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SENATE HANSARD 15 February 2018 27-24
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 15th February, 2018
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p. m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
DEATH OF MR. MORGAN RICHARD TSVANGIRAI
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: It is with a deep
sense of pain and sorrow that I have to inform this august House of the untimely death of Mr. Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Party. Mr. Tsvangirai passed on yesterday in South Africa, after a spirited fight against colon cancer.
Mr. Tsvangirai served Zimbabwe with distinction as an accomplished Trade Unionist and Leader of the Opposition for many years as well as being Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Leader of Government Business in Parliament between 2009 and 2013. He contributed immensely to Parliament as a member of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders during the same period in pursuit of Parliamentary democracy.
Parliament offers its unreserved condolences to the family, friends and the people of Zimbabwe during this dark moment in our political history. In this regard, therefore, I invite Members to rise and observe a minute of silence in honour of the late former Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai.
All Hon. Members observed a minute of silence.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: May his soul rest in eternal peace.
INVITATION BY KIDZCAN ZIMBABWE
TO PARTICIPATE IN ORANGE WEEK
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform
the Senate that Kidzcan Zimbabwe, a children’s cancer relief organisation is inviting Hon. Members to participate in Orange Week, 2018, which is a children with cancer awareness project from the 11th to the 18th February, 2018. All, Hon. Members are urged to create their own orange day by dressing up in orange and donating a dollar in order to support the worthy cause of Kidzcan. You are all kindly requested to give feedback to Kidzcan Zimbabwe, in the form of pictures and videos.
All proceeds will be used to assist children who are battling cancer. Please check your pigeon holes for further information on this.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
*HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Madam President. My question
is directed to the Minister of Labour and Social Services, Hon. Kagonye. We want to find out what your Ministry has in place in celebrating the
International Disability Day (IDD). At first, we were told that Disability Day was going to be held on the 9th February. The populace wants to know the correct position. I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES
(HON. KAGONYE): Thank you Madam President. I want to thank the Senator for that pertinent question. The International Day of Disability should be commemorated in December. Last year, in 2017, we did not manage to do the celebrations because of what was happening in terms of transition; the new dispensation. We want to celebrate this day but our guest Speaker has not yet given us a day. Once we get confirmation on the day, those living with disability requested that the Head of State be there, so once we get the date that he is available, we will make arrangements and ensure that we celebrate this day. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. SHOKO: To the Minister of Finance, I want to find out from him that a Commission was set up by the President that was dealing with people’s insurance when we adopted the US dollar. I remember the individuals who were part of that Commission. We have not heard the findings of the Commission because I believe that the
Commission finished its course but the findings of that Commission have not yet been made public. I think that it is now two years after the Commission completed its work and still we do not know the results. Most workers and so many people were affected by the transition from the Zim dollar to the US dollar.
Personally, I had taken an insurance that I thought would assist me when I become of pensionable age. I had one from Old Mutual and the other from ZIMNAT. I was given $10 and $7 and I was told that I did not have any more money. Those policies were paid up and that is what I got. So, we need to know the findings of that Commission so that people know whether they will get their monies if it is there. I believe that the money is there because we were short changed. That is my question Madam President. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I thank the Hon. Member
for the question. The short answer of course is that the Commission of Inquiry which looked into the conversion of pension and insurance values from the Zim dollar to the US dollar completed its work some time mid last year but the task of the Commission is a very complex one and it has taken time to try to unpack the report. We are now ready to have that report presented to the President and Cabinet and I am hopeful that the presentation will be done in the next two weeks after which the report will be available for publication to the public. I want to assure you that we are very aware of the importance of the report of that Commission of Inquiry, in particular with respect to those pensioners or insurance policy holders who feel that they might have been short changed.
The Commission has made some findings on all those issues but I beg the Hon. Member to allow me the next two weeks so that we have an opportunity to present the findings to the President and Cabinet after which the report will certainly be published. I thank you.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you very much Madam President.
My question goes to the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, Hon. Chinamasa. The teachers and other civil servants –
I had a meeting with them and some of them are saying that they have
not had their salary increment for the last seven or eight years. They are equating that prices are going up and the economy is not good but they still have the same salaries. So, they are wanted to find out what measures you have put in place in addressing their salaries. I thank you Madam President.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I thought that the Hon. Member when meeting those affected; the teachers and nurses would have given them the answers that I continue to give in this Hon. House and the answer basically is that, currently we are living beyond our means. Ninety percent or so of our revenues are going to wages and none to operations or capital formation. That it is very important if we are to restructure our budget and the nature of our expenditure, we have to address the issue about our expenditure. If we are to succeed, it means that all of us must tighten our belts and not loosen them.
So far, I thought that the civil service and those who are in the
Public Service understand that the circumstances are very difficult for all of us and that we would make a mistake to print money in order to meet salary demands. So, there has been a freeze as you know of posts in the civil service just as also we have not been able to adjust the salaries of the entirety of the civil service. So, I think that is the answer that I would want to give at this juncture. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MANYERUKE: Thank you Madam President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development. My question is in relation to finance. As a nation and as Government, what measures have you put in place in terms of the cash shortages being experienced? There is no cash in the banks and we are struggling to get any cash. I thank you Madam President.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I was on my feet the
whole day yesterday and much of the time that I took yesterday was to explain precisely the challenges that we are facing in the area of cash shortages. In short, the cash shortages are arising not from shortage but from an inefficient circulation of money arising from loss of confidence and trust.
I did explain Madam President that in most jurisdictions, the cash based transactions constitute about 10% to 15%, which means, of your total value of transactions 10% to 15% of it should be cash based. It means that cash should be in circulation and available for the public. In our situation, we are at 16% and even when we are at 16%, that money is not circulating. Even if the Central Bank Governor were to pump billions, whether of bond notes or of US dollars, that money is withdrawn and it is never re-deposited in the banks. When you have that scenario or that situation where money is just being withdrawn and not being re-deposited, it means that it is not circulating. The circulation is inefficient and you cannot run the economy that way. Now, when we inquire into the reasons, it is actually boiling down to lack of trust and confidence. I want to say that, because of the recent changes in the new dispensation, I am informed that there has been some improvement.
People and businesses depositing their daily takings, so hopefully, we must continue inspiring each other so that confidence is restored and we run our economy in the normal way. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. MURWIRA: My question goes to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Chinamasa. We are using plastic money but the challenge that we face is that when we go to buy goods, owners of the shops want cash. What measures have you put in place to ensure that these people accept plastic money?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Let me say Madam
President that the future of any economy, and this includes the future of this economy is in the direction of electronic payments. Some of the challenges about cash shortages are assisting us to push and change the mindset of our people to accept transacting business through electronic and mobile transfers. As I speak to you, of the $97 billion transactions that were made last year 95/96% was electronic and the balance was through cash. Again indicating and illustrating the success of the movement towards settling claims of payment electronically.
I want to say whether you go to the USA, UK or India, that is the direction. In fact India basically abolished any cash transactions, insisting that transactions should be electronically. Why electronically? Because as we try to fight corruption, much of the corruption is promoted through usage of cash, people moving with suitcases of cash and so on to bribe people. When transactions are done electronically, there is a paper trail which inhibits those who would want to commit corruption. I do understand madam President that yes; there is a problem with some shops, but my own view is that those shops which are insisting on cash are losing business because you cannot transact in cash if the cash is not there and it is clearly not in their interest.
The information we have is that most businesses, including those at Siyaso are transacting business electronically through mobile and so on, including some places in remote areas. I want us to get into this frame of mind that yes, there will always be that portion of activities which will be transacted on a cash basis, but the bulk of transactions in the future are going to be electronic and the sooner we accept that, the better for our good health. I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President. I will refer my question to the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development in the absence of the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services. My question is in regards to what is happening in Hwange. What is the policy regarding the payment of permanent workers in Hwange, because we see that those who are contracted are paid but the permanent workers are not being paid monthly, like those on contract. What is happening to the children of the permanent workers who are not been paid? What is the Minister doing about that, because the contractors whom we can liken to small houses – the ‘small houses’ children eat because the husband, the Minister pays them while the permanent – the wife and her children are not being given any money. Why are the permanent workers not being paid while those on contract are receiving their wages?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I may not have the full
answer or be in a position to give a full answer, but what I know about Hwange Colliery Company is that the company has gone through financial difficulties for many years. It is true that through sub-economic activities taking place there and no production of coal; it has not been able to pay its workers for 3 – 4 years. So, it has a problem which I consider a legacy problem where for instance the company is overemploying. I think 3 000 workers where to do the work you need only 600 employees and it has not been able to take the necessary decisions to retrench. So, it has carried this burden which means it may never resolve the issue unless it gets to a position where it says we are cutting down on the workforce in order to remain with an efficient workforce which the company can sustain.
One of the challenges Hwange Colliery faces is also that it has moved away from its core business. Its core business is to mine coal and not to run a township, incur the responsibilities of providing accommodation, water, sewer charges and so on to a township of maybe around 5 000 – 6 000 people. That is not its core business. So, the policy of Government is basically to get to a position where we divest that social responsibility away from Hwange Colliery and vest it in a local authority which may need to be constituted. I think the Minister of Local Government and National Housing is looking into that matter. For as long as Hwange Colliery Company is responsible for none core undertakings, it will never be viable. If it is in the core, it should be viable and those are some of the things that make it unviable.
I also need to remind the Hon. Member that Hwange Colliery Company is a private company under the Companies Act; but that is besides the point. The question you raised about why employees of a contractor, I think they are subcontracting the mining of the coal and the workers are not being paid. I think precisely that - the coal is paid not by Hwange Colliery it is paid by ZPC who have got the thermo power stations.
I suspect in order to get the coal being delivered regularly; they pay direct to the contractor. I am only surmising, I am not saying that is the position. I suspect for Hwange Colliery to have coal, they must pay the contractor so that the contractor delivers to ZPC. For ZPC to ensure continuous supply of coal, it will need to be assured that the contractor’s workers are satisfied and that they continue to mine coal. I hope that I have somewhat tried to address the questions which were raised by the Hon. Senator. I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Minister, can you explain the process and duration taken when one reports a case to the Anti-Corruption Commission. Just to open up your mind, I have reported a case twice and I have never had a response one for close to a year now and the follow up close to two months. I am wondering if ever they even acknowledge receipt.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you very much Hon. Senator for the question seeking clarity to know the processes taken upon reporting a case to the Anti-Corruption
Commission. I will try to answer it by way of saying that the policy of
Government is that any case that is reported, be it to the police or AntiCorruption Commission, the investigations have to be expedited and the case put to finality and the person who reported should be advised within a reasonable time. However, the issue that the Hon. Senator is referring to is very specific to him, perhaps maybe if he can furnish me with details so that I can transmit them to the Anti-Corruption with a view of finding out why it took that long to respond to the complaint that he raised. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President. First and foremost Madam President, I have a concern over the Ministers - I am directing this to the Leader of Government business. We were expecting Ministers to be here, but we only have got three Ministers. You will find that the Ministers we have here are the ones who are consistently here I think by them being here all the times, most Hon. Senators do not have new questions to ask them because they are always here. I plead with you to whip the other Ministers to be in this august Senate during question time because this problem has been ongoing ever since. Sometimes we could even forego this question session just because maybe we will be having one Minister or a Deputy Minister which is not good – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] - I just thought maybe the two Houses are the same and should be treated the same.
I have a question also Leader of the House. Minister, we have some areas in Zimbabwe that have not even received the first rains and they are facing a serious drought. I do not know whether you have heard about that, and if you have heard anything, what is Government doing about that? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA) Yes, we are fully aware
Madam President that there are areas which have not received rainfall. In fact, I would say that throughout the period even after the bumper harvest, we continued to receive reports of areas which had not had adequate harvest or any harvest at all. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare continued to give support through food handouts. Those food handouts have continued up to this day and I want to say on Tuesday, we received a report from the Ministry of Labour with respect to the tonnage of maize that is being distributed to those areas where rains have not come or who have not had harvest where assistance is needed.
We have enough maize in stock to look after the welfare of our people. No one should starve, even as of now, are silos are full and
Treasury is doing all it can to make sure that no one will starve. So, the Hon. Member needs to give us specific areas and she can be invited to give these reports or to submit this to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, so that they know which areas may have been overlooked in the redistribution of food handouts. I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUBANE: Thank you Madam
President for recognizing me. I would want to direct my question to the
Minister of Finance and Economic Development. I want to find out from him when Government is going to pay the outstanding bonuses to civil servants? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I thought that I made it
clear Madam President that in my 2018 Budget statement that we will honour the commitment to pay bonus to civil servants. This will be staggered in the same way that we did last year. Also to remind Hon. Senators that we are paying the 2017 bonus in 2018 but these will be paid – I am not quite sure of the exact staggering dates, but clearly it will be paid in a staggered form in the same manner that we did last year. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NEBIRI: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, I want to find out what plans they have in place in terms of the Binga – Karoi Road. My request is that if the road cannot be tarred, gravel can be used because is the road that links us from here to Victoria Falls. I thank you. *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):
Thank you Madam President, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Nebiri for the question that he has raised. Madam President, the Ministry of Transport will only attend to road construction when it has received money from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Developing. Currently, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is experiencing financial challenges. As Members of Parliament, we are the ones who pass the budget and agree on the allocation to the Ministry in order to address the issue of road infrastructure.
This year, I went to Mashonaland West and I met Members of Parliament as well as those responsible for road infrastructure I informed them about the money that will be availed to them for construction of roads, but for the roads that remained, we informed them that we will continue to seek funding under the PPP programmes, even with those who are within the areas or the diasporians in order to fund these projects.
The road that he has mentioned is a very important road and currently, we are in the process of seeking partners to address that problem. With the current heavy rains, I know most roads have been affected, but I am sure that if we happen to get partners, we will be able to address the road that he is talking about. Hon. Chinamasa, who you see here is actually trying hard to get resources in order to address our road network, but like I said, we will also try to get partners to address the challenges of roads.
*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you
Minister. This is Hon. Dr. Gumbo, Minister of Transport and
Infrastructural Development. We have Hon. Bimha, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development. So, the Ministers are increasing in number.
HON. SEN. MUSAKA: I thank you Madam President. My
question goes to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural
Development, Hon. Dr. Joram Gumbo. I wanted to ask about roads, but
I think he has given an answer. I would then want to give a proposal to him regarding the Kadoma-Sanyati-Nembudziya Road. It has just been neglected.
Sometime last year, the Minister said it had no takers when he had put on tender all the roads; that one could not have a taker and it is quite a deplorable road. I would suggest that all the money that ZINARA gives to the Rural District Councils, you go into some kind of stage theory development - take from Kadoma itself or Chakari to somewhere in Milverton. He knows what I am talking about. You may not know about it. That is about a distance of maybe 40km. Tar it with that money instead of giving it to the Rural District Council. They go all the way just heaping up gravel and when the rains come, just the whole thing is washed away. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):
Thank you Madam President and thank you Hon. Senator. I thank you for the advice. I will follow it up because I think he is giving me very good advice and suggestion that the road should be reallocated to some other authority other than the Rural District Council which is the responsible authority for now. Madam President, it is a specific road and it would have been better for me if the Hon. Member would have put it in writing so that I would have known who actually the responsible authority is and why they have failed to perform.
There is mention about ZINARA. ZINARA is a road funder and for now they have already given allocations to all road authorities, otherwise I would have known exactly who to target before coming to give you a satisfactory answer. Right now, I could just be waffling because it is a specific issue. It is not really like a kind of policy issue, but I still accept the question. I think we can do justice if you can put it in writing, state what the problems are so that I can bring a proper answer to your satisfaction. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE: Thank you Madam President.
My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. I think it is three years now since we passed the Sovereign and Wealth Fund and is there anything in the Sovereign Wealth Fund?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): It is true that yes, we did pass the legislation to set up a Sovereign Wealth Fund, but if the Hon. Member will recall the funds to go into the Sovereign Wealth Fund were to come from royalties on minerals and also maybe through subversions from the National Budget. Given the fact that we are living from hand to mouth, as I have already explained, clearly, there is no scope as of now, no capacity to mobilise any resources that can be deposited into the Sovereign Wealth Fund. So, the short answer is that there are no funds yet into the Sovereign Wealth Fund. Yes, a body has been appointed preparatory to a growing economy which will then be able to make it possible for resources to flow into the Sovereign Wealth Fund, but of now that is not possible. I thank you Hon. President.
HON. SEN. BUKA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi. What measures have you put in place to prevent child marriages so as to protect the girl child? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam President. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question and state that processes are underway to ensure that we bring a Marriages Bill into Parliament. I am aware that Parliament, through the SADC Parliamentary Forum, has conducted public hearings on this matter and their recommendations are going to be taken on board. So yes, definitely something is being done. A Bill is being crafted to ensure that we take care of these issues. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MARAVA: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the Hon. Minister of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development, Minister Bimha. Minister, there has been talk about ZISCO Steel and it has been mentioned in the 100 Day National Plan of resuscitating industry and commerce and it was going to help a lot in the nation, particularly Bulawayo industries. May you tell the nation how far you have gone with the resuscitation of Zisco industries since it is the provider of raw materials nationwide and in the southern region?
THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY, COMMERCE AND ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. BIMHA): I would like
to thank the Hon. Member for a question which I think is very important to all of us, the reason being that steel processing or steel making can be used as a barometer for any country’s industrialisation. If you have a vibrant steel making industry, chances are that you will also have a vibrant manufacturing industry but more importantly, it is not just the employment creation, the production of goods from Zisco that we cherish but it is more of its impact on downstream industries.
It is true that there has been a lot of talk and I want to mention Madam President, that in the past it is because of that too much talk that there was no progress. When you have huge projects like Zisco, you have to be cautious on how often you talk about it and what you say about it. This is because these are sensitive investments and therefore, sometimes what we say in public might also make the investor to feel uncomfortable.
As a result of that, for the past few months, we have tried to continue discussing with the investor without making noise about it, but not having made that noise does not mean that nothing was happening. So, I think to give you comfort, what I can say is that we are very close to seeing the fruition of that investment. You are right that it is on our 100 day programme. In terms of finalising the implementation modalities, there are certain conditions which we call conditions precedence that we have to fulfill in order to realise this investment, things that we as a Government must do first before the investor comes on board.
I would like to say to you that all these conditions precedence have been fulfilled. The first one was that the investor wanted the project to be declared a national project status and that has been done. There was also need to declare steel processing as a special economic zone and that has been done. The third aspect was for Government to assume the Zisco debt and I would like to say that this is now under way. It is in the process. There are few areas that we still have to finalise. In other words, we are discussing with the Ministry of Mines to identify the areas where the investor will get his call and areas that he will get the other much needed raw materials and that process is underway. We do not see any problems as we move forward.
We believe that by the end of the 100 days, we will have finalised the implementation modalities and already, there are people going to Zisco time and again, engineers going time and again to make their assessments to plan in terms of going into the future. So, I am very confident that as we go forward, we will realise the fruition of this very huge investment which has got a bearing in terms of our own industry. We import a lot of steel products at the moment and once this project is on stream, we will not be importing. Therefore, we will make savings.
Over and above that, if Zisco comes on stream, we will be able to produce more than what we require and therefore, the surplus will also be available for exports, and also generating the much needed forex.
More importantly, which is different from what Zisco used to produce, Zisco at its time used to produce what is called long products and the new arrangement with the new investor is that we go beyond the long products. We will now be producing what are called the flat products which we are importing at the moment.
So what is important is that we will go beyond that and go to the tail end of the value chain where we will be producing stainless steel. What will come out of this project is better than what used to be and more beneficial to the country in terms of forex, employment generation and feeding into other industries in Midlands, Matabeleland as well as in other areas of the country. I thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: Minister, you brought in Statutory Instrument 64 and we were excited about it. Now, we realise that the prices are going up every day and we are beginning to notice shortages. Can you enlighten us where we stand because we thought Buy Zimbabwe and Statutory Instrument 64 will balance the situation? I thank you.
* THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY, COMMERCE AND ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. BIMHA): Thank you
Madam President. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question that he raised. We have two things - the SI 64 and the issue of prices. These two issues are different. I will explain how they are different. There was a time because of the challenges that we faced in our economy, we got to a point of buying everything from outside the country. We were importing and we got to a point of importing mineral water from South Africa as if we cannot produce our own mineral water. We got to a point of buying everything now and again. To others, it was a source of income as it was business and yet we can produce some of these products.
So, in importing from South Africa, we were exporting jobs. As a
Government, we realised the need to come up with the Statutory Instrument to try and protect the industries that are producing products in Zimbabwe. We did not ban importation but we said that what we are producing should not be imported. We took up a few products that we knew we could not produce, but most of the things we were importing from outside especially South Africa. When people made noise in South Africa, we went there and talked to them to say that these are only a few products that we are no longer buying but we are only talking of few products and yet we are buying the bulk of the products from you.
As a Government, they admitted that they saw the logic of why we were doing that but those were the problems with the industrialists especially those who had migrated to South Africa who wanted to buy goods there and sent home. Madam President, SI 65 assisted us a lot. There are figures to support how SI 64 has brought in positive developments. There are companies that have come up because of SI 64. There are companies in South Africa that were selling things in Africa, so when they realised that we were shutting them out, they decided to come and invest in Zimbabwe. As they came in, they set up companies such as Willodon in Mutare. They used to bring in cooking oil such as delite, so through, SI 64, delite cooking oil was no longer coming in, so they came and set up their company in Mutare. That company is already operational and they are producing cooking oil, soap and margarine. Now, they are importing to other neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and it is bringing in foreign currency.
Madam Speaker, we have a company that was in Mozambique producing powdered soap. Boom was being imported from Zambia but through SI 64, owners of the companies decided to come and set up a company here in Zimbabwe. So, they have set up and they are waiting to open their company. They are now producing boom in Zimbabwe. So that SI 64 has attracted investors. What it means is that those who were producing here are now experiencing competition and need to be competitive as well. That also assists in the sense that whatever they are producing can now be exported and brings in forex which is what Hon.
Chinamasa wants as well as the Reserve Bank Governor, Dr. Mangudya.
Madam Speaker, in September, there are people who spread rumours that there is a shortage of forex, so prices will go up. When a person hears such news, what you do is that you run to the nearest shop. If you used to buy one bar of soap, you will end up hoarding because you have been told that there will be shortages and this resulted in panic buying. What it means is that if you come to my shop with high demand of that product, I will raise the prices. So, the question of demand and supply is the one that caused price hikes. Others took advantage of the situation and started hiking prices even of non-basic commodities. So, these have nothing to do with SI 64. Despite that, measures were put in place to address these issues, prices then started going down. So, we engaged industrialists and they explained to us on why their prices were high. After that, we realised that prices started going down.
Madam President, in other areas, prices were going up because of the cost of production and the Government reduced the price of fuel. So, after that, most industrialists reduced the price of their goods. We are continuously monitoring the situation and have a branch called National Competitive Commission. Their mandate is to go sector by sector. Those in soap production and other goods want to find ways of pricing different products. They want to look at the cost of production and also the going price on the market and they will determine whether the price on the market is justifiable. So, now they are coming to us on their own and informing us that because you have reduced the price of fuel, we want to reduce our prices. So, they are reducing prices but there are other people who are unscrupulous; unscrupulous elements are found everywhere. When others are reducing, others are hiking their prices. So, we requested that the different sectors should put their prices in the paper so that if they are into mealie meal production, they will give us their wholesale price and their retail price so that the consumers are aware of the prices. If the prices are high, they can go and report such unscrupulous means. Others were accusing each other because there are people who order at wholesale price and go and sale at retail price. Sometimes you find the price of a commodity has gone up, then if you go to the wholesaler, you find that the wholesaler has not raised the price but the retailer will have increased the price. So when people see the price hikes, they think that it is the producer who has hiked the prices but it is not the producer but the shop that is in your area.
So, we need to monitor and see how the producer is doing it and at what cost and also the price of the retailer for us to see who is the culprit because if we do not do that, you will paint everyone the same way. So the issue of engaging them to understand how the pricing system is going helps us to see the culprits. We do not want others to be punished for unlawful dealings of other people. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Madam President, I propose that time for Quesitons Without Notice be extended by ten minutes.
HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I second.
HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Madam President, I want to find out where people can go and report because there are other people who sell expired goods, how do we work with the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY, COMMERCE AND ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. BIMHA): I want to
thank the Hon. Senator for the question. I like your question because in the next few days, if all goes well, you will be debating the Consumer
Protection Bill. Currently, we have the Consumer Council. Consumer Council is a toothless bulldog. Consumer Council can monitor what is happening but there is not much that they can do about it. All they can do is to bring a report to say that they went to such a place and the status of the prices is this but they cannot do much about it. So, we are bringing in a Bill that will give the Consumer Council power. Most of the things we will not be doing because it will be done by the Consumer Council. I do not want to say much about it because that is why you are here. You are the ones who are going to debate that Bill and, it will empower the Consumer Council. In other countries, the Consumer Council actually gives rulings on the issue of prices. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI: I will be brief Madam
President. The Minister said that we should not say a lot of things on ZISCO Steel. ZISCO Steel cannot operate without the Railways. For us to have confidence that ZISCO Steel will operate very soon, the
Railways is facing challenges and Sables is also facing challenges. Those are the companies that enable ZISCO to operate. ZESA is also facing challenges but the Minister said very soon, it will be operating.
So, I need to have confidence and tell people that get prepared.
HON. DR. BIMHA: Thank you Madam President. I want to
thank the Hon. Chief for the question. Just to clarify one thing. I did not say that in 100 days, ZISCO will be operating. It is not that we will be producing steel. We said, we will finalise the implementation matrix so that they can start operating. Now, you are very right that for ZISCO to operate, you need a vibrant transport system and I am very happy that the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development is here and he is actually ahead of us because I am sure that by the time that we operate, the railway system will be up and running.
The new investor does not need Sables. Sable Chemicals was supplying oxygen to ZISCO. The current investor will put his own captive plant that will supply the power for his plant. In addition, the investor will also be utilising our coal resources to put up his generating capacity to provide power to ZISCO and additional surplus power to the national grid. Now, those are the issues that we are discussing at the moment to ensure that we are ready for this investment and all the various Ministries and departments are very supportive of this investment. Therefore, I see no problem in getting the support from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Ministry of Energy and Power Development and even the Ministry of Water. I thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: Thank you Madam President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Chinamasa because he is the one I engaged before on the issue of schedules on fines, when you scrapped off the $100 that was suggested in the National Assembly. I raise this because what we are doing as drivers is that we are proceeding when traffic lights are red. When we stop and respect the road regulations, a vehicle can come from the other side and neglect the stop sign. Our request is that, you look into the schedule of fines because, I think that we need deterrent fines to ensure that this behaviour does not persist than to let people do whatever they want on the roads. I thank you Madam President.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I thank the Hon. Member
for his question but, I thought that there are two aspects to the problem of drivers driving through a red robot. Firstly, there is no one to arrest them. Generally, these incidences happen late into the night. But anyway the long and short of it is that there are no people to arrest them as of now. I have been in situations where I come across drivers, certainly maybe to my side, who will just pass through and I remain standing but I also see that there is no policeman around to follow up and chase that offending driver.
The other aspect of your question of course is the question of fines. I am not sure that going through a red robot does not attract a fine. They still do. But, I think that the first question is, let us get the people
arrested first before we can even worry about whether the fine is heavy or light. Currently, they are not being arrested and I think that is a matter which Madam President, I will certainly refer to the Minister of Home Affairs so that it can be attended to. I think that we have now got into a situation of impunity from arrests; we commit crimes especially of that nature without any regard to whether or not the law will take its own course. So, I will refer that matter to the Minister of Home Affairs.
HON. SEN. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President. In other
countries, they put cameras so that you do not have the police every time. You have cameras so that those people can be followed even if it is at night or during the day. The people who pass when the robot lights are red – why not install cameras?
HON. CHINAMASA: I agree with the Hon. Senator that the
installation of cameras is the way to go but technologically, we are not yet there and I do recall that at some point in time, cameras were put but there were no resources to maintain and sustain them. When you have a system like cameras, you need to have resources to maintain and sustain, and always upgrade the technology. That, I think we do not have. When you read about other countries like the United States, any crime which is committed on the streets is captured on camera and the police are able to follow up afterwards. I think technologically we are not yet there. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I think the Ministers are performing
well, though they are very few. I would appreciate if all of them would come. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and
Infrastructural Development. Firstly, allow me to thank him for the work that he is doing and also for the measures that he has taken with the Vehicle Inspection Department to reduce corruption. We heard there are wagons, coaches and locomotives that came in. May you continue to do this in this new dispensation.
My question is on ZINARA, the funds that you give to the local authorities. My council is one of those that failed to utilise the funds.
May you enlighten us on the operational policies that govern the use of the money that actually call for the money to be returned when the year comes to an end? I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mumvuri for the question that he raised for me to enlighten in short on the funds that are availed by ZINARA. It is true that Zimbabwe avails money to road authorities, four of them which are the urban areas, DDF for rural set ups as well as rural district councils and the department of roads that addresses the local road network. These four branches are given a budget like what Minister Chinamasa does. What we do at the beginning of the year is to ensure that a particular rural district council gets so much. For example and which is a reality, all rural district councils which are 60 in the nation, each council will be availed $500 000 and above.
So, when I went on tours to those areas I informed them that if they utilised these funds in the councils that they reside in and use the money properly, they would be able to finish all the roads. We are aware of what will be taking place. We will have made adequate calculations. The challenge with rural district councils is that when they are availed funds, they do not know what to do or they know what to do but it seems like there are some obstacles or disagreements that happen. They are supposed to resurface the roads. The road engineer as well as the person who will have done the job signs for these so that we are satisfied that the road has been well done. Once they do that, they send the documentation to ZINARA and ZINARA pays the funds.
The challenge that we have experienced with some councils is that they have engineers that are not qualified so nothing is taking place or where there are CEOs that do not know how to do their job. Some councils when they get the money, they virement the funds and pay salaries, and challenges are faced because they cannot come to us because there is no certificate that shows that the roads have been worked on. There is what is called an acquittal which means that they should acquit money that they have used after disbursements.
We told them that if they do not have engineers, they should use our provincial road engineers or those from DDF, because at the end of the day, all roads are the mandate of the Department of Transport. So at the end of the day what we want is for those branches to utilise money as stipulated. Thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
2016 BUDGET SUCCESSES AND FAILURES
- HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Finance and
Economic Development to inform the House;
- The success and failures of the 2016 budget;
- How through the 2016 Budget the Ministry has managed to economically empower people with disabilities.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): The expenditure policy
thrust embraced by the National Budget for 2016 sought to the share of resources that support ZIM ASSET development programmes and improve delivery of services through the reduction of commitments from the Public Service Commission wage bill. Budget expenditures for 2016 amounted to $4, 909 billion against planned expenditures of $4 billion.
Madam President, with respect to the performance of the 2016
Budget, Hon. Members will recall that my Ministry presented the Annual Budget Review Statement on Thursday, 20th July, 2017 which sought to update Members and the general public on the performance of the 2016 Budget. The statement highlighted the major achievements during 2016 as well as the challenges that we faced. Allow me Madam President therefore to summarise the major achievements which were attained in the implementation of the 2016 Budget.
In agriculture, in collaboration with the private sector Government mobilised resources of over $1 billion in support of the 2016/2017 summer cropping season which, together with the good rains ensured strong recovery of agriculture which registered 21,6% growth. Maize production was above the $2 million metric tonnes with 1, 127 metric tonnes having been delivered to GMB as at that time ensuring that the nation has adequate food security.
In the area of mining, despite low international prices the mining sector realised output gains across most minerals with overall growth of 8,2% with exception of coal and diamonds.
In the area of manufacturing, Government through interventions through Statutory 64 of 2016, coupled with the exporting incentive scheme by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, all in support of Domestic Value Addition, contributed towards the revival of the manufacturing sector and resulted in capacity utilisation improving from 34.3% in 2015 to 47.4% in 2016.
Mr. President Sir, despite the limited 2016 budget capacity towards funding of infrastructure projects, Government was able to channel a total of US$403,9m towards infrastructure development projects resulting in the completion of some of our major projects. The TokweMukorsi Dam, the largest inland dam was completed in December 2016 and was commissioned by the former President on 18th May 2017. This has potential to transform the social and economic landscape of Masvingo Province, given the vast irrigation as well as tourism potential.
Furthermore, 2016 saw the commissioning of the Victoria Falls Airport on 18 November, 2016 following extensive upgrading resulting in improved destination connectivity and hence giving impetus and scope for more flights to the resort town. The Rural Electrification Programme continues to make strides in extending coverage in rural areas thereby promoting empowerment of rural communities. During 2016, US$18.2m was disbursed from the Rural Electrification Fund, allowing 413 public institutions and household projects to be completed.
Mr. President, Sir, in terms of the provisions of the Disabled Persons Act of 1992, the welfare and rehabilitation of disabled persons is catered for through various programmes which are funded by Treasury. In this regard, the 2016 budget had a provision of US$16.2m which targeted supporting the vulnerable groups, including the disabled persons. The programmes included Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM), Drought Mitigation, Health Assistance and Support to Government Institutions. On BEAM Mr. President Sir, the 2016 BEAM programme, under this programme a total expenditure of US$1.5m was incurred in support of examination fees for 18 021 children which included the disabled who set for both ordinary and advanced examinations throughout the country.
In 2017, US$8m so far has been disbursed out of a budget provision of US$10m. On drought mitigation US$3,8m was spent under the food deficit mitigation strategy by Government for grain transportation from Grain Marketing Board depots to the distribution centre. Grain distribution was extended to 852 000 households which were affected by Elnino in 2015-2016 season. Invariably, this benefited such interest groups as the elderly and disabled in giving access to grain collection.
On health assistance and support to the disabled persons,. in 2016, an amount of US$100 000 was incurred for the health assistance programme which targets to support medical expenses for economically disadvantaged members of our society. However, Mr. President Sir, the Hon. Senators will be delighted to note that disabled persons in our society are benefiting from the 2017 budget on which Treasury has so far disbursed US$700 000. We have faced some challenges in budget implementation during 2016.
Mr. President Sir, despite efforts to grow the share of resources that support ZIM ASSET development programmes and service delivery, wage expenditures have been accounting for overall 91.7% of overall budget expenditures and revenues respectively in 2016. The limited fiscal space, coupled with liquidity and foreign currency shortages have affected budget performance as most projects and programmes could not receive resources in accordance with cashflow plans and programme of works. Resultantly, there has been marked increase in domestic debt characterized by financing through Treasury Bills and recourse to Central Bank overdraft funding. There have been attendant challenges such as cash and related adversely affected economic performance.
Cabinet has since directed Government ministries and departments to immediately adopt expenditure cost cutting measures and improved revenue generation. We should assist in restoring fiscal deficit to sustainable levels. I thank you Mr. President.
BENEFITS REALISED FROM THE CHINESE RESIDENT IN THE COUNTRY
- HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the House what benefits the nation has realised from the Chinese people who are in business in the country?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. President Sir, I am not sure that this question comes under the purview of my Ministry, especially so where it is not specific which business Chinese people are in. What I know is that our engagement with the People’s Republic of China has been through loan financing of our infrastructure projects such as the Kariba South Extension which as the Hon. Senate will know, the first phase was completed in December last year - now contributing 150 megawatts to the national grid. The second phase will be completed by end of March this year, and will contribute a further 150 megawatts to the national grid.
I am also aware of various loan facilities which have been extended in Harare for instance, to upgrade the Morton Jaffray water works, it is again loan financing and they are various loan facilities which we are enjoying through the generosity of the People’s Republic of China, in particular the China Exim Bank. Unless specific businesses are outlined, I will not be in a position to give an answer that will turn out to be too generalised. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
Questions With Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.
BUSINES OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. President Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 9 on the Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 10 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
APPOINTMENT OF AUDITOR GENERAL
THE MINSTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. President, I rise to move the motion standing in my name;
THAT WHEREAS, Section 310 (1) of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe provides that an Auditor General is appointed by the
President with the approval of Parliament;
AND WHEREAS Section 340 (1) (a) of the Constitution provides the President with the power to reappoint a Public Office holder into such office;
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of the aforementioned Section 310
(1) of the Constitution, this House resolves and approves that Mrs.
Mildred Chiri be appointed Auditor-General of the Republic of Zimbabwe for a further term in office effective from 25th February, 2017.
Mr. President Sir, the Hon. Members of this august House are already familiar with the good work Mrs. Chiri has carried out to date and throughout her incumbency, but it is for the sake of completeness that I shall proceed to highlight a few of her qualifications and achievements that support her reappointment into office.
Mrs. Chiri obtained a Bachelor of Accountancy Degree from the
University of Zimbabwe in 1983 and thereafter, undertook a course on
Public Finance and Accounting from the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy also from the University of Zimbabwe and this she did in 1985. She then qualified as articled clerk after enrolling with the Institute of Chartered Accountants where she completed serving her articles over the period 1999 to 2002. In 2015, she obtained her Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and became a certified Public Accountant in Zimbabwe. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Business Administration Degree with the National University of Science and Technology (NUST).
In 2014, Mrs. Chiri was appointed Comptroller and AuditorGeneral as it was known then, whereupon through her leadership that office was able to bring up to date the audits of annual financial statements of Government which were in arrears by as much as five years at that time - a considerable achievement in its own right. Mr. President Sir, to this very day, the Auditor-General’s Office remains up to date with its annual audit reports of central Government, financial institutions and parastatals. Hon. Senators will recall that the reports for the December 2016 financial year end were tabled in Parliament on June 21, 2017 beating the deadline of June 30th.
Mrs. Chiri has been pivotal in the development of the Audit Office Act Chapter 22:18 which was passed in Parliament in 2011 which saw that department restructure and this led to improved operational efficiencies. Recently, she has developed a three year strategic plan for the office spanning from 2016 to 2018 which aims at strengthening the office in particular areas which are:-
- Enhancement of the independence of the institution through appropriate modifications of the legal framework.
- Organisational structure and institutional governance.
- Development of human resources, audit standards and methodology.
- Communication strategies and stakeholder management.
Mr. President Sir, the areas I have just referred to are domains or indicators set by the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institution, an association of English speaking Auditor General’s offices, also known as Supreme Audit Institutions, against which all 23 countries in that sub-group are measured against.
Additionally, Mr. President Sir, Mrs. Chiri has spearheaded the professionalisation of the Audit office by engaging consultants to conduct training of articled clerks since 2010 and there are now three fully qualified Chartered Accountants in that department.
Furthermore Mr. President Sir, under her leadership, 45 members of staff have registered with the association of Chartered Certified Accountants or ACCA and the office is assisting with tuition fees for their studies. Several of them are now fully qualified of that institution.
The Audit office is also sponsoring its staff to study at the Certified
Institute of Public Accountants. As well as being the immediate Vice President of the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions sub regional grouping, Mrs. Chiri is the past Chair of the Southern African Development Community SADC Board of Auditors comprising Zimbabwe, Botswana and Malawi. Her office headed the audit function for three years, whereupon she handed over to the succeeding board of Auditors in Ferbruary 2010. Mrs. Chiri is a board member representing developing countries of International Organisation of Supreme Audit
Institutions Development Initiative, a training arm of all AuditorGeneral’s offices based in Oslow, Norway.
In conclusion, Mr. President Sir, it is clear that Mrs. Chiri has been a pivotal figure in the public sector of Zimbabwe and an effective Auditor-General to date. To this end, I am therefore moving that this august House approves her reappointment as Auditor General for a further term of six years effective from 25 February, 2017. I so submit, Mr. President Sir.
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Mr. President, I have got four points to make. The first point – I want to congratulate the Minister on both his presentation and his decision to recommend her for the reappointment. I say to the Minister – congratulations. I say to the Auditor-General - congratulations.
The second point I want to raise is not as nice as the first point. I want to ask the Minister why the Executive ever contemplated appointing somebody in her place when she is doing such a sterling job which everyone sees. Third point - I want to challenge us not to demotivate her and her office as an institution by actioning her recommendations. By institution, I am talking about Government and Parliament, actioning her recommendations and observations. My last point is that, I would prefer a situation in future where both the National Assembly and the Senate took her reports seriously, tabled them, debated them and followed up with questions on the Executive as to the level of implementation of those recommendations. Thank you Mr.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUBANE: Thank you Mr. President.
I rise to support the motion brought by the Minister of Finance and
Economic Development. I am in total agreement that the Auditor General should be reappointed. Firstly, she has the right credentials, academic qualifications and she also has the right experience. I would want to challenge the Executive Mr. President. Her work will never be complete if the recommendations from her office are taken seriously and applied. With those few words, I rise to support her appointment.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: Thank you Mr. President. I also rise on a similar note to congratulate the Minister of Finance for bringing this motion in this august House. I will not want to say it was long overdue but we were all wondering what was happening when it was mooted that a certain Mr. Ndudzo was coming to replace Mrs. Chiri. We were all disappointed. This good news of you Hon. Minister coming back, having changed your mind and came up with a name in the Lower House; we were also not pleased about that one. We want to honour your action of rescinding the appointment of Mr. Ndudzo.
Mr. President, I stand up to support her reappointment, not that she is a woman but that Mildred Chiri deserves the reappointment purely based on her competence and qualifications as outlined. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]- Her reports to this Parliament over the years have been comprehensive and very informative with clear recommendations to the Executive to implement what she wanted done in certain sector Ministries pointed here and there over employment and so forth to complement the work of the Executive.
The person we are talking about here takes a professional approach to her work and that is second to none. That is why we were wondering why replacing her at this time. I could see no reason why she was being replaced. My question is - the Minister informed us whether formally or informally that he approached Mrs. Chiri to continue but at one time she refused. What made her to change her mind now and then take up the post of being the Auditor General at this point in time? The nation might want to know the circumstances which had led to that situation. Thank you very much and I want to support this fully that she be the Auditor General.
*HON. SEN. BUKA: Thank you Mr. President. I stood up to support the reappointment of the Auditor General to do her job. She is developing herself educationally so that she performs her duties efficiently. In terms of her education and qualifications, she has excellent academic credentials. For her, the sky is the limit as she continues to academically empower herself. As a result of this, she is an asset that we need as she is professional and knowledgeable on delivering her mandate.
Secondly, I support her reappointment because we have been informed of her sterling job that when she first assumed office, there was a backlog of five years work. In a short space of time, she worked hard and made sure that everything was up to date in terms of reports. This is only possible from individuals who are willing to go an extra mile, a person who is hard working and excellent at her job and not a casual employee who is not result oriented.
Such individuals like her are what we need in the current Zimbabwe, under the new dispensation in order to achieve results and develop the nation. The AG is not only after professionally and academically empowering herself but also ensures that there is staff development of her officers which will ensure effectiveness and efficiency in the AG’s office. She has done a lot of programmes for her subordinates to also rise through the ranks. She has strong leadership qualities as evidenced by the way she leads and we need to value her because she is an asset. We must protect her for Zimbabwe to develop.
I also heard that she holds a position at regional level under SADC and also internationally. This shows that she is not only lifting the Zimbabwe flag high but the region and the world as a whole. Under this current dispensation which is aimed at economic recovery, if we do not value her and allow her to work, we are not doing justice.
In my opinion, she is a woman who has done very well and should be encouraged and protected. If she had at one time resigned, may be because she had been threatened as a result of exposing certain departments or individuals, we want you to look into the issue of how she can be protected to ensure that she executes her mandate in honesty as is expected of her without fear and intimidation. I want to thank the Minister and my request is that you protect this woman. As women, we feel proud that we have one of our own who has raised the flag of women in terms of working hard and being efficient and effective. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MUSAKA: Thank you Mr. President. I also wish to
join colleagues in thanking the Minister for bringing this Bill. I also want to express approval for the reappointment. There is a general disappointment that is going on at ZIMRA. It took me four months to produce a tax clearance certificate and I am quite disappointed that she has all these qualifications but the performance there does not deserve all these qualifications. May be, it is not her – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.]- Protect me Mr. President. This is the point of this House, let me say it. May be it is not her fault. It is either the instruments are not there but quite frankly, I was not impressed given the fact that she has such impressive qualifications – four months to produce a tax clearance certificate.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: The
Minister will answer but that is not her department. Her department is auditing not certificates of taxes. You can continue.
HON. SEN. MUSAKA: Alright, can I conclude Mr. President.
Can I conclude Mr. President?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. President, I think
Hon. Members have made contributions all in support of her reappointment. I think that Hon. Sen. Sibanda as well as other Hon. Senators who contributed are making reference to problems that we encountered when we were seeking her reappointment. They were not of the Minister of Finance’s making or Government or the Executive. What I need to point out is that Mrs. Chiri served in this position for 12 years, from 2004 to 2016. I sought then the former President to extend her term for another one year while she was thinking and considering whether she would want to continue because we did not have suitable candidates for this position. So, I begged her to remain.
Mr. President, about this time last year, I called her to my office and asked her to take up the position because although she had served 12 years, the new Constitution now limits it to two terms but did not apply to her for the twelve years because that was before the Constitution came into effect. So, I asked her to take up the post for another term of six years. I spent three hours with her trying to persuade her to take that position. She said, yes, then she left and sent me a text message to say she has reconsidered the matter, she is not taking up the offer. She followed it up by a letter to say she is not taking that position. It is only then that I then went out to look for other candidates. It was never at anytime the intention of the Executive not to reappoint her. We are very happy with her performance and in fact through her reports, it has helped us to improve our own internal systems, not just within the central Government but also in parastatals.
Madam President, it helped us to set up a very strong Accountant General’s Department now; recruit someone professionally from one of the accounting firms to head that Department. We have now set up under the Accountant General’s Department, three units. One of the units is dedicated to reading her reports, following up and making sure that any malpractice she has pointed out is rectified and corrected and systems are put in place.
Another unit is dedicated to reading all financial statements of parastatals, local authorities in order to determine their performance and also to see whether or not they are coming up to international best practice. We are in the process of setting up internal audit departments in line Ministries who would report to the Internal Auditor in the Ministry of Finance, all this coming from the reports that she has been submitting.
We treasure these comments because it helps us to understand the shortcomings of our systems. It also gives us opportunity to put in systems so that in future, her reports will be less and less critical of the way we run our finances. So, I want to put to rest any notion that we were opposed to her reappointment. It was basically her own decision, and in fact when she later changed, I believe that when the matter came up, and I explained the situation as I am doing, women Parliamentarians went to talk to her basically to say she was letting the cause of women down. It was through that persuasion that she changed her mind. But I insisted this time that she should again put it in writing and she did. So, it is on that basis that I am submitting her name for reappointment and I so move.
Clearly, she qualifies, there is no doubt. She has done commendable work. She has got the experience and also she has the integrity to be able to do this work. We are not appointing her because she is a woman. Like I said, there was some delay because it is very difficult to find suitable persons in this position. So, it took us another year, basically to scout around and I was quite hopeful that she would accept but at that time of course, she did not accept. So, there was no question about rescinding her appointment in favour of Ndudzo. That was the case.
Hon. Sen. Musaka, you are completely out of order. The subject matter for discussion is Auditor-General’s Office and not ZIMRA but I want to invite you because I can feel the desperation within you about the way you have been treated by ZIMRA. If you could make a written complain to me I can take it up with ZIMRA so that whatever problem you have can be sorted out. I thank you Mr. President.
I so move that this House approves her reappointment for six years effective from 25th February, 2017.
Motion THAT WHEREAS, Section 310 (1) of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe provides that an Auditor-General is appointed by the
President with the approval of Parliament;
AND WHEREAS, Section 340 (1) (a) of the Constitution provides the President with the power to reappoint a Public Office holder into such office;
NOW THEREFORE, in terms of the aforementioned Section 310
(1) of the Constitution, this House resolves and approves that Mrs.
Mildred Chiri be appointed Auditor–General of the Republic of
Zimbabwe for a further term in office effective from the 25th of
February 2017 – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] - put and adopted.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that
Orders of the Day, Numbers 11 to 13 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 14 has been disposed of.
ESTATES ADMINISTRATORS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 8A,
Fourteenth Order read: Estate Administrators Amendment Bill [H. B. 8A, 2016].
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.
President. Mr. President, I bring before this House the Estates Administrators Amendment Bill [H. B. 8A, 2016]. This Bill basically Mr. President is to ensure the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.
HON. SEN. NCUBE: On a point of order Hon. President. Thank you Hon. President Sir. I do not remember in this House when this Bill was read. I do not know whether I was absent from the House.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I understand that it was circulated. Hon. Minister, proceed.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. President Sir. Like I was saying, Government’s role in relation to the creation of a conducive and viable business environment and the effective, efficient and fair administration of justice is beyond question. The nation’s thrust towards economic growth through the ease of doing business initiative is firmly anchored on an efficient justice delivery system in so far as the resolution of commercial and business matters is concerned.
Government is therefore fully committed towards the creation of a sound and robust legal framework which is essential for the establishment of a conducive and productive business environment. There is therefore no doubt that if our legislative framework equips the courts to handle business cases expeditiously, the country’s economic recovery and growth agenda will become achievable. In the whole, our economic goals as enunciated in the economic blue print ZIM ASSET, will be realised.
Mr. President Sir, there is a consensus that the resolution of insolvency cases is one of the key factors crucial to effective and efficient running of business enterprises. Be that as it may, the current legislation governing the resolution of insolvency cases is fragmented and scattered in several pieces of legislation. There is, also, duplication of duties between the Council of Estate Administrators and the Master of the High Court, thereby prolonging the process of resolving insolvency matters.
These short comings which adversely affect the ease of doing business in the country, therefore necessitated the crafting of the Estates
Administrators Amendment Bill of 2016, which seeks to amend the Estate Administrators Amendment Bill of 2016, which seeks to amend the Estate Administrators Act [Chapter 7:20].
Mr. President Sir, this now brings me to the contents of the Bill before Hon. Members.
Clauses 5 and 7 seek to amend the principal Act by broadening the scope of the application of the Act to include an Insolvency
Practitioner in relation to the register kept by the Council of Estate Administrators and prohibition of practicing without a practicing certificate respectively.
In addition to the register of Estate Administrators, the Council shall establish and maintain a register of Insolvency Practitioners. This is in keeping with the broad amendments to the Act which seek to include insolvency practitioners under its ambit. Similarly, as is the case with the Estate Administrators, Insolvency Practitioners will be prohibited from performing insolvency work except with a valid practicing certificate.
Madam President, Clause 6 seeks to insert a new part to the
Principal Act, to provide for the registration and de-registration of Insolvency Practitioners. The new part also seeks to provide new qualifications for Insolvency Practitioners. In terms of the new provisions, the Council shall establish and maintain a register to be known as the Register of Insolvency Practitioners. This register shall contain the details of registered Insolvency Practitioners in the country. This will enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency since all registered insolvency practitioners in the country will appear in the register.
Mr. President Sir, in order to enhance efficiency and accountability, the Register of Insolvency shall be open to the public. Any interested person can inspect the regtister and if they so desire, make copies thereof. Further, the Secretary of the Council shall provide the Master of the High Court with a copy of the Register of insolvency practitioners every year. This will improve the administration of justice and effective functioning of the courts, given the role of the courts in insolvency matters.
Mr. President Sir, the new provisions seek to ensure that the insolvency practitioners are people of a high professional standard. Such professionals as registered legal practitioners, registered accountants and auditors and members of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe are specified as eligible for provisional registration as insolvency practitioners. These requirements for final registration as set out in the new provisions will ensure the professionalism of insolvency practitioners, resulting in greater efficiency in the resolution of insolvency cases.
Mr. President Sir, Clause 8 seeks to insert a new section to the Principal Act to provide for the renewal procedures for the practicing certificate of the insolvency practitioner. This clause also provides for the grounds upon which the application of the practicing certificate maybe rejected. Like any other professional practicing certificate, the practicing certificate of an insolvency practitioner will be renewed annually, upon satisfaction of the specified requisite criteria. If the specified criteria are not met, the secretary of the Council of Estate
Administrators and insolvency practitioners will reject the application.
Mr. President Sir, the provisions on the renewal of the practicing certificate of the insolvency practitioner will help to ensure that only competent persons are granted practicing certificates and, as such, remain in the Register of Insolvency Practitioners. The annual renewal of the practicing certificate of the Insolvency Practitioners will provide checks and balances to the functions of the Insolvency Practitioners insofar as insolvency matters are concerned. That only Insolvency Practitioners who meet the prescribed requirements will have their practicing certificates renewed will ultimately improve the administration of justice through the professional and competent handling of insolvency matters.
Mr. President Sir, Clause 9 seeks to insert a new section to the principal Act that will provide for the application of provisions on the disciplinary powers of the Council to Insolvency Practitioners. The grounds specified in the principal Act as constituting misconduct and thus requiring disciplinary action by the council will also be extended to encapsulate insolvency practitioners. These provisions will ensure that insolvency practitioners observe the highest standards of professional ethics in the conduct of their duties. This, in turn, will guarantee the professional and competent handling of insolvency matters. This will ultimately not only improve the effective administration of justice in the country, but, also contribute to the ease of doing business campaign.
Mr. President Sir, Clause 11 will add a new section to the principal
Act to provide that if any court in Zimbabwe removes a registered
Insolvency Practitioner from the register, such court should inform the Council. This will enhance the harmonisation of the functions of the court and the Council. This will help to ensure that the register of Insolvency Practitioners kept by the Council will remain up to date and only contains persons who are qualified to be such.
Clause 12 will insert a new schedule to the principal Act. The schedule will provide for the code of ethics of an Insolvency Practitioner to enhance the professional and competent performance of his or her duties. The schedule will provide for such professional ethics as integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, professional behaviour, professional competence and due care. Hon. Members will agree with me that these are important principles which should be observed by every professional. The Insolvency Practitioner, being a person occupying a position of such a high professional matter, is, of necessity, required to observe these professional ethics. There is no iota of doubt that the observance of this code of professional ethics will create highly competent and professional Insolvency Practitioners who will perform their functions in insolvency cases above board.
Madam President, Hon. Members will note that this amendment Bill has dealt extensively with the challenges inherent in the resolution of insolvency cases in the country. The amendment Bill will harmonise the fragmented legislation dealing with insolvency cases and thus, ensure that these cases are resolved expeditiously. If enacted, the amendment Bill will make the Council of Estate Administrators and Insolvency Practitioners the sole oversight agency for Estate Administrators and Insolvency Practitioners.
Further, the code of ethics provided for in the amendment Bill will ensure that Estate Administrators and Insolvency Practitioners observe professional standards which will improve the handling of insolvency cases. There is, therefore, no doubt that the Estate Administrators [Amendment] Bill, 2016, once enacted into law, will go a long way in enhancing the speedy resolution of insolvency cases, thereby improving the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.
I therefore commend the Estate Administrators [Amendment] Bill, 2016, to the House and move that the Bill be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
ESTATES ADMINISTRATORS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 8A, 2016] House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 12 put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
ESTATES ADMINISTRATORS AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 8A,
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. President, I now move that the Bill be now read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the Senate adjourned at Five o’ clock p.m. until Tuesday, 6th March, 2018.