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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 9 MARCH 2022 VOL 48 NO 30
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 9th March, 2022
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received the following correspondence on leave of absence by members of the Executive:
Hon. Dr. C. D. G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care;
Hon. Prof. P. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;
Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;
Hon. O. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs;
Hon. J. G. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works;
Hon. D. Karoro, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement;
Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement;
Hon. Dr. A. J. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement; and
Hon. W. Chitando; Minister of Mines and Mining Development.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
*HON. NYABANI: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. When he talked about the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme he said he was going to pay transporters. We want to find out the plans he has because since then transporters have not been paid. We want to know what are the challenges being faced? Is it that people do not have account numbers or that there is no money?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. We are aware of the late disbursement of funds, we only release funds when the concerned Ministry requests for it. If they request for the funds, that is when we do the budget release and we forward to the requesting Ministry, they then do the pay run and forward to us and we release the funds. This process was however delayed but as I speak right now, we disbursed funds to the tune of 124 million for transporters, therefore the problem has been solved.
*HON. DUTIRO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and in his absence...
*THE HON. SPEAKER: That is for me to decide, you can now ask.
*HON. DUTIRO: I thank you Hon. Speaker. How prepared is the Ministry, noting the war situation in Ukraine to make fuel available at reasonable prices? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Government is fully aware of what is happening in Ukraine and Russia, there are certain circumstances that are beyond our control. We are all aware that after the outbreak of the war, the fuel prices increased and that is a global occurrence that affects everyone, not just Zimbabwe. So we will do everything within our power to ensure that we will not have shortages. In terms of the global prices; there is nothing that we can do, we just have to wait and see what happens in the global fuel market. I thank you.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, my supplementary to the Hon. Minister is that whilst we agree that concerning the international price; there is nothing that we can do, what is the Government doing in terms of reviewing some of the taxes that build up along with the cost of fuel? We have got the strategic reserve levy, debt redemption levy, carbon tax levy, ZINARA road levy- what is Government doing to make sure that the price of fuel does not continuously go up resulting in pushing other costs of production in the economy? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is a separate question altogether. It has nothing to do with the Ukraine crisis.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, with your indulgence, I think the Ukraine/Russia impact has a lot of farreaching consequences for Zimbabweans. We get our wheat from Ukraine and I think it will be proper for the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to come and issue a statement pertaining to the effect and the mitigating measures that they intend to take in terms of the commodities that we tend to benefit from this country. With your indulgence, it is quite important for people to be prepared and to know.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The administration; the Clerk of Parliament will take care of that and once the Hon. Minister is back in the country, he will give us a detailed statement on the impact of international trade.
Hon. Markham having stood to speak.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Markham, the Chair was still speaking and suddenly you are on your feet, why? - [AN HON. MEMBER: Adya sadza uyu.] -
HON. MARKHAM: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker, I am just following up on what the previous member said on...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you ensure that the microphone is close to you a bit.
HON. MARKHAM: Just to make sure that the Ministerial Statement on this issue does cover one aspect on fuel but also on agricultural inputs like fertiliser. We have an issue where we are totally uncompetitive with our neighbours, for example diesel and petrol is 30% more expensive than Zambia and that gives us a very bad starti - anything from agriculture, mining and whatever. Could the Minister actually indulge us on why we get to be 30% more expensive on fuel products? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are complicating matters. Hon. T. Mliswa’s request related to international trade between Ukraine and Zimbabwe. Now if you bring in the question of energy, then that is outside international trade. Perhaps you can ask that question next week to the Hon. Minister of Energy or during this session you can ask the question. I think the Hon. Deputy Minister is here. You are on the list of those who are going to ask questions, so wait for your turn. I thank you.
(v)HON. SARUWAKA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I wanted to find out from the Leader of the House; when fuel prices rise globally, Zimbabwe immediately increases fuel price but when it falls we do not see a corresponding drop in prices in Zimbabwe. Can he explain that phenomenon?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. If I got him right, he is asking about the increase in prices of fuel and when the international prices go down, they do not see us implementing the same measures to go down in prices.
I think if it is in reference to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, well prices may increase and that is because of the economic impact that they have on the world market since most of our oil and natural gas imports were in one way or the other, connected to Russia and Ukraine, but if the prices of oil go down, what happens is, when we determine the price of our fuel products in the country, we have what we call the FOB which is the landing price at the Beira Port and this determines how the prices in Zimbabwe will be for the oil products as well. So if the FOB goes down, it is obvious that we should also go down in the prices, but our prices at times go up because of the taxes and duties and whatever other charges that are there, but the FOB is the determinant factor in the oil prices in the country. I think that is all I can say at the moment.
HON. T. MLISWA: Supplementary question Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is; as a Ministry, what are you doing to ensure that fuel is available and affordable despite the increments knowing that the disposable income for Zimbabweans is already not enough?
HON. MUDYIWA: As the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, we have always been proactive in terms of ensuring that the country has got enough diesel and blend for our needs.
As a Ministry, we have our strategic resources as well where we will resort to in terms of crisis. So we are monitoring the situation at the moment. Once there is need that we resort to our strategic reserves, then we can do that, but at the moment, the situation is still manageable. It is only when it comes to levels where we cannot manage through the imports, that is if the worst comes to the worst. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. T. MLISWA: My question was not about whether we have enough or not. How can they make it affordable to the people knowing very well the disposable income of the people is not enough and I was probably hoping that she would talk to other line ministries in terms of the taxes we contribute to be taken out so that people afford because the taxation is too much? The fuel has gone up and how can it be affordable to the people.
HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think the follow up question is a bit tricky for us as a Ministry to say we will do this and that. Like I said, the price is determined by various factors and as a Ministry, our aim is that we have the product at affordable prices to our people. The only affordable price that we can talk about at the moment is maybe to have the RTGS fuel in abundance because most of the people in Zimbabwe earn in Zimbabwean dollars and not in United States dollars.
So our aim is to make sure that we have the RTGS fuel in abundance in most of our service stations. Like I said before, we have come up with a system between NOIC and ZERA and the RBZ where the RTGS fuel is made available to a number of identified service stations which meet the criteria that has been set by ZERA so that they sell that fuel in RTGS. These companies would have accessed their forex through the RBZ and the lines of credit. So those service stations are supposed to sell that fuel in RTGS, but the matter of affordability is determined by what has been happening internationally and maybe within the country, but our aim is that we make sure that we have affordable fuel prices.
Other measures that are in the making, we cannot preempt at the moment. We have got other measures that we are trying to work on but once we are done with the consultations, then maybe if that is implemented we say we can have the fuel that is affordable. However, the word affordable is difficult really to say because it is not specific. What is affordable in terms of what? Is it in terms of the prices in Zimbabwean dollars or United States dollars? There are a lot of determinant factors to the price of fuel and the affordability that is being referred to. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
(v)HON. MUDARIKWA: We were made to understand that there were some service stations that sell fuel in RTGS. Which are the service stations and how do we communicate to our people in the constituency to tell them to go to such service stations? What time and when are they selling fuel in RTGS because I have travelled and I have never come across fuel being sold in RTGS?
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is a specific question. You must put it in writing so that the Hon. Minister can give you a detailed response. What we are looking at now is general policy directives and not specific situations.
HON. DR. MURIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Culture. What programmes are in place to finance, promote and support traditional dance groups in rural areas? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Again, you are asking a question that is specific and it will require the Hon. Minister to come up with a list of programmes where the programmes are directed and so on. Please stick to policy issues.
HON. DR. MURIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. What policy is in place to support, finance and promote traditional dance groups especially the Ndau groups? Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am going to indulge you because the policy must relate to the Ndau’s and others.
HON. DR. MURIRE: Thank you for the advice Mr. Speaker Sir - the Ndau groups and others.
THE MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE (HON. COVENTRY): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for such a great question. As you know, we are in the midst of putting together our arts policy and goal, but for the Ministry, the policy right now through the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, is to ensure that all our traditional dance groups are supported through the re-establishment of an Arts Fund, which is what we got budget for from Treasury for this year. It was not functioning very viably before that.
So, the Ministry this year has been working to ensure that our dance groups across the country are adequately funded to guarantee the promotion as well as the opportunities for our dance groups to go and share our heritage with other cultures. Today, I was at the Egyptian Embassy where one of our troupes has just got back and they have been received by the Egyptian Ambassador with an award, celebrating the dance groups. These are the policies that we are ensuring will be in place if Arts Fund is now functioning. We will ensure that we will continue to provide these opportunities for our dance groups and traditional dances. Thank you.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Minister for her response. My supplementary question is; I do not think that the majority of the cultural groups are aware of the Fund that the Hon. Minister is talking about. So, what measures are being put in place by the Ministry so that these cultural groups are aware of the existence of the Fund in question? Thank you.
HON. COVENTRY: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that question. The way we are creating awareness of the Fund has been through all our offices. The Ministry has offices in Sport, Arts and Youth across the country and all our provinces and districts. They have been asked to go and do that as well as through the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe. They have also done an awareness campaign of how cultural and dance groups can write and send applications to us to ask for funding and support. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Perhaps Hon. Minister, the import of the question is that the said officials must explain the policies to the public, especially through Members of Parliament in their areas. The Members of Parliament will assist in disseminating such policy and information accordingly.
(v) HON. B. DUBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance. What is the current political economic ideology that Zimbabwe is pursuing in terms of trying to avert the contemporary challenges faced by Zimbabweans, especially in the current crisis relating to the global fuel challenges?
THE HON. SPEAKER: It is either you ask the Minister of Energy or the Minister of Finance - be decided to whom you want to question.
(v)HON. B. DUBE: The question is directed to the Minister of Finance because I believe the policy relating to whether we are pro-poor, pro-workers, socialists or capitalists will determine also how the other Ministries will respond to issues.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The policy ideology we have as a country is clearly laid out in the Vision 2030. Our Vision 2030 clearly specifies that in terms of the development of the country, we are private sector led but we also have got cases or situations where when we say we are private sector led, it means we are looking at the operations of the markets. Now, when the market fails, this is where we have got robust intervention strategies in the form of social interventions.
So with regards to the movements in fuel prices, at the moment we do not have huge movements to warrant some social interventions. We are still having prices that are stable but whenever there is a change, that will warrant the Government to intervene in the cases of market failure, then we are going to have those interventions. At the moment, the policy stands as is. The price of fuel is determined by the market within the bands that are set by ZERA and that is what is obtaining at the moment and it is still in force. I thank you.
(v)HON. B. DUBE: So if we are following the market process as the basis, what cautionary measures have been put by Government to mitigate already high transport cost and the high cost of bread that are as a result of the fuel as well as the scarcity of wheat, considering that the prices have already been effected from $1.30 + to $1.60/70 fuel. Bread moved from about 80 cents to $1?
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In terms of the movement in the price of bread, at the moment we need to do some calculations to see if that increase is attributable to the movement in the fuel prices. If my statistics serve me well, the price of diesel moved from $1.48 to $1.51 and it is only a movement of 3 cents. I do not think if there is movement in the price of bread, it can be attributed to the three cents. I submit.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is: on the market right now, the fuel price has gone to around $1,60 and $1,70. Do you not think as a Ministry and as Government, there is now need to possibly review the various levies that are there on fuel, given that they consist almost 30% to the cost of fuel in Zimbabwe, for example taxes like duty, ZINARA, carbon tax, debt redemption and strategic reserve levy?
THE HON. SPEAKER: What has that to do with economic policy? Can you zero in your question please?
HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the Minister has said that it is private led and the supplementary question is on the taxation method. The Minister has indicated that when market fails, the Government then comes up with intervention. My question is; given that our cost of fuel in Zimbabwe has got a component of close to about 30% in taxes and levies, what is the Government doing in terms of looking into that issue to alleviate the problems affecting Zimbabweans?
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think I understood the question to say, given the various charges and levies that we are charging on fuel, why can we not look at reviewing some of these charges to ensure that fuel is affordable? I think this is a noble submission but we will use the whole of Government approach to look at all the issues that are part of the pricing model for fuel. There are a number of charges and they are coming from different ministries. We would want to look at it from the whole of Government approach to see if there is need for us to review them downwards. At the moment, given the involvement of many ministries and Government agencies, I may not be in a position to pin-point a specific levy to say we are going to relook at this. However, using the Government approach, I think it is something that we are going to look at to see if we can come up with a presentation again. Thank you.
Hon. T. Mliswa having stood to pose a supplementary question.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I reject the supplementary question because the Hon. Minister indicated that this is a cross-cutting question involving several ministries and he will have to look into the matter. That is how I understood the Hon. Minister.
HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Speaker Sir, if you can allow me to make a recommendation.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You want to suggest a recommendation but this is Question Time.
HON. T. MLISWA: I do not know how I can put it across but it is quite an important question.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Why can you not ask a rhetorical question that will carry your recommendation? I am advising you to ask a rhetorical question which carries a suggestion.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, from $1,39 in the last two weeks …
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are not connected Hon. Mliswa.
HON. T. MLISWA: I hope when I give this brief, it would produce a question and a suggestion. From $1,39 within the last two weeks, it went up to $1,41. From $1,41 it went up to $1,51. From $1,51 it has gone up to $1,68.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your rhetorical question please?
HON. T. MLISWA: Certainly, it is an economic driver, it is a game changer economically. What is the Ministry of Finance doing to adjust? They have got to adjust because transport cost will go up, price of agriculture where we are using diesel goes up. What are they doing so that at least we can live and we do not die?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The easiest approach that we can take is to say we are going to come up with a raft measure of subsidies. If we look at the budget that we approved here in Parliament, it is programme based budgeting where every item, programme, project and every budget activity was approved by Parliament. There was no provision for subsidies. If there is any change in terms of policy direction, it is something that has to go through Government, it comes here and maybe we relook and say let us virement the budget and take these items from here to there so that we can protect our people as part of our social development measures.
As I speak, there is no room to maneuver the budget. We cannot subsidise and it is something that we need to relook at given the situation that is on the ground, what is it that we can do to cushion our people? However, in terms of subsidies, the policy trajectory is, we are moving away from subsidies because of their nature and how they have been managed before. Any social intervention that we do has to be targeted. I am not sure how we will manage it because if you remember, there was a time when we wanted to control fuel prices and we lost control. We then allowed the market to determine. The reality on the ground is, fuel is moving in tandem with what is happening in the global market and we cannot move against that. If that is the reality that is there, any intervention has to be targeted. As I said, we need to look at all the stakeholders involved and see how best we can move forward as a country. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: I have a point of order Hon. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker Sir, I must thank you for indulging Members on this important issue for the country. The Minister of Finance is responsible for a lot of things. You cannot have different strokes for different folks. When it is the currency, you want to control. We just heard the Minister saying they did not want to control but the currency they are controlling and they have not allowed it to flow. That is where the problem is. We need a Ministerial Statement on their way forward in terms of stabilisation so that we can deal with this issue conclusively. It is so important because that is really where it is Mr. Speaker Sir or else we would not have done our work as Members of Parliament in representing people. This is what is affecting the economy from growing. They control what they want and do not control what they do not want. They said they did not want to control the fuel pricing but they are controlling the currency, which is the biggest problem. We have constantly said it in Parliament. Allow it to flow. To me, it is quite confusing as the most important aspect of the economy, the currency they are happy to control. They want to play the US dollar taxation and promote the Zimbabwe dollar but they are busy taxing in US dollars again. So it confuses the entire nation and the monetary policy at the end of the day. A Ministerial Statement is imperative for us to interrogate further.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, did you get the request?
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Maybe if he can say it again.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, no. no, the question of requesting a Ministerial Statement to do with these inflationary pressures vis-à-vis the exchange rate regime and other expenses.
HON. CHIDUWA: So the Ministerial Statement now is on overall macro-economic stability.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is correct. Are you agreeable?
HON. CHIDUWA: Yes, I got it.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Do you think we can have that by next week?
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you very much.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: My question is directed to the Minister of Sport. What is the Ministry doing to address the chaos that is at ZIFA that has led to our national soccer teams being banned from participating in international competitions? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION (HON. DR. COVENTRY): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and the Hon. Member. I have two points and the first one is; we are not yet banned. We are suspended. The second point is that there is really not much for me to comment at this point as they are still being under investigation and in court cases. Legally, there is not much I can say in terms of that.
I can add that we are in continuous contact with CAF at the highest level with FIFA and COSAFA and we will continue to do so as we lead on as well as saying that the chaos that has occurred is absolutely and entirely disgraceful to the country. The reports that continuously come through on sexual harassment and abuse of power cannot be taken any longer. We hope after reading some of the reports specifically from the CAF President yesterday on his praise of women within sport, we hope they will stand by those sentiments. I thank you.
HON. MAVETERA: In terms of women’s football, I think it was quite clear that most of the allegations were to do with women. My question now is; what is Government’s policy, especially to the Ministry of Youth in terms of them being very much proactive when it comes to standing for women’s rights and making sure that women will actually effectively contribute when it comes to football or any other sport? What policy do they have and what measures are they taking so that it can be effective enough to make sure that women will be adequately represented? I thank you.
HON. DR. COVENTRY: Thank you Hon. Member for that pertinent question. As you know, we do not have any legislation specific in sport to really uphold women’s rights as well as equality across all men and women and treat everyone equally. That is why we are coming up with the Zimbabwe Sport Integrity Bill. It is in the process of being put together and it is about to go to the Attorney-General’s Office before it comes out for consultation. Within that Bill, it will uphold equality for all as well as good governance areas and ensuring the safeguarding of equal opportunities for all and also address the inequalities towards female or male athletes and safeguarding them in terms of match fixing, corruption, abuse and anti-doping.
HON. T. MLISWA: May I commend the SRC for suspending ZIFA but more importantly, what is the SRC doing to ensure that the affiliates have got a strong code of conduct as sports administrators and what criteria are you coming with so that sport can be properly administered? Most of the people administering sport have no understanding of sport and there needs to be that criteria that is in place so that we become professional in what we do.
If you remember, Cuba trained a lot of physical education teachers from here. You do not see them involved in sport. The hyenas have come in to steal from the sports administrators who are qualified.
HON. DR. COVENTRY: These concerns and criteria will all be a part of this Sport Integrity Bill where there will be specific codes of conduct criteria that federations will have to abide by. This will then be emphasised by the amended Sport and Recreation Commission Act, in terms of specific criteria that federations will then have to implement. Within the repeal of the SRC Act, the SRC are redefining their roles and responsibilities and one of those roles and responsibilities is ensuring that these codes of conduct are followed as well as ensuring that national sport associations are implementing specific trainings, safeguarding and promoting development of sport.
HON. SVUURE: My question is directed to the Minister of Information, Communication Technology, Courier and Postal Services. Acknowledging that ICT is the way that the world has taken to spanning across governance and education included, what is the Ministry’s plan with regards to schools, acknowledging that e-learning has become the major means of accessing education for our children and also knowing that in most of the schools, especially in rural areas, there is no network connectivity?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. PHUTI): Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. The Ministry of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, jointly with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, presented a Cabinet paper that was approved to the effect that there be a roll-out of an e-learning strategy which has seen the distribution of ICT gadgets to various schools across the country to date and which has seen the resuscitation of ZARNET which had many years before been mandated to ensure that there is connectivity for research and development.
It also brought in other players and MNOs to provide connectivity and we have connected a number of schools that we have been given by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. I agree with the Hon. Member that ICT is at the centre of especially e-learning amongst other responsibilities to enable growth. I also want to assure the Hon. Member that if there can be adequate support from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development through a realisation that ICT is indeed that central, the Ministry is committed to do as expected and as per the Cabinet position. I thank you.
HON. RTD. BRIG. GEN. MAYIHLOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for that clear answer on school connectivity. May I point out to the Hon. Minister that connectivity is not just about schools but it is also about education? There are health facilities out there where people fall sick and fail to call for ambulances and where people will not transact any business. So, it is connectivity right across all the structures of community life. What measures are they putting in place to address those others? When can we expect a roll-out to address those other sectors of communal life? Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am sorry your supplementary question should have dwelt on e-learning. The first substantive question was on e-learning and the Hon. Deputy Minister indicated that a complete roll-out of the application of ICT in the Government set up is being worked on and a paper has been presented to Cabinet. I believe that will cover part of your concerns but the accent of the question has been e-learning. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary will help Hon. Mayihlome and it is digitisation. How far have you gone? What percentage because we had 40%. We cannot talk about ICT e-learning without digitisation. Thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That is a separate question altogether. Our emphasis is on e-learning.
(v)HON. MOKONE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is what measures is the Ministry taking to address the cost of data, taking into cognisance that most of the activities are now done on line, especially e-learning in schools?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. PHUTI): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Let me thank the Hon. Member for the question. It is true that data is not within the reach of many but let me assure the Hon. Member that the Ministry is working with a lot of private sector players who have brought in a lot of solutions and innovations which have made them partner through our enabling environment mobile network operators to negotiate bundles that are specific for education and those that may be specific for other purposes. That will see data being affordable for purposes of e-learning because at the moment, it is just general.
Let me hasten to say that issues of data and expense are pretty much a resolve and responsibility of the regulator who looks at the bottom and the ceiling in which mobile network operators and other providers of that commodity will operate within. In this case when they operate within, it is the operator who would have benchmarked and seen that it is appropriate that they operate within.. I want to remind the nation that it has become so important that we acknowledge the importance of data since the beginning of COVID-19 problems that we were faced with. I call upon everyone to continue assisting that there be very fast embracing of the culture of ICT in general so that these and other issues related to ICT and consumption of data will not be caught unaware as we have been before COVID-19. I thank you.
(v)HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. As the latest recipient of the e-learning facility in my constituency from the Minister of ICT, my supplementary question is, would it please the Minister and if it does, can he expand the issue of Wi-Fi coverage by establishing transmitters, boosters and routers where he has installed gadgets for e-learning so that the children can access the facility either when they are in the grounds or in the peripheral of the schools in question? Thank you.
HON. PHUTI: Thank you once again Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me thank Hon. Nduna for acknowledging the presence of the Ministry in rolling out the e-learning strategy. Late last year, His Excellency, the President launched what is called mobile broadband phase 3 which is supposed to see a deployment of about 345 base stations across the country by Net One and the partnership with Huawei which was facilitated by Government. Let me also mention that there is the process of redeployment of base stations that have been replicated in various points. This is going to see us managing to catch up with the demand of base stations across the country and obviously that answers Hon. Nduna’s concerns. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Local Government. The Uchena Commission Report is still pending, when is it going to come to this august House?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Speaker, I thank Hon. T. Mliswa for that question. I think that question has come through Parliament many times and I still repeat the answer that the Uchena Commission was set up by the President and not by the Ministry of Local Government, although some of the issues that we are raising and covered have a direct link with the Ministry of Local Government. So it is not the prerogative of the Ministry of Local Government to table that report in Parliament. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary is: I think the President is the number one citizen and the Government is subject to be accountable for public funds. The China Report was public funds, our role is to supervise public funds and the Ministry in question has the right to go and say to the President and Cabinet that Parliament wants this report tabled. I think that is the message she must take to the President because it is public funds. It must be accounted for without fear and favour and by bringing the President’s name, means we do not respect his office. He is the very same person who wants us to account, so may you take this message to the President and Cabinet that Parliament requires that report because it is public funds and we want to know.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker, I thank Hon. T. Mliswa for the follow up question. I think Parliament is the best to do that – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are passing the buck. We will request His Excellency the President for that report because members want to debate, if it is possible. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is in regards to what I asked earlier to the Minister of Energy. To what extent and what policy has the Ministry put in place to level us up with our competitors next door because all our fuel prices are at least 30% more than our competitors, yet some of them are close to the coast. Let us compare ourselves to countries like Zambia; it is unfathomable that there is a 30% difference in fuel prices because the knock on effect on agriculture, mining, farming, transport and manufacturing are absolutely shocking. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, and I thank Hon. Markham for asking the question. I think this question is related to the questions that have been asked to the Minister of Finance but I will favour the Hon. Member with a response as to why there has been some difference in the prices that are obtaining in other countries, like he has just indicated that our 30% is above what is obtaining in other countries.
Mr. Speaker, our prices have been affected especially recently because of what is obtaining in Eastern Europe where there is a war between Russia and Ukraine and given that Russia is the second largest producer of petroleum products in the world, obviously when they are in a war situation and the delivery or production of the petroleum products is constrained by the war situation, there is going to be a decrease in the supply of the petroleum products. It is not only Zimbabwe that has been affected; almost all countries in the world are getting affected by what is happening in Eastern Europe.
Mr. Speaker, the issue of levies or taxes, I think that has been debated and there has been a request that the Minister of Finance will come up with a statement which he will present to this august House indicating the mechanisms or means by which finance would have determined as to how they will cushion the economy especially with regards to taxes and levies. So, I think that has been attended to if it was pointing to the issue of levies and taxes, but what is currently obtaining is the FOB prices which continue to spike up. As a way to ensure that the market continues to be well provided in terms of the fuel and also given that the market is private sector led, we are mandated to ensure that the prices are reviewed and they are able to recoup the cost that the market is incurring in procuring the products into the country. What has been happening especially yesterday, I acknowledge that we had a review of prices on the 5th which was a Saturday but only a day in-between on Monday, prices had shot up and diesel had gone up by 11% and petrol had also gone up by 10%. There is no way we could have been silent, we then through ZERA had to ensure that prices are reviewed in line with what is also obtaining on the international market. So that is what I can say Mr. Speaker Sir, but also to indicate that the request which was made by this august House through the Ministry of Finance, I think will indicate as to how the market will be cushioned. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, whilst you are up standing, the accent of the question is price differential between our price structure here and our neighbouring countries to the extent of indicating some 30% differential, that is the import of the question.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. SODA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think I had also indicated in our pricing model that what is implemented are levies, taxes and the FOB prices. What we have seen even beginning the time when the budget was passed, taxes and levies did not move or did not increase. What has just increased was the FOB price for the product to be imported into the country. So that one, we have no control over it. All we just have to do is to implement. Whenever there are some increases occasioned by the increases also obtaining on the international market, what we just have to do is to implement the FOB movements, then we also factor in the taxes and the levies. Unless there is some other clarity that might be required but the mechanism as to how we come up with the prices for our petroleum products is the implementation of the taxes, the levies and the FOB price that will be obtaining. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, I do not believe my question has been answered. The 30%, we are talking about FOB prices should be the same. FOB, whether it is going to Zambia or here, it should be the same. Are we saying that our taxes, you add another 30% on top of the fuel? If we are bringing in our local ethanol, why is our fuel so much more expensive than our neighbours? That is my question and this is a carry on from before the Russian-Ukrainian war. We were still 30% more expensive. With that and the advantage of ethanol, we should be the same if not cheaper, but we are not. So there is no explanation. What is Government’s policy, where is it wrong that we are 30% more expensive than our neighbours? Thank you.
HON. SODA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I think I will repeat this. The mechanism by which we come up with prices for petroleum products is the implementation of predetermined formulas. We have the levies, we have the taxes and we also have the FOB prices. One good thing Mr. Speaker Sir, is taxes are approved by this august House which I am saying at a time when the budget was approved, the taxes were indicated. It is the august House that approved those taxes and I am happy that those taxes and levies have not moved. What has just moved is the FOB price. I will indicate Mr. Speaker Sir, between January and where we are today, there has been a movement from US$85 per barrel of the crude oil moving to US$136 per barrel. That has been the movement that occurred between January and where we are today.
So all that has caused the prices to go up and I do not think you can have any further explanation above that, but the price of our petroleum products is a build-up of predetermined taxes, levies and the movement that would be happening on the international market through FOB pricing. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary to the Minister is, this is where the issue of ethanol comes in where at this point in time, we should not be suffering. The price should be low and Government has monopolised the ethanol producer. Green Fuels is the only one that produces ethanol. There is no other player, yet they do not have the capacity to produce for the whole nation. You have the Chiredzi sugar company, Tongaat Hulett yet they have given just one company Green Fuelwhen it can be open. Why has Government not opened the ethanol to everyone else and not only one person Billy Rautenbach and Green Fuels? He has failed. He is not able to do it. The prices, as Hon. Markham said, are too high. Why do you not open up for everyone so that we have enough and it helps us in terms of the price?
HON. SODA: Mr. Speaker, let me acknowledge that the policy to do with import substitution in this country is the way to go. It is true that we at times blend our unleaded petrol with ethanol which is a local product and ordinarily, that was supposed to contain prices. Mr. Speaker Sir, let me also indicate that the industry is not monopolised, it has been liberalised. Apart from Green Fuels, there is also supply that comes from FECZ and anyone who wants to participate can participate in that industry.
What we are experiencing Mr. Speaker Sir, is that there is seasonal production of ethanol because of the supply which is inadequate to provide for blending throughout the whole year. Like right now as we speak, blending was suspended in January when we had reached 10% and there has been unprecedented demand for ethanol when it was also being required for the purposes of manufacturing sanitisers. We then had to suspend to allow for the production of sanitisers which had become so urgent and a necessity for the whole nation.
So we suspended blending of our unleaded petrol with ethanol, but I agree with the Hon. Member that there is need for the nation to increase on import substitution especially through the production of bio-energy. We also have a whole policy that speaks to the promotion of bio-energy in the country as a way of trying to contain prices for our petroleum products and also as a way of even creating employment for our people. I want to thank the Hon. Member and you Mr. Speaker Sir.
(v)HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. As a student of law, I have a question that is directed to the Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development premised on the enabling Act, Chapter 13.11 of the Roads Act and also tuition which is sui generis in a class of its own, Section 13 (4) of the Constitution and my question is informed by the Government approach on the Plumtree-Mutare and also on the Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare Highway, Chirundu Highway and also on the Victoria Falls Airport which was done using the US$115 million Chinese Eximbank loan finance and also the 831km Plumtree-Mutare Highway of the US$206 million DBSA loan finance. What is Government policy in so far as it relates to the Beitbridge-Gwanda-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway in the same manner that it has approached roads and the infrastructure that are still in tandem with the enabling Act and the Constitution. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I was trying to follow up the question of my good Hon. Member, Hon. Nduna. He is a student of law and I am a learned lawyer, so I was trying to actually deduce from what my student is trying to say. With your indulgence, if I can get the question again so that I can address it. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Nduna, may you please try to simplify your question so much that it can be understood?
(v)HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is in relation to the construction, rehabilitation, routine and periodic maintenance of the Plumtree-Mutare Highway. Also the expansion of the Chirundu-Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare Highway, what is Government policy in as far as it relates to the Gwanda-Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway, premised on the enabling Act Chapter 13:11 of the Roads Act and the Constitution Section 13:4, what is Government policy …
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, I have actually requested you to simplify, there seems to be quite a lot of other things that seem not to relate to your question. I do not know Minister, have you understood the question?
HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me also help my student of law. Hon. Nduna is trying to address the question that he has posed pertaining to a sui generis contract that he cited, in particular the one that we have involving Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway. That is the normal way of doing business as we are addressing domestically in terms of rehabilitating our infrastructure, which is also a noble cause that has been demonstrated on the Bulawayo-Plumtree highway.
Hon. Nduna is asking whether we have got a similar arrangement that also addresses the plight of those from Matebeleland, especially the Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway. I want to assert and confirm to Hon. Nduna that yes, we have been pursuing a similar structure where we wanted someone to take over on a build-operate-transfer arrangement. Apparently the contractor has struggled to run the project and as we are speaking, the Government is taking over that project so that we rehabilitate in a similar structure that we have also adopted along the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Road.
I want to affirm to the Hon. Member that as we are under sanctions, we can only do our roads on our own, involving the people of Zimbabwe. It is also a humble plea to say those construction companies that can actually partake into this exercise, it is a welcome idea. In the near future, we are having a transport infrastructure Indaba where we are also trying to solicit for investors so that they come and partake in this infrastructure development. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. I am glad that the Leader of Government Business is here. My point of order is the way Ministers disrespect this House. I do not know whether when they attend Cabinet, it is the President who arrives first or them? When they come here when they are late, they do not even approach the Chair, to say sorry, I am late. I was doing a, b, c, d. When they are leaving, they also leave without doing that. They treat this House like a public toilet, where you go in and out as and when you feel like. It is bad manners It is sad that the world is looking; our children are looking at you not respecting this august House.
The Hon. Leader of Government Business, I saw him excusing himself to the Speaker, leaving. Hon. Mhona is here paying attention, he sits throughout. Hon. Paradza, also sits throughout and I see that the Deputy Ministers are here and the rest have gone. When the Speaker has gone, they are like little kids who are going out to play on the swings and so forth. When are we going to respect this House? When are they going to respect that seat there? I wonder whether in Cabinet they are always late. I have never been to Cabinet before, maybe Hon. Ziyambi may tell us why they do that here. Is it them sitting and then the President arrives or the President sits and they arrive? I do not know because these are ways of showing us what you do in Cabinet. If you do not want to respect this House, you do not respect us.
They are fellow Members of Parliament too. They do not respect us in our own constituencies. They come in without even telling us. They come without telling us but when we visit their constituencies, they also panic. Why do we not respect each other’s offices?
Finally, the Leader of Government Business is here. The Minister of Agriculture excused himself and two deputies are here. May we have a Ministerial Statement pertaining to the 2022 harvest in terms of maize? A lot of rainfall causes hunger too. Most of the crops were damaged due to rainfall. Now there is also no rain. The cloud seeding you are talking about - is it going to happen or it is not going to happen? May we have a report on the state of 2021/22 agricultural season on these factors, which I have brought to your attention, without any further delay? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I apologise, I excused myself and went to the Senate and I am advised that Ministers left without seeking leave from you. I think that will be corrected. I thank you.
(v) HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, what I want to know from the Hon. Minister is the scope of works on the Beitbridge-Gwanda-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway, is it the same as that which obtains on the Beitbridge-Chirundu-Masvingo-Harare Highway, in terms of scope? Also what are the timelines for implementation?
I also want to applaud His Excellency the President and the Minister of Transport on 100% participation of local contractors on the Beitbridge-Chirundu-Masvingo-Harare Highway.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Let me also thank Hon. Nduna for that very pertinent question. The scope of works is precisely the same as what we are doing along Beitbridge-Chirundu-Masvingo-Harare Highway. We are going to widen the road and reconstruct it from scratch, not like what has been done considering the Plumtree Road where we actually focused on certain stretches. On this particular road, as directed by His Excellency, Cde, Dr. Emerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa that we have to move with speed, my Engineers are seized in trying to scope and also flight the tender which should be seen in the shortest period of time, inviting bidders. Thank you.
(v) HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question goes to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. Mr. Speaker, we have seen chiefs all over the country when there is a bereavement of the chiefs, the Government comes in to assist. However, we have not seen much evidence on Government assisting when they are sick. Many of us come across these problems to assist chiefs here and there. Is there no policy to assist chiefs with maybe a medical assurance so that they are treated properly when they are still sick? Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, and thank you Hon. Gabbuza for that very important question. There is some information that I cannot divulge right now but you can see that we have done a lot for the chiefs although it is not enough yet.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the Minister is out of order to say there is certain information that cannot be divulged. This is Parliament and we have oversight. She cannot say that.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, I did not recognise you.
HON. T. MLISWA: I am sorry Hon. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You can go ahead.
HON. T. MLISWA: I have just spoken about how this House must be respected. This House’s role is oversight and she cannot say she cannot divulge information. This Parliament if it is in camera, it shall be divulged, so I think it is important that the Minister answers and does not say there is information that cannot be divulged in this Parliament. Even the Director General of CIO appeared before this House and gave the information that we wanted. You are not part of State security.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, and thank you Hon. Mliswa for the correction. The issue of the welfare of chiefs is an issue that my Ministry is addressing. We have had a number of meetings of late to try as much as we can to address their welfare. You can see we started with the vehicles, which we are saying right now we are considering servicing. We are considering giving them fuel, airtime and also medical aid. There is a raft of measures that we are trying to put in place to make sure that we make their livelihood comfortable. We have done a lot to make sure that when they pass on; we try as much as possible to make the mourning period not that hard for the family. I hear you Hon. Gabbuza. We have done a lot and we are still going to do more. We are holding a series of meetings with the chiefs across the country. If you talk to them, they will tell you. Right now, we have gone out of our way, we are constructing boreholes for the chiefs in Binga and I think you are aware. The rigs are almost complete. Of course we are going to do more. I thank you.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I really appreciate what the Ministry is trying to do. However, what the Minister has just indicated, if I remember in the Budget that we passed, all those raft measures and efforts were not there. So from which sub-head are they getting the money to build the rigs and all these new proposals if the Budget did not cater for that? Thank you.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Thank you for the follow up question Hon. Gabbuza. I hear you that it is not in the Budget but you are equally concerned about the welfare of the chiefs. It is one of the areas that we go through Finance Ministry to make sure that we request an emergency funding because their welfare is so important to you and to me. Thank you.
(v)HON. NDEBELE: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Deputy Minister for sharing with the House as well as the nation what they are doing in terms of improving the welfare of our chiefs. My quick question to her is, is there a consideration in any way to extend the same benefits to headmen, particularly those who are working in an acting capacity as well as village heads who are doing amazing work out there?
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I am sorry I missed some parts of the question. May I humbly request that he repeats the question? Thank you.
(v)HON. NDEBELE: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I just wanted to check quickly with the Hon. Deputy Minister if the same welfare issues are going to be extended to headmen, particularly those working in an acting capacity as well as village heads who are doing amazing work in the rural areas? Is Government considering any benefits for these traditional leaders who work hand in glove with our chiefs?
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. Thank you Hon. Ndebele. We are reviewing the welfare of all the traditional leadership. That cascades from the chief, headmen and also the village heads. If you talk to them, they will tell you that something is being done about their welfare. We cannot do everything in one day but we are doing it bit by bit. Thank you.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I just wanted to raise a point of order in respect to the response by the Hon. Minister. Hon. Gabbuza asked in terms of the Budget that there was no provision and the Hon. Minister said they are actually requesting the Ministry of Finance to submit. Hon. Speaker, we are in March and the Ministry of Local Government has not actually exhausted its budget because one thing that would have been effected was that she was going to say that they are virementing from other Votes. Now that she has said that they have written to the Ministry of Finance, would it be prudent Mr. Speaker Sir, if the Hon. Minister would submit to us copies of that letter so that the chiefs and the traditional leadership know that something is happening in reality rather than clandestinely?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON MUTOMBA): This point of order that you have raised, it would appear it is not actually emanating from the response that has been given by the Deputy Minister. It is completely new.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: I thought when Hon. Gabbuza raised his supplementary question to say there was nothing in the Budget, she then responded to say that she had gotten that response from the Ministry of Finance. That is where it is coming from Mr. Speaker. It is coming from the response of the Hon. Minister.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Hon. Member for raising that question. Those are specifics, I will look into that and provide Parliament with an answer.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, there are allegations that you are interfering with the chieftainship of many of these by ignoring the family trees. As a result, you have a lot of pending court cases because of you now thinking that you are superior in choosing instead of following the family trees. How far true is that?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: It would appear that it is a new question, it is not emanating from the first question that was raised by Hon Gabbuza.
HON. T. MLISWA: My coming in with that is that it is taxpayers’ money that is supporting these chiefs as you heard. When they are being handpicked by the Minister, yet not following the family tree, why should we use tax payers’ money then? They have too many cases before the courts where most chiefs are saying the family tree was not followed. There is a concern that tax payers money is going to personal issues and not that of the chiefs. Should we continue giving money to the chiefs when they are being handpicked instead of following a family tree?
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker and thank you very much Hon. Mliswa for that one which is not a follow up question. It is a completely new question.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order. It is not the Minister’s place to say that I am out of order. It is the place of the Chair and she must respect this House. She cannot say you asked me and I said it again. Now she is saying it is not my place. Minister, this is not you running the show. The Speaker is there.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker and thank you very much Hon. Mliswa. We have a process to a point where we install a chief. What we do is that, for example if a chief dies; we say the first born holds the chieftainship for a maximum of about two years allowing the family to settle the debts and also the mourning. Within that period, we hold a selection of the new chief. All we do is that we facilitate the selection process which is done by the families involved in the chieftainship and they present to us the selected chief whom we present through the Attorney-General’s Office to the President after all the formalities are done. If they choose the wrong chief, what my Ministry only does is to process once it has been given the candidate to recommend to the President.
It is not true that the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works is hand-picking the chiefs because we go through the selection process. Right now we have capacitated our Research Department to make sure that the chiefs that go down to attend to the selection process are well equipped with the information of how that chieftainship selects the next chief. Some of the chieftainships, they select the first born, some select the eldest in the family and some are chosen by mhondoro spirit mediums. We have to follow all that. All we do is to facilitate but we do not do the actual selection. I want to reiterate that my Ministry does not choose the chief but we are given by the family. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much for that explanation Hon. Minister. The Mashayamombe issue that you know of, you are pinpointed as the person that chose somebody who the family did not want. Chief Chivero’s chieftainship is before the courts again because somebody else was picked by the Ministry and not the family. So can you just look into those issues?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, this period is for policy questions. You seem to be asking specific questions. I am sorry I cannot accommodate that one.
HON. BRIG. GEN. RTD. MAYIHLOME: My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. In light of Vision 2030, what policy measures are in place to remove or reduce barriers to entry by locals in the mining sector because the charges of US$3000 to register a claim are just too prohibitive for many of our local youths? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. I do not think that the fees being charged by the Ministry are exorbitant. A mining title should be something of value and to say Z$3000 is not affordable, it could not be correct because it is not US$3000. Maybe the Hon. Member can clarify which currency is the fees that he is referring to and the kind of mining title that he is referring to because there are a lot of mining titles with different fees. Thank you.
HON. BRIG. GEN. RTD. MAYIHLOME: The registering of a mining claim – we are being charged or youths are being asked to pay up to US$3000 and these people are saying they are working with the Ministry of Mines. They are offering blocks to local youths and they are saying each youth should contribute US$500 and if they come together, the ten of them, it comes to about US$5000. We are saying this is too prohibitive to register a claim. What measures are there to review this variance to entry to make it much cheaper or even to have them register or pay over a period of time instead of a once off payment? Thank you.
HON. KAMBAMURA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the clarity. I think he did not clarify the type of mining title he is referring to because for an ordinary claim for small scale mining, it is not charged in US$. The prospecting and registration fees are much less than US$3000. So he should clarify which mining title he is referring to. Is it an ordinary mining claim for gold, special block or mining lease for mining operations? I think he can write to the Ministry or see me after this so that we can discuss this. Thank you.
Questions without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
PLANS FOR COMPLETION OF CONSTRUCTION OF THE GWANDA PROVINCIAL HIGH COURT
1. HON. MOKONE asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to inform the House on the immediate plans that the Ministry has put in place to complete the construction of the Gwanda Provincial High Court which has been outstanding for almost a decade.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. We now have a new contractor who is going to complete the Gwanda High Court this year. The Ministry of Finance last week released funding to ensure that the court is completed. So very soon, the Hon. Member will notice that activity will be commencing at Gwanda Court. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary to the Minister is, we have got Public Works which is a Government arm which is responsible for the construction of Government infrastructure. Is it lack of confidence in their work now that they have found another contractor?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Public Works supervises construction of the majority of public buildings that will be under construction. They do not have the capacity to be constructing all the buildings and Hon. Mliswa is also aware that the Chinhoyi Court was constructed by a private contractor. In fact, the company that constructed Chinhoyi Court is the one that is going to complete the Gwanda Court. So it is not lack of confidence in Public Works. They will be involved during the day to day construction of the court and they are part of it but because of the capacity to do all the Government projects at once, we end up having certain entities subcontracting and that would be done with the approval of the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works. Thank you.
(v)HON. MOKONE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Let me start by correcting my surname. I am not Makoni, I am Mokone. If it pleases the Minister, would it not be prudent that he gives us the timeline when the construction will resume because the building has been lying idle for more than a decade? Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you. My apologies, the Order Paper was wrong. In my earlier response I said everything is now set. The Ministry of Finance has released the funding and the contractor is there. We are hoping that immediately within the foreseeable future, if the Hon. Member goes to Gwanda, she will start seeing some activity happening. Our target is to ensure that the court is completed and commissioned before the end of this year. I thank you.
AGREEMENTS PERTAINING TO THE GLOBAL SETTLEMENT DEED
- HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to –
a) bring to the House all agreements pertaining to the Global Settlement Deed (Trust), including the initial agreement signed by the parties, ancillary agreements, addendums and annexures, and those pertaining to funding.
b) cover in detail how the Ministry intends to raise the money and when payments will be due?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): The first part of the question refers to agreements on the Global Settlement Deed with farmers and his request that I bring the document to Parliament with all the addendums and so forth. I want to say I will do so Mr. Speaker. The second part of the question is asking how we will raise funding to pay off this debt. As I have explained before, we have hired a firm of advisors, a new state based in the UK who are currently beavering away, coming up with solutions and instruments through which we can then be able to raise relevant resources through the issuance of a corporate instrument. We are working on it.
I cannot at this stage reveal some of the details but we are beavering away at it and in the fullness of time we will be able to announce progress. In many cases, we have to announce this by June because that is the halfway point and we will have to have secured half the amount of the US$3.5 billion.
HON. MARKHAM: Could the Minister acknowledge whether he will be able to pay the first payment in June as per the agreement?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank Hon. Markham for the follow up question. Our ability to pay that amount he refers to depends on the success of the instrument and the fundraising strategies that the advisors are putting on the table and proposing. So I can only say once we are in agreement with the advisors whether these are viable instruments or not. I cannot give a definite answer at this stage. We still have a few weeks to go, so we are busy evaluating these instruments to see if indeed we can raise the funding to clear this amount by the middle of the year.
HON. GABBUZA: Now, since the Government entered into an agreement with the relevant people, would it mean that if we do not pay by end of June we are in breach of the agreement and are there any penalties to this Government?
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: While I really appreciate the Hon. Member’s concern as to what would happen if we were in breach, we are not yet in breach, so it is still speculation but I do appreciate his forward thinking on this but we are not in breach. Besides, we are dealing with a group of farmers, 4 000 of them, very reasonable men and women who are Zimbabweans and are always ready to engage constructively with Government. I do not think we should be too worried about breaches and other legal issues. I thank you.
APPROVAL OF 38 MILLION DOLLAR DUTCH LOAN FOR DUTCH FARMERS BY PARLIAMENT
HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to explain –
a) why the 38-million dollar Dutch Loan for Dutch farmers received in 2016 has not been
brought to Parliament for approval;
b) why the Ministry did not seek appropriate Parliamentary approval for the loan and allocation as compensation to Dutch farmers.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): This would do with the compensation of the Dutch farmers. These amounts are recorded in our normal debt report which is presented to Parliament but are also recorded in the National Budget Statement and we have been doing so consistently. So I do not think this has been hidden from Parliament, neither has it been hidden from the public but of course, should Hon. Members feel that we need to do more to show transparency or whatever is implied by the question, we are happy to do so. I can assure the Hon. Member that there is no strange behaviour here. We have been reporting these and so forth, and we went further to report even the blocked funds. We have really opened the books for all to see and for this House to mull over.
There is a second part and I think I have covered it in a way in my first response, that we have always brought this before Parliament through the normal reporting process in terms of Public Debt and there is nothing hidden here. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Hon. Speaker, I request that the loan be brought to Parliament so I could get sight of it. I thank you.
LAYING OF DOCUMENTS BEFORE THE HOUSE
- HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Finance and
Economic Development to lay relevant documents before the House as a way of complying with the ruling in court (international or local) precipitated by this.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker, I thank Hon. Markham for being persistent and insistent that we bring some of these important issues to Parliament but I just want to say to him that we amended the Constitution as he will recall. So, we really do not have to bring specific loans and so forth for direct approval by Parliament. We merely publish these as we should and again, we remain open to him. He says he wanted to see a copy; we have no difficulty in sharing a copy as this is as good as a public document.
EXPROPRIATION OF AGRICULTURAL LAND IN URBAN AREAS
- HON. MARKHAM asked the Minister of Local Government
and Public Works to explain in detail to the House how the expropriation of agricultural land in urban areas was done and to further state the legal instrument and authority used to do this.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): The Land Acquisition Act [28:1] Section 3 empowers the President through the Minister of Lands to:
- compulsorily acquire any land where the acquisition is reasonably necessary in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, town and country planning or the utilisation of that or any other property for a purpose beneficial to the public generally or to any section of the public.
- An Act to empower the President and other authorities to acquire land and other immovable property compulsorily in certain circumstances.
- To make special provision for the compensation payable for agriculture land required for resettlement purposes.
- To provide for the establishment of the derelict land bought.
- To provide for the declaration and acquisition of derelict land;
- To provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.
State land specified in the Third Schedule to the Agricultural and
Rural Development Authority Act [Chapter 18:01], specially gazetted land means agricultural land referred to in Section 16 (b) (1) (a) (ii) or (iii) of the Constitution and the term “specially gazetted shall be construed accordingly; [definition inserted by Section 7 of Act 8 of 2006] structure” includes any wall, fence, dam, earthwork, well, borehole or other permanent improvement on or to land.
Acquisition of land by President:-
- Subject to this Act, the President, or any Minister duly authorised by the President for that purpose may compulsorily acquire -
- any land, where the acquisition is reasonably necessary in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, town and country planning or the utilisation of that or any other property for a purpose beneficial to the public generality or to any section of the public.
- any rural land, where the acquisition is reasonably necessary for the utilisation of that or any other land.
- For settlement of agricultural or other purposes; or
- For purposes of land re-organisation, forestry, environment conservation or the utilisation of wildlife or other natural resources; or
- For the relocation of persons dispossessed in consequence of the utilisation of wildlife or other natural resources or
- For the relocation of persons dispossessed in consequence of the utilisation of land for a purpose referred to in subparagraph (i) or (ii).
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Local authorities gave planning permission for this agricultural land to be developed into housing estates. It is then taken over and acquired once the developing permit has been given; the land is then taken and given to someone else. It does not make sense to me.
There is a waiver of compensation that is actually due to this urban land. I am not worried about land outside the urban areas. There is land that has been acquired and 20 years later, there is no compensation and there is no facility or discussion on compensation on these agricultural lands within the city limits. Could the Minister give us a direction on how this compensation is going to assist and be evaluated because all this land was taken just for residential housing? I thank you.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker and thank you Hon. Markham for that follow up question. All the land that we acquire in the urban areas mostly, we send our Evaluation Department to do the evaluation and then we agree with the owner if it is titled land and we do compensation. The negotiations might take long but it is within our powers and we try by all means to make sure that we do compensation.
If there are any specifics, I would appreciate if you can provide them to me and I will look into that.
HON. MARKHAM: I just want to point out that there have been no evaluations in seven of the seven cases I have looked at. There has been no talk of compensation in seven of the seven, they are now billing big residential areas and I would love to see the Minister and discuss the issue, bringing it to her attention because I have got 147 property titles with the same problem.
HON. CHOMBO: Point taken and I would be expecting you Hon. Markham anytime next week.
(v)HON. NDUNA: when the Minister touches on the Acts of Parliament, sections that empower His Excellency to carry out his duty, I get excited. So, my supplementary question is on the urban expansion, in so far as it relates to approval of urban councils’ master plans. Is this the Act that empowers the Minster of Local Government through the Act that empowers His Excellency to get the land for urban expansion? Also, attached to the Constitution of our land, Section 72 (vii) (c), which I ask during the Question Time to be transplanted from the Constitution into the Hansard, I request that it be transcribed into the Hansard. It states that “the people of Zimbabwe should be enabled to assert their right to land”.
So the question is that, is this the same Act that empowers His Excellency through the Local Government Minister to take the land to urban expansion in so far as it relates to approval of the master plans?
HON. CHOMBO: If you look at the acquisition of land by the President, it says subject to this Act, the President or any Minister duly authorised, in this case it means the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.
RESUMPTION OF CONSTRUCTION OF KWEKWE-NKAYI-LUPANE ROAD
- HON M. MPOFU asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House when construction on the Kwekwe – Nkayi – Lupane Road will resume in view of the fact that it was last done in the middle of 2021, a situation which has led to the deplorable state that is currently obtaining.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Hon. Speaker Sir, I want to advise Hon. Mpofu that construction of the five-kilometers of Kwekwe-Nkayi-Lupane stretch will commence in three weeks time from now. Works will start from Lupane site in Matebeleland North and it is the desire of the Second Republic to rehabilitate this road with speed.
(v)HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am alive to the fact that Hwange Colliery during 100 years subsistence has established 100 kilometers of tarred road in its area. Are any of the mines within the Kwekwe-Nkayi Highway part of the construction of the said road by the Minister so that we can adhere to the ethos, values, principles and the dictates of the Constitution, Section 13:4?
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Let me also thank Hon. Nduna who has quoted a section in our Supreme Constitution 13:4 which states that the communities must benefit from the resources within their communities. It is true and at the same time issues to do with mining companies partaking in the rehabilitation of our roads involves a moral suasion where we are not mandating the companies to actually do the roads but in the event that mining companies are willing, which is a welcome development, we would be interested as Government to have such mines, especially when it comes to issues to do with corporate social responsibilities and also partaking the rehabilitation of our roads.
I want to thank the Hon. Member that at this juncture we do not have specific mining companies that are also rehabilitating the same road.
HON. GABBUZA: I heard as if the Hon. Minister said the rehabilitation of the Nkayi-Kwekwe Road will start next week with only five kilometres. That stretch of the road is 127 kilometres, what is the strategy to see its completion because if it is five kilometres per year or per duration into 127 kilometres, can the Hon. Minister clarify this.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Let me also thank Hon. Gabbuza for his pertinent question. Hon. Speaker Sir, the way we are rehabilitating our roads, unlike in the First Republic where we would touch certain stretches and leave and start another project, we have actually earmarked our stretches pertaining to the availability of funding. The best way to rehabilitate such roads is to have players also partaking in the same infrastructure development but at this moment, I have just mentioned the five kilometers. That is what we are starting with but it is not that we rehabilitate then we abandon - we want to do and complete the five kilometres then also do another portion progressing in that manner and also taking cognisance of the available resources. I want to assure the Hon. Member that it is not the desire to just do the five kilometres but we want to do what we can finish in the near time while we will be sourcing additional resources to continue with the stretch. Thank you.
(v)HON. M. M. MPOFU: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I wanted to find out from the Minister, I heard as if the five kilometers will start from the Lupane side but already on this other side of Gweru River he did about four kilometres the previous year. So, now he is going back to Lupane, he is going to proceed towards Kwekwe, I wanted to find out exactly what he is going to do.
HON. MHONA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I also want to thank Hon. Mpofu and to assure the Hon. Member that we can indulge after this debate where we can also do another five kilometres from the direction that he wants us to start from and at the same time we will also be doing five kilometres from Lupane. So I am amenable to his suggestion so that we work accordingly.
SECURITY CHECK-UPS AT JOSHUA MQABUKO AIRPORT
- (v)HON. M. M. MPOFU asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development on whether the Minister is aware of the practice at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo where both locals and visitors are subjected to stringent security check- ups where they are required to remove their shoes and walk on dirty floors owing to the fact that the airport does not have a functional body scanner to conduct such searches.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I also want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) sets standards and recommended practices for Civil Aviation Security. This is to ensure the safety and security of both on board and off board travelers.
The Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport currently uses walk through metal detectors that are used to scan travelers for any metallic objects. The airport also uses hand held metal detectors to pin point the location of metals on the person. In terms of baggage security checks, conventional X-ray machines are used. However, in the event that technology fails, ICAO permits physical searches and it is these that involve the removal of shoes.
Through the Airports Company of Zimbabwe, the Ministry is currently on a drive to procure more modern scanners which do not require the removal of shoes. I want to concur with the Hon. Member that at times it takes away the dignity of our travelers where you are forced to remove shoes but internationally this is a practice that is being undertaken because of other hidden items that have been discovered especially on a number of shoes. Even the advent of body scanners will also have issues to do with the laws of this country whereby some canners might then take away the dignity of travelers so this is something that we are also working on to see how best we can balance but at the same time promote and maintain the dignity of our travelers and also mitigate the issue of risks that are associated with failure to scan properly. I want to thank the Hon. Member and assure him that we are in the process of procuring modern scanners so that we are up to standard in terms of aviation practice. Thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. NGULUVHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 4 has been disposed of.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON THE REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT ON OPERATIONS OF ZIMBABWE ELECTRICITY SUPPLY COMMISSION ON THE ORDER PAPER
HON. GABBUZA: I move the motion standing in my name that the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development on operations of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply which was superseded by end of the Third Session of the 9th Parliament be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order No. 77.
HON. MARKHAM: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA), the House adjourned at a Minute to Five o’clock p.m.