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SENATE HANSARD 05 NOVEMBER 2020 VOL 30 NO 04
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday 5th November, 2020
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have a list of Ministers who have sent in their apologies. The Hon. Vice President, Hon. K. C. D. Mohadi; Hon. Vice President and Acting President, Hon. C. G. Chiwenga; Hon. J. B. Matiza, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development; Hon. N. M. Ndhlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Hospitality Industry; Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; Hon. C. Mathema, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. S. B. Moyo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
I think from now onwards, we are going to have a list of those Ministers who would have attended in this House to answer questions because we have Ministers who have not yet come into Senate to answer questions. Take note, Clerks-at-the-Table that we should have a record.
We have Ministers present here, Hon. Prof. A. Murwira who has always been in this House every Thursday, Hon. M. Mutsvangwa is Leader of the House, Hon. Marapira and the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. MWONZORA: Thank you very much Madam President. My question goes to the Leader of the House, Hon. Minister Mutsvangwa. Recently we saw the Government signing an agreement for the compensation of white farmers in respect of improvements of land expropriated during the Land Reform Programme. What are the arrangements, if any, regarding the compensation of black farm owners who lost their land during the Land Reform Programme? For example, the late Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole lost Churu Farm.
What is the arrangement, if any, for the compensation of the predominately black workers who lost their employment as a result of the Land Reform Programme?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA): I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mwonzora for his question. I would like to say yes the global compensation deed was signed and this is a closure to land ownership in this country. The Second Republic is very much concerned about the issue of making sure that land is utilised, that agriculture is done as a business and the issues of ownership. This is the last pin to close those ownership quarrels.
The Global Compensation Deed deals with all those issues which you have just talked about, black farmers who lost their farms. It is part of that and they are going to be compensated. The Ministry of Agriculture together with the Ministry of Finance, are looking at how these can be compensated. I hope you are talking about Matenganyika, those black farmers who had their farms before the Land Reform and had paid for what they owned will be compensated either by getting their farms back if the farm is available or maybe a lot of people have been resettled on the farm. Then Government will be looking at other alternative ways of compensating them either by giving them land or money.
Talking about the African workers who were working on the farms Madam President, I have always said this. Most of those of my generation went to secondary schools before independence and I clearly remember that we never found a child who was coming from the farms attending schools. Since the attainment of independence, we now see a lot more of schools in those farming areas and you also see a lot more of those children attending school. What has happened to the black workers on the farms is, yes they had been disrupted in one way or the other but a lot of them have land of their own and engaging in farming now. A lot of them got farms; those black farmers are working on our farms and we are making sure that we provide jobs. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – So we continue to look at their welfare.
These are Zimbabweans and at one time there was an issue of citizenship because most of them were Mozambican and Malawian descendants. The Government of Zimbabwe has said that these are Zimbabweans and as such, their welfare is very close to Government and they will continue looking at that. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Hon. Madam President Ma’am, I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for her answer. However, I do understand that when the agreement was signed, those people who were involved in the agreement were represented with the exception of the workers. So my supplementary question is - is Government open to discussion on the issue of compensation with representatives of labour?
HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Madam President, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mwonzora for the supplementary question. We are talking here about land owners – those who were on the land, former land owners. The Global Compensation Deed is addressing the issue of land owners and when it comes to issues of the workers, Government will certainly – yes. They are very much concerned like I said. They will be talking to those and some of them have actually been empowered.
They now own land and are working hard. We see more of empowerment coming from the farming communities. So I think that the Hon. Senator should actually appreciate the work and improvements that have been done as regards the farm workers. I thank you.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I had recognised Hon. Sen. Chinake and Hon. Tongogara.
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Thank you Madam President, my question is directed to the Leader of the House…
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Sorry, before you pose your question, in the House we have Hon. Minister Zhemu, the Minister of Energy and Power Development. Welcome Hon. Minister, we have never had a Cabinet Minister who has held your portfolio in this House. Thank you. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. ZHEMU): Thank you very much Madam President Ma’am.
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Madam President, my question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. Every time we face power outages where I stay and at times we end up spending two to three months without restoration of electricity. My second question is that in all places that are covered by ZESA, why does ZESA not use its own equipment? They are just hiring equipment.
*THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. ZHEMU): Thank you Madam President Ma’am. The first question on why it takes time for ZESA to attend to faults, let me say that we regret that but if there is a specific area, please notify us so that we rectify. It is not Government position to delay rectifying faults because people need electricity in different areas like rural areas, hospitals and industries. It is not Government’s position to delay.
The second question was not necessarily a question but it is the Hon. Senator’s suggestion that ZESA should have other cars that will be used to service different areas that have faults. This is correct - there is a fleet that we look forward to receiving, a fleet that amounts to 140 trucks that are going to be used by ZESA workers in rectifying electrical faults. Government has started procuring such cars. We are going to announce later as to how the cars are going to be distributed so that people have electricity on time. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Madam President Ma’am. My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs but in his absence, I will redirect the question to the Leader of Government Business.
There are ambassadors like Brian Nichols who is arrogant and speaks negatively about Zimbabwe…
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order Hon. Senator, please may you lift up your voice a bit?
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you. My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs but in his absence, I will redirect the question to the Leader of Government Business.
There are a number of ambassadors like Brian Nichols who is arrogant and speaks negatively about Zimbabwe as if he is a chief who presides over Zimbabwe, an independent State. They use their proxies to denigrate and criticise our Government and its programmes that are aimed at emancipating Zimbabweans. What measures are in place to prohibit diplomats from engaging in such activities?
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Madam President, I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Tongogara for asking such a pertinent question. Let me say that she is referring to a portfolio that I once held for several decades, representing Zimbabwe in different countries. In 1980 we were in Belgium; New York in 1985; Namibia then eventually later went to China.
Let me explain that as a diplomat of one country to another country, we pay homage to the President of that country. This is all about creating and maintaining bilateral relations between the countries. As Zimbabwe we need to continuously engage with other countries. We have our own ambassadors in different countries, which means if there are bi-lateral or multilateral discussions that we need to have, that is why we have ambassadors so that they engage each other. This should be discussed, not that ambassadors denigrate our country like what Hon. Sen. Tongogara is saying.
Zimbabwe is an independent country; it has its own Constitution which is a people driven Constitution. A Constitution that is followed by Government and law does not allow any diplomat or ambassador to denigrate the host country and its programmes. There are laws and channels that we need to be used on engagements like these. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: If there is no such law that allows that kind of behaviour, is there any Government initiative that has been done to redress this behaviour?
*HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Madam President. Let me also thank Sen. Tongogara for such a supplementary question. I believe there are a number of issues that happened. Every time when such an occurrence happens then our Ministry of Foreign Affairs addresses such errant diplomats who would have denigrated Zimbabwe. We are not a country that denigrates other countries but we are a country which desires to move with other countries and have good relations with other countries. So, it is important that verify that ambassadors according to Article 41 of the Vienna Convention it enjoins diplomats to respect the laws of the host State and not to interfere in its internal affairs.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business in the House. When we experienced COVID – 19, the President encouraged people to wash hands thoroughly with running water. We do not have enough water in areas we live, people walk long distances to get water. How long will this continue happening? Is this disease still with us?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Madam President. I would also like to thank Hon. Sen. Moeketsi for her question. The Hon. Sen. explained the importance in the country. When we started experiencing COVID – 19 and before, water was a priority to Government because water is life. Diseases like cholera and other water borne diseases normally appear when there is not enough water. So when we started experiencing COVID – 19, Government prioritised washing of hands using running water, not stagnant water, which means that water is critical in the prevention of the spread of COVID – 19.
Our Government through the leadership of President E. D. Mnangagwa, in March when the World Health Organisation (WHO) proclaimed that this is a global pandemic, then our President declared it a national disaster. He quickly appointed an inter-ministerial taskforce on COVID – 19 and he imposed a lockdown. This was painful to people but it was a good move because it restricted people from place to place risking the spread of COVID – 19. In this taskforce there were a number of committees. One critical committee is the one which ensures that there is enough water; DDF and ZINWA are capacitated so that they sink enough boreholes.
Those who listen to our Cabinet briefings, we have announced that every week we are sinking boreholes around the country because we prioritise water, especially hospitals and communities which do not have alternative sources of water. Government has funded the sinking of boreholes, we know that as a nation we have issues of sanctions and other problems, so this is work in progress which needs to reach to all corners of the country. We will continue sinking until we have permanent water solution around the country. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Social Welfare. My question concerns teachers and school children. Teachers are not reporting for work because of poor remuneration and children are there in schools but they are not learning. This has taken a lot of time; this is tarnishing our image as a country. Is there no solution to ensure that the teachers get better salaries so that children receive education?
*THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Madam President. Yes, there is a challenge in schools. Teachers are not reporting for work. Most of the children are not learning and we have seen the bad behaviour of children because of the absence of teachers.
I agree with the Senator’s concern, but let me go back a bit, Madam President. In January, the Government gave 140% as cost of living adjustment and in June the Government added another 50% cost of living adjustment. In the same month in June, Madam President, the Government gave US$75 nostro as COVID allowance which was supposed to go for three months. At the end of three months, the Government added another 40% and extended the US$75 nostro to December. The teachers refused to go back to school. This week on Tuesday, the Government added another 20% and it said to the teachers, we are adding another 10% which is directed to you because of the risk that you are going to come across when teaching the children. This one for COVID is there. The US$75 will remain until December but I do not see it as an allowance which is going to be removed when we get to December. I think it is going to remain.
If you look at all that has happened, it will mean that the least paid civil servant will earn around $15 000 which means teachers will be getting between $18 000 and $19 000. This is what the Government has done. What I was thinking is that the Government has shown sincerity, it has shown concern for teachers. I think they should go back to schools and we will still continue engaging whilst they are imparting education on our children so that we do not go back, but they are saying they want US$540 as minimum for teachers.
Madam President, our country had reached stability when it comes to the economy. Our country had become stable on prices. We were out of the trench and things were becoming normal. There is no way we can give teachers US$540 or its equivalent without offsetting that stability. We will go back into inflation. So what is needed are dedicated teachers, Zimbabweans who are patriotic, who see where our economy is going so that they go back to work and the Government will continue negotiating with them and we will increase their salaries as we go on. Where we have reached that a teacher will get between $18 000 and $19 000, they are now on the poverty datum lime.
We know that teachers are supposed to be above the poverty datum line but teachers should understand that we are fixing our economy and we should help each other henceforth so that our country will go on. I do not think there is anyone in Zimbabwe who does not want us to get to be upper middle class by 2030. We should not shoot ourselves in the foot. How can we move forward? That is my appeal to the Senators that I think that you should be voices that bring reason that the Government has done a lot. The teachers should go back to work then we will continue reviewing their salaries within our ability. As long as we get something from Treasury, we will review our teacher’s conditions. We are not saying the conditions are good but we are looking at our economy side, our fiscas. If we pay US$500, we will go to 97% going to salaries and things like roads will not be maintained, clinics will not be built, even the COVID response or even importing maize will discontinue if we channel 97% of our revenue to salaries. Also it could cause serious inflation and it will upset the balance that we currently have. I thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Minister. The $18 000, according to the schedule that circulated, is for seniour management. The teacher who is teaching students will be getting $15 000. The belief that across the civil servants, those who are in Grade D1, if they are in the teaching service, they are not getting the same as those who will be in D1 in the army or in nursing. If it is true, it means it has an impact on the motivation of teachers because they think that they are not valued and respected whilst they are the ones who produce all of us. I do not know whether it is true, if there is that discrepancy. Do you think you can handle it because that is the one which is causing demotivation amongst teachers?
*HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Madam President, I thank you for the question. I want to wear a hat that I do not know because what happens to the soldiers in the army or the nurses is not under my purview. If that discrepancy is there, it is good for the teachers because it is not sustainable. We used to say that if we give the teachers, the nurses will be happy because they will know that tomorrow they will also get. If we give the army, that discrepancy is not sustainable, it can be worked out.
The rumours that I am getting, I do not want to rely on rumours but if we add the 20% and the 10% which were talked about, they are targeted for civil service only. They are not directed to other different commissions. So I do not know what others are getting, but discrepancy in a public service system is not sustainable and our history tells us that. There was a time when the civil servants would be given first and other Commissions will be given. That is the situation at hand. If there is a discrepancy, it is good for the teachers because it is not sustainable and it can be rectified and I think that is the beginning. Thank you Hon. President.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Women Affairs. In line with the rise of gender based violence cases, not all cases of perpetrators of violence face jail. As Government, what measures are in place to help and rehabilitate perpetrators not to have a recurrence of the crimes they would have committed before? Thank you Madam President.
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFFAIRS COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. NYONI): Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank Sen. Mathuthu for a very pertinent question. Gender based violence is one of the most serious crimes that anybody can commit against another because they do not only manifest in what you see. They go deeper than that. When a man beats a woman or a man rapes a woman or someone rapes a child, that person is damaged for life. They go through trauma and they have psychological impact that sometimes they are untold.
Therefore, it is very important for us as a nation to take this very seriously and the policy of Government is that this should not be done and when it is done, serious steps should take place. As a Ministry therefore, we encourage people to report and to facilitate victims and to encourage them to report. The Ministry has One-Stop-Centres in most provinces near a big hospital. In that One-Stop-Centre, you will find a Victim Friendly Office of the police, a legal person, a doctor and someone to counsel the victim.
If someone reports, the police will take the case up and make sure that the perpetrator is followed up and justice is done. So, if anyone knows of a perpetrator that is scot-free, please let the law enforcement agents know. Those are men that my Ministry would like to see hunted even with dogs to ensure that they do not do it again because it is one of the major violations of women’s rights which becomes a human right. I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. A. DUBE Thank you Madam President. I will direct my question to the Leader of the House since the Minister of Health is not in the House. Hon. Minister, aspiring student nurses from rural set ups are finding it difficult to express their interest in nurses’ training through the online application process due to poor or non-existent internet infrastructure. What is the Ministry doing to ensure that there is equal opportunity to all for it to be accessible to everyone especially in rural areas? Thank you.
MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. M. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you very much Madam President. I want to thank Sen. Dube for that very important question. I think this is a question which would get a better answer and right to the point if you can put it in writing because the policy of the Ministry is to make sure that they give equal access to all Zimbabweans, aspiring candidates who want to join nursing. Thank you.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: So, I think Hon. Senator. you are going to put that one in writing so that they research and give us a truthful answer.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NHEMA: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the Leader of the House. All of us are happy that the country is now stable but Hon. Minister, the manner in which prices have shot up, the percentages have risen. I do not know how you want us to survive because electricity and basic commodities have gone up. What exactly is happening and we need closure on that particular issue. We do not know what has caused things to go that direction. Nothing is moving. What exactly is going on to have prices going that direction?
*MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you very much Madam President. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Nhema for the question that he has asked. It is very difficult to say where I should start. As much as I know, if the Minister who has spoken before has explained thoroughly that Government did hard work do bring currency stability. Now we are starting to see change but things cannot be fixed over night. We are starting to see positive change in terms of pricing. Here in Harare and if you go to Mutare or Bulawayo, we are having the same prices and that is the...
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: The auction that was done recently showed that the dollar had not gone down. What has happened is like a disguise because he has not seen the fall in prices recently.
HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA: Madam President, I understand very well his question. The Ministry of Finance is working on this issue. They are looking into this issue to say they want prices to come down. Inflation had gone up to 800/900 percent and now we are talking of 400/500 percent. What I want to say is that we want everything to stabilise not in the public sector only but also in the private sector. We want business people to have reasonable prices. We are looking at the buildup cost of products that is both in the public and private sector. That is my response Madam President.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: If you go to Government institutions, CVR for example, is charging in USD but Zimbabwe does not get USD. This is where the disparity of the law is and that is where we want to understand what is really happening. The other side is killing you and the other side also is pressing you. That is what the chief was saying that in Government Institutions, we are paying a lot of money. The rates we used to pay and the rates that we are paying now if the money has not gone down on the auction system, there is a mismatch then.
HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Madam President. I would also like to thank Sen. Chief Makumbe for his supplementary question. This issue of saying CVR has rising prices; these figures I do not have them at hand. We are supposed to be using Zimbabwean currency but there is that provision to say those who have free funds can use the American dollar. However, there is no law which stipulates that someone who wants to pay RTGs should be stopped.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NHEMA: My supplementary question to the Minister is - we did an auction and there was no change. Why have things gone up? Beef was $200 and the price has gone up and electricity has also gone up. For example, yesterday I bought electricity for $10 000 and I got 1000kilowatts. What has gone up? Why have things gone up? Tollgate was $45 for light vehicles and it is now $145. Why have things gone up Hon. Minister?
*HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you very much Hon. Sen. Chief Nhema. He is very passionate about this issue because it affects everyone in the country. I will not respond to the issue of electricity because the Hon. Minister of Energy and Power Development is here. I am sure he will respond to those questions. Inflation is not caused only by the result of foreign currency. There are a lot of things that cause inflation. Those are the things that Government is looking at. We are working at ways of fixing those issues.
*THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. ZHEMU): Thank you Madam President. Electricity had not gone up since March. When we reached September this year, what we can call loss of value to the value of money for the tariffs, it had fallen by 337%. That was the loss in value percentage. When we looked at that, in its wisdom the Government saw that much was not done because of the lockdown. People were not earning much because of the lockdown. The energy company lost a total of $4.5 billion. It was very difficult to rectify or fix anomalies within the power company because of lack of funds. This led to non-payments to companies that are into coal mining. Some of the electricity being used is imported from outside Zimbabwe. As we speak, the energy company owes countries like Mozambique; they are in debt amounting to more than $100 million. Much was not being done because of the lockdown but Government made it a point that people get electricity even during the lockdown. Now due to the rise in electricity tariffs, 337% that was the loss in value of the tariffs, in March the tariff was valued at US$0.10c. The rise in the tariffs as at the 1st of November for domestic use is now on US$6.03.
As I have mentioned before, electricity is imported from outside the country. It is very expensive because it costs us 9 cents and during peak periods, it can reach 24 cents. There are other companies that we call independent energy producers that are selling electricity to ZETDC at a cost of 9 cents. For those who are using electricity for domestic use, the difference is being taken as a subsidy from Government so that people do not pay all the money as expected from the electricity that is imported from other countries. There are also transmission costs to cover the cost of getting electricity to this country as well as distribution costs, including labour for the workers who are working in the energy industry. They will reach 1l or 12 cents but Government has the objective of not burdening consumers.
It might look like a coincidence that there is a rise in electricity, but we need to reflect on the cost and all the modalities involved in an effort to have electricity reach people. We are looking at all the costs so that people and the company are able to pay for the costs. We have the organisation ZERA, which acts as a regulator, their objective is to regulate and look at the cost of production and to look at the justification to say if they want to raise electricity theirs is have an oversight role. Our main objective is to maintain the supply of electricity for domestic use to the people. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: My question is directed to Prof. Hon. Murwira. What does Government policy say with focus on up-liftment of women in State Universities on the post of Vice Chancellor?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you very much Madam President. Our Constitution says where it is possible we should allow women to have their quota within positions. They should be allowed to occupy a certain percentage which is equal to that of men.
As we speak, looking at universities, I would like to give you statistics:- at the University of Zimbabwe, we have a Vice Chancellor who is a male and the pro-Vice Chancellor is a woman. At Gwanda State University, we have a Vice Chancellor who is a woman and we are happy that His Excellency the President is the Second Vice Chancellor from that one who was at ZOU.
These things have a history and history says for the past few years, the women who were in the higher education sector were few but for now I am happy to inform you that 54% of women are in universities. This was brought about through the law to uplift and empower women and we will continue to do that.
Our principals in colleges; 70% of them are women. If you go to Mary Mount Teachers College, Mutare Teachers College, Nyadire, the principals are women. At Mogenster, Mkoba, Joshou Nkabuko Nkomo, you will also find women there as principals – this is what is happening in colleges. This does not happen overnight or in one day. I am sorry to announce that the one we had appointed in Gwanda has resigned this year but we have replaced her with Dr. Nomathemba Ndiweni though she was appointed as Vice Chairperson for the Public Service Commission, but she was the one appointed as the principal. We will continue to uplift women. We have not yet reached where we intend to but we promise to continue working hard to see to it that women are uplifted.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 62.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKOMBE: Madam President, may we have 15 more minutes for Questions Without Notice.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NHEMA: I second.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKOMBE: My question goes to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. Our curriculum should be given out in our languages. We have seen this happening in other countries, so is there a way of patenting our curriculum so that it will not be stolen by other countries? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Let me thank the Hon. Sen. for asking the question. We have two things that we are currently doing. There is an issue of protecting intellectual property which is done in innovation hubs.
Innovation hubs have three mandates; the conceptual issues that come from people which are protected by notary publics or lawyers who patent. For example, the Midlands State University invented some bitumen that is used on our roads using coal. Midlands State University got its patent this year. So we will continue telling them that we now have a mechanism to protect intellectual property so that we can get revenue from our intellectual property. Whatever we import, the manufacturing of bottles and anything else is intellectual property. So we have such a law which protects intellectual property.
Secondly, your question speaks about indigenous languages or our local languages. I am happy that our new curriculum is called the heritage based curriculum, which means that before we start learning we need to identify your identity, what you are learning and what you have. So because of that, we said that the other heritage that we have is our culture, our way of life, minerals, water, vegetation; so we said that we need to have a National Language Institute and we will start with this at the Midlands State University. The National Language Research Institute translated our Constitution into 16 languages. They have also translated our COVID-19 material into 16 languages. We are taking measures - however, it is still in infancy stage, it takes time to implement these things. Since we are still starting, it may seem as if it is a challenge but even in the next 20 years, this will be easier.
The length and breadth of the country is due to people’s wisdom and intellectual property. So we always say that when you want to see the future of a country, you need to look at their learning. When students are learning things that do not have any value, then there will not be any value in that country but when they are learning important things, then the same happens. So our Education Bill championed by Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa is going to excel. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Madam President Ma’am. Let me ask for forgiveness but my phone disappointed me and I did not understand what was happening because my phone was ringing. So I did not understand nor locate where I was supposed to turn off the phone.
The Hon. Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development came into the House bearing good news. My supplementary question regarding this issue is that at one point we requested, as parliamentarians, what we needed and gave the Minister our recommendations which were supposed to be looked into. As the Chief’s Council, we would like to request the institution to speak about this model
*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. President, let me applaud such wise words from Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira. When the Hon. Senator spoke about that issue, we tried to organise and I even engaged the Clerk of Parliament, Mr. Chokuda. We were supposed to do this on 25th March at Rainbow Towers but unfortunately COVID-19 disrupted our plans.
We listened to the recommendations and wanted to implement them. We started speaking about this in January so on 25th March, we were affected by COVID-19. So it is in the pipeline, we will embrace the wisdom that you have imparted to us to engage the Chief’s Council and it will work because this issue is about the emancipation of the nation - emancipation through intellectual property. This is an issue that we view as those who were looking at us in a different way. We said that after all the fights then we were going to bring emancipation in Zimbabwe.
We will continue doing that. We embrace the guidance by our Chiefs and this is critical. We thank you and we are going to do that.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order! I inherited a list here and the list is Hon. Sen. Gumpo.
HON. SEN. GUMPO: Thank you Mr. President, my question is directed to a number of ministers for the reason that it deals with SMEs and every other Minister has SMEs in their charge. We have the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, the Leader of Government Business and the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development as well.
The question is to do with the standards in the informal sector. We are told that the informal sector is commanding a very substantial level of our industries. At one stage, we were told that about $7 billion is circulating in the SMEs and that is very substantial. The biggest worry is on the standards, if standards are not prevailing in SMEs then it means that we are not going to achieve, because the goods that are going to be produced cannot be exported. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order! Hon. Sen. Gumpo, what is your question?
HON. SEN. GUMPO: The question is what is Government policy in terms of establishing standards and regulating them?
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you that is a question and not what you said previously.
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. S. NYONI): Thank you Mr. President Sir, I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Gumpo for a very pertinent question.
Indeed, he is correct that the informal sector occupies a very important role in our economy and also in our society as a whole. This is a sector, Hon. Senators that jerks our economy, enhances livelihoods, prevents our women and children from going into the streets to steal, where entrepreneurship and indigenization begins and where our people express themselves economically. Therefore, it is very important for us to give them all the pillars necessary to make sure that they go where they want to go. It is a sector where people show their own initiative. So the Hon. Senator is correct, we need to support them holistically and it is not just one ministry.
First, we need to support them technologically if they are to grow and that is where the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development comes in. I am glad to say that we are now linking with Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development and universities to ensure that our SMEs that are in technology or in making machines are attached to universities.
Let me give you an example, when we started with the COVID-19, people were to produce masks and let me take NUST as an example. NUST contracted SMEs in Bulawayo to make 20 000 masks and they were responsible for standards. Thereafter, some of those SMEs have come to the ministry to say they want to establish their own companies because of these linkages. Secondly, SMEs need to be supported with workspace and for me, this is the biggest challenge – that is where now we need the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities to make sure that all local authorities make workspace available for SMEs. When they make workspace available, that space should be serviced. There should be water, toilets, space for children and place for food courts. That way, as a nation, we will be showing respect for our people who are full of initiatives on their own businesses. Thirdly, we need to support SMEs with education and training. This is where again, our schools right from the beginning, my Ministry links with all the education institutions even with primary education. There has to be entrepreneurship at that level, so that children grow up knowing they are not to be employees but employers. Then we meet with higher and tertiary education, they also have to teach our students, especially those that are in technical education, that you do not go out there to be employed but to create your own employment.
Fourthly, we need to support SMEs with finance. This is why I am grateful for our President who has allowed us to start a Women’s Bank where we are supporting women and everybody who is in the SMEs. Also we have $500 million to the SMEs and finance is not the only thing that is needed. If you do not have all these other pillars in place, the money goes to waste. Lastly is the market, where do the SMEs market their goods? This pillar is important and it may become redundant now, this is why we are working with the Ministry of ICT so that we have e-commerce, e-marketing and this will enable the SMEs also to be trained.
The question was how do we make the SMEs produce quality goods. This also lies with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises helping the SMEs that are in the productive sector to link with those that can train them. Seriously, people do not realise that unless and until we plan for them and give them the dignity of a work space, their goods will always be sub-standard because if you want to produce quality goods you need an atmosphere where you do that. You need electricity, space, machinery and technology. I would like to appreciate Hon. Members for supporting my Ministry in this pillar of providing quality workspace for SMEs and also the Standards Association to work with us so that they supervise and make sure that the goods that are produced are put in the market according to the Standards of Zimbabwe and International Standard. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the Hon. Deputy President of Senate in terms of Standing Order Number 62.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE SADC PROTOCOL ON TRADE IN SERVICES
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. S. B. MOYO): Thank you Mr. President. I move the motion in my name that:
WHEREAS in terms of section 327(2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
WHEREAS the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) has developed a protocol on Trade in Services in line with Article 21 of the SADC Treaty on conclusion of area on agreed cooperation, for the liberalisation of intra-regional trade in services on the basis of fair, equitable and beneficial trade arrangements, complemented by and consistency with Annexures in specific sectors;
AND WHEREAS Zimbabwe, together with other Member States are progressively adopting policies and implementing measures in accordance with their obligations in terms of the WTO’s General Agreements on Trade In Services (GATS) an Zimbabwe having signed the SADC Protocol on Trade In Services at the 33rd Ordinary Summit of Heads and State and Government held in Lilongwe, Malawi in August 2013;
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327(2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid amendment be and is hereby approved for ratification.
I will start by giving a background for the Hon. Senators so that they can appreciate why they have to ratify it and benefits. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade seeks the approval of Parliament of Zimbabwe to ratify the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on trade in services. The protocol was developed in line with Article 21 of the SADC Treaty, which provides for conclusion of protocols necessary in agreed areas of cooperation. The protocol on trade in services was developed and concluded for the liberalisation of intra-regional trade in services on the basis of fair, mutually equitable and beneficial trade arrangements, complemented by and consistent with annexures in specific service sector.
Zimbabwe, together with SADC Member States would want to progressively adopt policies and implement measures in accordance with their obligations in terms of WTO’s general agreement on trade in services. The SADC goal of integration of the national economy together with industrialisation rights require integrated regional markets for services, complemented by cooperative mechanism which will create new opportunities for the dynamic business sector. This goal is culminated in the negotiation and conclusion of the protocol on trade in services which was first presented for signature at the 32nd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Maputo, Mozambique.
To date Mr. President Sir, 11 countries have signed the protocol with Zimbabwe having signed at the 33rd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of held in Lilongwe, Malawi in August 2013. Member States that have signed are now in the process of ratifying the protocol as is required in Article 22 of the SADC Treaty. Accordingly, Zimbabwean Constitution in Section 327 (3) also provides that an agreement which is not an international treaty but which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign states or organisations and imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament.
It is against this background, Mr. President Sir, that this mandatory requirement, the process of ratification of this protocol has been commenced and brought to this august House.
Hon. President Sir, the Protocol on Trade and Services recognises the diverse SADC economies and endeavors to achieve progress and the well being of the people of Southern Africa. It further recognises the need to promote deeper regional integration and sustainable growth and development. The objectives of the protocol include the liberalisation of intra-regional trade and services, elimination of substantially all discrimination between State parties, raising the standard and quality of life, enhancing economic development, diversification, capacity and competitiveness of the services in the region.
The service provision could be either through Model 1, that is cross border supply where the service supplier does not necessarily have to visit the country of the consumer, Model 2, consumption abroad where the consumer has to visit the country of the supplier to get the services, Model 3, commercial presence where the service provider sets up operations in a foreign country, or Model 4, presence of natural persons, that is where a service provider in his or her personal capacity visits another country on a temporary basis to provide a service.
The removal of obstacles will be on a most favoured nation basis, that is, it will benefit all SADC member states. Hon. President Sir, the protocol does not in any way preclude member states to regulate services and service supplier within its territory as long as this does not impair any rights and obligations under the protocol. A member state is also afforded the right to adopt and enforce measures necessary to protect public morals and to maintain public order and essential security interests to protect human, animal and plant life and health.
Measures can also be adopted to prevent fraudulent practices, protect privacy of individuals in relation to personal data dissemination and protection of confidentiality of personal records and accounts. In the case that there is an emergency the protocol provides that a member state can apply to the SADC Committee of Ministers of Trade for a waiver of the obligations under the protocol. The member state will be required to set out the circumstances justifying the granting of the waver.
In case a member state wishes to be party to this protocol for any reason whatsoever, it has a withdrawal clause. There are some advantages Hon. President, that I have listed before. Despite the economic challenges that the country has been and is still facing, Zimbabwe has seen many of its locals, that is companies and individuals established and establishing across the region. The trade in service negotiations are one avenue the countries should use to negotiate a conducive environment for its locals operating beyond our borders.
Ratifying the protocol, Hon. President Sir, will ensure that Zimbabwe’s interests in the region are defended, advanced and that the country will have access to regional markets. It is however critical to strategically engage in these negotiations by identifying the country’s offensive and defensive interest. By this, we will be able to attract foreign investment in the areas where it is needed and block competition in the areas we have adequate capacity.
Hon. President, services are a critical component in the production of goods and services and therefore an efficient and competitive services industry leads to the efficient production of goods at competitive prices. This will also help us to overcome the supply side challenges that we are currently experiencing. It is against this background, Mr. President Sir, that this protocol is recommended for ratification.
Now therefore, Hon. President, in terms of Section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, I now move that this House resolves that the aforesaid agreement be and is hereby approved for ratification by Senate. I thank you Mr. President.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE CONVENTION RELATING TO INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. S. B. MOYO): I move the motion standing in my name that;
WHEREAS of section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS the Convention relating to International Exhibitions was signed in Paris, France on November 22, 1928 as a legal instrument establishing rights, responsibilities and procedures of International Expo organisers and participants creating a Bureau of International Exhibitions (B.I.E);
WHEREAS the convention has been subsequently amended three times since 1928 and updated to suit economic, social and political trends, the progress of the world and the emerger of new countries, Members remain restricted to Governments of Contracting Parties and Governments of those countries who have accede to or ratified the Convention;
AND WHEREAS Zimbabwe has in the past participated in international, World expos held under B.I.E through a reprieve extended to non-members, the reprieve now no longer applies for all future exhibitions, it is prudent that Zimbabwe becomes a member of the B.I.E through acceding to the Convention of 1928, revised by the Protocol of 1972;
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Convention and Protocol be and is hereby approved.
Hon. President I will just give a background of this Bureau of Convention on Paris relating to Bureau of International Convention. Hon. President, on 22nd November, 1928, the convention relating to International Exhibitions was signed in Paris, France. This convention is a legal instrument that establishes the rights, responsibilities and procedures of international expo organisers and participants. The convention further created the Bureau of International Exhibitions which is an inter-governmental organisation which supervises the exhibitions falling under the jurisdiction of the Convention relating to International Exhibitions.
The Bureau oversees the calendar, the bidding, the selection and organisation of world and international expos. Under this convention, the role of the Bureau is to ensure the procedural application of the regulatory framework provided in the convention. Hon. President, since 1928, the convention has been subsequently amended by three protocols - one on 10th May, 1948, another on 16th November, 1966 and finally the 1972 amendment.
The Bureau has updated the convention on three occasions in order to account for the shift in economic, social and political trends, the progress of the world and the emergence of new countries. Membership to the Bureau is open to any Government through ratification or by accession to the 1928 Paris Convention on International Exhibitions as per Article 35. Currently the membership is at 175 of which 42 of these are African countries. Membership is restricted to the Governments of the contracting parties and Governments of those countries who have acceded to or ratified the convention.
Hon. President, I now turn to Zimbabwe’s participation at these exhibitions. Zimbabwe has participated in world expos held under the Bureau in recent years through a reprieve extended to non-members. This reprieve will no longer be applicable for future exhibitions. The exhibitions who have participated are namely; the Hannover Germany Expo in the year 2000, the Aichi Japan Expo in 2005, the Shangai China Expo in 2010, and the Milan Italy Expo in 2015. It is prudent that Zimbabwe accedes to the Conventions of 1928, revised by the protocol in 1972, and become a member of the Bureau of International Exhibitions to continue to participate in these international exhibitions.
Benefits of Membership to the B.I.E.
It is the interests of governments of countries who may eventually host or organise international exhibitions or those who are concerned with participating in these international exhibitions of longer periods to accede to the Convention for the following but not exhaustive reasons. The member States participate from the outset in discussions with the organisers of exhibitions and give their views and concerns relating to exhibitions. Membership to the Bureau officers, a certain number of material advantages, for example, preference and priority is given to a member country wishing to organise an exhibition on certain dates if that application is also received with that of a non-member country.
When applying for registration of an exhibition, a member country of the B.I.E. is required to pay only half the regular cost of having an application examined. The B.I.E. is an international inter-governmental organisation which enables governments of member countries to cut costs due to very strict controls imposed upon on non-member countries by organisers. The more members the B.I.E. has, the more effective their authority and the greater the possibilities of reducing the costs to its members during exhibitions.
Membership will also enable Zimbabwe to participate in the bidding to host mega international fairs promoting tourism and marketing our country’s tourism sector. By becoming a member, Zimbabwe would be eligible to participate in the bidding to host mega international fairs and exhibitions in future which would benefit the country immensely in every sector and membership provides a country with voting rights and opportunities to strengthen diplomatic ties by paying in kind, that is voting for a nation to host World Expo, for example Japan has approached Zimbabwe soliciting for a vote to host 2025 Exhibition.
The B.I.E. is financed by membership fees of the member States and by the Gate money from hosted Expos through royalties received on entry fee charges. The annual contribution of a member is determined by the General Assembly of the B.I.E. in agreement with the applicant government.
Recommendation is also given that Zimbabwe accedes to the Protocol with reservations to Article 34 (3) and (4) on dispute resolution on the basis that Article 34 (5) of the Protocol amending the Convention signed at Paris in 1928 states that;
“Any State may, at the time of signing or ratifying of this Convention, or acceding to it, declare itself not bound by the provisions of the above paragraphs 3 and 4. Other Contracting parties will not be bound as regards those provisions towards any State which has so reserved its position”.
It is upon this basis indeed that recommendation is given for Zimbabwe to accede to the Protocol with reservations to Article 34 (3) and (4) on dispute resolutions and declare itself not bound by these paragraphs. In light of the above, Mr. President Sir, I move that in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Agreement is hereby approved for ratification. I so move Hon. President Sir.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE AGREEMENT ESTABLISHING A TRIPARTITE FREE TRADE AREA AMONG COMESA, EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY AND SADC
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. S. B. MOYO): Thank you Hon. President. I rise to present a motion in the name of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade seeking approval for ratification on the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade (TFTA) Agreement.
As a way of introduction, I will give a background. During the 3rd Tripartite Summit which was held in June 2015 in Egypt, Zimbabwe signed the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade (TFTA) Agreement. At the 8th meeting of the Tripartite Sectoral Ministerial Committee (TSMC) held in June 2019 in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe reported that the country will ratify the Agreement by August 2019.
To address the challenges of multiple membership among COMESA, EAC and SADC and to boost intra-regional trade and economic development, the Heads of State and Government of the Member/partner States of the three Regional Economic Communities (RECs) met in Kampala, Uganda on 22 October, 2008 and agreed to establish a single Free Trade Area (FTA) covering the combined membership of the three RECSs.
Subsequently, the Heads of State and Government launched negotiations for the establishment of the grand FTA on 12th June, 2011 at their second Tripartite Summit in South Africa. The negotiations were to be conducted over two phases, namely Phase I on trade in goods (to last 24 to 36 months) and Phase II on trade in services (to commence after Phase I is completed). There was a preparatory period of six months during which negotiators exchanged trade data, tariff information and other measures affecting intra-REC trade.
Negotiations by the Tripartite Trade Negotiations Forum (TTNF) began in December 2011 and were scheduled to end in 2014, according to the roadmap adopted by the second Tripartite Summit. However, due to the complex nature of the negotiations and a number of outstanding issues, the deadline of 2014 was missed. Negotiations on the legal text of the main TFTA Agreement continued in 2015 and were concluded in June of the same year.
Subsequently, the agreement was signed by 15 Member States during the 3rd Tripartite Summit held in Egypt in June 2015. The countries that signed the agreement are Zimbabwe, Egypt, Namibia, Malawi, Seychelles, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sudan, Kenya, Comoros, Burundi, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Lybia. To date, 23 countries out of 29 have signed the TFTA Agreement except Mozambique, Eritrea, Lesotho, Tunisia, Somalia and South Sudan. The agreement will come into force once ratified by 14 Member States. Thus far, Egypt, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa have ratified the TFTA Agreement.
Objectives of the TFTA Agreement
The objectives of the TFTA Agreement are, to:
- promote economic and social development of the tripartite region;
- create a large single market with free movement of goods and services to promote intra-regional trade;
- enhance the regional and continental integration processes; and
- build a strong tripartite FTA for the benefit of the people of the region.
The TFTA brings together countries that are already in FTAs. They therefore have the benefit of building on the gains achieved in their respective RECs but on a much larger and more dynamic market space.
The TFTA is based on a development integration approach that combines market integration, industrial development and infrastructure development. This is borne out of the realisation of the complementary existing between trade liberalisation, competitive industrial production and infrastructure development.
TFTA Market and Trade Statistics
The TFTA will bring together 29 African countries with a combined population of more than 632 million people and a combined GDP of $1.3 trillion. The tripartite makes up half of the African Union (AU) in terms of membership, just over 58% GDP contribution and 57% of the total population of the AU. Such a market creates opportunities for economies of scale for producers of various goods in the tripartite region.
Update on the Negotiations
Negotiations by the Tripartite Trade Negotiations Forum (TTNF) began in December 2011 and were scheduled to end in 2014, according to the roadmap adopted by the second Tripartite Summit. However, negotiations are still ongoing specifically on exchange of tariff offers and list rules of origin.
Significant work has been achieved by the Tripartite Trade Negotiating Forum (TTNF) where the TFTA Agreement and ten annexes which are an integral part of the TFTA Agreement have been concluded and subjected to legal scrubbing. The annexes are: Annex I on elimination of import duties, Annex II trade remedies, Annex III on non-tariff barriers, Annex IV on rules of origin, Annex V on customs cooperation, Annex VI on trade facilitation, Annex VII on transit trade and trade facilitation, Annex VIII on technical barriers to trade (TBT), Annex IX on sanitary and phyto sanitary (SPS) measures and Annex X on dispute settlement.
Exchange of Tariff Offers
Currently, 20 Member States have their tariff offers ready including five EAC Partner States. Bilateral meetings between Egypt/EAC and Egypt/SACU are ongoing. SACU/EAC recently reported that they have concluded their bi-lateral negotiations on tariff offers.
In the case of Zimbabwe, the country will maintain its acquis (building on existing commitments) in SADC and COMESA.
A team of officials from the International Trade Department together with officials from Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) carried out an exercise to develop the country’s tariff offer from 30 October to 03 November, 2017. The offer was based on SADC and COMESA tariff liberalisation commitments. Three options were identified and the team recommended option 3 where there will be a differentiated offer; one for South Africa and another for the rest of the Member States. This is due to different levels of development between South Africa and the rest of the Member States. The same principle was used when Zimbabwe submitted its offer under the SADC FTA. This therefore means that the country will have to negotiate with South Africa on tariff phase down and the rest of the Member States will enjoy 100% tariff liberalisation.
Rules of Origin
Annex IV on Rules of Origin was legally scrubbed and was adopted by the 6th meeting of the Tripartite Sectoral Ministerial Committee (TSMC) in July 2017 in Uganda.
On list rules, 91.55% (4932 of the 5387 tariff lines, HS 2017 version) of the rules of origin have been agreed and are ready for use. Negotiations on the remaining chapters and tariff lines are still on-going.
Phase II issues: Phase II issues (Trade in Services, Cross Border Investment, Intellectual Property Rights and Competition Policy) will be discussed in the near future, taking into account comments submitted by the Member States including Zimbabwe, on the studies which were done by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on how to approach these issues in terms of negotiations.
Draft Agreement on Movement of Business Persons: Negotiations on the Movement of Business Persons Agreement were running parallel with Trade in Goods (Phase I). The Agreement was adopted by the 8th meeting of the Tripartite Sectoral Ministerial Committee (TSMC) which was held in June 2019 in Ethiopia. The Agreement is now ready for signature and ratification by Member States.
The following projects are on-going where studies have been undertaken:
- Infrastructure for Software Development for Industrial Statistics; and
- Industrial Capacity Development and Support for Regional Value Chains.
The 7th TSMC meeting held in June 2018 decided that the TTF should scale up the resource mobilisation effort for implementation of this pillar. The TSMC further recommended the establishment of the Tripartite Industrial Development Coordination Unit (TIDCU).
Infrastructure Development Pillar
The inaugural meeting of the Ministers responsible for Infrastructure was held in October 2017 and agreed on the programme of work.
Ratification of the TFTA Agreement
To date, 24 Member States have signed the TFTA Agreement including Zimbabwe.
The agreement requires 14 ratifications to enter into force. So far, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa have both signed and ratified the agreement. Most Member States including Zimbabwe indicated that they would ratify the TFTA Agreement once annex on Elimination of Import Duties is finalised and legally scrubbed and there is significant progress on negotiations on list rules of origin.
Now that the Annex on Elimination of Import Duties has been legally scrubbed and that 92% of the list rules have been agreed, it is therefore recommended that the agreement is ratified. Furthermore, considering that the AfCFTA Agreement has been ratified which is a bigger market, there is no longer a point not to ratify the TFTA which entails opening up to a smaller market.
Building on the acquis principle, the country is already implementing the FTA with 23 countries which will be part of the TFTA. As for the remaining six non-FTA countries (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Angola, South Sudan, Tunisia, Somalia), there is need to negotiate tariff offers with them. However, it is important to note that most of these countries are already negotiating joining their respective FTAs and as such, it will be prudent for Zimbabwe to wait for these countries to join these FTAs and offer the same on a reciprocal basis.
Potential Benefits of the TFTA to Zimbabwe
The TFTA will serve as an impetus for investment in Zimbabwe and the tripartite region’s cross-border infrastructure. Building infrastructure will also create additional jobs and foster the development of engineering services. The prospects for the larger market and supporting infrastructure will spur industrial development. This will not only create jobs but it will also have the added advantage of diversifying Zimbabwe’s economy which is largely dependent on raw materials. The associated technological development will lead to the creation of new industries.
The signal of a larger market will also help to stimulate trade in services. The first beneficiary is likely to be the financial sector, which will be able to lend to larger industrialists seeking to benefit from economies of scale. Such financial services will reinforce the increase in cross-border investments by emerging African firms that are serving as regional champions of industrial development.
By being part of larger markets, Zimbabwe will no longer be restricted to producing traditional products. With its open for business mantra and efforts to improve ease of doing business and human resources, Zimbabwe can become the locus of new manufacturing operations that serve wider markets. By providing a single economic space with harmonised trade policies and a regulatory framework, the TFTA solves the problem of multiple memberships, rationalises trade negotiations, reduces the cost of doing business, supports industrialisation and stimulates cross-border infrastructure projects.
Hon. President Sir, having said this, I now move in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution, that this House resolves that the aforesaid agreement be and is hereby approved by Senate. I so submit Hon. President Sir.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: 17th November, 2020.
LEAVE TO MOVE RESTORATION OF THE MARRIAGES BILL [H. B. 7A, 2019] ON THE ORDER PAPER
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. President, I seek leave of the House that the Marriages Bill, [H. B. 7A, 2019] which was superseded by the prorogation of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper at the stage that it had reached during the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament.
Motion put and agreed to.
RESTORATION OF THE MARRIAGES BILL [H. B. 7A, 2019] ON THE ORDER PAPER
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the Marriages Bill, [H. B. 7A, 2019] which was superseded by the prorogation of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper at the stage that it had reached during the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament.
Motion put and agreed to.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
BILL RECEIVED FROM THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA): I have to inform the Senate that I have received the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill [H. B. 8, 2019] from the National Assembly.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the Senate adjourned at Twenty Five minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until the 17th November, 2020.