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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 9 MARCH 2023 VOL 49 NO 29

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 9th March, 2023

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

HON. MAKARI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker. Allow me to read a statement by the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus in light of the International Women’s Day Commemorations. 

The Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus joins the global community to commemorate the International Women’s Day, whereby we celebrate the work being done by women globally to serve humanity.  As a country, we are proud to be making great strides towards achieving gender balance as stipulated in Section 17 of the Constitution. Section 741 of the National Development Plan 1 (NDS 1) 2021 to 2025 provides for gender mainstreaming in the development process.  In addition, the National Gender Policy Article 5.8 on policy strategies provides that Zimbabwe is committed to taking measures to promote the equal access to ICTs and digital technology.  Therefore, women’s and girls’ equal access and meaningful participation in the ICT ecosystem is integral to the realisation of inclusive information society and women empowerment by 2030.

It is a fact that while the world is increasingly digitalized, many women and girls continue to lag behind in terms of accessing digital networks and related opportunities as compared to men and boys. Access to ICTs and affordability remains a major challenge for women in developing countries, including Zimbabwe, and this has created what is known as ‘digital gender divide’.  It is estimated that 62% of men are using internet compared to 57% of women at global level with only 19% of the women being in least developed countries.  This explains why digital technology is of special focus during our 2023 commemorations. 

As you may all be aware, the theme is of special focus during our 2023 commemorations.  As you may all be aware, the theme for 2023 International Women’s Day is titled “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”.  This theme is aptly put in line with the theme for this year’s 67th Session of the Commission of the status of women, which is, “Innovation and Technological Change, and Education in the Digital Age for Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls”.  Access to digital technologies and skills for women and girls has always been a challenge and this could be mainly attributed to lack of physical access, affordability, lack of education and skills and social norms, for example, preventing women and girls to have access to mobile phones or the internet, among others.

Therefore, as the ZWPC, we have been pushing for gender sensitive budgets in Parliament, particularly targeting rural electrification as measures to reduce women’s burden on energy and calling the Government to engage in public-private partnership and develop the ICT sector in order to enhance access to ICT to all. One of the key findings of the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs and SMEs Development outreach in 2022 was the need for improved access and use of ICTs and digital space to conduct marketing of women products. On this note, the ZWPC is proud to have capacitated its members on basic ICT literacy skills as ways to equip and empower them to undertake research on their own, use e-health technology, use the social media to market their work, among others.

The Caucus applauds the Government for investing and promoting the use of ICTs and solar powered clinics and hospitals in the country.  This has contributed significantly to the decrease in infant mortality rates due to the increased use of innovations and technology in the country, particularly the solarisation of rural clinics.  Through the Sustainable Energy for Heath Development Fund, the Government has completed the installation of a high-power solar system at many clinics, improving the quality of service delivery for mothers and other community members at large.  This is one of the many innovations and use of technology in Zimbabwe where we have witnessed an improvement in the lives of women and girls.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, your speech is supposed to be less than two minutes.

HON. MAKARI: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I am almost through.

As women legislators, we shall continue to ride on the available legislation, while at the same time push for legislative reforms to support women empowerment agenda.  As we all know, that the journey of a thousand miles began with one simple step.  We are so convinced that barriers that deter us as women along the life’s journey are weakening and soon we shall break through.   Lastly, I would like to say Happy Women’s Day to all women in Zimbabwe, we continue to rally behind you all as we push for the enactment and implementation of women sensitive laws.

*HON. TEKESHE:  Thank you Hon. Speaker, I rise on a point of national interest on the compensation being given to accident victims.  Three months ago, someone was involved in an accident when he was travelling in a Tenda bus.  His hand was seriously injured, to the extent that he can no longer use it.  He came to me and said he was given 38 000 RTGS as compensation.  Imagine 38 000 RTGS which is equal to 38US or somewhere there.  He used his money to treat the injuries and Hon. Speaker, this is a mockery honestly.

Some 10 years ago, my Zimbabwean friend was involved in an accident in South Africa and he died and his wife was given 600 000 Rands as compensation.  Despite the fact that my friend was a foreigner in that country, he was compensated to the tune of 600 000 Rands and it was almost equivalent to US$60000 during that time.   I also appeal that something must be done when one is involved in an accident, you will not be able to work due to that accident.  Imagine in Zimbabwe such a person was given 38 000 Zimdollar, 43 years after independence, we cannot even take care of our own people.  I think it is now a long time since we got independence that we are able to see how best we can compensate a person after such a fatal accident.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Tekeshe. That is why you are here in Parliament. I urge you to ask the responsible Minister that question – [HON. TEKESHE: I always ask that question but nothing comes to fruition.] -

          HON. WATSON: Thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity.  My point of national interest relates to cases of suicide of students who claim to have been bullied at school.  I would like to implore the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to bring a statement about what they intend to do to try and resolve the issues of bullying in Government schools, particularly senior schools.

          In Bulawayo, it is very prevalent and it has now caused great tragedy in our community.  I think that these are major schools that the Minister should come and tell us what they are planning.  Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Watson, the Parliament Administration will convey the message to the responsible Minister so that he will bring a Ministerial Statement regarding that issue. 

          *(v) HON. MAGO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My point of national interest concerns roads.  I used Masvingo-Bulawayo Road just last week.  From Zvishavane, I saw four cattle and one vehicle, all have been involved in accidents and the cattle were dead.  The reason is because trees are too close to the road.  I do not know if it is not possible for the Minister of Transport to do something so that those trees are cut.  I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mago.  I also urge you to ask a question to the Minister of Transport concerning that issue. 

           (v)*HON. MAFUTA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Mine is a question of national interest to the Minister of Education concerning cancer patients.  We realise that we have a challenge with regards to cancer patients.  I hereby refer to the Ministry to assist by reducing the charges, especially for chemotherapy drugs so that it becomes affordable to everyone.  I also request for ambulances to be availed, especially to remote areas.  Some of the patients are supposed to go to Sally Mugabe for treatment and would not have transport as well as money to take them there.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mafuta.  Did you want to say Minister of Education or Health?

(v)HON. MAFUTA: Minister of Health.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member for that very important point of national interest.  I urge you to put your question to the responsible Minister with regards to any remedies to cancer problems.  I thank you.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  My point of national interest borders around the provision of health.  It is enshrined in the Constitution, Right to Health, Section 76.  If it pleases you Madam Speaker Ma’am, to ask the Minister of Energy to expeditiously isolate the hospitals and all health care institutions so that in times of load shedding or deficiency in power provision, they are not load-shedded.  They continue unimpeded to receive power because we have more than five people dying every day due to road carnage; 43 getting injured and all these people need to find attention using MRIs and X-rays and all these use copious amounts of power. 

          Therefore, it is my fervent view that going forward, there should be a deliberate programme to provide equipment and all the necessary materials to isolate the health care institutions so that in times of load shedding they are isolated and kept alive all the time in order to avert, avoid and completely annihilate the scourge of death which can otherwise be avoided, was the robust, resilient, effective and efficient health care delivery system because of power provision.  I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Nduna.  You have raised a very valid point on a matter of national interest but I urge you to bring it as a motion in the House so that it can be debated. 

SECOND READING

ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 11, 2022]

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Electoral Amendment Bill [H. B. 11, 2022].

Question again proposed.

HON. NDUNA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 21st March, 2023.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. NDUNA:  I move that all Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 17 on today’s Order Paper has been disposed of.

HON. TEKESHE:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON BUDGET, FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ON VISITS TO FLAGSHIP INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

HON. DR. NYASHANU:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House considers and adopts the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development on visits to Flagship Infrastructure Projects.

HON. MADZIMURE:  I second.

HON. DR. NYASHANU: 1. INTRODUCTION

In accordance with the National Development Strategy 1 and as part of the COVID-19 post recovery measures, the Government established the 2021 Zimbabwe Infrastructure Investment Programme, which targets construction and upgrading of essential projects aimed at facilitating delivery of public utilities. These include, among others, electricity supply, water and sanitation provision, transportation, and ICT broadband services. The goal is to address and overcome some of the challenges posed by the current infrastructure gap, which is stifling growth and economic development. In this regard, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget Finance and Economic Development conducted field visits to selected infrastructure projects across the country from 3-7 July, 2022.

        COMMITTEE OBJECTIVES

  • To assess the progress made in infrastructural developments vis-a-vis the targets set out in the 2021 Zimbabwe infrastructure Investment Programme;
  • To assess value for money on the ongoing infrastructure projects, particularly in addressing the needs of the local people through subcontracting, procurement and employment.

3.0 METHODOLOGY

As part of the enquiry, the Committee visited the following infrastructure projects; Beitbridge Modernisation Project, Bulawayo Water Works, Gwayi-Shangani Dam and Hwange 7 and 8 Thermal Expansion Project from 3rd to7th July, 2022. The Committee had meetings with the site engineers and contractors as well as toured the infrastructure projects.

             COMMITTEE FINDINGS

          Beitbridge Modernisation Project

The Committee was informed that ZimBorders Consortium, in collaboration with the Government, committed US$300 million to the whole modernization and improvement initiative, which is scheduled to be completed by April 2023. The programme is being carried out on the basis of a 17-year Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) concession between the ZimBorders Consortium and the Government of Zimbabwe. Under the Concession, the Government is providing land and technical support while the consortium is providing funding and civil works.  To date, more than 1600 Zimbabweans have been employed by the project. The Committee was further informed that the project was structured to have three terminals to separate traffic namely; Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 as explained below.

4.1.1 Phase 1 (Freight Terminal)

This phase consists of freight terminal, roadways, and ICT facility upgrades and was completed in October 2021. Some of the latest developments at this terminal were introduction of electronic ceiling of cargo, whereby any diversion of the truck from the route would be tracked. The contractors were also aiming at changing the current scanners and introduce drive through scanners by early 2023. This was meant to reduce truck waiting time from 12 hours to three hours. It was also reported that they were handling an average of 800 trucks per day, while during good days they would handle about 1200 commercial trucks daily. It was indicated that this number could be surpassed if ZIMRA continues on upgrading efficiency issues through automation.

4.1.2 Phase 2 (Bus Terminal)

The Committee was informed that this terminal was mainly for buses and was completed in June 2022. All construction works and ICT improvements had been completed. The Committee was also shown rooms for nursing mothers as well as changing rooms. The picture below shows part of the phase 2 terminal.

4.1.3 Phase 3 (Light Vehicles and Pedestrians)

This terminal is mainly for light vehicles and pedestrians. The Committee was informed that it was 60% near completion and was expected to be finished by October 2022. The Committee was also notified that there was a port of health which caters for those in need of medical services.  The picture below shows the phase 3 of the project.

4.2 Gwayi-Shangani Project.

The Committee was informed by ZINWA officials that the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is the first phase of the National Matabeleland and Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP). The primary purpose is to supply portable water to the City of Bulawayo and primary water for surrounding communities of Hwange and Binga Districts. The dam would also have capacity to command up to 10 000 ha of irrigation as well as fish farming upon completion. The second phase of the NMZWP is the construction of a 251 km pipeline to convey water from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo. The third and final stage will be the construction of a 122km pipeline from the Zambezi River to link Gwayi-Shangani Pipeline.

 

4.2.1 Phase 1 Construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam

The Committee learnt that the contractor responsible for this project is China International Water and Electric Corporation Pvt. Ltd, which was initially awarded the contract in 2003 by the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust. The Government took over from the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust in 2012, and the contractor resumed work in 2017. However, there were some delays in 2019 and 2020 due to insufficient cash flow as well as the impact of COVID-19.

The current contract was signed in 2012, and the contract price for this project was USD $121 732 922.60. In the 2022 National Budget, ZWL $3 600 000 000 was allocated to the project. By the time of the visit, ZWL$ 2 527 022 000 had been disbursed and the project was at 67 percent completion. There were also costs identified by the evaluation team as a result of settlements falling under the dam's servitude that needed to be relocated. These include 27 villages (734 households), Lubimbi business centre (5 Properties), and 8 Institutional Centres (3 community schemes and 5 churches) that require a total compensation of US $2 043 665. The image below depicts the project as of 5 July 2022.

In terms of challenges, the Committee was informed that the project has witnessed losses in the value of certified works due to changes in cost (dropping of US dollars) and local currency (ZW$) parity positions. Contract pricing in ZW has had a knock-on effect on the project, as ZWL were being eroded by inflation. However, in order to provide fair compensation and to lock in the value of completed work, it was suggested that all Interim Payment Certificates (IPC) be processed in US dollars, with amounts converted to local currency on the day of payment at agreed terms with the contractor and Government.

Furthermore, the Committee was informed that fund disbursements from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development were lagging and that the project had not received any cement consignment from June 6 to June 30, 2022. In addition, ZIMRA garnished China International Water and Electrical Corporation accounts on June 132022 for the fourth time in the same year, citing tax compliance issues and demanding VAT payment soon after submitting an Interim Payment Certificate to an employer. The contractors also stated that if a permanent solution was not found, garnishing of accounts that had not been resolved since the beginning of the year would continue to impede progress on site. Furthermore, contract workers from the contractor's camp were forced to stop working on June 15, 2022, due to unpaid wages. The workers resumed on June 23 when they began receiving salaries, and this has slowed progress on site and prevented the set target of four meters of construction per month from being met.

4.2.2 Phase 2 (Construction of a 251 km pipeline to convey water from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo)

          ZINWA officials informed the Committee that the second phase was the construction of a 251 km pipeline to convey water from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo. The project is 100 percent funded by the Government and has contracted 12 companies which consist of 11 locals and one foreign company to provide fiber glass pipes. The project has not been able to meet its timelines due to resource constraint, particularly the construction of the dam and the pipeline.

The Committee was further informed that the pipes being used at this project were 1.2m in diameter and made of fiber glass, which is expected to be durable material.  The pipeline will have six pump stations along its route, each with a reservoir for irrigation purposes in communities such as Lupane, Tholotsho, and Umguza. In addition, the Committee was informed that the pipes would transport water to Cowdry Park treatment plant. This plant will treat 220 mega litres of water, which will exceed Bulawayo's current demand of 155 mega litres. The water from the treatment plan would be sent to the Magwegwe reservoir and the project would be expanded to the southern side Criterion because Magwegwe only supplies 35% of the city's needs. The picture below shows part of the project.

 

4.3 Hwange Unit 7 and 8 Expansion Power Project

4.3.1 Overview of Current Running Plant – Hwange 1-6

The plant was built in the early 1980s and has therefore outlived its lifespan. The major challenges of operating the aging plant were forced outages and low loads, which were brought on by boiler tube leaks, ID fan failures, the need to generate 450MW for winter, condenser tube leaks, insufficient vacuum, HP heater failures and air heater leaks. At the time of the visit, only four units were running with the other unit on fire recovery stage and expected to be operational soon. The Committee was informed that the planned intervention is life extension for all the units.

4.3.2 Hwange 7 and 8 Expansion

The Zimbabwe Power Company Officials informed the Committee that Hwange Unit 7 and 8 Expansion Project was being financed through a loan facility from the China Exim Bank. Hwange Electricity Supply Company (HESCO) is a vehicle that was used to borrow money from the Chinese Bank. The board of the company consists of nine members of which, six are from ZPC, and three are from Sino hydro. Thus, in terms of shareholding structure, ZPC has 64% and Sino hydro 36%. Sino Hydro of China is the implementing consultant, with Hatch, a Canadian firm consultant, helping with technical expertise and the Zimbabwe Power Company team in charge of quality control. The loan will be repaid over a period of 20 years from the time power generation begins whereby Sino Hydro will operate it for the first six years. The overall project budget is US$1,174 billion, China Exim bank will contribute 85 percent of the costs and Sino Hydro15%. At the time of the visit, completion rate was at 89.7% whereby Unit 7 is expected to have been completed by November 2022 and Unit 8 by February 2023.The picture below shows part of the work.

The Committee was informed that 600MW of power were expected from the Hwange 7 and 8 which would be a significant milestone for Zimbabwe in terms of meeting the power need of the country. The phase's components included Hwange B, Sherwood B in Kwekwe, and Insukamini and Marvel Substations, with a total of 349km constructed by the time of the visit.  The local market has benefited from around $117million through water supply and coal supply, among others.

In terms of staff complement, there were 1302 Chinese and 3586 Zimbabweans mainly from the local communities. This arrangement would facilitate skills transfer. The Committee was informed that the company had donated 500 chairs and 500 desks to Neshaya Secondary School, as well as COVID-19 PPE and USD$30,000 to COVID-19 isolation facilities as part of its corporate social responsibility.

The Committee was informed that some of the challenges being faced by the project implementation included but not limited to the following;

  • The relocation of 427 ZPC lower-level employees, who currently reside in previously built Ingagula residence due to environmental concerns such as too much dust. This would cost US$87 million, all of which must come from ZPC internal funds.
  • ZPC would need funds for additional internal expansion-induced projects that are not included in the project budget in order to pay for maintenance on Sino Hydro, loan payments, and coal payments in the first three years following completion.
  • Unresolved Payment Certificates (invoices) amounting to US$265m in unpaid invoices for completed work is holding up progress, and China Exim Bank is adding interest due to the delay. Hwange 7 was scheduled to be completed in September 2022, and Hwange 8 in March 2023, but these dates might be in jeopardy due to funding delays.
  • ZESA rates and tariffs were not cost reflective, which impacted equipment maintenance and sustainability.
  • Committee Observations
    • Pricing of contracts in ZWL had a ripple effect on projects as the ZWL was being eroded by inflation.
    • Late disbursements of funds from Ministry of Finance and Economic Development at the Gwai-Shangani project was the major cause for failure to meet targets.
    • Concentrating on the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project without prioritising the pipeline would mean that the primary purpose of the dam would not be achieved.
    • Garnishing of China International Water and Electrical Corporation accounts by ZIMRA since the beginning of the year would continue to hamper progress on site if a permanent solution is not found.
    • The extension of the Bulawayo Pipeline to Criterion was necessary as it would solve water issues affecting the whole of Bulawayo.
    • The local engineers were on the lead at all the projects visited, which is a good initiative.
    • Unresolved Payment Certificates (invoices) for finished work by the China Exim Bank is holding up progress at Hwange Thermal Power Station.
    • Completion of the Hwange 7 and 8 Thermal Power Station is vital as it would go a long way in solving power challenges in Zimbabwe as well as enabling the country to export excess electricity.
    • The Beit-bridge Modernisation Project had met their targets of completion in all the phases.
  • Committee Recommendations
    • The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development;
      • To process all IPCs in United States Dollars and the amounts could be converted to local currency on the day of payment at agreed terms with the contractor and client by April 2023.
      • To disburse money on time, especially, for the Gwayi-Shangani Project to avoid stalling progress.
      • To immediately prioritise the Bulawayo Pipeline in terms of disbursement of funds and paying of contractors as it is the primary purpose of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam.
      • To consider the plan by the Bulawayo City Council to extend the Pipeline to Criterion as it covers the greater part of Bulawayo by April 2023.
      • To liaise with the China Exim Bank to resolve Payment Certificates (invoices) for finished work at Hwange Thermal Power Station by April 2023.
    • The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
      • Not to demand VAT payment soon after submission of an IPC to an employer but rather charge on paid invoices by April 2023.

7.0 Conclusion

The Committee appreciates the commitment by the Government to construct and/or upgrade all the critical public utility infrastructure in Zimbabwe that have been on the drawing board or that have stalled for a long time. It is worth noting that upon completion, most of these projects would change the narrative for Zimbabwe as it strives to attain Vision 2030, which is to become, ‘a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Society by 2030.’  I thank you.

HON. MADZIMURE:  Thank you Hon. Speaker, I rise to second the report presented by Hon. Dr. Nyashanu.  It is important for us as Parliament to understand that whenever we pass the budget in this House and money is allocated, it is our responsibility to monitor and evaluate how that money is being used.  It is unfortunate that we do not have a vibrant caucus group that deals with the issue of monitoring and evaluation.  After the implementation, there is need to evaluate the projects to see whether the money is used in a proper way.  Sometimes we may be satisfied by the infrastructure but not understanding the resources used for that infrastructure.  Sometimes we lose a lot of money when the infrastructure is put in place, operate and then transferred.  All the same, it is important for us to look at how durable and suitable are the physical structures that have been built. 

Madam Speaker, the Beitbridge project makes a lot of sense considering that Beitbridge is one of the busiest borders that we have in Zimbabwe, it only makes sense that it is upgraded to the standard it is now.  It is a reflection of what a person will see in the country when he or she enters our border.  What now needs to be done Madam Speaker, is to make sure that we reduce as much as possible, the issue of abusing the border.  There is need for the border authorities to ensure that the border is well manned, well controlled and queries should be addressed by the relevant authorities.  That is very important Madam Speaker and this must be done as quickly as possible.

Madam Speaker, the various Government institutions that are at the border, that is the Police, Central Intelligent Organisation, Army, Customs and Immigration seem not to be  well  coordinated and as a result, a lot of people get away with ‘murder’ at the border because no one really knows who should be responsible for what.  So, the border authority must be put in place as quickly as possible. 

As the infrastructure is being put in place at the border, there is need to ensure that measures are put in place to curb leakages and all loopholes.   Madam Speaker, if you look at what we export and what we import, you find that there is a mismatch to the extent that we may think that we are importing less or almost equivalent to what we are exporting.  This might not be true because the border still remains porous and that needs to be addressed. 

Madam Speaker, on the issue of the supply of water, we have to be a bit serious because when we visited Cowdry Park, we only saw a kilometer where there were pipes.  We even went on to ask whether they had been paid for and if there was a contractor who was going to supply the pipes but there seemed to be nothing happening.

  However, we were all of the impression that there was serious progress that was going on to have water in Bulawayo soon.  Something must be done.  The Ministry of Finance must also be sincere.  We have around 10 contractors along the pipeline to Gwayi-Shangani but we have not paid any contractor.  I do not know if we actually have the proper agreements so that people would start doing work. 

The project to the people of Matabeleland is one of their most important one that is why we said we were going to visit flagship projects.  The water rationing in Bulawayo right now is very severe. So if that project could be treated with the respect and the agency it deserves, it will make a lot of sense. 

On the Gwayi-Shangani; the dam itself, the contractors are doing perfectly well but because they are not being paid, that thing should have been running as we are speaking right now. The Ministry of Finance has to respond to this report and tell this House exactly what is happening.  Just imagine the length of that pipeline and with the plans that are there at any interval to have projects emanating from the water that will be flowing from Gwayi-Shangani, it will make a lot of difference.  It will improve food security in the area, the livelihoods of the people who are along the pipeline and a lot of skills will be shared along the way.  It will actually be a greenbelt and we have to treat that project with the importance that it deserves to make sure that it is the people along the way and also those in Bulawayo themselves as far as water supply is concerned. 

If we look at the dam levels right now and you look at those that supply Bulawayo, they are still below 50%, meaning the water crisis will always be there.  Therefore, may the Minister improve especially on funding of those projects?

  It also brings to light that there are some projects that we cannot do as a country that need IMF, the World Bank and other serious investors to help us.  We cannot do such projects using our own finances; otherwise we will then run into the issue of inflation being fueled by the ZWL that we will be using to fund such projects.

On the Hwange 7 and 8; again the same problem, we are not paying the bank that is financing the contractors.  If we were doing so, we could be enjoying the benefits of extra 300 mega watts that we would get from Hwange.

 Sometimes we do not understand the impact of a project as we go down stream.  The moment I spent five hours doing nothing at my factory, it is a serious cost Madam Speaker.  It also pushes the cost of the product that I am doing.  To some people, it is a simple matter just to switch off electricity.  A lot of employees are being laid off because of lack of electricity.  You give your clients promises that I will supply your goods on such a date but the moment you finish talking to the customer, electricity is switched off sometimes for more than 12 hours. So, our products become less competitive when you have that electricity outage.  You want to work at a pace that you are not used to causing a lot of faults as far as your products are concerned.  In some cases where you use chemicals, you will not recover what you would have lost when electricity is switched off. 

Therefore, it is important that we look at the funding mechanism of these projects so that we complete them on time save on labour because some contractors, like the Chinese, had to go back a little so that they do not incur the cost of paying labour costs.

Finally, Madam Speaker, I strongly think that we must attract investment as far as these big projects are concerned.  We cannot pride ourselves in saying we are using domestic resource but at what cost?  The moment we pour that money to that particular project, the hospitals are going without medicine, the schools are going with disgruntled teachers.  So we will not be doing anything, we will actually be losing. It is not only Zimbabwe that borrows. Any other country - as long as you borrow to invest in a project that will bring back results; you are doing the right thing.  So let us not pride ourselves in doing something that we cannot do because we do not have the capacity to do that.  Therefore we have to talk to serious investors.  There is cheap money out there that we can also attract, if we say we have got friends, those friends must be able to also match what other friends are doing to their friends as well.  I thank you.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I just want to add my voice to the report by Hon. Dr. Nyashanu seconded by Hon. Madzimure, on just a few issues on how the issue of payment can impact positively on the issue of infrastructure development. 

 Madam Speaker, I will first touch on the Beitbridge Border Post.  It is the largest in the Sub-Saharan Africa between two countries that is South Africa and Zimbabwe.  It handles a lot of cargo both vehicular and human traffic but I want to marry it to the Limpopo River Bridge. It is the time for Zimbabwe to be collecting toll fees for any traffic that uses that Limpopo River Bridge and we get to the tune of more than USD4 million per annum for the usage of that bridge.  We are going to be collecting, I think for four or five years, South Africa has been collecting.  That money, it is my hope that the Hon. Minister will utilise it to pay for infrastructural development especially at the Beitbridge Border Post.  For this reason, now the infrastructure development in the Second Republic at the border post has seen the separation of vehicular and human traffic.  If you delay a tanker of fuel, for argument’s sake, at the border with 30 000 litres; when it lands inland, it has a price adjustment of about two cents per litre.  So it is prudent to expeditiously clear that vehicle and if you delay a 30 tonne truck of sugar, when it lands inland it escalates by about four cents per kilogramme. This is the impact that delays at the border post have in terms of price adjustment by the suppliers and those retailers.  It is important to expeditiously have that traffic move flawlessly to inland Zimbabwe to our capital, Harare and to various other centres without any delays.   I applaud the Second Republic for having completed that infrastructure development.  Now, there is expeditious movement of traffic, especially at the Beitbridge Border Post.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) is a cash-cow to the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) and indeed, to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  How is it a cash-cow?  It is because there are weigh bridges installed in various ports of entry.  The state-of-the art machinery that has been installed at the Beitbridge Border Post gives rise to the income that is generated by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for the central revenue fund.  It is my congratulatory message that the Second Republic has really done us proud by rejuvenating, rehabilitating, reconstructing and expanding the Beitbridge Border Post so that there can be copious amounts of money that are recouped or received by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development who is the gold finger.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, I encourage the VID to be connected to the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) and to be connected to ZINARA; ZIMRA, Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS) and RMT that licences cross border vehicles and public transport vehicles - to say but the least, to form what is called Zimbabwe Integrated Transport Management System (ZIMTS) that is going to see the vehicles as they are imported being registered using the Customs Clearance Certificates at the border posts and is going to remove any rampant delinquent theft behaviour because all these departments are connected one to another.  What happens at VID: ZINARA can see and what happens at RMT, ZINARA can see and vice versa. There is no room for any vehicles to be stolen and only to be discovered after they have entered the border; that can see the usage of that good, robust, resilient infrastructure second to none in a manner that is going to see us recoup our income from what we have utilised.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, I will come now to the R. G. M. International Airport and say I am marrying it to the Victoria Falls Airport.  I applaud the Committee for having visited that infrastructure development.  I am going to say how it positively impacts on the economic benefit of the country besides the issue of that the Hon. Minister or gold finger should expeditiously disburse payments.  Luckily for R. G. M International Airport, it is the Chinese EXIM Bank USD150million financed project.  So, that money is there and there is no way that there can be any payment delays. 

          However, how is that project going to impact on the economic development?  There is in the aviation sector the issue of disintegrating or separating the regulatory authority on Civil Aviation Authority and the operator that has been done.  A Bill came here and we have separated the two Acts and there is money that can be received through such infrastructure development.  How so Madam Speaker Ma’am?  We have what is called aero bridges; there are now more than five aero bridges when that R. G. M. International Airport is complete mirroring the one at Victoria Falls Airport.  We can use those for advertising and recouping some finances for the country.  Also Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is what is called cabotage rights and freedom rights – flights that are crisscrossing the width and breadth both of the nation and the global community.

          These cabotage rights speak to an airline that is foreign taking passengers from one airport to another within the domestic sector.  For instance, if we had Emirates or Qatar taking passengers from Bulawayo’s, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport to R. G. M. International Airport because of the expanded nature of our infrastructure; but because of our depressed aviation industry capacity, we can get other foreign airlines to use what is called cabotage rights to use our aviation infrastructure.  So the R. G. M. International Airport can now be utilised for the same, the expansion of that airport and indeed that of the Victoria Falls Airport has now seen the country having more than 14 airlines being attracted to Zimbabwe Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I can enumerate them - aviation develops and encourages the development of economies.  It actually grows economies according to Tony Taylor who is the Chairman of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at some point.  So the issue of payment and indeed infrastructure development at R. G. M. International Airport is really applauded. 

          During my tenure in the Eighth Parliament as the Chairperson of the Transport and Infrastructural Development Committee, we used to christian the Masvingo-Beitbridge-Harare Highway, ‘the pencil thin highway of death.’  It was bringing in more than two-thirds of our GDP but it was so minute and a lot of accidents were occurring there.  It is a marvel and a sign that Zimbabwe’s economic trajectory is on the rise, supported by the Second Republic.   I want to applaud the Chairperson and his Committee for touring such infrastructure development.  I am encouraging the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to expeditiously disburse any payment, in particular for such infrastructure development, especially this one is 100% indigenous oriented.

          I remember in the First Republic when His Excellency was still Vice President.  He was approached by the Zimbabwe Builders Association Committee to say, can we just have 40% of involvement in domestic infrastructure development.  When he came into power and is now President, he gave them 100% and they did not disappoint.  They have done wonders for the nation because our engineers are the ones who built the 2010 football stadia for the world cup in South Africa.  So, they all came back en masse and have done us proud.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, the last thing that I would want to add my voice to is the issue of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline and indeed, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam.  I stand head and shoulders with my uncle Madyira, Cde Madzimure in actually calling for the gold finger to see to it in his heart to expeditiously disburse payments especially to the indigenous contractors.  I am one of those contractors. I would want to be paid.  The indigenous contractors currently have just been paid the 20% of what they have worked for and it is my clarion call that he releases the other 80% so that we can be in tandem and in sync with the other foreign contractor who is the main contractor on the dam which is currently now on 35 or so metres whereas it is supposed to go to about six metres. It can only be right and good for us to move in sync with the construction of the main dam as we also embark on the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline and we turn that hole 200 and so kilometres into a green belt.

          Madam Speaker Maam, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to vociferously, effectively and efficiently speak to and about the issue of this report in the manner that the people of Chegutu West Constituency would have heard me debate, in particular Mr. Green, Mr. Lameck Nyamarango, Patricia Nyamadzawo, Sarah Chikukwa, Merjury Ruzha, Charles Makoni and indeed, all the youths of Chegutu who are going to be first time voters this coming voting season.

HON. WATSON:   Thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity. I will not be very long.  I would like to commend the Committee for its tour of these infrastructural development projects which are key and to see that budgetary allocations for these things are being spent as they should.  I would also want to commend Hon. Madzimure for his seconding of the motion and comprehensive discussion around the Gwayi-Shangani Dam and also Hon. Nduna.

The Gwayi-Shangani Dam for Bulawayo is a lifeline.  One aspect of the report  which I think was neither mentioned is the fact that when the water finally arrives in Bulawayo, the original concept was that the council should then build a treatment plant where the pipeline comes in at the back of Bulawayo Cowdry Park.  However, the council feels that the water should rather be piped around to the existing treatment plant which has more than its sufficient capacity to treat the water and supply to the residents of Bulawayo.  I think that the Ministry should seriously consider that observation by the Committee as a good recommendation to assist the City of Bulawayo. 

The other point I would like to mention that I do not think came out about the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is the relocation of the communities that will be affected by the construction of the dam.  I would hope also that this will soon be looked at with greater depth and more aspect to those communities so that they get relocated within the framework of human rights and good development.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

HON. BITI:  Thank you Madam Speaker Maam.  I would like to commend the Budget Committee for the excellent report that they have provided. Let me also thank Hon. Dr. Chief Nyashanu for a brilliant report and his seconder Hon. Madzimure. 

The issue of gross capital formation and infrastructure is important in our country.  Our infrastructure is dilapidated.  The state of our roads, dams and borders leaves a lot to be desired and we require billions of dollars to develop this infrastructure.  Madam Speaker Maam, if you read the 2012 Infrastructure Report by the African Development Bank, the country then needed about US$12 billion over five years to attend to the country’s infrastructure.  The 2020 now puts that expenditure at US$30 billion.  It is so important that we attend to gross capital formation.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Biti, you are not connected.

HON. BITI:  Gross capital formation is a function of four things which are: capital, the need for the capital to deal with the issue of gross capital formation.  Gross capital formation cannot be financed by the budget. The budget deals with recurrent issues, challenges, social agenda of the country, payment of hospitals, payment of drugs in hospitals, the payment of teachers and so forth.  There is very little fiscal leg room when it comes to using the budget to support your public sector investment, which is why the point made by Hon. Madzimure is very important.  We need to create alternative revenue measures that will fund our infrastructure. 

In this regard, it is so important to resolve the country’s unsustainable debt situation because the debt situation in Zimbabwe is actually a development question.  Our country’s sovereign debt according to the authorities is around US$18 billion – if you look at the Debt Report presented by the Minister of Finance in December 2022 when we were discussing the 2023 Budget.  It is not about that US$18 billion that we owe.  It is about what we are foregoing as a cost of the arrears that we owe.  We owe US$2 billion to the World Bank; US$600 million to the African Development Bank; US$5.7 billion to the Paris Club of Lenders but because we do not have a debt solution and I am very happy that we had a high structure debt dialogue last week – we are foregoing cheap developmental money that is sitting at the World Bank, African Development Bank that ought to be funding our infrastructure projects.

Remember Hon. Madam Speaker, that the original name of the World Bank is actually the Bank of Reconstruction and Development. It was started after the Second World War as a way of reconstructing the world after the destruction caused by the World Bank.  The World Bank has got over US$100 billion for sub-Saharan Africa’s infrastructure.  President Adesina and the African Development Bank have got over US$45 billion just for infrastructure.  Zimbabwe is not yet the part because we have got these arrears.  I urge the authorities, country and Government to quickly resolve the debt question so that we can open the taps that are sitting at the African Development Bank and the World Bank.  Once we resolve our debt crisis, we de-risk Zimbabwe; the debt premiums, the interest rates that are so high in Zimbabwe come down.  We are also even able to issue our own infrastructure bonds to support our own infrastructure. 

This leads me to the second point which is the financing model that we are using to finance the current infrastructure.  We are using our own resources but there is a lot of arbitrage. If you take the Harare-Beitbridge Road, the financing has not been disclosed to this august House.  We know there are five or six major players but the Minister of Finance has not presented a report on how that project is being financed. Madam Speaker Maam, I challenge him and with your direction, that the Minister of Finance must be directed to present a statement in this august House on how that project is being financed. Madam. Speaker, it costs around US$1 million to construct a kilometre of dual carriage way in Zimbabwe. That means the 500km stretch of road from Harare to Beitbridge should cost around US$500 million, then you have got finance charges. So, you can get US$600 million to US$700 million to finance it. We are being told Madam Speaker and the Minister of Finance must challenge this. We are being told that it is costing around US$3 million per kilometre where it ought to be costing a million dollars a kilometre. The only difference is that the US$3 million is being paid in RTGS. No wonder why Madam Speaker, when these people get their money they flood it on the black market and the Zimbabwean dollar collapses, which is why September of 2022, the Government tried to deal with hyperinflation in this country by switching off, by refusing to pay the contractors. Madam Speaker, we are paying over the board for the construction.

 I am very happy to see the state of the Harare-Beitbridge Road. It has improved a lot. Eighty percent of the road has been constructed but the picture is incomplete unless and until we have been told and the Minister of Finance has disclosed the figures for the construction of that road. We cannot pay $3 million per kilometre when we should be paying a kilometre for that road. In other words, for the construction of and refurbishment of 500km of road between Harare and Beitbridge, we could have constructed an extra thousand kilometres. We could have built three more Harare-Beitbridge roads. We could have sorted out Victoria Falls to Bulawayo which is now a death trap. We could have solved Harare to Bindura, to Mt. Darwin, to Dotito, to Muzarabani which is now a death trap. We could have resolved Harare-Nyamapanda which is also another death trap.

I come to the Beitbridge Border Post Madam Speaker. The Beitbridge Border Post has been a milking cow. First it was BBI. The BBI took a concession of over 20 years. For 20 years, BBI was getting a certain percentage of the income that is due. Now it is Zimbabwe Borders or something, I cannot remember the name. It cost about $300 million to refurbish the Beitbridge Border Post. It costs Botswana, Namibia and those who constructed Kazungula less than $200 million but you cannot compare Kazungula with Beitbridge Border Post.

I agree with the recommendations of the Committee that there must be an audit of these transactions because there is no value for money. More importantly Madam Speaker, who is now controlling that border? Madam Speaker, there is massive smuggling from this country. Gold worth a billion dollars is being smuggled from this country. Tobacco cigarettes worth a billion dollars are being smuggled from this country and Beitbridge is the centre of the illicit financial flows from Zimbabwe.  We want to know who is controlling Beitbridge. It is certainly not ZIMRA. It is certainly not Immigration. It is certainly not the Director of Customs. Pane zvigananda zviri kucontroller Beitbridge.

Madam Speaker, we need that Ports Authority that we have been parking for many years. We need a Ports Authority in this country that will control the borders. Madam Speaker, goods worth $12 billion pass through Zimbabwe every year. Our duties are very high and revenue from duties alone should be in excess of $4 billion per year and ZIMRA does not collect any of that.

Beitbridge has been privatised nezvigananda. It has been weaponised nezvigananda because they are smuggling. So, we need the Ports Authority and our intelligent people to be there. We need the police to be there, the CIO and the Army to be there because it is national security issue. Poverty is a national security issue. Beitbridge, Madam Speaker, is haemorrhaging money, US dollars and we need to control all of that.

I come to Hwange 7 and 8. Madam Speaker, I am very happy that Hwange 7 and 8 is there but the original plans were not for a paltry 600 megawatts – 300MW from 7 and 300MW from 8. The original plans were Hwange 7, 1000 megawatts and Hwange 8, 1000 megawatts. You then add the 1000 we will get from Batoka plus the 1000 or so capacity Zimbabwe will then build capacity of 4 thousand megawatts. With four thousand megawatts Madam Speaker, we can build an industrial base that can transform this country into a developed country.

I am saddened that the output of Hwange 7 was curtailed to a mere 300 megawatts and the output of Hwange 8 was curtailed to a mere 300 megawatts. The question Madam Speaker is, can we pay $1 200 billion for 600 megawatts. Like a road, it costs about a thousand dollars or a hundred thousand dollars for a megawatt, so with $1.2 billion, you ought to get at least a thousand megawatts. We have paid twice for the cost of Hwange 7 and 8. Therefore, I support the recommendations in the Committee that we need to audit Hwange 7 and 8.

With Gwayi-Shangani Madam Speaker, that is the life line of the Matabeleland region...

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti!

HON. BITI: Sorry I did not see that you had replaced Madam Speaker. Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Good afternoon Hon. Biti – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] –

HON. BITI: No, no. He is a very handsome man. Mr. Speaker, Matabeleland has got a problem. Gwayi-Shangani is the key. Even when we get to a stage where we will draw water from the Zambezi, it will have to pass through Gwayi-Shangani. So, I urge the authorities to fast track the programme. The perennial problem that the contractors are not paid is not good enough. The Ministry of Finance should put money in a sinking fund.  They should put money for public sector investment in a sinking fund, do not mingle the same with recurrent expenditure because when you mingle public sector investment funds with recurrent funds, recurrent funds always win because chimotoka. Panouya chimoto, panoda cheque, petrol nemagetsi. They will always win. So, I urge the Minister of Finance – I am saddened that the Deputy Minister Hon. Chiduwa has walked out. I know he is facing a bitter primary in Gutu but I urge him Mr. Speaker Sir, to create a sinking fund for all capital projects. You will fill that fund in January after bonuses. You fill that fund in April after payment of the first quarter QPDs. You fill that fund in august after the second quarter QPD. Without that Mr. Speaker, we will continue struggling.

You will recall Mr. Speaker that it took Zimbabwe 20 years to construct the little bridge at Zindoga. It took Zimbabwe 20 years, Hon. Nduna you know it, to complete the little bridge at Norton because we do not plan. Planning means setting aside resources and putting them in a fund. I urge the Minister of Finance, of the $1 billion we got from the IMF in the form of the SDR, to please take $400 million dollars and put it to infrastructure. With those few words Mr. Speaker, I commend the report of the Budget and Finance Committee and I hope that Hon. Members will support it and adopt its recommendations. I thank you very much Mr. Speaker.

          HON. MARKHAM: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir.  I do not have much to add but I would like to just point out a couple of points.  I would like to thank the Committee and the Chairperson for the report and in particular, the recommendations.  I hope the recommendations will not just be parked because there is a lot of money being spent and there are quite a lot of issues.   

Mr. Speaker, after the support, I had the benefit of going through Beitbridge and I must commend that it is very sleek and it handles everything very well.  However, I am not complaining - but I am just pointing out where we should wake up.  When you finish a project, the project is not finished until it is running really well.  The flow of people through Beitbridge, especially the cars, they have to go from one end to the other and it would be logical to put everyone in a line and it would also be nice to get the signs up so that people know where they have to go.  That is the major thing.  I also think it is highly overpriced but that has already been covered and I will not go into that. 

          Similarly, with Gwayi, and Tokwe-Mukosi; a dam is not complete when you finish the wall.  It is no use harnessing the water in a dam at great expense if you do not use it.  Since both those dams have been full for a couple of years, we do not use the water so that is time lost.  So the pipeline to Bulawayo must be treated as a matter of urgency.  Whatever we want to do with water from Tokwe-Mukosi must be done. The people who were moved from there and the people around there have not been given water.  They have not been given electricity, gardens or fishing rights.  It is pointless having the water sitting there.  That is my concern on all these infrastructure programmes.  Before we start the next one, let us finish and use what we have built. 

          Now going on to Hwange, though it has already been covered, my concern is that I am a 100% sure we have spent more money repairing Hwange than if we had built a new power station.  We are currently getting to the stage where we are spending more time on down time than operating.   It is not Hwange that suffers but the whole country.  Unfortunately, at the moment, we have got depressed output from Kariba and that is giving us less than 20% of the needs of the country, which is a major issue.  Unfortunately, as we know in the sub-region, power solutions are not done overnight and I do not see anything happening in the next seven years.  We have Hwange 7 and 8 but we also have a major steel works being built in Mvuma.  I would have 7 and 8 on board for us as they are both for the production of the steel works.  That will still exacerbate the stories that we have.

          My last point Mr. Speaker Sir, it is nonsensical to use short term money to fund long term projects.  You cannot borrow locally to pay for infrastructure.  The reason for that is very simple; local borrowing is supposed to carry your cash flow and our cash flows are all short.  Education, health, youth, sport et cetera, purely because we are crowding out that funding to do our long term projects.  I know we do not have access to finance but there is a reason for not having access to that finance.  I am however glad that we have started this debt restructuring and the sooner the better.  Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet in debt restructuring.  It will take a long time and if we are going to fund our infrastructure, we must be able to meet half-way with those who are coming to us.  I thank you.

          HON. NDUNA:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. L SIBANDA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 21st March, 2023.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

 

          HON. NDUNA:  I move that we revert to Order of the Day Number 20.

          HON. L SIBANDA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON NON-COMPLIANCE TO THE SUBMISSION OF FINANCIAL STATEMENTS TO THE AUDITOR-GENERAL

                Twentieth Order readAdjourned debate on Motion on the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on Non-Compliance to the Submission of Financial Statements to the Auditor-General.

          Question again proposed.

                HON. NDUNA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I stand to wind up the debate and call for the adoption of the report in the absence of any further debate. 

Before I do that, I want to thank the mover of the motion, the presenter of the report Hon. Dube and the Members that debated including myself in so far as it relates to encouragement of local authorities to expeditiously and without any impediment, adhere to the Public Finance Management Act in so far as it relates to submission of financial statements for audit.  Having said that, I also urge for any future non-submission, the issue should be handled as criminal abuse of office.  I now therefore call for the adoption of this report.

          Motion that this House takes note of the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on Non-Compliance to the Submission of Financial Statements to the Auditor-General, put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move that we go to Order of the Day Number 22.

HON. L. SIBANDA:  I second.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL’S REPORT OF THE HARARE CITY COUNCIL

Twenty-Second Order read: Adjourned debate on Motion on the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Analysis of the Auditor-General’s Report of the Harare City Council

          Question again proposed.

          HON. MAKOPE: Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the Committee on Public Accounts for a job well done and also encourage the Minister of Local Government to make a follow up and a thorough analysis. I believe there are structures, even the councillors who fall under the Committee of Audit, they should also do their job thoroughly and make sure that our accounting systems are in order. I also want to encourage even the Minister to activate the structures within the Ministry to make sure that the situation that  obtains, of having some funds which are reported to be missing by the Auditor General’s Report do not occur.

It is so embarrassing Mr. Speaker to learn that such huge amounts of money are reported to have been missing when we have a bad state of infrastructure in our urban pockets, particularly the Harare City Council. If you look at our roads, sewer system and other infrastructure that we have and then we have a report on some missing funds, I think that is so disturbing. I think the councils and the Minister responsible should make sure that they restore the dignity and confidence of taxpayers because they pay and want to make sure that their money is spent accordingly.  This is my comment on the issue Mr. Speaker and I thank you.

HON. NGULUVHE: I think we all appreciate that Harare is our capital city and as our capital city, everyone who visits our country sees Zimbabwe through Harare. Therefore, we ought to make sure that Harare is a smart and clean city. I recall in the 1980s when I started visiting Harare, Harare was very smart. Now, it is so disheartening to realise that the situation is getting worse, not because of anything but because of individuals who misappropriate public funds. As we conclude this debate, I encourage that those who are elected to serve the people must put people first, not themselves first because they are abusing people’s money and at the end put the name of the country into disrepute. I encourage that where necessary the law must take its course. Those who are found guilty or misappropriating public funds must be arrested and prosecuted. I thank you.

HON. BUSHU: Mine is not going to be long because I am also part of the Public Accounts Committee. It is interesting that we are now focusing a lot more on the Auditor General’s Report and local authorities’ appropriation accounts and parastatals. This report would not have come out the way it has if  it was not the attention that the Public Accounts Committee is now giving to these issues.

I would like to point to one important factor that there is more than $200 million worth of public funds that have not been accounted for. I think that the responsible Ministry has a question to answer. The City of Harare has a question to answer. If this is not accounted for and it is public money, what is it that we are going to do about this? My interest is in the Treasury Minute that is going to come back. We are going to make an analysis of that. What we are saying as Public Accounts is that we are encouraging: i) the ministries to take action, ii) council to take action, and iii) that this Treasury Minute comes back in good time. I think it is only fair that it is demonstrated to all other municipalities and other public arms of public funds management that an issue like this and of this magnitude, US$204 million is not an issue that is very small. It is an issue for serious consideration and therefore Mr. Speaker, I implore this House to adopt this report in its entirety and cause action to be taken. I thank you.

HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, I am going to move for the adoption of the report after thanking the Hon. Members for adding their voices to this report. First, to thank the mover of this report, that is the Chairperson Hon. Brian Dube and I would hasten to say it is now going to be an indictment on this institution called Parliament and indeed, on the Speaker of the National Assembly if there is no action that is taken upon Harare City Council because of this delinquent behaviour.

According to Sections 309 and 310 of the Constitution, the Auditor General becomes an ex-officio Member of Parliament. She is appointed and she is part of the Public Accounts Committee. Her observations, recommendations and indeed her statements in the 2020 and 2021Auditor General’s Report that speak to and about the missing +US$200 million, speaks to the pith, core and heart of criminal abuse of office, and indeed financial haemorrhage, illicit outflows and the delinquent behaviour that has been championed by the management at Harare City Council.

She has proposed that there should be reconstruction of the ERP or the BIQ system at Harare City Council. This has not been done. She has proposed that only reconstruction can and must produce at least a track record of where the US$200 million has gone. If we do not, as the arm that plays oversight on the Executive and by the way Mr. Speaker, we do not seek to govern but to interrogate the manner the Executive carries out its mandate. If we do not now help the Auditor General in finding this money it is a big indictment and dent on Parliament and I make a clarion call that as this report is adopted, there is need to enforce compliance to the Auditor General’s report.  There is need to bring the perpetrators of this injustice to book and make sure that there is no repeat of such arrogance, naivety and all such issues that border around criminality.  I now move for the adoption of this report on Harare City Council, 2020 Auditor General’s report. 

          Motion that this House considers and adopts the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Analysis of the Auditor General’s 2020 Report of the Harare City Council put and agreed to.

          On the motion of HON. NDUNA seconded by HON. MAHLANGU, the House adjourned at Five Minutes to Four O’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 21st March, 2023.

 

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