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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY VOTES 6 SEPTEMBER 2011 VOL. 38 NO. 1

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

FOURTH SESSION - SEVENTH PARLIAMENT

______________________________________________________________

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 6th September, 2011

 

(OFFICIAL REPORT)

 

MEETING OF PARLIAMENT

 

(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)

 

THE CLERK OF PARLIAMENT read the Proclamation of the

President of Zimbabwe dated 6th September, 2011, summoning Parliament to meet on this day for the dispatch of business.

  1. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that at Twelve o'clock noon today, the President of Zimbabwe will declare the cause of his calling Parliament to meet.
  2. SPEAKER left the Chair at Quarter to Twelve o'clock noon.

THE PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE, being seated in the Chair, was

pleased to address Parliament as follows:

12 Noon

Madame President of the Senate,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

Honourable Members of Parliament

I warmly welcome all of you to this start of the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe.  We welcome the Session against a background of the steady firming of our economy and a stable and peaceful political environment.  Significant progress has continued to be made in respect of issues germane to the Global Political Agreement.  The Parties to the GPA have now agreed on key milestones and timelines in preparations for the holding of national elections.  With respect to the issue of Independent Commissions, I am pleased to note that the political parties in the GPA agreed on persons to be appointed to the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Commissioners were sworn in on Thursday last week.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

The economy continues steadily on an upward trajectory, buoyed by improved stakeholder confidence, discernible increases in industrial capacity utilization and a stable macro-economic environment.  To provide a fulcrum for the ongoing economic turnaround efforts, the Medium Term Plan (20112015) bearing national development priorities and the related sectoral implementation strategies was launched in July this year.  Furthermore, the Industrialisation and Trade Policies are being reviewed as part of efforts to place the country on a firm economic recovery path.

 

The Constitution-making process, which should see us emerge with a peopledriven Constitution, is now heading for the Drafting Stage.  As part of preparations for the elections to be held thereafter, the Referendum Bill, together with the amendments to the Electoral Act agreed to by the negotiating teams from the three political parties in the Global Political

Agreement and adopted by Cabinet, will be tabled before this Parliament.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

The agriculture sector has maintained pole position in terms of its contribution to the economy's growth, having contributed 33,9% to the country's Gross Domestic Product in 2010.  However, the rising frequency of erratic rainfall patterns afflicting our region demands that there be greater emphasis on irrigation.  Further, through research, mechanisation and efficient application of inputs, the country should aspire to increased productivity per unit area.  To this end, and in spite of the limited resources at its disposal, Government is making steady progress in the rehabilitation and development of irrigation projects under the 2011 Public Sector Investment Programme.  To date, 8 projects have been completed at a total cost of US$494 000, while work is continuing on 30 other projects in various parts of the country.  Various mechanisation programmes are being pursued with the assistance of such countries as China, India, Russia, Brazil, Serbia,

Belarus and others.

 

The extended mid-season dry spell experience in the 2010/2011 agricultural season left many households prone to starvation, particularly in

Matabeleland South, parts of Matabeleland North, Masvingo and

Manicaland Provinces.  To alleviate their plight, Government, through the Grain Marketing Board, is expeditiously moving maize to the affected areas.

 

To further consolidate the Land Reform Programme, a comprehensive land policy review exercise was carried out.  This addressed issues of resettlement operational modalities, land planning and resettlement on timber, tea and coffee plantations.  The resolutions emanating therefrom will become part of a policy review once the necessary consultations are finalised.  Furthermore, the 99-year leases are being reviewed with a view to according them collateral value.  This should enable A2 farmers to secure funding for their operations using the lease document.  A similar process is also underway with regard to the A1 land resettlement permit.  The draft implementation framework and terms of reference for the National Land Audit Commission already crafted will be subjected to further refinement and necessary approval processes, following which the Audit shall commence.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

As the mining sector continues to develop, efforts to plug leakages and enhance accountability by players in the sector have been stepped up.  Work on the establishment of the Mineral Exploration Company, to serve as a vehicle to spearhead exploration of the country's minerals and maintain an inventory of the country's mineral resource endowment is already in progress.  Furthermore, Government is working on a Diamond Mining Policy and a Diamond Bill, which will provide the necessary framework for the efficient and effective operation of this promising sub-sector.

 

The recent re-opening of the dormant ZISCOSTEEL as the New ZIMSTEEL, is a pleasing development, which will no doubt give further impetus to the recovery of our manufacturing sector and other downstream industries.  The Zimbabwe Investment Authority Amendment Bill, which gives legal effect to the One-Stop-Shop Investment Centre launched in December last year shall be brought to this august House during this Session.

 

In keeping with the changing dynamics in the financial sector, the Securities Act shall be reviewed in order among other things, strengthen the regulatory framework for the sector.  The Income Tax Amendment Bill, which aims to ensure best practice, shall be tabled in this august House together with the Micro-finance Bill and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Restructuring

Bill.

 

As the implementation of the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Policy continues to gather momentum, Government looks forward to full cooperation by all relevant corporate stakeholders in order to achieve winwin outcomes.  I wish to assure investors that their investments in the country remain safe and to urge to maintain compliance with the country's laws.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

Zimbabwe's central geographical location in the region presents opportunities for the country to transform into a regional transport and communication hub.  There is therefore need for concrete steps to position the country to effectively play this role, more so given, the growing momentum towards regional integration.

 

The transport sector continues to be hamstrung by structural and operational challenges, with the nation airline, Air Zimbabwe, being the worst affected.  The grounding of some Air Zimbabwe planes is a big let-down to the nation, indeed, a sad development.  Government is currently working on short-term measures to guarantee the immediate resumption of flights by the airline.  As a medium to long-term solution however, Government is in the process of courting strategic partners for the airline.

 

 

A Bill to split the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe into a Regulator and an Operator will be tabled for consideration in this House.  Furthermore, a legislative framework in terms of which the railways sector would be restructured to establish a Railways Regulatory Authority, create an Infrastructure Company for the railways as well as a Railways Operation Company shall also be brought for consideration by this august House.  Government is also working on legislation to create an authority that will provide and maintain physical infrastructure at all our border posts.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

The ongoing frequent and extended power cuts and their disruptive effects on social and economic activities are of great concern to Government.  To help conserve the available limited power, ZESA will, by end of this year, distribute 5,5 million compact fluorescent lamps and install prepayment meters within the next 18 months, starting from October 2011.  However, the long-term solution lies in the expansion of generating capacity at Hwange and Kariba Power Stations, as well as starting new power stations.  The necessary groundwork is already in progress.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

To guarantee continued growth of the tourism sector, a new tourism brand, 'Zimbabwe – a World of Wonders,' is now being launched in various tourist source markets.  Consideration is also being given to the designation of all tourism areas as Tourism Development Zones.

 

As Members may be aware, Zimbabwe is a signatory to the SADC Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement which, among other things, promotes the conservation of shared wildlife resources through the establishment of trans-frontier conservation areas.  In pursuance of this, therefore, the following treaties shall be brought for ratification by this august House: the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area Treaty; the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area Treaty and the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area Treaty.  The establishment of the conservation areas will provide a further boost to the growth of the tourism sector.  The Revised SADC Protocol on Shared

Watercourses shall also be tabled before this Parliament.

 

The growth of the local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector continues to be hampered by the lack of appropriate infrastructure and reliance on inappropriate technologies, among other constraints.

Accordingly, Government, recently approved the policy framework for Infrastructure Provision for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, to facilitate the development and provision of appropriate infrastructure to the sector.  New sites for the India-Zimbabwe Common Facilities Centres will soon be established at Mvuma, Plumtree, Lupane, Chimanimani, Marondera and Chinhoyi as a way of boosting access to modern technologies by SMEs.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

Government undertook a Payroll and Skills Audit exercise between 2009 and

2010, to evaluate staff levels and the effectiveness of the Civil Service.  The Public Service Commission is in the process of verifying  the areas of presumed irregularities and taking corrective action.  I also wish to acknowledge the ongoing capacity building initiatives in the public service, with the assistance of countries such as China and India, as well as institutions  such as ESAMI.

 

Government has embarked on joint venture projects with local authorities and private developers in major cities and several growth points for the provision of housing, of which a 20 per cent quota is ring-fenced for civil servants.  Government has also gone into partnership with Shelter Afrique, a

Pan African organisation, to help ameliorate the plight of civil servants through the provision of decent housing.  These initiatives should start bearing fruit soon.  A Land Developers Bill, which will help streamline the roles of the various players involved in the construction sector, shall be brought to this House during this Session.

 

To unlock the vast potential of parastatals and state enterprises as catalysts of national socio-economic transformation, a Corporate Governance Framework which shall strengthen the management and monitoring of performance by the enterprises will be implemented,  In addition, the State Enterprises Restructuring Agency Bill, which provides for the roles and functions of the Agency, shall also be tabled in this august House.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

Government remains committed to ensuring the protection of the rights and welfare of the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in our society.  As such, the Older Persons Bill and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with

Disabilities shall be brought for consideration by this Parliament.

Furthermore, the African Union (AU) Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa will also be brought for ratification.  Legislation to coordinate the activities of registered organisations involved in promoting the rights of women shall be brought before this House.

 

During this Session, Parliament will be expected to ratify the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children.  The Protocol is supplementary to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime which Zimbabwe ratified in 2007.  It is Government's wish to domesticate this Protocol once it is ratified so that both local and foreign perpetrators of this crime can be brought before our courts.

 

Government is also mobilising resources for a pilot project under which juvenile offenders for non serious offences can be diverted from the criminal justice system and dealt with through a less formal system.  Following the success of the Connemara open prison system, serious consideration is now being given to the possibility of introducing an open prison system for all local female offenders.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

In order for Zimbabwe to benefit from breakthroughs in biotechnology, appropriate national safety and security measures need to be put in place.  Accordingly, the Statutes of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, an institution which specialises in biotechnology and biosafety, shall be tabled in Parliament during this Session.

 

The Public Health Act Amendment Bill which seeks to amend the Public Health Act shall come before this august House during this Session.  The Act has a number of shortcomings, which include a failure to reflect new methods and approached to public health.  The House will also be expected to consider the Food Control Bill, which seeks to establish the Food Control Authority, whose major function is to ensure that food products on sale are safe for human consumption.

 

The refurbishment and expansion of the existing ageing transmitter network and broadcasting studios is continuing in earnest.  Already, there is significant improvement in the reach of broadcasting services, following the construction of new transmitter sites at Beitbridge, Plumtree and Victoria

Falls, and the refurbishment of Power FM, Radio Zimbabwe and National

FM transmitters countrywide.  National radio coverage has increased from 55 per cent to 90 per cent, and television coverage from 45 to 75 per cent.  As the refurbishment and expansion of the transmitter network programme progresses, so will the migration process from analogue to digital broadcasting in order to improve the quality of service as well as comply with regional and international digital broadcasting deadlines of 2013 and 2015 respectively.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

Government continues to prioritise the empowerment and development of the youth as the vanguard of the nation's future.  This is being done through a variety of initiatives, chief among which are the provision of education, the National Youth Service Programme, Vocational Skills Training and the Integrated Skills Outreach Programme.  The National Youth Policy which was developed in 2000 is now being reviewed so as to align it with the resolutions subsequently made at various national, regional and international fora.  Government is currently revising the National Youth Service Programme, to impart to the youth attributes that include the virtues of tolerance, patriotism and volunteerism.

 

In the education sector, Government will continue to enhance the quality of education through the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure, application of

Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) within the ambit of the eGovernment Programme, and strengthening of quality assurance systems.  My Office has facilitated the formulation of an e-Government Framework and Implementation Strategy (2011-2015) code named ZimConnect, to spearhead the implementation of e-Government flagship projects in partnership with stakeholders in the private sector, namely: Twenty-Third

Century Systems; Cardinal Technology; and AfroSoft.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

It is indeed gratifying to note that this year, the country has received regional and international accolades on account of the competitive prowess of its people in sport and other fields of competition.  The sublime achievements reinforce self confidence amongst our people and, as such, should be applauded.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

Our foreign policy continues to be anchored on the need to safeguard our hard-won independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.  These principles, as well as our quest for peace, stability and economic prosperity underpin our relations with our partners in SADC and beyond.  The country commends the Security and Defence Forces for continuing to guarantee peace and tranquility within our borders.  We continue to call for the outright removal of the illegal sanctions which are an impediment to our efforts to turn around our economy and improve the livelihoods of our people.

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

As we forge ahead, let us continue to exert our energy in fostering unity, peace, development and equality of opportunity for all our people.  Rather than amplify our differences, let us find strength in diversity, guided by the firm conviction that we are the sole guardians of our independence and sovereignty.  I, therefore, wish to urge you as Members of Parliament and leaders in your own right, to preach the message of national healing and reconciliation amongst our people.  Let us, therefore, in unison, say NO! To violence in all its manifestations. -[HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear]-

 

Madame President,

Mr. Speaker Sir,

Allow me to commend these matters for your consideration and to declare this, the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe, duly opened.

I thank you!

THE PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE, having caused a copy of the

Presidential Speech to be delivered to Mr. Speaker, was pleased to retire.

Mr. Speaker resumed the chair at Twenty Two Minutes to One o'clock p.m.

12.38p.m.

PRAYERS

(MR. SPEAKER in the Chair)

  1. SPEAKER laid upon the Table a copy of the Presidential Speech which the President of Zimbabwe has been pleased to deliver this day.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR. SPEAKER

APPOINTMENT OF THE STANDING RULES AND ORDERS

COMMITTEE

  1. SPEAKER: In terms of paragraph 2 (1) of Schedule 8 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Standing Rules and Orders Committee which was appointed in the last Session will be retained and shall consist of the

Speaker of the House of Assembly, The President of the Senate, The Deputy

Speaker, The Deputy President of the Senate, the two Vice Presidents, The Prime Minister, The two Deputy Prime Ministers, the Minister of Justice and

Legal Affairs, The Minister of Defense, The Minister of Constitutional and

Parliamentary Affairs, The Minister of Finance, The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira, Hon. M. Chinomona, Hon. I. T. Gonese, Hon J. M. Gumbo, Hon. T. Khumalo, Hon. E. Mkhosi, Hon. Senator M. Komichi, Hon. P. M. Mangwana, Hon. E. Mudzuri and Hon. F. M. Sibanda.  The Speaker of the House of Assembly and the President of the

Senate are Chairperson and Vice Chairperson respectively.

APPOINTMENT TO COMMITTEES

  1. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that in order to facilitate the work of Parliament, Committees nominated in the Third Session of the Seventh Parliament, including changes that were subsequently made by political parties will be retained as they were this Fourth Session until such a time that the Committee of Standing Rules and Orders shall make the necessary appointments.  Full list of the Committee membership will appear in the Votes and Proceedings of the House.

MOTION

APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE: I move that a Committee of Supply

be appointed in terms of Standing Order No. 85.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

ADJOURNMENT OF THE HOUSE

        THE MINISTER OF CONTITUTIONAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: As is customary and to afford hon.

members an opportunity to study His Excellency's speech, I move that the

House be adjourned to the 20th September, 2011.

        Motion put and agreed to.

The House adjourned at Quarter to One o'clock p.m. until Tuesday, 20th

September, 2011.

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