIA AND BROADCASTING SERVICES ON THE STATE OF THE MEDIA IN ZIMBABWE

          HON. MOKONE: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services on the state of media and broadcasting services in Zimbabwe.

          HON NGULUVHE: I second.

          HON. MOKONE:

1.0 Introduction

1.1. The Coronavirus pandemic has brought about change in the way the business world operates in terms of handling their daily affairs, engagement with its stakeholders and management of resources. The Media industry has also transformed and this has seen the need for companies to downscale their operations and adjusting from analogue broadcast to digital broadcasts as a means of minimising exposure of staff to the virus at the workplace and operating environment. The Committee conducted an enquiry into the state of the Media so as to appreciate the operations of Media practitioners in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, this report provides highlights of the Committee’s findings, observations and recommendations with respect to the state of the Media in Zimbabwe.

2.0 Objectives

2.1 To ascertain the operations of media practitioners in view of the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

2.2 To appreciate the measures being taken by the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services on ensuring a conducive environment for media practitioners;

2.3 To have an understanding of the challenges being faced by medical practitioners; and

2.4 To come up with recommendations for an improved environment for Media practitioners.

3.0 Methodology

3.1 The Committee held oral evidence sessions on the state of the Media with the following institutions:

  1. Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;
  2. Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ);

iii. National Association of Freelance Journalists (NAFJ);

  1. Zimpapers;
  2. Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation;
  3. Advertising Media Association; and

vii. MISA Zimbabwe.

 

3.2 The Committee also conducted verification visits to Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation at Pockets Hill and Montrose in Harare and Bulawayo respectively, Zimpapers, Diamond FM, Manica Post in Mutare, Hevoi FM in Masvingo and Breeze FM in Victoria Falls.

4.0 Committee Findings

4.1 Policies and Legislation Governing the operating Environment for Media Practitioners in Zimbabwe

4.1.1 The Permanent Secretary highlighted that the Ministry superintends pieces of legislation governing the operations of Media practitioners namely: Freedom of Information Act, 2020; Zimbabwe Media Commission Act (2021); Broadcasting Services Act [Chapter 12:06] Act No. 4 of 2001); Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (Commercialization) Act, 2001 (Act No. 26 of 2001); and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (Debt Assumption) Act, 2004 (Act No. 11 of 2004). These Acts protect the rights to the freedom of expression and the freedom of the media granted under section 61 of the Constitution.

4.2 ZBC Pockets Hill and Montrose

4.2.1 An overview and operation of the ZBC

4.2.1.1 The Committee gathered that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is a State-controlled broadcaster in Zimbabwe which was established in terms of Section 3 of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (Commercialisation) Act, 2001. ZBC is responsible for bringing news, entertainment, education and information to people in Zimbabwe and beyond. The Committee was informed that the ZBC operates six radio stations and one television station, providing a mix of news, current affairs, educational programming and music in English, Shona and Ndebele, with National FM covering all the 16 languages stated in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

4.2.2 Staff Complement

4.2.2.1 The CEO highlighted that ZBC has a staff complement of 734 employees countrywide, stationed at Pockets Hill, Mbare, Montrose and Gweru. In addition to the main site locations, the Committee gathered that ZBC has news gathering and licencing offices that were located in major towns in Zimbabwe’s ten provinces. The Corporation informed the Committee that of the 734 employees, 650 were on a permanent contract, with the remainder on part-time contracts.

4.2.3 State of Equipment

4.2.3.1 During the tour of ZBC Pockets Hill and Montrose studios, the Committee noted that ZBC had two High-definition studios and two makeshift studios, although other television studios did not have equipment and were not functional. The head of engineering highlighted that there were outside broadcast systems that were currently being used for outside broadcasting operations. However, the main broadcast van and uplink systems were more than 10 years old and critical systems were not operating normally. The Committee gathered that ZBC had electronic news gathering and electronic field productions equipment which required Ultra High-Definition cameras, more lighting systems and microphones. The Corporation highlighted that the radio studios and radio master control system required total upgrade to get rid of ageing equipment. The Committee was apprised that the Corporation was upgrading systems using a piece-meal approach due to financial constraints and it was also digitalizing most of the critical systems with modern, automated systems to improve performance.

4.2.4 Financing of ZBC

4.2.4.1 The Corporation submitted to the Committee that they received a grant from the fiscus and they also get indirect public revenue through licence fees payments. The Committee was informed that to date, the Corporation had generated ZWL$325.9 million through licencing and advertising, with licencing contributing 43% whilst advertising contributed 57% of the total revenue. Further, it was highlighted that a grant of ZWL$33 million was released from the Treasury in June and another ZWL$10 million was provided in July. Despite the steady improvement in revenues, the Corporation had recorded a cumulative loss of ZWL$6, 9 million for the period up to June 2021.The generated revenue was inadequate to cover the operational expenditure indicating the partial funding gap from operations outside the legacy debts. The CEO informed the Committee that they successfully engaged respective stakeholders on payment plans and barter deal arrangements which the Corporation aims to adhere to without compromise to reduce pressure from legacy creditors; namely Telone, Liquid Telecoms, Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), Transmedia, NSSA and others.

4.2.5 Adaptation to COVID 19 Pandemic

4.2.5.1 In an oral evidence session held with the ZBC management, it was highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted on their operations as they lost some of the dedicated journalists and at one time 30 employees tested positive to the COVID-19. However, to promote a safe environment for its staff during the COVID-19 period, preventive measures were taken to ensure that minimal cases were recorded. These included decongestion of the workplace by fifty percent, suspension of late night news bulletins, limitation of live studio interviews opting for digital information through Zoom and Skype interviews, and pre-recorded interviews as well as telephone interviews. Further, the Committee was informed that for ease of doing business, ZBC launched an online payment platform for its radio and television licences which eases the discomfort people might feel when going outside their homes.

4.2.5.2 During the visit, the broadcaster highlighted that they had facilitated Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Rapid COVID-19 testing for all its staff and the Management revealed that fifty percent of its employees had been vaccinated. ZBC supplied hand sanitizer, branded masks to all its staff and wearing of masks and temperature checks for every staff and visitors at ZBC facilities was made a policy which was enforced by security officers. The Management at ZBC reassured the Committee that its COVID-19 protocol measures had so far proven to be robust and effective as fewer infection cases and only one casualty was recorded at its facilities, and that it will continue to prioritize the safety of its employees and visitors.

4.3 Challenges being Faced at ZBC

4.3.1 The Committee was informed that ZBC had depleted vehicle fleet which no longer provided adequate cover for its operations. Presently, Pockets Hill had one staff bus and 12 vehicles which were meant to provide transportation services to staff to work and also for media coverage. The CEO highlighted that there was no staff bus at Montrose studios and there were 25 vehicles operating, but these were not in good condition. The transport situation at ZBC affected news coverage, hence affecting the fulfillment of their mandate. In total, ZBC studios required 60 new vehicles to augment its coverage and transportation services.

4.3.2 The Corporation submitted that they had poor remuneration and service packages for its staff such as medical aid, funeral and pension polices in place, which had exposed the broadcaster to competitors who attract its experienced workforce. The Committee heard that ZBC did not have a pension policy in place and that it had been suspended many years ago. The new board at ZBC had however, revived its medical aid policy by re-engaging PSMAS to provide cover for ZBC employees to the tune of ZWL$3,5 million for medical care.

4.3.3 The Committee was informed that ZBC was riddled with debts amounting to over ZWL$200 million dating back as far back as 2005. In this context, it owed parastatals such as ZESA, ZIMRA, Largadere sports, among others. ZESA had resorted to switching off power on Mondays at Montrose Studios, whilst ZIMRA was garnishing ZBC’s revenue streams.

4.3.4 It was highlighted that delays in payment of royalties to local content producers during the lockdown period had affected ZBC/TV programming. In this context, production costs increased for local producers who now expected ZBC to pay upfront for their content. However, due to funding constraints, ZTV programming material ended up being repeated as new content producers held on to their production.

4.4 ZIMPAPERS

4.4.1 An overview and operations of ZimPapers

4.4.1.1 The Committee toured Zimpapers Offices and ZTN Studios in Harare, and then visited Manica Post and Diamond FM in Mutare. Zimpapers is the biggest State-controlled Zimbabwean mass media company whose operations originally started off as a newspaper publishing company called Zimbabwe Newspapers Limited. It later diversified its operations to include commercial printing, radio and television programming. The company's portfolio includes over a dozen magazines and newspapers which include, The Herald, The Chronicle, Kwayedza H-Metro, B-Metro, The Sunday Mail, The Manica Post and several radio stations such as Star Fm and Capitalk 100.4 FM in Harare, Diamond FM in Mutare, Nyami Nyami FM in Kariba, and a television network, Zimbabwe Television Network (ZTN). ZTN was now more involved in the screening of local soccer matches, talk shows and debates which were broadcasted digitally.

4.4.2 Staff Complement

4.4.2.1 The CEO highlighted that Zimpapers has a staff complement of 1 300 employees countrywide. The Committee was informed that of the 1 300 employees, 807 employees were on a permanent contract whilst 493 were on part-time contracts.

4.4.3 State of Equipment

4.4.3.1 The CEO highlighted that under the radio and broadcasting division’, the institution had transmission and production studios, a master control room, outside broadcast and news booths. It was highlighted that the axia mixer, engine and telephone hybrids used in the studios needed upgrading. The Committee was informed that under the Zimpapers television network (ZTN), there were production studios with functional four-camera production studio in place, currently using one standard broadcast camera and awaiting delivery of the three outstanding. Additionally, he highlighted that ZTN has a master control room, play-out and transmission and an electronic field productions and outside broadcast production.

4.4.4 Financing of Zimpapers

4.4.4.1 The Committee was informed that Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited was listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and release of financial information was guided by the listing rules. The Management at Zimpapers revealed that whilst 82 percent of its revenue comes from print publishing, going digital was the only way to go as people now favour the digital platform in terms of convenience and accessibility. Further, Zimpapers undertook reform processes and a new press printing facility was set up in Bulawayo where progress was reported to be 90 percent complete. This initiative was done to supplement printing of The Chronicles and to improve speed of delivery of the printed materials in the Matabeleland Province.

4.4.5 Adaptation to COVID-19 Pandemic

4.4.5.1 During the tour, the Management of Zimpapers stated that it had scaled down its hands on workers to 40 percent and 60 % were making online submissions of news articles and digital content. The Management at Zimpapers indicated that social welfare for staff was a priority and that workers had received the 13th and 14th cheque in December 2020 and April 2021 respectively. An ongoing process of fumigation was professionally done and all staff were provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) which were supplied by Nyaradzo Funeral Services for all Zimpapers employees. Social distancing was being implemented and transport was being provided for employees to and from work. Additionally, it was highlighted that 51 percent of Zimpapers staff had been vaccinated.

4.4.5.2 As a major publishing company, Zimpapers has been pushing Coronavirus awareness campaigns through its newspapers, radio, television programming and through digital online platform. The Committee was informed that Zimpapers was still to receive COVID-19 relief stimulus package from Government. The Government, however had been bringing business through Coronavirus adverts that it sent through Zimpapers media platforms.

4.5 Diamond FM and Manica Post

4.5.1 An Overview of the Diamond FM and Manica Post

4.5.1.1The Committee was informed that Diamond FM and Manica Post were housed in the same building and usually shared staff who worked in radio and print media departments, and both were owned by Zimpapers. It was submitted to the Committee that Diamond FM is one of Zimpapers’ regional commercial radio stations which was launched in 2016 at Manica Post offices in Mutare. The Chief Executive Officer, informed the Committee that the launch of the radio station was in line with the company’s five-year plan to extend its dominance as a content factory. Radio coverage for the station services an 80km radius from Mutare urban and extends as far as Buhera, Makoni, Chipinge, Nyanga, Chimanimani, parts of Honde and also Mozambique using the other transmission sites.

4.5.2 The Committee was informed that revenue for the station was mostly from airtime, live broadcasts, roadshows and radio adverts. Broadcasts were conveyed in English, Tindwi, Manyika and Ndau with staff being mostly locals who were given tries and successfully fitted with the job requirements. It was highlighted that the Station had 50 percent listenership in Manicaland and the other 50 was covered by National FM. The performance of the Station was deemed impressive as it managed to break even within five years since it operationalised. The proximity of Mutare to Mozambique benefits the radio station as it is sometimes engaged by the Mozambique authorities to pass important information to its citizens.

4.5.3 The Committee was informed that the Manica Post produces newsprint on a weekly basis and news coverage was for activities in the Manicaland Province and also on matters of national importance. Improvements in the media industry had seen the newspaper competing for headline stories with personal bloggers and online journalists who had been keeping the newspaper on its toes with news breaking out as it happens. This has resulted in the newspaper establishing an online daily news platform which keeps its viewers up to date whilst waiting for the weekly newsprint.

4.5.4 The Committee was informed that 87.5% of workers were vaccinated at Manica Post and 54 % at Diamond FM. The Zimpapers Management in Mutare highlighted that transport arrangements were in place for workers coming to work and it was operating at 40 percent capacity to decongest the work place whilst the others were working offsite. In addition, Diamond FM and Manica Post had reduced live interviews and were now relying on telephone interviews.

4.6 Challenges being Faced at ZIMPAPERS

4.6.1 The Committee was informed that the costs involved in using Transmedia services were not feasible as it required US$11 000 for digital broadcasts.

4.6.2 It was highlighted that the weekly magazines were now being forced to compete with online bloggers and journalists who publish news and stories without verification or censorship which affected the relevance of weekly newspapers.

4.6.3 The CEO submitted that there were too many red tapes around COVID-19 information as media practitioners had no access to information of statistics for areas they provided media coverage, as information was centralised and came from Harare.

4.6.4 Another challenge highlighted was that female sources were hesitant to partake in news coverage. Further, he highlighted that there were dangers which existed when one attempts to cover stories that involve politically exposed persons (PEPs) on issues such as corruption, abuse of power and smuggling.

4.7 Hevoi FM

4.7.1 An Overview of the Hevoi FM

4.7.1.1 The Committee visited Hevoi FM, which is one of the radio stations owned by AB communications broadcasting on the 100.2 frequency. The Committee was informed that the commercial radio station was launched in July 2017 as part of Government’s commitment to opening up the airwaves to create a platform for people to tell their own stories, aspirations, successes and also struggles. The station broadcasts music and news bulletin and the radio signal for Hevoi FM was accessible in the following areas, Mberengwa, Rutenga, Chatsworth, Mvuma, Gutu and Chilonga and broadcasts in Chitsonga, Karanga and English.

4.7.1.2 The Committee was informed that the station has a radio listenership of  five percent in the Masvingo Province whilst National FM enjoys both great coverage and listenership in the country. Management at the station indicated that they had plans to set up transmission sites at Rutenga and Chatsworth, and also planned to lower the frequency of the station to below 90 which was easily accessible in motor vehicles. The Committee also heard that the station had taken advantage of COVID-19 to move towards digitalization which provided 15 percent of its total listeners.

4.7.2 FINANCING OF HEVOI FM

4.7.2.1 The Station Manager submitted that the revenue of the station was from airtime and was used to cover the operating expenses and highly prioritized payment of its staff. During the COVID-19 period, the station had been relying on donors who used the coverage of the radio station for awareness campaigns. Retailers and local businesses in Masvingo also form part of the stakeholders whom the radio relies on for revenue through adverts, however due to lockdown measures that were introduced, the suspension of live broadcasts and road shows when the economy slowed down negatively affected revenue generation for the station.

4.7.3 Adaptation to COVID-19 Pandemic

4.6.3.1 The Management at the station indicated that they had been receiving help from Nyaradzo which donated PPEs and sanitizers for its employees, and also ZIMRA chipped in by setting up temperature testing equipment for visitors at the entrance of the building which houses the station.

4.8 CHALLENGES BEING FACED AT HEVOI FM

4.8.1 The Station Manger highlighted that there was erratic power supply from ZESA which affected airwave coverage and currently the station had no alternatives for power supply. The Committee was apprised that ZESA was switching off power between 5am and 11pm at Devure transmission site which affected radio coverage to areas far from Masvingo.

4.8.2 The Committee was informed that the station was technically understaffed and requires more people to fill in all positions at the station. Transport costs were taking a toll on the operations of the station. On a weekly basis, the station required 400 litres of diesel which was used for transportation of workers to and from work, and also hired vehicles to access the transmission site out of town.

4.8.3 The Station Manager submitted that revenue from donor agencies provided means of revenue income for the station. However, donor funded programmes were not all year round and had an operation timeframe such that the station was mostly financial stranded and required assistance from sponsors and Government. Government had promised to provide funding through the Ministry and a budget of US$15 000 was submitted by the station, but no funds had been availed to date.

4.9The Breeze FM (Victoria Falls)

4.9.1 An Overview of the Breeze Fm

4.9.1.1 The Committee was informed that the Breeze FM was a commercial radio station owned by Kaito Media which also owns Skyz FM and broadcasts in Bulawayo. Broadcast for the Breeze FM extensively covers a 160km radius in the Matabeleland North region covering areas such as Victoria Falls, Kazungula, Livingstone and Hwange. Due to its extensive coverage, it broadcasted in seven languages, that is Ndebele, Shona, English, Tonga, Nambya, Dombwe and Nyanja. It was highlighted that the radio station had a staff complement of 13 and due to COVID-19, it was operating at 50 percent whilst the others were working from home.

4.9.2 State of Equipment

4.9.2.1 During the visit, the Committee was informed that Breeze FM had dual core computers, they were currently using a stand-by mixer model (Hybrid sc6215p) and they had one condenser mic and three standard microphones which were working. Further, the Station Manager highlighted that they had a control room with encoder and the station had a well-functioning backup solar system that keeps the station powered up during times of electricity power cuts.

4.9.3. Financing of the Station

4.9.3.1 The Committee gathered that revenue streams of the station include radio airtime, jingles, live shows advertising, live broadcasts, sponsored shows, live reads, infomercials, product endorsement, brand Ambassadors and talent fees. However, the station management informed the Committee that they sometimes do community service by disseminating COVID-19 related information whenever they can so as to keep the public aware of the risk posed by the pandemic, how to prevent exposure and what to do when they test positive.

4.9.4 Adaptation to COVID-19

4.9.4.1 Management at the station revealed that it was providing PPEs such as masks and hand sanitisers to staff, professionally disinfecting studios in-between shifts, and was also providing transport for its workers to and from work using the station’s vehicle. It was submitted that stakeholders such as Nyaradzo, MISA and International Media Support (IMS) had chipped in to support the station by providing PPEs for all of the staff at the station. The Committee was informed that all the staff at the station were vaccinated voluntarily. The Media company acknowledged the role that has been played by the Ministry of recognizing media practitioners as essential services which helped them access areas for news coverage as well as getting vaccinated.

4.10 Challenges being Faced at Breeze FM

4.10.1 The Management briefed the Committee that heavy taxation on the station’s operations was extensively affecting the profit margin for private Media companies in the country. In this context, the licence fees were pegged at ZWL$500 000 per month for each radio station, BAZ and ZIMURA were collecting five percent and one percent respectively of the station’s gross revenue, and in addition ZIMRA was also colleting its share. More-so, commercial radios were required to pay radio licence fees to ZBC which is also a competitor on the media market and the current set up does not promote new players to join the industry as they end up being suffocated by the operating environment.

4.10.2 The Committee was informed that the lockdown measures that were put in place by the Government affected revenue streams for the commercial radio station with the suspension of live broadcasts and road shows. In this regard, the Media Company used to get revenue from promoting local tourism and other commercial businesses, however the closure of shops and movement restrictions for people meant that businesses had to withdraw and look for alternative means to showcase their businesses.

4.10.3 The Station Manager highlighted that transportation of journalists to source areas was proving expensive under the current conditions where no public transport was being availed to media practitioners in the province and countrywide. The Media company bemoaned the lack of subsidies in this sector as it had greatly affected their finances as the Government directed all public operators to join the ZUPCO brand or park their vehicles and their withdrawal was significantly felt in Victoria Falls.

4.10.4 Management at the station revealed that high pricing of accommodation in Victoria Falls proved to be expensive and demotivated experienced media practitioners from other towns to be attracted to the station. The Media Company therefore made a request for the Committee to plead on behalf of media practitioners operating in Victoria Falls to be given land to build accommodation facilities they can all use like what other institutions such as ZESA, the Department of Immigration services did in the city.

4.10.5 The Media Company stressed that COVID-19 relief packages were not being extended to media practitioners by the Government despite having been recognized as essential services and also frontline workers who disseminate Coronavirus information and coverage to the public. Further, the Management of the station stressed that media practitioners were not being provided with information/statistics on time relating to COVID-19 as well as where vaccines were being accessed in Victoria Falls and its surroundings. To this end, it was delaying the dissemination of information to the public who needed the necessary updates on the pandemic.

4.10.6 It was highlighted that decentralisation of services was taking long to be implemented for services to reach people who live far away from bigger cities. In this context, it was submitted that Zimbabwe Media cards which were renewed annually were taking long to reach media practitioners in Victoria Falls as they would get them in August whilst expiring in December. The time taken between the application and issuing period was long and it affected media coverage as media practitioners will not be allowed to practice without up-to-date media cards.

4.10.8 The Committee gathered that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has been delaying the movement of media practitioners as they go about their work despite the latter having being declared part of the essential services and with supporting documentation attesting to that. There was need for synergy and effective communication between the ZRP and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services on the status of media practitioners during the Coronavirus period.

4.10.9 There was lack of foreign currency to fund for the setting up of a transmission site at the tune of US$11 000, and buying a transmitter which costs US$8 000. The Committee was apprised that access to this money was difficult as the station charged its services in ZWL currency.

4.11 Challenges in General Affecting the Operations of Media Practitioners

4.11.1 In an oral evidence held with MISA Zimbabwe, it was highlighted that safety and security of the media was a problem in Zimbabwe. The Committee was apprised that 52 cases of violations against journalists and media workers were recorded in the year 2020 and a report was provided with regards to the state of media in 2020. However, the Permanent Secretary highlighted that these were only allegations as journalists may have encountered some inconveniences as they were asked to wait for some few hours during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and they might have considered it as harassment.

4.11.2 It was further highlighted that laws such as Interception of Communications Act; Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act; Official Secrets Act; Criminal Law (Codification and Reforms) Act; and a horde of statutory instruments, among others violate Sections 57, 61 and 62 of the Constitution which provides for rights to privacy, expression and media freedom and the right to access to information.

4.11.3 The President of Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) during an oral evidence meeting apprised the Committee that there was a discrepancy in the working conditions of journalists as employers had their own conditions which were not favourable for journalists. In this regard, journalists requested for an establishment National Employment Council that will deal with the issues of these discrepancies and better remuneration among others.

4.11.4 The Committee was informed by the ZUJ official that that there were multiple accreditations of journalists, for instance when covering Parliament, they have to be accredited by Parliament. He further highlighted that the requirement that a journalist who was already accredited with ZMC needed further accreditation was time consuming.

4.11.5 The Permanent Secretary highlighted that Zimbabwe’s media sector was taking too long to adapt and evolve in line with new technologies in the industry. This affected the quantity, quality and uptake of media products/content such as print publications, news, music, drama, documentaries and films.

4.11.6 The Committee was informed by the Permanent Secretary that the media environment continues to exhibit certain elements of polarisation resulting from possibly anti-Government editorial policies as reflected in conflicting news reports that make it difficult for news writers and consumers (readers, listeners and viewers) to obtain a true picture of developments. It was highlighted that the polarisation continues despite Government’s national image building efforts.

4.11.7 The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that concerns were brought to their attention on issues relating to the professional conduct of media practitioners such as khaki envelope journalism and undue influence by influential people which sometimes leads to self-censorship. This was exacerbated by poor remuneration, for instance at ZBC where the least employee gets a salary of ZWL 16 000.

4.11.8 During the oral evidence meeting, the Advertising Media Association (ADMA) official highlighted that there were billboards clutter especially in Harare due to lack of regulation on the allocation spacing of billboards.

4.11.9 The Committee was informed that there were high levels of vandalism and theft of billboard structure.

4.11.10 The Committee was informed that the advertising industry was affected by high inflation and escalating operating costs amid constrained revenues and for start-ups the entry costs were too high.

4.12. Measures being Taken by the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services in Ensuring a Conducive Environment for Media Practitioners.

4.12.1 The Committee had a meeting with the Permanent Secretary and visited a number of media houses. During the meeting and visits, it was highlighted that the Ministry played an important role in ensuring a conducive environment for Media practitioners through classification of Media practitioners as essential services since the outbreak of the Coronavirus and prioritization for COVID-19 vaccination which they acquired without challenges. It was further highlighted that the Ministry facilitated for COVID-19 testing of Media practitioners at different occasions and it encouraged decongestion in the workplaces. Additionally, the Ministry encouraged virtual conferences and the harnessing of technologies in news gathering and dissemination, reducing contact between media practitioners and news sources.

4.12.2 The Permanent Secretary highlighted that they issued clearances for foreign journalists to enable them to obtain visas for entering the country, get accredited by the Zimbabwe Media Commission and to work on their assignments in Zimbabwe.

4.12.3 The Permanent Secretary pointed out that some journalists find it difficult to pay the Zimbabwe Media Commission registration fees at once, thus the Ministry through the Commission in the interim made a decision to accept installments from journalists who were unable to make a once-off payment in order to address the challenge.

5.0 Committee Observations

5.1 The Committee noted that transport was essential and media practitioners’ work involved moving from one place to another using vehicles, thus management of different stations should provide decent transport.

5.2 The Committee observed that ZBC needed to be capacitated with microphones that can be used individually so as to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

5.3 The Committee noted that bandwidth above 90MHz cannot be accessed by ex-Japanese cars which were owned by most of the stations’ listeners. The listeners will have to buy bandwidth extenders, hence increasing cost in order to access information.

5.4 The Committee expressed great concern over the idea that Breeze Fm was paying licences to ZBC who was also their competitor. Additionally, it was noted that some commercial radio station such as Breeze FM and Freelance journalists were not provided with PPEs by Government.

5.5 The Committee concurs with the idea of establishing a National Employment Council that will deal with the welfare of journalists. The Committee observed that several witnesses were pushing for a clause on establishment of a media council that was included in the proposed Media Practitioner’s Bill.

5.6 It was observed that the accreditation of journalists by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) was recognised as legal in Zimbabwe as stated in the Constitution. The Committee noted that for security reasons, there was need for journalists to be accredited with different institutions when covering events. However, the Committee highlighted that multiple accreditation should not be used as a method of denying or blocking other journalists in covering other events.

5.7 The Committee commended media houses for adhering to COVID-19 regulations set by World Health Organisation and Government of Zimbabwe in fighting against Coronavirus despite the economic challenges faced.

6.0 Recommendations

6.1The Committee recommends the following:

6.1.1 That the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should warehouse ZBC’s legacy debt by March 2022;

6.1.2 Transmedia Corporation should facilitate a conducive environment through infrastructural investments by setting up transmitters all over the country by August 2022;

6.1.3 Zimbabwe Media Commission should speed up the accreditation and registration process of journalists and media companies and cards should reach journalists in areas such as Victoria Falls by January 2022;

6.1.4 The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services should assist ZBC by increasing its collection points for revenue through mandating other parastatals such as ZESA and Telone to collect licence fees on behalf of the corporation by March 2022;

6.1.5 BAZ should reduce the radio bandwidth to less than 90km so that it can be accessed by several listeners by May 2022;

6.1.6 The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services should establish a National Employment Council that will deal with the welfare of Media practitioners by March 2022;

6.1.7 The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services should by March 2022, review and align laws that regulate the Media environment with the Constitution such as the Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act, Official Secrets Act, sections of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Interception of Communications Act;

6.1.8 The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services should assist media houses in accessing foreign currency to acquire equipment by February 2022; and

6.1.9 Media houses should continue adhering to the set regulations and encourage regular testing and vaccination of its staff members.

7.0 Conclusion

7.1 Media plays a vital role in enhancing development in the country through dissemination of information on government policies to the general public. It was noted that the media houses in Zimbabwe have done creditable work in ensuring accessibility of information despite the challenges faced. It is therefore critical that the media industry be promoted through a legislative framework that allows for freedom of expression and access to information as enshrined in sections 61 and 62 of the Constitution.

          HON. NGULUVHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I just want to buttress some few points which have been raised by my Chairperson.  I want first to say, maybe because of my background, where I used to work, I believe that information is very important and necessary for it to be passed to the people so that they understand and appreciate what the Government is doing or what Government is trying to do and besides Government, what is happening around them be it worldwide or countrywide. 

          I want to buttress what she said, however, I will go to the point which I feel I should add because the report is very detailed.  I will start with the issue of Pockets Hill. It is well known that Zimbabwe was one of the first countries in Africa to have a television station in the 1960s.  It is so embarrassing that up to now, other countries have gone to have over 20 stations but we still have one station.  One wonders what is happening.  Where are we going? Are we failing to move forward like other countries?  That is a concern which I observed when we went to Pockets Hill that we are lagging behind and as such, it is very difficult to disseminate this information through the television, more-so, when we cannot reach all corners of our country.  So, I would like to call upon the authorities that be, so that we try and improve the situation in terms of the number of television stations and also where it can reach all corners of the country.  If you look at the equipment being used, it is outdated.  I think it is high time that we improve the equipment to be used at this stage.

          I want to go straight to the issue of challenges being faced by ZBC, especially transport.  I think in almost all the districts, although the Government is trying through the Ministry to buy some vehicles for these reporters who cover the districts, three quarters of our districts in the country have no vehicles to be used by officers who cover functions which take place.  Most of the time, Members of Parliament carry journalists to cover some of these Government programmes and that normally brings some bit of corruption.  Obviously, when you carry that journalist, you will always want him/her to give you a favourable report.  So, I call upon the authorities to try and capacitate the journalists who work in the districts.  I have seen a lot of these journalists, especially under the Ministry of Information; they do not have vehicles at all.  If they have, the vehicles are very old.

          I also want to touch on Zimpapers.  It is very unfortunate that according to the Constitution, all languages must be recognised but these Zimpapers’ reporters, I have never seen a paper in my local language, that is Venda, nor have I seen any written in Sotho.  So I implore Zimpapers to cover all the languages like what is stated in the Constitution so that we disseminate information countrywide.

          I want to also look at the issue of the challenges faced by journalists.  I do not condone the harassment of journalists by security forces.  Mr. Speaker, like what the Permanent Secretary said, these are just allegations, as your Committee we have never seen a report written by journalists , specifically giving details, time and places where they were harassed by security forces.  I think that the journalists, if they want assistance from this Committee, they must bring us factual dates, V11s, to say we were harassed at such a place by such police, otherwise we will always rely on hearsay.  I thank you.

          HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity. Kudzidza hakuperi, I saw how much of a gentleman you are today.  Women are always respected, I have learnt, they are never wrong, they are right.  So, I respect that.

          The motion moved by Hon. Mokone, seconded by Hon. Nguluvhe is very important.  It provokes a debate of why parastatals rely on the Treasury all the time when they have an opportunity to make money.  The whole point about media and television is advertising.  I did not hear in this report where they touched on how much money they are making from advertising.  There was none at all.  Why are they not making money from advertising?  It is because you want to politicise State-owned media.  That is it.  You will bury yourself as no one will put in money.  There is need for a professional approach on how media is run today.  There must be transformation because they are now competing with social media, which is fast, more effective and entertaining. 

If I have to ask Hon. Members here, unless you have been at a rally and ZBC has been in your constituency – how many watch ZBC?  It is polarized.  I am a Member of Parliament in this House representing national interest but before they come, they must seek authority from the Board Chairperson that we are going to Temba Mliswa who is an independent MP, must we go.  It must not be the question.  How many Members of Parliament from the opposition are covered?  I am probably one of the most effective MPs in this country, working every day.  I am coming from my constituency now.  Thank God there is social media.  Today I was in my constituency with the Permanent Secretary for Education.  There was a donation from a Chinese company of online gadgets to Dudley Hall Primary School and Nyabira Primary School and they were not there.  Anything to do with Norton, they are not there or he is independent and not ZANU PF.  MDC, we cannot go.  When they report on PPPs, it is lies again. 

Hon. Nguluvhe said that it is important that there must be facts.  State-owned media means that it belongs to the State and everyone.  Astronomical figures with social media today.  We are talking about full time workers of 734. What rubbish is that?  We have people on the pension scheme when they are not supposed to.  These are pensioners.  What are they doing when today I am able to get what has happened real time in my constituency on social media.  Instead of you finding young boys and girls in the constituencies to be giving you pictures and you write a story, what do you need a journalist for?  What do they need that office for, with social media and virtual that is going on.  They are wasting electricity there.  Everything is being wasted.  If the offices are turned into public toilets, they will serve better because there are not enough public toilets in Harare.  What are they doing with offices today when things can happen when you are not in the office?  They still believe the Editor and the Chief Reporter must have offices.  Not only that, it comes with a package.

We have 734 workers.  How many TV stations do we have for ZBC to have that?  Why are we killing the nation with our eyes open?  This is treason and you remain in permanent employment because you are loyal to the ruling party.  To me, for as long as you have this concept, no one will give you money. You will blame the Government because you have not departed from a political polarization position where big companies want to put in money and advertise in a professional way on a professional entity. 

You look at the TV station, why are you not opening it up to everyone.  Why ZBC every day?  Some call it ZANU PF Broadcasting Corporation.  Why are you not giving licences to others?  Decentralisation and devolution is there.  Why is it not applying as well?  Why are you not having a TV station in Tsholotsho and Binga so that the Binga people are there?  Not only that, there is the aspect of languages.  There are 16 languages in the Constitution. 

Madam Speaker, let me say this without fear or favour.  When Prof. Jonathan Moyo and George Charamba were running the media, they came up with home grown solutions, “rambayi makashinga,” you all remember.  Today what do we have?  We had our own home grown solutions and we were tied to that TV.  We knew “rambayi makashinga” will be there.  We were all singing it because it drives a narrative of nationalism, patriotism and defines you as a sovereign nation. That is the power of information.  It is not there.  The actors that we had like Mukadota  are no longer there.  Where are the dramas in Ndebele, Ndau, et cetera? Where are these languages being accommodated because we have diverse languages?  The State-owned media must represent the people. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, Can I propose something?  Can every journalist who is appearing on TV wear the national dress for pride of our country?  They are busy wearing suits like they are on BBC and CNN.  Why are we not wearing our own Zimbabwe material which we know is available?  Why are they not doing that?  How can people put in money when you do not even have pride of your country at the end of the day?  It becomes very difficult for them.

They talk about licence payment and they had a figure for it.  What percentage are the people with licences paying to generate income?  I am glad the Minister of Finance is here.  Do not give them money.  Ask them how much they are earning from the licences. If they are not getting more than 70%, do not give them.  Let them go and work.  Let them go and stand in the roads and collect money.  They think money will come to the office.  What are they doing at the offices?  They are like the police force.  Why can they not stand with the police at road blocks to collect money and yet they want to cry that there is no money.  This is how they generate income from TV licences and radio licences.  How many people have got that?  They are not at all doing anything about that.  It is piece meal.  When things are tough, they go to the roads.  They make some money, come back and chew it.  When it finishes they go back.  You cannot run a business like that.  There has got to be sustainability on how your revenue comes in.  The licence is a good opportunity.

I am coming in to say there are many opportunities there but there is absolutely nothing that they are doing.  All they are doing is begging from the Minister of Finance for money and resources.  Not this time around.  We want to know how much they are generating from advertising and licences.  We want to know why there are 734 workers.  The Hon. Minister of Finance must demand a skills audit of each worker in the parastatals.  IMF has been talking about us cutting down and you have to bite the bullet.  In biting the bullet, we are able to manage the economy because we are not overspending in manpower or human resource.  If you go to the rural areas, “kune matongo akawanda.”  Let them go and be part of it.  We are not short of land.  What are they doing in Harare?  Crime goes up and not only that, there is the aspect of corruption at the end of the day.  For you to appear on news, you must pay something to a journalist.  What if you do not have money because information is for everyone?  We need to be very clear on how we deal with this. The issue of Government parastatals owing money to the other must stop.   I am glad the Minister of Finance is here. Let each parastatal give Caesar what belongs to Caesar. This is what has incapacitated most parastatals. You are borrowing money and you are not paying. Where is the pride? How does the other parastatal take off when you are not paying? Chikwereti cheZBC havadi kubhadhara mafuta kuMinistry of Energy. How do they survive? Government is the biggest business. They are given money by Treasury. Let them go and ask for money from the Treasury and they are given. These are the bills that we have. When they get their money, they will offset the bills and there is balance and we are able to move forward. This is not helping at all because we have one Government and we have got the same mother and father, it does not mean that we must borrow from each other and not give back. This is a bad culture. Because of that, it becomes a problem at the end of the day.

          Janet Munyaka, may her soul rest in peace, she died on duty serving this country. That is the most painful part. She was loyal, patriotic and most of them were not protected while they were working there. That is the truth. You want them to work for you but there is no protection for the journalists. The media is the fourth estate as we all know. In terms of us ensuring that they are covered, what provisions were taken to ensure that they protect people’s lives? You cannot be excited about getting a report. All this equipment that they have, there is the Iran equipment and I do not know whether the Chairperson of the Committee got into the Iranian equipment. Where did it go? Who has got it? This Iranian equipment is from 20 years ago and it is outdated right now but equipment was donated from Iran. Where did it go?

          In receiving that equipment, is it linked to our system? We have a tendency of receiving donations which are not receptive to our system. We have a tendency of bringing some graders which are for snow and we take them to rural areas yet we do not have snow in this country. Whilst this equipment is a good gesture, where did it go? Why did it take time for it to be distributed? All these are questions that we need to understand.

          The Minister of Finance has been talking about PPPs. Where are the PPPs? You just want to say ndechedu asi pasina chinhu. Bhazi ririkufamba risina vanhu but you are saying iri ibhazi rangu mafuta achingopera. Driver anoda kuita conductor futi. That is not how you run business. Are there no partners who are prepared to be with us?  The critical issue about the PPPs is management. If I am not mistaken, Anglo American Corporation is controlled by the Oppenheimers. They used to have a lot of shareholding but right now I am told that they have 10% and they control management, which is key in decision making. Within the clauses of the contract, you have got clauses that protect your interests but you would have brought in a partner. I do not know why they think that if you have a PPP in a State owned enterprise you have sold out.  Things are fast changing and the amount of money that they require, you might as well build another ZBC. At this stage, the money that ZBC requires, should you not just have another one?

          We need to do an assessment on some of these parastatals that, are they worth being there?  Time has moved and a lot has happened. Technology – and as a result, you end up spending good money on bad projects at the end of the day. That analysis must come through. The Ministry of Finance must be very clear that we cannot give you money before you dispose some of these old cars. What are they needed for? From these old cars buy three new ones. You have cars parked and the only thing that is not there is a filter. People are stealing while they are parked there. You want to open the engine and the engine is not there. The day they want to sell the car, the engine is not there and yet it has been parked there. Now you are wondering who stole the engine at the end of the day.

          Zimpapers has 1300 workers. Is that a National Youth Service Centre? It is like you are recruiting youth for national service. One thousand journalists writing stories and 800 of those are permanent. The rest are temporary. What do you need temporary workers for when you have got such a bloated workforce? Where are we going? Not only that, Zimpapers has also created ZTV again. You have ZBC which is State owned. In what sense? Why do they not use ZBC to do television but now they have said Zimpapers must have its own TV station. You have got two State owned TV stations. ZBC might as well have print media, The Herald 2, Sunday Mail 2 and Chronicle 2. That is what it means. Who comes up with these decisions from a strategic point of view? What is the role of the board in this? They do this with the motive of being corrupt. This is where corruption is borne. You have a TV station which at the end of the day is not getting enough information and you go and create another one. Why are you not prepared to give other people licences who have capability to do it because what we want is money? What this country needs is revenue. We do not care about the colour of the skin but what we want is good money coming in and all that.

          If I heard correctly, 40% were laid off and 60% are still there. How long has it taken the organisation to lay off 40%? I am going back to my point that there are too many workers not doing anything and this proves it. For those being laid off, how much have you given them? Those who are permanent again, you have left 60%. The drive in terms of the awareness, let me give credit to the State owned media. If there is anything that you did well which, if I was a lecturer, I would give you 110% out of 100%, is information on COVID. There are three things that they did. They informed us that there was COVID, they did well. They informed us the number of people infected and lastly and sadly, they informed us how many died. They did very well there. I must give them credit. They were very consistent in ensuring that they reported on COVID issues and because of that, it helped the nation in many ways and so forth.

          The khakhi envelope thing was discussed. At the end of the day, what is needed is to have the Media Commission as well. We have to get to a point as a nation, where we say Zimbabwe is important for everyone. We are all Zimbabweans. The idea of thinking that somebody is against Zimbabwe, hatingaite hondo mupfungwa all the time. We are one, be it Ndebele or Karanga, we want one thing. Togetherness is critical and is whatever we have to achieve, the world is watching how united you are. Look at Israel, the strength of Israel is the Jews who are outside Israel. That is their power. Their power is not the people in Israel, it is the Jews who have made money and pumping money into Israel. Their diasporans are prepared to invest into all these these projects. As long as the environment is conducive, it must not be politicised. We must stop this whole aspect of politicising everything. The liberators of this country, the late Joshua Nkomo, Nikita Mangena, Robert Mugabe, Solomon Mujuru, Josiah Tongogara, Hebert Chitepo, Maurice Nyagumbo and those surviving today; His Excellency Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa, Cde. Didymus Mutasa, Cde. Rugare Gumbo; when they went to the struggle, the founding principle was to be one. They won the struggle together and the common agenda was this country must be liberated.

          We cannot be divided again after the struggle. In terms of information, there cannot be marginalisation of information.  When you starve people of information, it shows that you do not like them. Digitalisation is there and if I am not mistaken, we are 40% out. I have not heard in this report where we are in terms of digitalisation, where the kids in the rural areas are getting the same information with the kids in the urban areas. Today there is a difference between the kids in the rural areas and the kids in urban areas because of information gap. There cannot be information gap if we are saying we have the same nation.

          The same news that the people in Harare get is the same news the children in Binga, Tsholotsholo, Silobela, and Buhera must hear - but when you leave Harare and as soon as you are out of network, it is a different world yet the news was the same. They get the information late. Even during the Rhodesian era, that telegram which used to be there was more effective than what we have today. I remember my grandmother in Nkayi would go to the Post Office and get a message that there is money, but today the telegram is not there. Should we revisit some of the things that made Rhodesia successful? Maybe we should remove the word ‘Rhodesia’ and replace it with ‘Zimbabwe’ and follow the model of Rhodesia. We must not be shy and we must not have pride to a point that our egos are bigger than us. It must never be like that. The Ministry of Information needs to embrace everyone and when they do that, people will start paying for their licences. Without that, we have a problem – it cannot be an institution that divides. It must be an institution that unites people at the end of the day.

          I want to conclude by saying for a very long time, we were quiet and we could not speak. The heart speaks and you do not see it. May the leaders of this country be warned that people are speaking in their hearts and that is a dangerous way to speak? Freedom of expression is critical as long as it is constructive. At times I tweet on the Government not doing well and somebody says but you are against the President and I say it is you who lie, who are against the President. I am telling the President the truth because I want him to do well. I worked hard for him to be in power. I worked hard to see this country where it is. When you have worked hard for something, you will talk about it.

In your home, the wife and the husband will talk about key issues. I will end by saying that it is important that we use the media to make us a better people, to get us education and get us the information which is critical but like Hon. Nguluvhe said, it has got to be factual at the end of the day. You cannot suppress the media because suppressing the media is suppressing the people. Suppressing the people is suppressing their rights and the only form that they have. You were in the struggle and communication was vital. So, why do you think today it is not vital? May we remain a united nation and not be politicised and be divided through State institutions which are used for personal gain. May violence stop and may it be reported when there is violence.

          If ZANU PF youth have been violent, let it be reported and if it is CCC, MDC or any other party that has been violent, let it be reported. It takes two to tango. I wonder when I see just a CCC violent and yet the others are not. The death of the young man Ncube must leave us with a scar and say do we want a nation where we differ and we kill each other or where we differ and we move forward? God is watching. Thank you.

          (v)HON. MUDARIKWA: I want to thank you for affording me this opportunity to debate on this critical debate. The development of Zimbabwe is based on the media. Many points have been raised by different speakers but I want to start off by saluting our journalists. I want to thank them very much because we had COVID-19 but they put up an excellent fight – job well-done to our frontline soldiers, the journalists of Zimbabwe. The success in combating COVID-19 cannot go through without mentioning the quality of the messages journalists designed in their offices to emphasise the dangers of COVID-19. We must salute them as well as Nyaradzo for a job well-done in assisting the combating of COVID-19.

          When somebody has done something very well, you also need to reward that particular person and the first thing that I recommend is the reward for our journalists. All journalists’ accreditation must be done on line. We have a department of Government, full department of ICT and everybody is computer literate. They are not BBC and when I say BBC, I mean ‘Born before Computers’. These are the people who remain there but our journalists have embraced the computers. So Government departments that are in charge of accrediting journalists, it must all be done on line. Hon. Speaker Sir, imagine a journalist travelling to Victoria Falls to come to Harare and Bulawayo just for accreditation. We must revisit this to see if the people manning these offices are qualified.

The other issue is provincial studios where people can broadcast from different provinces so that we reduce this element of movement so that we create a conducive environment for our journalists.  My province is Mashonaland East. We have got Safa there who calls himself ZBC media chief for the province because he is alone. We want to create a situation where the broadcasting situation remains in a modern way, where it is modernised, but how do we modernise the broadcasting of journalists? How do we modernise the transmission of information and all the media institutions? 

          The most critical component in everything is to create a conducive environment. I understand the Ministry of Finance is there – we must have duty free vehicles for all journalists. Every practicing journalists must get a duty free vehicle. When they get duty free vehicles, they would put broadcasting equipment in their vehicles at that time but not a situation where we have an old vehicle. Some of the journalists move around with friends when they want to go out for meetings, they say chimbondipushawo.

Zimbabwe’s economy moved ahead because the journalists are contributing and we must also move together. The economy yes, was hit hard by COVID-19. It is coming out but our journalists were also affected by COVID-19. It is critical that we realise that some COVID-19 allowance be also made available direct to the journalists, not to the media house.

This must be separated. From the discussions we had with the different employers, they do not have a National Employment Council of journalism industry and that is a very big disadvantage for the young journalists. I mentioning these points Hon. Speaker because when you do not have NEC, it means journalists are poor and what does poverty means. Poverty is the inability to utilise resources around you for your benefit and they are subject to abuse. So, we need our journalists to be well resourced.

There must be a new syllabus for our journalists. All the schools that train journalism must have a new syllabus which should have an emphasis on patriotism where there is an emphasis of commercialisation of your activities and modernisation which I have been talking about. Our radio equipment even our digital system is going through a third party. I was involved at one time in setting up a radio station for Uzumba Constituency.

All the radio equipment is manufactured in Germany and the cost is reasonable but our equipment for digitalisation is going through a third party. The third party goes to Germany and buys the equipment, multiplies that by 100 and then invoices Zimbabwe. That is why the digitalisation programmes is almost at a standstill. Our digitalisation programme must involve the private sector. It is not the responsibility of the Government to say we want to put this antenna here facing this side, no.

The private sector must be involved and once the private sector is involved, they then recover their money out of what is happening. It is critical that whatever we do, the PPPs take precedence in whatever we do. We do not need to overload the Minister of Finance about financing ZBC and antennas for our different telephones, no. This must be done by the private sector. Hon. Speaker, I need to bring in something about the safety of our journalists. Journalists in Zimbabwe are very safe but there are some people who just want to over-emphasise that it is not safe. There has never been a journalist who has been killed in Zimbabwe but in other countries it happens every year. Journalists are shot and killed but in Zimbabwe, in their journalism training they lacked patriotism, they over-emphasise on something that is not there.

Mr. Speaker, I know the Minister of Finance is there. All the radio stations and media houses that have been established, it is my humble plea and submission to the Hon. Minister of Finance that all these must be given a tax holiday for 10 years to establish and set up. An informed nation is a nation that is ready to develop. There are a lot of other activities that we will benefit from because our nation is informed. So Hon. Minister of Finance, please give 10-year tax holidays for all the new radio and television stations that have been established. What I am saying is no VAT, tax, duty or anything. The equipment must come because information is critical and serves our people.

The issue of roaming is critical because every cell phone is a radio station. Once you have a cell phone you can use it as a radio but in Zimbabwe Mr. Speaker Sir, it is my humble submission to you that in Zimbabwe we have no local roaming but we have international roaming. I flew to Johannesburg last week and within an hour I was roaming, communicating using the equipment that is provided by the different network suppliers in Johannesburg. In Zimbabwe, you need to move around with three cell phones; one for Netone, the other for Telcel and the third for Econet.

Why do we make life difficult for our people? Somebody has been captured. It is a total sign of the capture of certain State institutions that are not allowing local roaming. Why do we have such a difficult situation? We now have online learning in different schools. Today there is one network available, so people in the rural areas are buying three cell phones so that when there is no power, you go on Econet. When there is no signal on Econet you go on Telecel. Why do we not allow local roaming?

People must also understand the bandwidth where these cell phone providers are using is a national asset. It belongs to the people of Zimbabwe. They cannot try to play politics that I have established, I have done these inspections or done this, and some of them even cause radiation but the community is not claiming the dangers of radiation. We continue to have a difficult situation in our communication systems. This must be rectified. The Minister of ICT must come to the august House and present a report on why we do not have national roaming in Zimbabwe, yet we have international roaming.

Let me conclude by thanking our Hon. Chair for a job well done presenting the report under very difficult situations and also taking the risk travelling under COVID-19 conditions but Hon. Speaker, the mothers of our revolution are there. They are our mothers. There was an incident today where there was some confrontation with our mothers. I want to salute the mothers of Zimbabwe, including my mother who is late but wherever she is, she is hearing what I am saying. Mothers of Zimbabwe must be saluted. They gave birth to heroes of the struggle. They gave birth to us who are contributing to the economic development of Zimbabwe. We need to salute them for a job well done.

My last request is Hon. Minister of Finance, duty free vehicles for every reporter in Zimbabwe because he is a frontline soldier of distributing information. Information is an economic enabler, meaning that when you are informed you are able to make an informed decision. I want to thank you very much Hon. Speaker and wish you a Happy Women’s Day.  We will be celebrating Women’s Day in our different provinces and it is my humble invitation that when the heroines of Uzumba Constituency celebrate their Women’s Day, we want you to be the guest of honour.  I thank you.

(v)HON. SHAMU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to join colleague Hon. Members of Parliament who have contributed to this very important debate that has been provoked by the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services dealing with the state of media in Zimbabwe. May I thank Hon. Mokone and Hon. Nguluvhe for having moved and seconded the report respectively; they have done a fantastic job.

In debating, we need to put things into context understanding what it is that we are talking about when we talk of the state of the media.  The media itself is a term which means the main means of mass communication that is broadcasting, publishing and internet, regarded collectively.  It is a very wide subject and I would like to thank the Committee for focusing on areas of importance to Zimbabwe as of today.  However, some might feel that certain areas have not been covered; this was obviously deliberate because of the prevailing circumstances. The contribution might seem as if it is directed specifically at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation which is really not the case. Given our circumstances, we have but one national television network.  ZBC owns a number of radio stations.  Some radio stations that have come up now belong to Zimpapers. There are also other private players. A number of companies have been licenced but most of them have not yet taken off.

          Therefore, when looking at the state of the media, we are obviously guided by those who are in practice and whatever recommendations we make must be interpreted in a manner that embraces every player within the media.  As I stated earlier on, in terms of the definition of media itself, it is indeed a very wide subject covering broadcasting, publishing and internet. 

          Madam Speaker, I would like to zero in on the first recommendation made by the Portfolio Committee.  The Committee is calling on the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to have cleared the ZBC legacy debt by March 2022.

          This is a very important recommendation which should be looked at seriously by the Ministry of Finance.

          When we talk of a legacy debt, it means that a parastatal or even a company is reeling under a legacy debt. It will face a number of problems.  It is difficult to reform or implement effective restructuring, in other words, even when you want to turn around, you find it impossible.  Even if you have very good management, it cannot come out of an endless pit.  In other words, the legacy debt needs to be removed and I know that the Minister of Finance will take this issue with the seriousness it deserves.

          We have a number of new players who are coming in, in need of financial support.  We have other players who would like to invite investors into this industry but if the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation seems to be facing difficulties, it sends a wrong signal.    If its contribution on the market itself is negative, it therefore means whoever wants to come into the industry, will lose interests on seeing the difficulties that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is going through. They will view this industry which has so much potential as unattractive.

          Therefore, the importance of ensuring that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is a success story goes beyond the simple term of success for ZBC.  It is a national issue that we will be looking at attracting investors into the industry by showcasing to them our work at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.  I hope that, the recommendation will be taken very seriously by the Ministry of Finance so that we can be able to ensure that we have a vibrant, productive, lucrative and successful media environment.

           Madam Speaker, I would like to turn to Transmedia Corporation that has been asked by the Committee to ensure that they facilitate a conducive environment for infrastructural investment that would see transmission covering the whole country. 

          This investment is a game changer.  If we compliment this proposal with a situation whereby the legacy debt is taken over by the Ministry of Finance, we would have created a good environment, not only for ZBC but for the whole media industry.

          I am saying so because most of the players will depend on this very same infrastructure. Radio and Television will be greaching more viewers, more listeners and that in itself attracts advertising as a result of wide coverage.  Wide coverage, guarantees a market. Therefore, to those looking for profits, they will see an opportunity for increased business. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation will not only be able to earn more money but more revenue that will enable it to meet some of its own expenses internally.  This will benefit all other players who will come on board.  Let me hasten to add that managers must make sure that presenters, producers and news writers do not defeat this cause by behaving in an unprofessional manner. 

          Madam Speaker Ma’am no one on radio and television in Zimbabwe should be found advertising the name of a brand of a company when that company has not paid for that advertisement.  They must not be found trying to push a product which has not come through the normal channels of seeking advertising space and paying for it.  They must uphold rules that govern and regulate the professional ethics of producers, presenters and reporters.  They need to adhere to advertising standards that ensure that there is no deviation from the process of ensuring that whoever wants to advertise they pay for it.  There must be no place for unprofessional behaviour.  To me Madam Speaker Ma’am, this behaviour whereby a reporter or presenter surreptitiously announces the name of a company that should have actually paid for advertisement is corrupt.  That kind of corruption must be nipped in the bud.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, let me conclude by not only thanking our Chairperson and mover of this motion for a job well done.  Madam Speaker, I want to believe that in future we will ensure that whatever is done in the media fraternity covers everybody and leaves no one behind as His Excellency has said in his announcement in terms of what it is that we should do in order for us to achieve the goals of Vision 2030. 

           Madam Speaker, in the report presented by our Chairperson, she emphasised the fact that the Committee does concur with the idea of establishing a Media Council that will deal with the welfare of all journalists. This will bring everybody on board Madam Speaker Ma’am.  In the report concern was expressed on why Breeze FM was paying licence fees to ZBC and yet ZBC are their competitors.  This should not be the case.  In other words we would like to see a fair level playing field for everybody including provision of PPEs by Government without discrimination.  In other words, the report is taking everybody on board. 

          I would like to thank the Chairperson once again and you Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this very important report.  I thank you. 

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

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 9th March, 2022. 

TABLING OF REPORT

          THE HON. MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Madam Speaker, I seek leave of the House to table the Report of the Auditor General for the year ended 31st December, 2020.  Section 10, paragraph 1 of the Audit Office Act provides that the Auditor General after examining the accounts transmitted to him or her in terms of Section 35:6  and Section 7 of the Public Finance Management Act and the accounts of any public entity designated on board of Statutory Fund and after signing a certificate recording the result of his or her examination  shall prepare and submit to the Minister not later than 30th June in each year a report on the outcome of his or her examination; an audit of the accounts referred to him or her in terms of Section 6:1. 

The Auditor Officer further provides in Section 12 that any report transmitted in terms of Section 10 shall be laid by the Minister before this august House on one of the seven days in which the House sits next after he or she has received such a report. 

Madam Speaker Ma’am, in line with the aforementioned provisions of our law, now lay the report of the Auditor General for the year ended 31st December2020, before this august House for consideration.

I must hasten to add that for the benefit of the august House, this report basically encompasses the appropriation accounts, finance and revenue statements and fund account that is one and two, is basically the Report on State Enterprises and Parastatals.  I noticed that the previous debate was focusing on ZBC so there will be more in the Auditor General’s report to chew over. 

Finally, there is an Audit Report on Local Authorities.  I thank you.     

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I move that the rest of the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order Number 17 has been disposed of.

HON. TEKESHE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE BENCHMARKING VISITS BY THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON BUDGET, FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TO THE PARLIAMENTS OF RWANDA AND GHANA

HON. NYASHANU: I move the motion standing in my name;

That this House takes note of the Report on the Benchmarking visits by the Portfolio Committee on Budget Finance and Economic Development to the Parliaments of Rwanda 17th -22nd October 2021 and Ghana 13th to 17th November 2021.

HON. MUSHORIWA: I second.

HON. NYASHANU: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I rise to submit a report on a visit by the Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development to Rwanda and Ghana respectively.

  • INTRODUCTION
    • The Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development (Herein after referred to as the Committee) conducted Bench-marking visits to the Chamber of Deputies of Rwanda from the 17th to 22ndof October 2021 and to Parliament of Ghana from the 7th to 13th of November 2021. The benchmarking visits were fully funded by Parliament of Zimbabwe.
    • The delegation to Rwanda comprised eight Members and two staff members namely; Hon. Dr. M. Nyashanu, Hon. Dr. Khupe, Hon. Dr. Mutodi, Hon. Prof. Mashakada, Hon. Musakwa, Hon Gandawa, Hon. Priscilla Moyo, Hon Mushoriwa, Mrs. Chiwoneso Mataruka (Committee Clerk) and Mrs. Precious Mtetwa (Committee Researcher).
    • The delegation to Ghana comprised of eight Members and two staff members namely; Hon. Dr. M. Nyashanu, Hon. Mkaratigwa, Hon. T. Zhou, Hon. Sansole, Hon. M. Dube, Hon. Nkani, Hon. Watson, Hon. Banda, Mr. Pepukai Chivore (Director Budget Office) and Mrs. Chiwoneso Mataruka (Committee Clerk).
    • The Committee during the week visit to Rwanda held meetings with Rwanda Parliamentarians, Private Sector, Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda Revenue Authority and the Auditor General in addition to touring the Museum for the Campaign Against Genocide and the Kigali Genocide Memorial Park. In Ghana, the Committee held meetings with the Parliamentarians, Ghana Revenue Authority as well as Ghana Investment Promotion Centre. The delegation also toured the Parliamentary Training Institute and visited Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.
  • OBJECTIVES OF THE VISITS
  •     To learn how the Parliaments of Rwanda and Ghana deal with issues relating to budget, finance and economic development;
  •      To share information and experiences on any challenges encountered in the execution of the oversight function; and
  •      To learn how Institutions in Ghana and Rwanda are supporting investment and economic development objectives, as well as how they are overcoming the challenges related to the same.

RWANDA STUDY VISIT

  • Bilateral Relations between Rwanda and Zimbabwe
    • Rwanda and Zimbabwe enjoy cordial relations cemented by the presence of embassies in the two countries. These relations have been further strengthened in the Second Republic. The two countries have been collaborating in a wide range of programmes that are mutually beneficial for both countries. These include collaborations in trade and investments, infrastructure development, energy, civil aviation, environment and climate change among others. The recent Rwanda Zimbabwe Trade Conference involving both countries’ public and private sectors held in September 2021saw several agreements being signed between the two countries. The cooperation agreements were in ICT and e-governance, environment and climate change, agriculture and livestock, tourism and business events. The conference aimed at exploring and consolidating areas of collaboration and partnerships. The relationship has been further cemented by the Rwanda Air which flies to Zimbabwe twice a week thus further enhancing cooperation between the two countries. 
  • Courtesy Call to the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies: Rt Hon. Mukabalisa Donatille

The Committee was welcomed to Rwanda Parliament by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies together with his deputies, Hon. Harerimana Mussa Fazil, responsible for Finance and Administration and Hon. Mukabagwiza Edda, responsible for Parliamentary Affairs. Rtd. Hon. Donatille commended the bilateral relationship that already exists between Zimbabwe and Rwanda, which forms the basis for learning and exchange visits.

  • History of Genocide

Hon. Mukabalisa gave a brief history of the Rwanda Genocide of 1994, where members of the Hutu ethnic majority murdered close to a million people, mostly of the Tutsi minority within 100days. She noted that the history of the country has contributed immensely on how the country has developed and united over the years. She concluded by pointing out that if it has been possible for Rwanda to become a destination for all to learn, it is also possible for other countries to develop.

  • Meeting with the Committee on National Budget and Patrimony and the Committee on Economy and Trade Committee business
      • Committee business is guided by the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda. It was highlighted that the Chamber of Deputies is composed of 9 Standing Committees, namely; Committee on Political Affairs and Gender, Committee on Economy and Trade, Committee on Education, Technology, Culture and Youth, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, Committee on Social Affairs, Committee on Unity, Human Rights and Fight Against Genocide, Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, Committee on Land, Agriculture, Livestock and Environment and Public Accounts Committee. The Committees comprises of an average of 9 members each since there are about 90MPs in the Chamber of Deputies. Committee business is taken seriously and it is mandatory for members of the committee to attend and participate in it. Punitive action is taken for any member who misses committee business for 3 consecutive days without leave. Generally, the two committees noted similarities in the challenges they face while conducting Committee work, particularly, poor quality of reporting by government agencies and non-submission of quarterly reports.
    • National Budget Process
      • The national budget process in Rwanda is more decentralised with districts being allocated more resources compared to the Ministry of Local Government. The budget process for the national government and that of counties are synchronised allowing the budget processes to feed into each other. Each district has its development plan which is extracted from the consolidated provincial and national level strategic plans.

 

  • The Ministry of Finance spearheads the budget process. Line Ministries are mainly involved in policy making and monitoring while Parliament exercise oversight on the work of the Ministries. Implementation of government projects is done both at a national level as well as at county levels. The Budget Framework Paper (BFP), an equivalent of our own Budget Strategy Paper is tabled before the Chamber of Deputies and Senate not later than 30 April each financial year. The Committees of Parliament then call for public consultations to gather the views of the people on whether the budget allocations are adequate and also to comment on the proposed expenditures. The Committee on National Budget and Patrimony calls the Minister to explain certain proposals and some of the projections where necessary. Consultations are done with all Budget agencies, i.e. Central and Local government, private sector, media and civil society according to the 3 Clusters (Economic, Social and Governance Cluster). A document prepared by clusters is submitted to the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies who in turn submits it to the bureau of the Committee on Budget and National Patrimony for consideration during Budget Hearing. A report on the BFP is then tabled in Parliament and the Prime Minister is expected to submit the comments to the Cabinet not later than 30th of May of the current fiscal year.
  • During the course of the year, the Committee on National Budget and Patrimony ensures that they exercise their oversight on the following: current fiscal year’s budget implementation; the extent of revenue collection as per Finance law; expenditure on programs (Central and Local Government) as per Finance law (for example: Annual Planning, Annual Procurement Plan, Performance Contract, slow project implementation, etcetera); Gender Responsive Budget (GRB); National Debt sustainability; social and economic statistical data; and on economic development and poverty reduction programs.
  • The Minister is expected to table the Draft Finance Bill before Parliament not later than 15th June of each year for approval after cross checking if all submitted comments were considered or verify why some comments were not considered. The Senate submits to the Chamber of Deputies its opinion on the Draft Finance Law and the Chamber of deputies adopts the Finance Law before 30th June of each year. The exercise of passing the National Budget is done the same day in all East African Community Member States and gazetted for effective use by the 1st of July each year.
  • Analysis of the national budget by the Committee is based on the following; Vision 2050, Sustainable Development Goals, MTEF, National Statistics and on other decisions from National Forums such as National Leadership Retreat, National Dialogue and Presidential pledges among others. The OAG’s report for the previous year, budget execution report of the first 6 months of the current year, reports from various field visits done by Committees, Senate opinion on BFP, consultation with budget agencies, private sector and Civil Society during Budget Hearing and any other information received from the public is also used in recommending for line Ministries and government agencies to get financial resources. Budget execution is done as per vote allocation and no ministry is underfunded in any way. In cases where a Ministry fails to utilise all its funds at the end of the year, the balance is brought forward to the following year. However, it was noted that ministries face challenges of implementation and not of funding.

 

  • Gender Mainstreaming and Special Groups

The budget must satisfy the needs and welfare of the women, men, boys and girls (gender budgeting). The process is guided by an organic law enacted in 2014 to ensure all gender issues are addressed in the budget, which calls for all government agencies to submit disaggregated data on how funds received shall be utilised. The budget must also provide information on other special groups such as the youth, persons with Disability and other vulnerable groups. Parliament of Rwanda has a gender monitoring office which monitors gender issues during budget execution and reports to Parliament. It is important to note that 61% of Parliamentarians are women.

  • Government Loans

It was noted that all loan agreements in Rwanda must be ratified by Parliament before implementation. The approval process is guided by the information that the Parliament of Rwanda has in terms of ensuring national debt sustainability. Therefore, there is a good working relationship between the Ministry of Finance and Parliament in terms of access to information. It is also the responsibility of the Public Investment Committee to monitor all investment plans and implementation of projects in Rwanda.

  • Parliament Budget Office

Rwanda Parliament is at an advanced stage of establishing a parliament budget office (PBO). It was noted that the PBO will be critical in assisting Parliament in analysing the budget as well as in critiquing predictions on inflation and other internal and external shocks that might affect the budget.  This will be critical in enabling the Committee to effectively monitor the budget execution.

  • Meetings with the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in Rwanda
    • The Committee noted that the Ministry relies on the national priorities as identified in the national vision 2050 and the National Strategic Transformation agenda for the budget preparation each year. Preparation of the macroeconomic forecasts is done to feed into the budget formulation before involving the stakeholders. The Committee also noted that Stakeholders are involved at the national planning level and at decentralised levels through citizens’ forums where they are involved in the planning process. Community working group do monitoring of selected programmes and give feedback during the budget formulation stage. The Ministry then engages the councils to discuss their priorities.
    • The Committee noted the following key reforms that were undertaken;
  • Creation of the public investment committee composed of the different stakeholders and a public investment department where every project has to be scrutinised and recommendation are made;
  • Strong gender responsive budgeting incorporated in institutional plans and development plans;
  • Special division for M & E; and
  • Transitioning from program based budgeting to performance based budgeting.

 

  • The major challenges the Ministry encounters includes among others, unreliable external resources, costing of the budget which still pose some challenges due to the absence of standardized process and the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting System(IPSAS) accounting system. IPSAS is still in its infancy stage and government has hired Price Waterhouse Coopers to undertake the project and have done an assessment to check the advantages and disadvantaged of the current cash system. Rwanda is targeting to complete the reforms by June 2024 as stipulated in the blueprint on how to transition to IPSAS.
  • The Ministry benefits a lot from working with the IMF in monitoring economic performance, fiscal policy and the monetary policy. The sector working groups which meet every quarter over a two or three-days conference has been a platform for engagement and exchanging ideas.
  • It was established that in Rwanda, no Minister is allowed to meet a development partner other than the Minister of Finance, which has the sole mandate of resource mobilisation together with the Rwanda Development Board. This brings a bit of sanity in managing the funds of Government. The Committee also noted that the decentralised Government system has empowered the districts to run their own budgets and to be self-reliant. This has been an advantage as it contributed significantly to economic growth and development of Rwanda.
  • The Government has fully embraced ICT as a key enabler in planning process and this has played a significant role in budget reforms, particularly boosting revenue collections. The Ministry noted with concern how other countries views the ICT sector as a cash cow in terms of taxes, but pointed out that it’s not the case for Rwanda. The ICT sector is viewed as a developmental enabler and hence is not taxed. Most ICT gadgets are zero rated to enhance access to the gadgets by its citizens. Today, Rwanda boasts of telephone penetration of about 90%. This then would have trickle down effects as the country moves towards a cashless economy by 2024. It was noted that the ICT sector can be an advantage in transforming the economy of Rwanda.
  • It was pointed out that the main sources of government funding are domestic taxes which contributes about 16% of tax to GDP and finances 75% of the budget while about 20% comes from external grants and donation. Every quarter, the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank meets to discuss how monetary and fiscal policies can and are complimenting each other.
  • Meeting with the Rwanda Development Board Chief Negotiator of Government

Investment Projects

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) was created to accelerate development in Rwanda, hence very critical to the transformation of the country’s development agenda. RDB acts as the chief negotiator of government and all line Ministries collaborate with it for any developmental projects. Planning is done by the Board together with key ministries to avoid duplication of work. For example, investment in the energy sector involves collaborative work with the Ministry responsible while the Board is the Chief Negotiator. At the conclusion of the agreement, the Board hands over the agreement to the Ministry for implementation. The operations of the RDB are guided by national strategic plans, such as the National Strategy for Transformation 2020/2050. Of importance to note is that the CEO of the Board is a cabinet member and reports directly to the Prime Minister.

  • Corporate Social Responsibility

The Committee noted that 10% of the revenue collected by the board is given back to the communities, especially to support school construction, roads, hospitals, bridges and etcetera.

  • One Stop Centre

The RDB operates as a one stop centre whereby all business inquiries and registration takes place. RDB was formed in 2008 through an amalgamation of 8 government entities, primarily to create a One Stop Shop for business and investment. Some of the entities are the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion, Rwanda Tourism Board, Rwanda Privatisation Board, ICT and Business Registration, to name just a few. Business registration is done on line and only takes 6 hours. This is possible because Rwanda is highly digitalised making it possible to synchronise all the key registration processes. The Board currently provide the following key services; investment promotion, export and special economic zone development, investment deals negotiation, tourism and conservation, skills development and one stop centre services (for business and investment registration, visa facilitation, tax incentives, etc). RDB system is interlinked with other key institutions namely Rwanda Revenue Authority, Rwanda Social Security Board, National Identity Agency which makes it easy to register a company and also to deregister unscrupulous business operators.

  • Meeting with the Private Sector Federation in Rwanda
    • Reforms and Establishment of the PSP

The PSF was established in 1999 through merging of the Chamber of Commerce and Employers Organisations. The core mandate of the organisation is advocacy to ensure a profitable and prosperous business environment in Rwanda. The organisation is purely a private entity without any government funding. The reforms were aimed at strengthening the bargaining power of the private sector through the various clusters which originates from the grassroots to the national level.

  • Private Sector Federation Structure

The Private Sector Federation is the apex board housing all the business associations across the various sectors of the economy. The PSF is designed in such a way that they include all Rwanda businesses with over 30 offices in the country with at least 1 office per district or per Province.

The PSF adopted a bottom up approach were operations are decentralised to committees or cell level where a leader is elected to represent the committee at a district or provincial sector level. At the district level, leaders are also selected who then form the General Assembly at national level. All leadership selected at district level automatically becomes part of the council that governs the district and the national level. The Chairperson at the provincial level automatically becomes a member of the private sector federation board of directors. 

  • PSF Mandate

PSF mandate is mainly advocacy, capacity building of members, ensuring access to markets for goods and services, study tours to assist and identify areas of improvement, networking platform to meet counterparts to exchange ideas. One of the major achievements of the PSF is the ability to host international trade fairs which attracts more than 800 exhibitors and over 40 000 participants. The private sector has played a huge role in driving economic growth and development while the government has continuously undertaken reforms to create an enabling environment for business growth. The organisation has in place a call centre which allows its members to reach out to the PSF for any inquiries and disputes. The social media is also very central in terms of communication and information dissemination to the people of Rwanda and its members. 

  • Public-Private Dialogue Summit (PPDS)

This is the highest level of intervention where the president is involved in addressing the private sector business community. This is a national leadership retreat which is hosted by the President and all Ministers and private sector leaders attend. This dialogue session seeks to boost cooperation between government and the private sector. At this level, the Rwanda Development Board and the Private Sector Federation provides secretariat services so that they keep track of implementation of all resolutions adopted at the summit. Prior to the PPDS, the PSF plays a pivotal role in engaging the executive pre-cabinet and also Parliament plays a pivotal role in assisting the PSF in advocating for the right laws to support the network.

  • PSF Imanzi Business Institute

The PSF has in place an institute which seeks to support entrepreneurship capacity development for its members. The Rwanda National Strategic Transformation (NST1) calls for competitive knowledge-based economy and supports for economic transformation. Thus, the institute was established to respond to some of the gaps in the sector. The chamber of women entrepreneurs and chamber of youth gets support from the institute to support business start-up for these groups of people and 30 were in Ghana attending a youth conference.

  • Platforms for Engagement with Government

PSF has 9 essential platforms for engagement, namely; (i) Tax platform for business competitiveness, (ii) Standards Issues Forum, (iii) Exporters Forum, (iv) Environmental Issues Platform, (v) Professional Services Platform, (vi) Utilities Platform, (vii) Rwanda Women in Business Platform, (viii) Rwanda Logistics Forum; and (ix) Kigali Investor Forum. As an organisation, they have managed to lobby with the executive for legislative reforms aimed at supporting business growth in Rwanda. Some laws and policies were reviewed while access to finances have been accelerated, which has managed to improve the ease of doing business in Rwanda.

  • Tour of the Special Economic Zone

The Committee toured the Kigali Special Economic Zone (Phase 1 & 2), which is complete. The Government is currently working of establishing phase 3 and 4. The Government plays a central role in the development of the SEZ, particularly, providing and servicing the land, which in turn attracts investors. In the SEZ, companies have invested in the following; construction material, textiles, ICTs, etcetera. The SEZ in Rwanda has a VW car assembly, Maraphone plant and an agro-processing factory which exports to World Food Programme. The Committee toured a joint venture company between a Rwandese and a Taiwanese who partnered to enter the clothing manufacturing sector. The clothes are manufactured for export to USA and Europe with the label, ‘made in Rwanda’.

  • Meeting with the National Bank of Rwanda
    • Role of the Central Bank

The central bank seeks to ensure macroeconomic stability, adequate finance of the economy and regulate inflation. The bank has gone beyond the traditional role and is now promoting financial sector development through promoting financial sector inclusion. The bank has been successful in managing the exchange rate, which is currently stable. By law, the bank is not allowed to lend to the government, i.e. to operate as the lender of last resort to government. The government only access funding through an overdraft that must be liquidated by the end of each financial year. The bank can also issue treasury bills for a maximum of 1 year. The bank can also trade treasury bills on the stock exchange ranging between 3 years and 20 years.  All government accounts are kept at the central bank. There are currently 16 banks in Rwanda distributed as follows; 10 commercial banks, one women’s bank, four microfinance banks, one cooperative bank.

  • Mobile Money

Mobile money has played a pivotal role in ensuring financial inclusion and has in turn managed to reduce the cash in circulation. The sector has embraced ICT which makes it easy for the bank to easily trace all transactions in the economy. The bank targets to go cashless by 2024 as it seeks to promote the use of bank cards, mobile banking and internet banking.

  • Monetary Policy Committee

The Monetary Policy Committee comprises of 2 external members while the rest are internal. By law, the Committee must have 9 members. The Governor of the bank was the chairperson of the Committee. However, with the reforms that have been undertaken, it will not be the case that the Governor of the bank will be the Board Chair. The appointing authority will have to decide the board chairperson.

  • Meeting with Rwanda Revenue Authority

Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) was established through the amalgamation of two departments which were under the Ministry of Finance, namely Customs and Domestic Taxes. RRA is manned by several Commissioner Generals in charge of the following departments: ICT, in charge of the digitalisation of the institutions, Strategy, planning and research, Risk department, Investigations and Tax payer services (awareness campaign). Over the years, RRA has undertaken reforms which have remodeled its organisational structure and several one stop border posts across the country. Currently, there are several on-going new operating models to ensure effective and efficient revenue collection.

RRA has adopted ISO quality management system and security management system. The Authority has completely digitalised to support e-correspondence and e-tax under one single entry point called the My RRA to create one platform for all services.  RRA has managed to embrace the small business which also pays tax, for example, the motor cycles industry is registered and no one in Rwanda can operate in the transport sector without being registered. It was highlighted that there are incentives aimed at targeting to bring the informal sector into the mainline economy. In terms of border security, the Authority has invested in drones to ensure security along all the ports of entry and borderlines of the country.

The meeting established that the main tax head contributing to revenue in Rwanda is VAT (34%) followed by income tax, a trend which is almost similar to Zimbabwe. The institution is allowed to retain 3% of collected revenues although they still feel it is too high and is currently striving to reduce the cost of collecting taxes to between 1 & 2%.  In addition to the 3%, the Authority is also allowed to retain 22% of any surplus on revenues collected, of which 10% is awarded to staff as cash, 10% retention fund (awarded to staff who have served RRA for a certain period of time while the 2% is set aside for knowledge management, i.e. staff training.

  • Meeting with the Office of the Auditor-General in Rwanda

The Committee noted that the Rwandan Auditor General is an independent public institution responsible for auditing state finances and assets. Also carry out forensic audit or special audit of all public organs if the Office deems it to be in the public interest or requested to do it. The independence of the institution is guaranteed by the notion that the AG tables his/her findings before the Chamber of Deputies as compared to the Zimbabwean case whereby the Minister of Finance does that on their behalf. The tabling of OAG report is an event on the Parliament Calendar. The OAG tables and present the reports in the two chambers and this is a special day broadcasted live on radio and TV.

Section 166 of the constitution is very clear on the requirements of the report which includes; budget execution, unnecessary or unlawful expenditure or whether there was embezzlement of funds. All qualified reports are tabled before Parliament. The office is adequately funded to enable it to perform its function and never underfunded in any way for it to always able to perform its mandate. They conduct audit of the East Africana Community (EAC) and do financial and compliance audits, performance and environmental audits, IT audits. Special Audits and forensic audit are underway for 2022. The appointment of the OAG is done by the cabinet and approved by the senate for five years and renewable once.

GHANA STUDY VISIT

  • Ghana-Zimbabwe Relations

Ghana and Zimbabwe share a long history of collaboration that emanated from the call by the then Ghanaian President H. E Kwame Nkrumah inaugural Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (now African Union) Speech when he implored African Leaders to help fight colonialism in the then Southern Africa to liberate Zimbabwe at a time white rule had become entrenched and arrogant in Rhodesia. When Ian Smith announced his unilateral declaration of independence in Rhodesia in November 1965 and Britain refused to do anything to reverse it, Nkrumah led Ghana to break diplomatic relations with Britain in protest, at great cost to Ghana whose umbilical cord was still attached to the British colonial master. 

Nkrumah further invited many Zimbabwean cadres to study in Ghanaian educational institutions, at government expense, and provided other forms of material assistance to the Zimbabwean struggle, including military training and arms.  This was what impressed former President Robert Mugabe, as a youth, to migrate to Ghana where he met his first wife, Sally Mugabe (nee Hayfron). That union has today led to many such political, economic and social ties between the two countries. The countries have an existing joint permanent Commission

Courtesy Call to the Second Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana: Right Hon. Andrew Asiamah Amoako (Independent Member of Parliament)

    • The Speaker was pleased to receive the delegation and gave a brief background of the Parliament of Ghana. He pointed out that Ghanaian Parliament consists of 275 seats, with 137 belonging to the majority party and 137 belonging to the minority resulting from the 2019 election. The Speaker, who came in Parliament as an independent candidate stands in between the ruling party and the minority, and is therefore the king maker in terms of decisions in Parliament. The use of the fused Presidential and Parliamentary arrangement seeks to provide a better governance structure for the country. The Main or First Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana comes from the minority party.  The President maintains his Executive powers and more than fifty percent of Ministers are drawn from Parliament.  The Speaker noted that Ghana has accredited a number of media houses and allowed them to freely operate despite some reporting negatively. He urged fellow Parliamentarians to note that “Leaders should not be indispensable.”
    • The Speaker noted that the national budget presentation is a special day in Ghana. It is a platform where the majority presents its own budget whilst the minority also does the same, giving equal strength in the process.
    • The Committee was afforded an opportunity to observe a Parliamentary Session which starts from ten o’clock in the morning to three o’clock in the afternoon. The Speaker may with leave ask for extension if there is business which exceeds the meeting time. Committee business and constituency visits are slated for Mondays and weekends respectively.

Tour of the Parliamentary Training Institute (PTI) in Ghana

The Committee toured the Parliamentary Training Institute and observed newly recruited Hansard Reporters undergoing training. The institute trains MPs and staff from Ghana and from the region as well as officials from Ministries, government departments, public and private sectors. The training courses are as per request or drafted in work plans. The institute also offers online training courses and under construction is an extension of the current institute. The Committee observed, during the tour, that All MPs have offices and a secretary.

Visit to the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park

The Committee visited the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park were the brief history of the socialist and revolutionary Kwame Nkrumah was shared with the Committee. The Committee visited the mausoleum burial site to observe a moment of silence in honour of the Pan-Africanist.

Meeting with the Finance Committee Parliament of Ghana

    • The Committee is chaired by the Majority in Parliament and has a Deputy Chairperson, the Committee has a Ranking Leader from the minority who also has the Deputy. The four enjoy a healthy working relationship and the arrangement facilitates the balancing of perspectives of both the majority and the minority. The Committee comprises of 25 Members of Parliament. The Constitution gives the Committee power to subpoena non-compliant entities.
    • The Committee noted that the Public Finance Management Act of Ghana, which is admired by most progressive jurisdictions and has gone through a serious overhaul but still gives too much power to the Minister of Finance according to the Committee. This applies to issues of loans, debt strategy and Medium Term Expenditure Reviews. The committee was also informed that the Ghanaian Budget Committee faces challenges of getting timely and comprehensive reports on debt, debt servicing and repayments from the Executive.
    • The Parliament of Ghana is in the process of establishing a Parliamentary Budget Office and is currently undertaking benchmarking studies. The Committee highlighted that it anticipates a Budget Office which will provide requisite technical skills advise and does its work without fear or favour. Like the Portfolio Committee on Budget in Zimbabwe, the counterpart Committee in Ghana is of the opinion that the Debt Management Office should be separate entity to be able to provide checks and balances.
    • The Committee also noted that the Ministry of Finance develops a Fiscal Strategy Document by end of May. The Ghanaian PFMA has rules on management of debt, rules providing for capital expenditure within the budget year and not spill into the other year.
  • Cancelled Meeting with the Director Responsible for Budgets in Ghana

The Committee unfortunately failed to meet the Director responsible for Budgets from the Parliament of Ghana as they were busy with preparations for the 2022 National Budget. The Ministry had a deadline for 15 November 2021 as required by the law.

Meeting with Ghana Investment Promotion Centre

    • The Committee noted that Ghana is ranked best place for doing business in West Africa (Ease of Doing Report 2019) and best destination for investment in West Africa & 5th on the continent. The country enjoys 89% internet penetration ratio and has a competitive and educated labour force and strong resource pool. Ghana has a growing middle class and is ranked highly in terms of the Global peace index because of its stable political environment.
    • The Committee learnt that Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) is a government agency established under Act 865 to promote, coordinate, and facilitate investment in the Ghanaian economy. It provides investment advisory services, registration of new projects, processing of quota and exemption application, joint venture facilitation, renewal of registered projects, identification of specific projects for investment promotion, monitoring of enterprises to ensure compliance with GIPC Act 865 and Grant of investment incentives and provision of investor support services. The GIPC works with other collaborating institutions such as Minerals Commission, Petroleum Commission, Bank of Ghana, registrar general’s department, immigration services. Ghana Chamber of Mines, Industry and Commerce to mention a few.
    • The Committee also noted that Ghana’s key investment sectors are tourism, infrastructure, manufacturing and agro- That total investment target in the key sectors is between US$3.3 billion to US$4.7 billion. It takes about 5 days to register a business in Ghana but the delay has been caused by the digitalization process the country is embarking on. Incentives are offered for key development projects and these are mostly enjoyed by the locals. Exemptions are on offer as long as the business exists. 

Meeting with Ghana Revenue Authority

    • The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) was established in 2009 as a merger of the three revenue agencies, the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Value Added Tax Service (VATS) and the Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB) in accordance with the Ghana Revenue Authority Act 2009, (Act 791). GRA’s core mandate is to ensure maximum compliance with all relevant laws in order to ensure a sustainable revenue stream for government, trade facilitation and a controlled and safe flow of goods across the country’s borders. The Authority is headed by the Commissioner-General, with support from three (3) Commissioners in charge of the following three divisions namely Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD), Customs Division (CD) and Support Services Division (SSD). Under the support services division is the Strategy/Research, Policy and programmes Department which assists in coming up with revenue targets. The Department works closely with the Tax Policy Department in the Ministry of Finance.
    • The Committee noted that revenue collection in Ghana stands at 12.2% of GDP (2020) with direct taxes contributing 73% while indirect taxes constitute 27%. Of this, VAT contributes 12.5% while revenue from extractive sectors (Mining and oil) constitutes 35%. Ghana has a dual VAT regime wherein retailers are charged a flat rate while other entities are charged a standard rate of 12.5%. The 2018 Mid-Year budget amended the VAT rate from 15% to 12.5% and delinked the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) and Ghana Education Trust Fund (GET Fund) from VAT by removing their input tax deductibility. The Committee also noted that Ghana enacted the COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy Act, 2021 (Act 1068) which imposes a special levy on the supply of goods and services, and the Import of goods and services into Ghana. The levy is chargeable at a rate of 1% calculated on the value of taxable supply in respect of the Supply of goods and services made in Ghana, but excluding exempt goods or services; and import of goods and services into Ghana.
    • The Committee also noted that, just like Zimbabwe, Ghana has a huge informal sector and is therefore is a predominantly cash economy. As such, GRA is investing heavily in digitalisation with a view to harness revenue from the sector which employs majority of the working population. Moreover, Government is proposing to introduce an electronic transaction levy (e-levy) in the 2022 budget to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector. The proposed levy, which will come into effect on 1 February 2022, is a charge of 1.75% of the value of electronic transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances. The Committee also noted that Ghana has a punitive legislative regime for non-compliance. The offences are categorised into two: offences which attract pecuniary penalties (monetary fines) and offences which attract imprisonments or both imprisonment and pecuniary penalties.GRA retains 3% of gross collections.

KEY OBSERVATIONS

    • That the private sector in Rwanda is very active and plays a pivotal role in economic development.
    • That trust building is essential in business. The perception of the government towards the private sector. Should be that of partners in economic development and not see them as cash cows.
    • That private sector in Rwanda took the lead and contributed 23billion Rwandan francs to support the government in covid-19 mitigation. Private sector assisted government with funds towards purchase of PPEs and consumables during the pandemic. Moreover, government uses the Rwanda Investor Forum to understand problems faced by Investors and addresses them timeously and effectively.
    • That Rwanda’s arrangement of having three Ministers responsible for finance, economic development and investment is commendable as it assists in creating a balance in the financing, investment and stabilisation roles that the Ministry of Finance plays in order to achieve economic growth.
    • That Rwanda prioritises reforming the investment climate and almost every year there are amendments to support the ease of doing business to create a friendly environment. Currently, within 6 hours one can register a company and applications can be made online.
    • That it took seven institutions to form one organisation as a result of political will and Rwanda now ranked number  2 on the ease of doing business in Africa and in top 50 globally.
    • That there is a women’s fund through the central bank to support women in business and corporate banks also support women empowerment.
    • That although the ease of doing business in Rwanda is good, the private sector continues pushing for more reforms to make Rwanda a best destination for doing business. The private sector contributes about 19% of GDP in the manufacturing sector.
    • That the Public Finance Management Act of Ghana, although well commendable still needs to be analysed closely to strengthen Parliamentary oversight and limit powers of the Minister of Finance.
    • That the working relationship of MPs from different political parties in Ghana is strengthened by the observation that they complement each other rather than oppose for the sake of it. This is reflected in the nomenclature (Majority and minority parties, as opposed to ruling Party and Opposition party in Zimbabwe)
    • That the capacity of members of parliament in Ghana has been strengthened by a fully functional and well-funded Training Institute and a fully established secretariat (Each MP has an office manned by a secretary)

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Parliament should ensure that the PFMA provides for the synchronisation of the national and Local Authority Budgets so that the National Budget feeds into the Local Authority Budgets. Currently, Local Authority budgets are approved well before the national budget and hence are not informed by the national economic developments and projections, as well as anticipated devolution funds by December 2023.
  • The Budget Strategy Paper should be subjected to scrutiny and debate in Parliament before approval and such scrutiny should be informed by public consultations. This will minimise the huge forecasting errors (Unreconciled forecasts between the BSP and the Budget Statement). The Ministry of Finance should amend the PFMA Regulations by December 2022 to provide for this.
  • Parliament of Zimbabwe should provide for the strengthening of Gender Budget Monitoring through amendment of its Standing Orders.
  • Government should direct that all policy pronouncements be handled by the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting. Lessons can be learnt from Rwanda where no Minister is allowed to meet a development partner other than the three Ministers of Finance, Minister of the concerned project and or any relevant Minister involved or concerned.
  • The Ministry of Finance, through a Statutory Instrument, should provide for ZIMRA to retain at most 3% of the net revenue collected for its operations beginning 2022 fiscal year. This will ensure that the authority is adequately capacitated to pursue revenue enhancement measures and plug revenue leakages.
  • The ICT sector should be viewed as a business enabler and therefore ICT gadgets should be zero rated to enhance access to the gadgets by its citizens. The Mid-term Fiscal Policy Review should provide for such.
  • Government must complete the implementation of policy measures to address structural reforms that relate to the ease and cost of doing business, fiscal consolidation, state owned enterprises and incentives to expand output and productivity. Addressing the structural reforms would therefore enhance business confidence and attract investment, both domestic and foreign. As such, there is need for reconstitution of the Easy of Doing Business Task Force under the auspices of the OPC to complete all outstanding issues by December 2022.
  • There is need to secure the independence of the Central Bank by amending the RBZ Act to allow for an independent person to chair the Monetary Policy Committee by December 2023, as is the case in Rwanda.
  • Parliament should invest in a state of the of the art printing press by December 2022 so as to save on printing costs. In the same vein, Parliament should speed up the establishment of the Training Academy which should begin by capacitating Members after the 2023 Harmonised Elections. I thank you.

        (v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me the opportunity to second the report as presented by the Chairperson of the Budget, Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Dr. Nyashanu. I just want to premise my debate on the fact that Zimbabwe is generally on the top tier or we have been on the top tier in terms of developing nation in Africa.  Unfortunately, Madam Speaker, it appears as though we have in the past years been moving backwards or at most stagnant whilst other countries have actually been moving forward and overtaking us in some way.  An example is a country like Rwanda, a country that came through genocide and saw thousands of people being killed in the tribal fights that happened in Rwanda.

        The other issue is that one of the things that we also noted in this country is that they are not re-inventing the wheel but they just look and get the literature that is available and implement it.  We were so saddened to learn that most of the things that Rwandans are implementing are things or papers that were done by the Government of Zimbabwe, by quasi Government departments here in Zimbabwe but were never implemented and were just put on the shelves and were gathering dust whilst on the shelves.  We had a meeting with one of the Ministers of Finance who actually told us that their road map like for instance - we were talking about their programme on EPSUS, they are basically copying what Zimbabwe has actually written and the unfortunate part is that we, as Zimbabwe are not doing what we would have wasted resources on.

        To me it is a tragedy; we are a country with the capacity to move ahead of these other countries, if only we could actually put our resources in terms of implementing the things that we would have actually thought of.  Our report contains several recommendations as read out by the Chairperson. These recommendations in our view Madam Speaker will enhance the capacity of Parliament, the question of  investing sufficient resources in terms of a proper printing system that could allow Parliament to be flexible and to save even in terms of cost.  It will also help as Parliament and as a nation if we could actually implement some of these recommendations so that at least we continue as Zimbabwe to be a competitive state in terms of development within Africa. 

        If you recall that we used be at the same level with Kenya in terms of development but we are now lagging behind and I think as a nation we need to take steps to make sure that we do the best that we can.  One of the fundamental things that we discovered in Rwanda is the level of discipline and their fight against corruption. The situation in Rwanda is that you find that everybody who is occupying a position of influence or authority is supposed to adhere to certain rules in terms of their public finance management authority.   It helps the country to develop, everybody in Rwanda, it does not matter how informal, you can call them they actually pay tax to the Government. 

        You know those motor bikes, in Rwanda they are not regarded as informal they are regarded as formal, they have got a tax number and they pay tax.  Imagine if all these people that we say are in informal business, all the people in Siyaso, everybody in Mbare had a tax number and contribute tax to the fiscus as a country, we would actually have financial resources.  The other thing that I also believe is also fundamental which we also learned is power that is given to the Auditor General. Their Auditor General, after she had finished auditing, she is given a day to come before Parliament with the report.  Today, you saw the Minister of Finance tabling the report of the Auditor General, in Rwanda; it is a different set up.  Instead of the Minister of Finance coming and laying the reports on the table, Rwanda Auditor General will come and do a three hour presentation so that people that did miscellaneous misconduct - that abused state funds are exposed.  It becomes very important that many people be it in parastatals, in quasi government and government ministries will be afraid to be exposed and because of that they make sure that they do the right thing.  As a country we must copy such provisions. 

        Madam Speaker, even if you check in terms of the things that were gathered by the Committee in Ghana, you will find that all we need to do as a nation is to ensure that we instill discipline amongst the State actors, especially people that work in ministries, parastatals and local authorities.  Secondly, we put resource in terms of fighting corruption, we also need to remove this appetite and greediness amongst our people but most importantly, we need to ensure that we have got discipline within ourselves if we are to move forward.  If we go to Rwanda the level of Kigali today you cannot compare it with Harare, not because Kigali is better than Harare but it is the manner, the order in which they are going.  Their rate is 1:1000 to the United States dollar, but what we learnt which is fundamental, it is not where the rate is but it is the stability of the rate which makes people make decisions and investors plan accordingly.  Those are the things that we as a country need to move to.

Madam Speaker, I am not going to say much, suffice to say that we fully support the recommendations and we ask all Members of Parliament to support these recommendations for we believe if we do that we, as a nation, will be in a position to fly and take the position that we are supposed to take as a country in this continent and world as a whole.

(v)HON. MUTODI:  To add to what the Chairperson of the Committee and also what Hon. Mushoriwa has said, what we have noted in Rwanda basically is that it is really difficult for a country to appreciate and market its micro-economic environment if the Ministry is too broad.  We have noticed that the Rwandese President Kagami has appointed three individuals to manage finance of the country under the Ministries of Finance, Ministry of State for Economic Planning and Minister of State for Investment.  This kind of situation has allowed the President to have a view from three different personnel who feed him on areas of specialization. You find that in our current economic drive to ensure that we get a better performing economy by 2030, we really need to focus not only on accounting of funds that we collect through revenue collection boards like ZIMRA, but we need to ensure that we promote investment in such a way that our economic development is at a faster pace as compared to the need to draw-down on those resources while we ensure we have appropriate social security nets and we are also on track in terms of employment creation.

So Zimbabwe really needs to take seriously the need to unbundle its ministries which are too broad.  It cannot only be the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, but I know that I can assure you that it is also various other ministries that are too broad such that a single Minister cannot really be able to give any value to the country’s economy if he is occupied with such a vast portfolio that needs at least two or more personnel.

What we have also realised Madam Speaker, is that there is need for new approaches in our public finance management to focus on accounting, investment, planning and on audit.  Those approaches are evolving over time.  We seem to be focusing on old, very primitive approaches that were used long back by the colonial government systems but in our current situation, there are now complicated systems that actually need more robust measures in order to deal with corruption, tax evasion and other issues that are affecting the growth of our economies. 

What we actually noted in Rwanda Madam Speaker, is an eye opener for Zimbabwe to ensure that going forward, we need to really copy from that economy and be able to leverage on whatever our advantages we have here better than Rwanda, leveraging on those advantages like the abundance of resources, skilled personnel and institutions that are actually manned by professionals to ensure that we take a leading role, not only in the implementation of policy, but also in the practical implementation or in the practical achievement of whatever we would have planned, otherwise we would be one of the worst countries going forward and we will continue to have economic problems that are countless and that cannot be solved in the near future.  That is my observation Madam Speaker.  I thank you.

(v)HON. S. BANDA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to also contribute to this debate.  Madam Speaker, allow me to first of all thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Dr. Nyashanu and Hon. Mushoriwa for seconding.  Madam Speaker, indeed I support all the recommendations.  I happened to be also among the delegation that visited Ghana. 

We learnt that in Ghana, firstly the minority finance guru present their own Budget Statement on the very same day that the Minister of Finance presents his Budget Statement for the nation.  That would be lovely if we were to copy such a situation so that we can compare between the two budget statements and then we can move along with policies that develop the nation.

Madam Speaker, the issue of business registration in Zimbabwe, we do not even know how long it takes to register a business but if you go to Ghana they have got a policy which they follow.  So in Zimbabwe, we have got policies but we do not follow them.  I am begging you Madam Speaker, that we should also be like the Ghana one-stop-business centre which ensures that businesses start running.  They certify them, they give them everything and they are on the ground within the first five days of application.  That is what we want Madam Speaker.

I was also very impressed by the Ghana one-stop-investment centre.  The CEO of that organisation is a young woman.  When I saw her, I was reminded of you Madam Speaker.  She is very young, beautiful and knowledgeable like you and she has run that organisation with excellence.  So that is what we want our one-stop-investment centre to be like.

Furthermore Madam Speaker, the independence of the Reserve Bank of Ghana was not questionable.  That is something we should also adopt so that the Reserve Bank stops all quasi fiscal issues and they just concentrate on their job, on their role rather than to want to do everything, thereby disturbing the independence of their role.  Madam Speaker, Ghana took from our plans.  Actually they were saying they sent a team to Zimbabwe to study our informal economy and the studies that they made are what are making them to introduce policies that ensure that they have got a good system whereby they get revenue. 

Our systems are very good; our policies are very good and other nations are using them.  We used to have a better economy than Ghana but now our economy is worse off than Ghana.  What went wrong, we fight a lot internally.  I am asking the people of Zimbabwe; let us focus on the economy. Let us stop these fights, they will never benefit anyone.  We need to move together as one nation.

          I also want to say that there was a training college that we saw at the Parliament of Ghana.  In the new Parliament that we are going to have, if we are going to have such kind of a training college, then I am sure Parliament will reach the level that it was meant to reach. 

          Lastly, if you are born on Tuesday like me, in Ghana you automatically adopt the name Kwabeme.  So from Kwabeme and I support all the recommendations that have been made by the previous speakers.  I thank you.

          (v)HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to add my voice to the report by Hon. Chief Dr. Nyashanu, seconded by Hon. Mushoriwa on their benchmark visit.  First and foremost, I want to encourage Parliament to release funds for benchmark visits.  They do quite a lot, not only for a select few Committees but for all the Committees, including Transport and Infrastructural Development, Justice Portfolio Committee and the Committee that I am in, the Public Accounts Committee.  So this is what I would encourage Parliament to do.  We have our budget and budgeted support finances released by the Ministry of Finance, there is no reason why all Portfolio Committees should not go for benchmark visits.

          We see what the benchmark visit by the Public Accounts Committee, the exchange that happened in Zambia.  It actually resulted in the disintegration of the Public Accounts Committee into three sub-committees of which I chair one of them, which is the sub-committee on Local Government, Public Accounts Committee.  Hon. Mushoriwa chairs the other one State Owned Enterprises.

          So, such visits should not be undermined.  They should definitely be taken on board to mean that we can improve our systems using those.  Having said that, what I did not hear in the report is the reason why we are not able to be at the same level with the countries such as Ghana and Rwanda, irrespective of that Rwanda has gone through an acrimonious season or period where they had a lot of people who were massacred along tribal lines in their country.  I strongly believe that Zimbabwe can be in another space or at another level, had we been fighting in the same way like all other countries, without the impediment of sanctions.  Also with the budgetary support that we could be getting from multi-lenders, World Bank and IMF, which budgetary support, we are not getting not only for our financial department but also for our health department and such like.  We are not getting our standees that we were supposed to be getting like the United Nations board of countries.

          However, there is need to have a robust resilient, effective and efficient Parliamentary system that is going to not  seek to govern but to interrogate the manner the Executive carries out its mandate and how we do that Madam Speaker Ma’am.  The Portfolio Committees that we have, there are about 26 of them and you can easily just pick out one or two that are carrying out their mandate with effectiveness.  The rest have gone to sleep and you wonder why they are there in the very first place.  So there is need to speak vociferously about what Rwanda does in terms of the implementation of reports in Parliament and how they conduct their business as it relates to carrying their oversight role on the Executive.           I did not hear that come out.

However, it is my thinking, the Portfolio Committees and the Thematic Committees as in the case of Zimbabwe in the Senate and Portfolio Committees in the National Assembly, those definitely can avert and avoid the whipping system because they cut across the political divide.  It is my thinking that they can take advantage of that to be robust, effective, and efficient.  However, a lot of them still leave a lot to be desired.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, when the fish rots, it starts with the head, there is need to interrogate the chairpersons of these Committees, some of them definitely, according to Section 18:02 of the Standing Rules and Orders, the Chair of those Committees is supposed to be first and foremost by expertise.  Secondly by interest, a lot of these chairpersons have been forced to chair these Committees and they have no interest whatsoever.  To say the very least, they do not have expertise and they have no depth in the knowledge of chairing those Committees.

I think our Parliament needs to review the way they have been selecting those chairpersons so that we can be at the same level with countries that have been mentioned by Hon. Dr. Nyashanu, Dr. Mutodi, Hon. S. Banda and Hon. Mushoriwa.  It takes  will power, it takes resilience, it does not come cheap.  There is need also for the international community to immediately, without any reservations, revoke the illegal sanctions because that is why there is circumvention of the right systems and that will be called corruption.  That will cause illicit outflows.  It causes the hemorrhage of the right system.  For us in order to follow the right channels and not to operate nocturnally and for the Reserve Bank not to engage in passing fiscal operations, there is need for them to operate on a level playing field like the other financial institutions and central banks of other nations.

Currently, we have to make do with what we have. To can what we get and get what we can and use what we have to get what we want.  Sometimes this is why there is quasi-fiscal modus operandi Madam Speaker Ma’am, which in my view I do not condone but the playfield is not right.  In as much as we would want to implement what is in other countries, we definitely do not have the same playfield as they have.  Whatever it is that we can implement, we will.  I have already alluded to the benchmark visit to Zambia, we have implemented the disintegration of the Public Accounts Committee and that is applaudable. 

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, the other issue that I think we need to also do is claim for services. I am hoping the Minister of Finance is listening and if he is not, he needs to read the Hansard.  The Auditor General and the officers in the Auditor General’s office need to be paid in commensurate with their expertise.  This is to ensure that the Auditor General’s office and the Accountant General’s office in the Ministry of Finance are not used as training grounds so that they then elope thereafter to other countries where they are paid handsomely.  We need to keep our first, second, third and fourth generation of workers in the same way.  I talk of generation of workers because I am alive to the fact that in the aviation sector we have lost a lot of pilots to other nations like Qatar Airways, Emirates Airways, British Airways and South African Airways.  We have lost our first, second and third generation pilots because we are unable to pay them the same salaries that they could otherwise be earning in this global community.

          The second issue is that of governance which needs to be taken on board. I am alive to the issue of Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency.  There is need to engage in what is called main machine interaction so that there is no corruption in that area where we definitely can say to our people, there is no longer any reason for us to be archaic, moribund, rudimental and antiquated and maybe medieval in conducting business.  Registration of our businesses should be put in that manner then we take about two days a week to be precise as long as we engage in computerization of our systems.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, I speak like that because I am alive to the issue of the Special Economic Zones - geographical locations that should be established deliberately to make sure that we conduct business effectively and efficiently in those zones and woo investment so that Vision 2030 can come in line with that of an Upper – Middle Income economy.  That is our local agenda.  First and foremost, before we even look at what other countries are doing, we need to make sure that there is a robust local agenda, the SADC industrial agenda, continental agenda and ultimately, the Sustainable Development Goals.  I applaud the Committee for bringing in this report.

          Hon. Mushoriwa and Hon. Banda spoke about the issue of our resource mobilization so that they empower our economy.  There is need as we woo in investors, both in mining and otherwise, to have a clear cut plan in beneficiating and value adding our resources so that we are not left begging with yawning and gaping holes due to open cast mining.  Having said that Madam Speaker Ma’am, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to resiliently, robustly, effectively and vociferously present the issues of the people of Chegutu West Constituency in so far as it relates to the benchmark visit by Dr. Nyashanu and his entourage to Ghana and Rwanda. I can only say, the future is bright for Zimbabwe as long as the impediment is removed, that of the albatross of the sanctions around our neck and the complete alleviation of the same. Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.

          HON. DR. NYASHANU:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Let me take this opportunity to thank Hon. Mushoriwa, Hon. Dr. Mutodi, Hon. Dr. Banda and Hon. Nduna.  Indeed, our country can do a lot in terms of developing …

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA):  May you please connect Hon. Dr. Nyashanu.

          HON. DR. NYASHANU:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Let me take this opportunity to thank my colleagues who have debated on this motion; Hon. Mushoriwa, Hon. Dr. Mutodi, Hon. Dr. Banda and Hon. Nduna.  Indeed, our economy can also grow.  We can do a lot as a people, like what is happening in Rwanda and Ghana.  I think it takes a lot of discipline and commitment on our part as a people to be able to do what is happening in Rwanda in particular.  Discipline is at the centre of everything when one looks at what is happening in our economy in terms of what I want to call greed and how people in Ghana and Rwanda are managing to control greed, which then brings about issues of corruption. 

I want to admire the people of Ghana and Rwanda for their discipline in Public Finance Management.  So, I agree with my colleagues.  Let me take this opportunity to say we have come to agree all of us that our economy can move in the right direction if we all get committed to what we should be committed to.  I therefore move that this motion be adopted.

Motion put and agreed to.     

          On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Four Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.     

           

         

 

 

 

 

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