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SENATE HANSARD 16 DECEMBER 2020 VOL 30 NO 15
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 16th December, 2020
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that I have received Non-Adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on all the Statutory Instruments gazetted during the months of October and November, 2020.
UPDATING OF MOBILE CONTACT NUMBERS
THE HON. DEPUTY PPRESIDENT OF SENATE: Let me remind Hon. Senators to update their mobile contact numbers so that they can receive urgent messages from Parliament. The ICT Department is stationed at the Members Dining Room to assist Hon. Senators.
COLLECTION OF MiFi DEVICES
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I also have to inform the Senate that Hon. Senators who have not yet collected their MiFi devices which are for internet connectivity to do so at the same desk stationed at the Members Dining Room.
SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Let me also remind Hon. Senators to put your cellphones on silence or better still to switch them off. Those who will be contributing are reminded once again to activate your devices so that Hon. Senators who are in hotels and within the precincts of Parliament can follow your debates and proceedings of the Senate.
MANPOWER PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 2, 2020]
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Mr. President. I am humbled to present the background rationale and principles of the Manpower Planning and Development Amendment Bill.
It has become apparent to us that the colonial design of education which we have somewhat religiously followed and somewhat defended for more than a century has not gotten us out of hunger and poverty because it was never designed to get us out of hunger and poverty. The main weapon used by colonial designs of education is diversion or distraction, distraction or diversion, that made us avoid doing the real things that cause national development through teaching our people approaches and methods for the eradication of hunger and poverty. Lions teach their cubs how to hunt, we believe therefore, that our education must teach our people how to produce knowledge that leads to the eradication of hunger and poverty and not just knowledge that leads to nowhere.
Mr. President, it is therefore, important for us to reflect on the real function of colonially designed education which is basically to serve as a distraction or diversion from the deeper purpose and benefit of education. Colonially designed education is simply not fit for an independent nation. It trains you for an industry that you did not design, it does not train you to design and implement industry. To this end Mr. President, as a nation, we made a deliberate decision to reconfigure our education from the colonially designed Education 3.0 that involves teaching, research and community outreach or workshops which produces mainly literate graduates. Our literacy is 97% but our skills levels are at 38%. We have transformed it to a poverty and hunger bursting heritage based Education 5.0 which is designed to give knowledge that results in the production of goods and services or simply that results in industrialisation and mordernisation via the innovation route for the development of our motherland.
Mr. President, I am therefore pleased to state that the rationale for the proposed Manpower Planning and Development Bill is to create an enabling legislation for the implementation of a higher and tertiary education, innovation, science and technology development system that leads to a national capability for the deliberate and rapid industrialisation and mordernisation of Zimbabwe. This is made possible through developing and adopting a higher and tertiary education system that deliberately facilitates knowledge acquisition for the purpose of the production of goods and services. For instance, through Education 5.0 that embraces teaching or learning, research, innovation, industrialisation and community outreach.
Mr. President, we are convinced that the higher and tertiary education system and its curricula must read from our national or human needs by imparting knowledge that leads to the production of goods and services to meet the same national human needs. Work to meet human needs is what we call industry; industry is all about meeting human needs. In this regard, causing industry capability to meet human needs is the purpose of education and improved quality of life of a people is the benefit that we get from education. However, all this is on condition that the education system and the legislative framework that govern it is well designed to enable it to cause industry that meet national or human needs. We are basically saying education must cause industry; industry cannot fall from the sky.
Mr. President, all in all, causing an industry for the satisfaction of national or human needs is the ultimate aim of any organised learning or education system. To this end, we assert that Zimbabwe’s education system must be of the same philosophy, which philosophy is; we learn to burst hunger and poverty just like a lion teaches its cub how to hunt and survive.
Mr. President, please allow me therefore to assert that it is a fact that if we want to predict the future prosperity or lack of it of any country, we just look at what is taught in the country’s lecture rooms, workshops and laboratories. If we teach each other to play, we will definitely be a playful nation. If we teach each other to produce, we will produce. So, it also logically follows that no country can develop faster than the development of its education.
Mr. President, in 2018 and in response to the need to modernise and industrialise our nation through a correctly designed education systems, Government came up with Education 5.0 policy framework. The framework entails that education has to have five interdependent pillars: teaching, learning, research, community outreach, innovation and industrialisation.
Mr. President, innovation and industrialisation are the additional two pillars to the traditional three which were teaching, learning, research and community outreach, which is Education 3.0. This policy needs a strong and supportive legal framework. Mr. President, the above need made us to scrutinise our national principal Act on education and training, which is the Manpower, Planning and Development Act, Chapter 28:02. I will refer to it as the Act from now on with the aim of strengthening it so that it can adequately support the Education 5.0 or simply the Education for Industrialisation and Modernisation Policy Framework or the Education for Production and Modernisation Framework. The amendment is important to achieve our national strategic intention of being an upper middle income economy and beyond.
Mr. President, nations are directed by their national strategic intentions but to achieve a national strategic intention, we must be capable of doing it. So we have to develop a capability to do that but that capability can only come from an education system. Just like a lion trains its cubs, the nation should train its people. The configuration of our manpower to achieve industrialisation and modernisation as a deliberate ploy is important.
Furthermore, the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20), Act 2013 ushered in the promotion of good corporate governance and other progressive principles which help to improve service delivery in institutions of higher and tertiary education and all the parastatals that are in there. As such, the Ministry is aligning the Manpower Planning and Development Act to the Constitution. Mr. President, you may also be aware of the problems that were being faced by ZIMDEF a few years ago, which included abuse of funds. Malpractices had driven the fund to near bankruptcy where staff salaries were now being paid by a commercial bank against the title deeds of ZIMDEF properties. This basically means the ZIMDEF was no longer doing its purpose. It was failing to pay employees to the extent that it was now using its title deeds to pay the workers. It is our view that these are attributed to the non-implementation of the provisions of the Constitution on good governance and we want to rectify this mischief.
Mr. President, our national strategic intent is to modernise and industrialise Zimbabwe by having an aligned, skilled and productive manpower that efficiently delivers the capability to produce goods and services using the heritage based philosophy. The heritage based philosophy says Zimbabwe can only develop from the resources that it has. It has to be able to develop using resources that it has. It is only those resources that it can use to trade with others. We are sad that our heritage shall determine the principal direction of our manpower planning and development. Just like countries with oil train their people in oil extraction, a country like ours should be able to train our people to be able to utilise our God given resources with all the latest scientific as well as technological advancements. Nations can only develop on resources that they have by applying knowledge and skills on them.
Mr. President, our manpower planning design must therefore ensure that investment in human capital results in the timely and relevant capability to effectively put this national strategic intention of becoming a developed and prosperous nation starting with the level of an upper middle income economy or better by 2030. We once again assert that the level of development of any nation is a reflection of the level of development of its people’s skills, basically its manpower.
Mr. President, allow me to assert that when given two nations which we can call A and B with exactly the same amount of natural endowments but different levels of development, the differences in the levels of development can only be explained by different levels of knowledge and skills of the manpower of the two countries. A nation with high levels of knowledge and skill is always going to have higher levels of development.
Mr. President, the national skills audit which we carried out between December 2017 and April 2018 showed that although our national literacy is around 94% and now it is 97%, our skills levels are at 38%. However, considering that the production of goods and services can only happen when there is both knowledge and skill, balanced knowledge and skills development has therefore become one of our main focus as a nation. The design of our manpower planning and development system naturally becomes our prime target for us to get us out of poverty and move to prosperity. On the purpose of the Bill, on the result of the foregoing, there is therefore an urgent need to amend the Manpower Planning and Development Act for the modernisation and industrialisation of Zimbabwe.
Mr. President, the purpose of the Bill is to provide for the following:
- To transfer employees of tertiary institutions from the Public Service Commission to State employees in a similar category to the State university employees as this conforms to the international best practice and this is in our interest as a nation;
- Provide strengthening of the Act with regard to the quality control of all science and technology institutions, professional bodies as well as manpower training institutions so that training and registration of professionals are quality controlled under the Act. It is already there but just to strengthen it;
- To align the Act to the Constitution;
- To provide for high levels of quality control so that all tertiary training institutions, science and technology institutions and professional bodies are quality administered for purposes of development of this country;
- To ensure that all qualifications of training in higher and tertiary education institutions lead to the ability to produce industry, quality goods and services and to entrench the Act with all manpower development issues to strengthen the application of science, technology for modernization and industrialization of Zimbabwe.
On the objectives, the proposed Bill seeks to:- promote the development and implementation of the knowledge, skills, planning and development strategy for the nation; promote university, technical, teacher, vocation training that leads to ability to produce goods and services; promote operational independence of technical and vocational institutions in teachers colleges; to foster innovation and creativity; promote science, technology, engineering and innovation on industrialization and modernization through research institution and institutions of higher and tertiary education.
Mr. President, please allow me to give a brief outline of the principles underlined in this Bill. The first principle is to transfer tertiary education employees from Public Service Commission to State institutions employees. In order to follow and comply with international best practice in relation to academic freedom and academic integrity that deliberately lead to industrialization, modernization and the attainment of vision 2030, it requires that all tertiary education institutions employees be transferred from being Public Service Commission employees to state granted institution employees so that they are just like State university employees.
This guarantees academic independence for creativity and objectivity for modernization and industrialization. The move is also intended to ensure that we retain or attract the best brains in the tertiary institutions to facilitate the industrialization and modernization agenda of Zimbabwe through innovation. Consequently, all promotion procedures for tertiary institutions are to be regulated under the Act in order to ensure compliance to the National Qualification Framework.
On the second principle, academic, and professional training to be done under the Act, the provisions of the Act which deals with professional skills and academic training will be amended to ensure that both academic skills and professional as well as registration and control of professional bodies is done under the Act. It is already done but just to strengthen it.
In addition, the Act will be amended to give it more quality control powers on academic and training since this is the principle Act as well as on professional bodies involved in training in order to achieve quality training and professional standards aimed at industrialization, modernization of Zimbabwe through ability to produce knowledge that gives goods and services.
On good governance, in terms of Section 9 of the Constitution, the Stare must adopt and implement policies and legislation to develop efficiency, competence, accountability and transparency and financial probity in all institutions and agencies of Government at every level and in every public institution. This includes appointment to public offices, that the appointment to public offices must be made primarily based on merit and that measures must be taken to export, combat and eradicate all forms of corruption and abuse of power by those holding offices which had almost bankrupted ZIMDEF. However, I am happy to tell you that ZIMDEF is now up and running but it is better we put a legal safeguard on it. This will further strengthen and emphasize the law as provided for in the public entities Corporate Governance Act.
We intend to reform the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund to align it with good, corporate governance practice by putting it in place of a board. In the meantime there is no board; it is the Chief Executive and the Minister. We want to curtail the powers of the Minister and make sure that we put a board. The Minister responsible for administration of the Act will only give policy direction in relation to good corporate governance rules.
This principle seeks to entrench the principle of good governance enshrined in Section of the Constitution. We also proposed that the National manpower Advisory Council (NAMACO) be given additional powers and be strengthened to have quality influence over all professional bodies, all manpower related activities in order for it to fully deliver its mandate for the industrialization and modernization of this nation.
Therefore, it entails amending part 3 and part as well other provisions of the Act that speak to ZIMDEF and NAMACO and to incorporate the envisage changes in a way that ensures good corporate governance. On the management of statutory bodies, Section 316 of the Constitution governs the management of statutory bodies including ZIMDEF, these include their competence and effective operation and that the chief executive officer serves for a limited period, whose renewal is dependent on efficient performance of their duties.
The Act is to be aligned to the Constitution to incorporate the management of statutory bodies, to give effect to the constitutional position and the position as provided for in the Public Finance Management Act. In addition, all sections that provide for contracts of employment will amended to specify that the contracts of employment should be performed best and with a specific time limit.
On the duties of custodian of public funds and property, in terms of Section 308 (2) of the Constitution, it is the duty of every person who is responsible for the expenditure of public funds to safe guard the funds and ensures that they are spent only on legally authorized purposes and legally authorized amounts.
Section 308 (4) of the Constitution, in this case the Act must provide for the speed detection of breeches of the law and the disciplining and punishment of person responsible for the breaches. It is proposed that there be an amendment to the act to ensure that all ZIMDEF are used only for manpower development related activities as a safeguard against the abuse of funds.
On the 6th principle, quality control for all tertiary, scientific and technological institutions and professional bodies; in order to achieve vision 2030 and beyond, there is need to emphasize on issues of quality control for all tertiary, scientific and technological institutions and professional bodies. In this regard, we insert provisions in the Act that deal with strengthening of quality control for all tertiary, scientific and technological training institutions and professional bodies. This entails that all tertiary, scientific and technological training, registration and quality control of the professional bodies shall be administered under the Act.
In addition, it must be provided in the Act that all qualifications obtained in all higher and tertiary education institution in Zimbabwe must lead to an ability to produce either goods or services for the purpose of meeting national human needs through industrialization and modernization. In this we are basically saying education is not for nothing, education is for the development of a nation. This shall enable Zimbabwe to lip-frog in its development using education and training as the facilitator just like the lion trained its cubs.
On gender balance and inclusivity, Section 17 of the Constitution stipulates that the State must promote full gender balance and that the State must take all legislative measures to ensure that both gender is equally represented in all institutions and agencies of government. Both genders must be equally represented in all institutions and agencies of Government. This principle seeks to bring into effect the right to gender balance in all boards and councils under this Act. The principle also gives effect to the incorporation of inclusive education by incorporating people with disability in the governance of institution of manpower planning and development.
On the 8th principle, on the importance of the Act on matters of manpower development and planning, the Act will be amended by making the Act stronger on issues of training and educational qualifications and quality. The Act is strengthened when it comes to regulating the establishment or conduct of quality by any higher and tertiary education in learning or professional body involved with manpower planning.
In strengthening science, innovation and technology for industrialization, modernization, Mr. President, science technology and innovation are the bedrock for any nation’s capability to leap-frog - including Zimbabwe and to become an industrialized and modernized economy. We will strengthen the Act so that it is explicit in the promotion of science, technology and innovation for industrialization of Zimbabwe. The Act is therefore amended to explicitly give effect to the formation of the Zimbabwe academy of sciences as an advisory board to the State on innovation, science and technology issues, along the lines of academies such as the Chinese, Indian, American, French academy of sciences and so forth.
Allow me to conclude by highlighting that it is envisaged that once the amendment go through, the Act will fully be aligned to the Constitution and there will be improvements on service deliveries and create a legal ground for the effective management of the institutions of higher and tertiary education, science and technology and the parastatals that fall within the purview of the Act and professional bodies.
We believe that Zimbabwe will then be training its people to industrialize and modernize and realise that the future of this country is in our hands not elsewhere. I therefore, move that the Bill read a second time. I thank you.
*HON SEN. KOMICHI: I want to thank the Minister for bringing this Bill into this House. I took quite a lot of time in my life thinking about what you have just presented before us, that the education system that we had in Zimbabwe was very bad. We had a Minister of black education called Smith and he is the one who drafted the syllabus that was meant for us Africans. The syllabus for group A schools was different from the syllabus that was done in group B schools. We learnt most of the things when we were getting into A level, so that was insufficient.
I was greatly pained during those years and I would ask myself until when are we going to have this education system that does not allow us to be inventive. Why is that western countries are the ones who invent things. Does it mean that God created us with poor brains for us to invent things but it is because of the fact that our education was designed in that manner.
Our education system had grade 1 to 7 and we were not happy about it and a child is more effective and grasps concept at an early stage. There is nothing as difficult as acquiring a second language. If you go to Matabeleland, you can spend 10 years without being able to speak a Ndebele word but if a child goes there and they grow up in that community, they are able to acquire the education because they have a high level of concentration and learning. I disputed the school going age. I also want to suggest that science should be done for children in grade 1 at an earlier stage if you want to groom an engineer. For us to learn sciences when we are old as we are, we have too many stresses probably they can be social or financial, so I cannot make it. When a child is young, he has that potential to grasp a lot of concepts and that mind to invent things.
I want to thank you Minister. It is a good education system. I got to a level of training apprentices. I could also train graduate engineers at ZESA. My challenge was that a graduate from University of Zimbabwe after four years would know the theoretical aspect but when it came to practice, it was a challenge. After post graduate training, a trainee would go to management and yet in terms of work, he is not competent. I realise that if a person trains as an apprentice, then goes to university, then returns, that merging of the apprenticeship and the theoretical work made that person productive because the challenges that are meet in the engineering field require concentration and intelligence. What you have brought Minister is very good. We are not going to be teaching our children so many irrelevant things but we are going to come up with inventions.
There is no gift that has been given to Zimbabwe beyond that. Even the sanctions that we are talking about, we can override those sanctions through inventing certain things. We are on the right track to developing this country. The Bill that you have brought needs to be supported and funded. I hope that you are smiling because of the budget allocation that you were given. That is the only way we can develop. I do not know how India did it but I believe we are following their footsteps. India designs different things. Even the western countries are benefiting from India through globalisation. They design in Britain and send their things to India and this is where it is quality controlled.
When I was working I worked with a number of people who were technicians and you could tell that they were intelligent and had been educated because they were hands on people. There comes a time when competence is more superior than a person who has gone to university to do the theory. The current universities seem to be giving inadequate time to current engineering. Is this not affecting our output? I know that there are one year attachments that are being done at university level, those should be strengthened to ensure that when a person is being deployed into industry, he is competent.
There is a point that you talked about on ZIMDEF. Everything must come to an end. We once heard that Jonathan Moyo bought bicycles for Tsholotsho using ZIMDEF funds. That is very embarrassing because Government money is then used in Tsholotsho. Let us utilise funds in a way that will develop our nation. Do you know that Zimbabwe is a blessed country? If it had not been blessed, there would be chaos out there but there is residue that sustains the economy.
I was pained when one Minister was saying that during the corona period, South Africa was given $4 billion and Mozambique also got some billions but Zimbabwe did not get any billions but we are managing our issues. So, if we are able to deal with corruption and be organized, we can have a nation that will become the envy of many. Otherwise from what we have gone through, dogs would be feeding on us today but because we are blessed, when we move around town, you find good expensive cars. You even see women well dressed and you ask yourself is this Zimbabwe. I see our children using different modern gadgets, so Minister we have good residue, for the development of our nation. If we are able to tap that residue we can develop this nation better than any African country. What I am saying is that we have the potential. With what you said concerning the manpower, we can utilise our resources and we will be able to succeed. We want to thank you Minister. We implore you to continue with the good work. I think all Ministers need to take a leaf from what you are doing. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF. MAKUMBE: Thank you Mr. President. Firstly, I want to thank this programme that the Government has brought through the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. I want to start by saying that as I stand here, I am a product of typical training in our colleges. Ever since I finished training, the country has met a lot of challenges and there was economic downfall. However, our families did not suffer. We were able to survive using the intelligence that we had. There was ignorance in the sense that those people who had gone to university, there were no intakes for apprenticeship training as companies were closing down. When people go for apprenticeship, they become smarter. A person from university is not trained and will face challenges. I was one of the first people who was congratulated through oil being poured on me along first street. That was a good moment.
We need to ensure that we are able to invent certain things. People look at what is happening at Magaba, Siyaso and Mbare but Magaba is sustaining a number of families especially those in the farms. A lot of things are being produced there that help in farming. So, Education 5.2 is sharpening what is already there. We urge the Minister to have children trained. We need to revamp our technical institution trainings. Why do we want our children to have degrees? We need more diplomas. For 20 years, Zimbabwe has been under sanctions. Most people with degrees went outside the country and that brain drain affected the economy. Those who had gone through apprenticeships are still here in Zimbabwe and they held the fort and today the country is still running. You need to come up with a higher national diploma, then a degree and that will assist you to become more relevant. I think it is a good programme for Zimbabwe. When we trained at ZISCO Steel, we had 28 to 30 training. ZISCO trained the whole of Southern Africa. If you talk of what is happening in South Africa, all the skills are from Zimbabwe. What is happening in Zambia, the economies that you are all looking at and admiring, they are Zimbabweans who are working there. So, when people train, our minds have to be flexible to work in Zimbabwe so that people can develop their country and there is need to ensure that they also get a living out of it. Government should assist in funding empowerment programmes and starting up companies. I like the Beitbridge –Harare- Chirundu highway because it is being done by our children in Zimbabwe. That is what this legislation seeks to address.
We are pained that the large dams that we have, the money is being taken to China and yet we can train our own children here just like we did with the road construction work so that money is then circulated in Zimbabwe. So, when water flows, you know that there will be plenty of irrigation schemes so if money is used here in Zimbabwe, it will benefit the nation. Even in different households, you can see a difference in terms of the standard of living when children are engaging in such projects. What is not there is the knowledge. We started in the early 60s and can we really take 60 years without inventing anything. No-one will come and build our nation for us. If you are the father, you need to look for school fees for everyone. Every work that one is given comes with responsibilities. As Zimbabwe, we need to build our own economy and start from somewhere. Where we should start is in terms of knowledge and how to build our country. The same commitment that was made by the liberation fighters when they went to war is the same commitment that we need from Zimbabweans.
Currently, we are experiencing COVID-19. It is not lucky that we do not have so many COVID cases but because of the different concoctions and advice that we give each other to take different things, it has assisted us. We can actually work on that and come up with medication for COVID. So, the education that is being advocated for by the Minister is what will assist us. At 65 years, one had to retire and was given a bicycle and after two years of going to the rural areas, that person would die. What we are saying is at the age of 26 or 27, we should have children who want to start companies and say Minister, I finished school and I want to rehabilitate roads or dams. That is possible in Zimbabwe because we do have the expertise to impart knowledge. So, what we need is the foundation as to how that can be brought into effect. That is what this Bill is addressing. I want to thank the Minister and urge him not to give up on this education system. Zimbabwe has the potential to succeed. If we are not educated, we cannot do much. Look at other developed countries; I will give an example of China and India because for you to be able to do something, you need to take a leaf from others. We should know how others did it and we need to learn best practices and contextualise that. We have everything in this country.
Two weeks ago, I heard there is a young man who wants to partner with our Company Willowvale to assemble vehicles he is supposed to be here in Zimbabwe. Those are the things that are being addressed by the Minister but we are saying, why does he have to go outside to start something in here? He should be here. Look at Econet, it is a Zimbabwean company for a Zimbabwean guy. Everyone has 0772 or 0774 and that was created by a child of Zimbabwe. That is where we need to really think and say how are we going to address our country. Why do we always have to get expertise from elsewhere? I cannot say to my neighbour, my wife has winned her child, can you come and impregnate her again? If I have a problem, I should go and see a witch doctor so that I am able to have a family. That is what the Minister is doing for our country to develop. I thank you Mr. President Sir.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MATHUPULA: Thank you Hon. President of the Senate and thank you Hon. Minister. First of all, I would like to thank the Minister for such a presentation of the Education 5.0 that he seems to be very passionate about. When we listen to what he is saying about it, I think the whole House and all the Hon. Senators have got that passion because it is what we need as a country. It is something that is practical and tangible. I am very happy when we speak about this Education 5.0. He speaks about a nation addressing its needs like its education system.
When the Minister of Finance was speaking about the Budget, he spoke a lot about things which are being imported, things which are agricultural based being imported. You wonder why when we have got so much land and many students – do we have to import things which can be grown in our country? This is where Education 5.0 comes in. We need to have a link between Finance and Education and look at how we can bridge that import bill using our students. I am happy that you addressed a month ago and in this House, how students are taking a lead in this innovation especially in agriculture – how they are having land and livestock and that they can actually be the ones who are first hand in agricultural production and livestock production.
I am happy that he is looking at that, he is looking at the import bill of the country and how students and education can help close that. Coming from a rural area, I am very touched when we look at Education 5.0. The whites had a bottleneck system that marginalised those in rural Zimbabwe. Some of its colonial tenents are still there now, but I am happy that through people like the Minister who is before us, many of those things have been removed. We need more technical colleges in rural Zimbabwe because the students there are hands on. They are not science based, physics and whatever because there are not even any science laboratories for them to do what they need to do.
If you go to places where there is livestock science, crop science and you find out who are the people or who are the top students there or the people who are training there, you find that it is people from the urban areas. The children from rural Zimbabwe grew up with livestock. That child knows livestock from the very day he was born and he grew up herding cattle and knows everything that you can talk about.
He grew up with crops even from an early age but what happens is that as we grow older and he gets to a learning situation, we do not have those science laboratories, Form 5 and Form 6 and our children drop out because there are no technical colleges. It is said that they do not know anything about livestock and cropping. That becomes a very big problem which needs to be solved. We need more technical colleges and we also need more of what he has spoken about, where they drop this thing of saying you want to go into a college, you want to go and study about livestock – you need to have Physics, Mathematics and English but you are going to learn about cattle.
What do we need Physics and Mathematics for? I am happy that the Minister has also spoken about that a lot of times, that this thing of saying entry level into colleges especially polytechnics which are hands on, we drop this thing of saying Physics, Chemistry, etc. Those things were put by whites to make sure that learner coming from rural background do not have access to learning because they do not have Form 5s and Form 6; all they had access to was technical capability. So I am very happy that he has spoken to that as well. We cannot have our polytechnics keep asking for Physics, English and so many things when they are more hands on.
We also need to add to the fact that our colleges have to make sure that they apportion more time to industrial attachment, both for degrees and diplomas because that is where most of our students have a problem. They do not have a chance to learn and jobs are hard to come by. So, many of our students out there have got gowns but they do not have experience. I do not know how they can work it out but the time for industrial attachment is lengthened. There is also post-graduate attachment or post-diploma attachment. They speak to companies that can accommodate our children that they can have more time to even go and work after completing their degrees and diplomas. This is because most of our children are failing to get a simple job and they are sitting there and after he attaining 30 years, the companies cannot hire him because he is 30.
On that same note, I think the main issue is that people need to be self productive. This thing of saying we need a job means that we are still in 3.0. If we are in 5.0, we do not even need that because our children should be able to come together and produce for themselves. They need to come together, not to make sure that they get jobs but to make sure that they start their own business to engage other children seeking for jobs. We are very happy about the education...
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Sen. Chief Mathupula, you address the Chair and not the Minister.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MATHUPULA: Thank you very much Mr. President. I was saying we are very happy about the Ministers Education 5.0. We pray that he strengthens it and keeps improving on it because we think it is the solution for most of the problems that we are facing as a country. Thank you Hon. President.
HON. SEN. GUMPO: Thank you Mr. President. A few weeks ago, I made some remarks on standards and specifications. I am a member of the Builders Association with the Master Builders Association of Zimbabwe. I went through some training as what the Bill is actually talking about. I emphasised on standards, that if we do not produce the required standards, we are going to be draining the fiscus because the goods that we are going to be producing will be substandard.
We appreciate that the SMES are doing a wonderful job. They have got billions of dollars that goes into their hands and they brought it as their assets, but if those assets are substandard, it is going to be a problem because you cannot sell some of the goods. I will give you just one example of what I experienced recently. I live in Kariba and I went into a hardware shop where I wanted to buy a doorframe. The doorframe was totally substandard, they were demanding about $25.00 for the doorframe. I openly told the shop owner that this doorframe is totally a substandard doorframe and I cannot even entertain that. I had to travel all the way to Harare from Kariba to buy a doorframe from Harare. A perfect doorframe that I bought from Harare cost about $23.00 – look at the comparison between the two doorframes, the one that is locally based and the one that is produced in the industry.
This is what we have to teach our young people. The syndrome of kiya kiya that has invaded the whole country is a disaster in this country because everybody just feels that if they do something very quickly, they are going to benefit – that is not long term but temporary. We need to really build an industry that is going to support this country. They are a force to reckon with because they are now the key players in the whole industry as a means. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President. I just want to thank the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development for bringing this Bill to this august House.
Mr. President, it is long overdue for this Bill to be brought here because most people are crying saying that there is no employment in Zimbabwe. They still look forward to be employed of which those days are gone now because our President always talks about development, production, production and produce. We have to produce if ever we want to stand on our own. There is nothing wrong in this country if ever we can produce in order to get to the upper middle economy in 2023 because we are aiming at that and if we are aiming at that, we have to produce.
Mr. President, let us live by example. I recall our former Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, the late Hon. Perence Shiri was leading his Ministry by example. We can bear witness that every time when he was at work, we would see him in his green overalls saying that, I am at work. We should also desist from thinking that white collar jobs are the best jobs in the country. Mr. President, it is very wise to catch them when they are still young because as they grow up, they will know how to do technical jobs. Some of us are products of these colleges because today I am very proud as a woman in agriculture, who attained a Diploma in Agriculture. I do not have many challenges in agriculture because I can even inseminate my own cattle. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – I can even grow every crop that can make my cattle survive without buying anything and I can do anything that is supposed to be done in agriculture.
Remember Mr. President that if you educate a woman, you educate the nation and as a result, even those who are following behind me in my constituency, I do not even have challenges in campaigning because I have already campaigned by doing practical work within the constituency. When elections come, they will just say, vote for Senator Mohadi whilst I am seated.
Mr. President, our youth are just lazing around and have to be trained whilst it is still early as he has indicated that a lion teaches its cub how to fend for itself when it is still young. Mr. President, if you are also looking at the SDG on Poverty Alleviation, really we can cry and cry but we have to be hands on in order to alleviate poverty. Mr. President, we cannot reach the upper middle income economy if we do not work. We have to work in order to feed. Time is over for us as Zimbabweans to import food; we have to produce our own food within the country. We used to be the food basket for the whole of the SADC region. What can fail us today to do so if we send our children to school?
We also encourage the Hon. Minister that there should be vocational training schools in all districts so that those who cannot manage to proceed with their education can engage into practical skills so that they can help themselves. If you can recall, we were talking about SMEs, it is very good for them to engage in SMEs but they ought to have skills in order to do whatever they want to do. With these few words Mr. President, I support this Bill. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President. I rise to add a few words and to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing this Bill. Mr. President, before I thank the Hon. Minister, allow me to thank those who appointed this man to be the Minister because this Ministry needed someone to change what was there. We are always crying of sanctions but some of the sanctions that were left by the colonialists was the type of education that we had.
Mr. President, I can say certain things that can be painful but this is true. If you look at the number of universities that we have, they are now quite many. We have graduates who are selling airtime on the streets. Is that how a graduate is supposed to be employed? It is because of the type of education that we have and it is a sorry sight fellow Senators because those who are selling airtime are graduates. If you take them to a factory, they cannot make a bolt or use a screwdriver. So I think the education system of 5.0 education system that was brought by the Minister is the right track to the 2030 agenda of a middle income economy. A middle income economy can be achieved through supporting SMEs. No graduate will want to work under SMEs, so it requires the setting up of vocational training centres which the Minister has brought in this House.
Mr. President, if you are employed and you are not called a fool, you have not done anything. This Minister is said to be a fool because he has disrupted the education system that we had. Through you Mr. President, I want to say to the Minister that he will find a lot of challenges from those who are in support of him and those who were criticizing him. He should not give up because this is the only way Zimbabwe can develop.
I would want to give an illustration. There are only three courses at university level whereby a student would graduate and go and work. First, it was medicine and law to some extent. If you look at all other degrees, no one else was able to go and work. Now this is the intravenous medicine that he has brought that will address this issue. He is coming up with new innovations. I think the Minister would also want to address the missing link that was there. There is a Minister who was appointed before the Second Republic and that was Hon. Dokora. He disrupted and changed what was in the education sector. I have a child who is in Grade six. What they are learning in grade six, I learnt that at form four. When she showed me, I actually said are you crazy; who is giving you this. At that stage, if we teach them at that age, that will address the current education system.
Thank you Mr. President. This is a very important Bill and we look forward to the fact that as a nation, the national cake is small but we need to prioritise what is important. In the coming years, we need to find results and we need to know this was invented in Gweru, Bulawayo or Mutare. We are always saying products from China are sub-standard because they are produced by the kids in China but when you see a nation whereby children can make products that can be sold, then it means we have a long way to go.
With these few words Mr. President, I thought I would support the Bill that the Minister has come with. Even if this dream might be a scary dream, you need to soldier on. I see that in the Bill, there will be a committee that will be set up. We want to urge the Minister that he is the one who is going to appoint the board. You are aware of what is happening in our nation. We want a person who is practical and not those with papers that is theory. We want those professors to come in and ensure that your dream comes to fruition. Mr. President, I want to thank the Minister. It is a good initiative and he must soldier on. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NECHOMBO: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. The main reason why I stood up Mr. President is to thank the Minister for the Bill that brings out Education 5.0 that is earmarked on production and development. This is a project that I support in full force because our nation needs production and it needs to develop.
As we progress, I want to suggest that when an opportunity arises, the Minister should assist us to get knowledge because the Bible says; my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. So we need wisdom, especially in terms of our tradition and culture which is also looking at the various languages. So, with 5.0 as we proceed, what magnitude do we have in order to look into our vernacular languages because our traditional laws and values are set by our languages?
Still on 5.0, we also need to consider that in order to ensure that our arts industry, as portrayed by Solomon Mutsvairo, Tsitsi Dangarebgwa, T. K. Tsodzo and different writers, as we proceed with the languages that they used in their writing. With Education 5.0, how are we going to ensure that we uphold and maintain such industries, especially the arts industry? We have musicians such as Jah Prayzah and the late Oliver Mutukudzi. Being a good singer is also premised on being eloquent in our vernacular languages. So, we want to know what will happen.
Still on Education 5.0, we used to say people would develop because of the language. Language is not static, it is dynamic and requires specialists. If we stop the people who are able to do language development such as Shona, that needs to be considered. As custodians of our culture, we want to challenge the Minister that the wisdom and knowledge should be considered. We do not want to lose our cultural values and norms. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this Bill. I thank the Minister for this important Bill which is the foundation for the development of this country. When you look at agriculture and industry it would have come from school. The Ministry is very important - although there are some people who do not value this, but in my opinion, this is a Ministry that can develop the nation.
The reason I have stood up is that in this country we have a number of trained teachers, my request to the Minister is that when people are being trained as teachers they should also be given an opportunity to do other courses so that if they do not get a teaching place, they can still look after themselves. Currently we have thousands of teachers who are seated in rural areas or at home and all they tell you is that the vacancies are not available - as if that is the only form of employment that is there.
If you go to other countries, they will tell you about the training but they will not tell you about the language. In Zimbabwe if a child does not have the English language, we think that the child is not educated but we have got so many Chinese nationals who are very knowledgeable and are experts making tiles and so many other things. What can we do Minister so that the child has the skills and not focus more on language? I was trained by the Germans in Engineering but they did not know how to speak English but when an English speaking person came, they were given a book to go and translate on their own which was a Chinese book. They taught me a lot using their language.
After these Germans assisted me, I trained people in South Africa and Botswana to do that work, yet I was trained with a non-speaking English person. I think we need to address issues of language to say if a child does not have ordinary level English, they cannot go and do any courses. We have Shona, Karanga, Ndebele, Chewa that is the language of different people in Zimbabwe. So, language should not tie me down in terms of being an expert in my field. Therefore, if possible we request that you address that issue. I thank you.
HON. SEN. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me an opportunity to talk about Education 5.0. At one time when the Minister came with this issue, we were complaining that our children after finishing university do not get jobs and the Minister said that we are teaching our children theory and there is no practical. The Minister promised that he was going to action to ensure that he addresses these issues at university level. I am not going to take a lot of time; I will just speak a few words.
The Minister said that we are going to take action to ensure that our children are able to invent and to also to produce. Now we have the COVID-19 requirements, masks and sanitizers, they are being produced by the local universities. However, children worked hard and the virus is now under control, we did not suffer like other countries. We applaud you Hon. Minister for your commitment and action through this innovation thing. The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation Science and Technology Development, Hon. Prof. Murwira is a very good person who is a result oriented person.
He has made sure that as Senators we work hard, no one is playful but we are now after developing our nation. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you for awarding me this opportunity. I want to thank the Minister for bringing in a crucial Bill like this one. It is crucial in terms of development of the country, most of the time when we spoke about the issues of development; we say that we were being suppressed by the white colonial regime. They prevented us to air our views in terms of development.
However, the Minister once came in this august House and said he was disturbed by the issue of graduates who had finished their studies and had nothing to do. By that time the Minister was very serious about that issue and promised that he was going to support the degree programmes which brings development in the country.
When I finished my degree programme some 50 years ago, I got into construction industry; I learned a lot of things in the construction industry. The white person whom I was working with was elderly but spoke a lot of things, as we moved on he said, I have aged therefore, I have decided to call my son from South Africa who was working at a gold mine. He said I want you teach my child who is coming from South Africa, he said he was not happy about the job he is doing. When his son came, I was respected very well and we worked together very well but it reached a time when he understood all the systems.
The way I learned in the construction industry made me to have enough knowledge more than my previous boss’s son but he continued to learn about construction industry from me. I could not understand the white people whether they were born talented more than us but I then realised that training is very crucial like what the Minister alluded to. Learning at the polytechnics doing other courses is very crucial. I did all these jobs and so it very fit, I even managed to form my company. Today, I can give a testimony that I have got more than 50 years doing the same profession of construction industry.
However, my kids decided to take otherwise and did other degree programmes but when it comes to construction they understand that I am more professional and more knowledgeable in that area more than them. We learned at Zimbabwe Institute of Management and other organisations when we went there teaching people about the manufacturing of cement and other products. When I began to apply the education which I learned, I found it very easy. Right now as a black person, I am now able to employ other people. I have more than 150 workers at my company. The operations are being carried out very well. I do not have a degree but I went to different institutes learning more about the issue of education. Therefore in Mashonaland West, I am one of the people who were selected in terms of being able to employ other people.
At Chinhoyi University, we have an A1 farm. As the Lands Committee we managed to sit down and have a proper planning so that we can look for resources which are enough so that the university can be capacitated. My thinking was that if we capacitate the university, students and other people will come to the farm and learn different things. As time went on, we saw that there are no students who were coming to the farm. We discovered that there were no students who were coming at the farm but right now, we managed to do a good thing as Mashonaland West. Now, they have decided to venture into cattle rearing and the students are now learning under the programme which was introduced by the Minister. Right now, they have laboratories which are catering for their farming equipment.
We now have an industrial hub in Mashonaland West. At the industrial hub, they manufacture sanitizers and other chemicals. Now I understand what the Minister was saying if the kids have learnt, they must graduate from the university and get another trade which is helpful. Today our industries are going to be resuscitated. Our kids are learning very well. I do not doubt Vision 2030 that we will be at the top in terms of development. This has come through the Minister and his educational policies which are very good for development. Many people are going to graduate from the university and open their own companies instead of waiting to be employed.
I also studied about livestock and issues of tourism. I managed to register a safari company on how the wild animals must be kept. Even at universities, they are learning about tourism. As an elderly person, I have been running a tourism company since 1995 and it is still functioning very well. The Minister spoke very well that a lion teaches its cubs how to hunt. Even you Minister, you are teaching the whole of Zimbabwe to do a very good job. During the era of 2008, many students were not properly learning. Many teachers were evading teaching school children during 2008 and those teachers are now suffering becaue their contracts were terminated since they were not performing their duties. Those people had only trained for one type of job which is teaching. Right now they are not able to go and look for another job because they were only qualified in teaching and it is something which is painful. Your policies which we have at all our universities, our country is going to develop more than the rate we were expecting. Every person will be a business person in the country. I encourage Hon Senators to learn something and master it very well.
In the construction of roads, I can be able to identify the errors which have been done and give advice. In our province, there were two dams which were washed away by rainfall and I sat down as a building contractor and told the engineer that these dams need to be reconstructed. I advised on how we must build these dams again. Right now, the dams were properly reconstructed and they are full with water. Therefore, we want to thank you very much for the good job. I thank you.
*HON. SEN FEMAI: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to debate. I want to thank the Minister for the Bill which he has brought in this Senate. This is not the first time to thank the Minister. I have thanked him on several times although I did not say it openly. Most of the time when he came here for question and answer session, he is the only Minister who takes time to answer the questions and explain fully giving satisfactory answers.
Some Ministers whom we ask questions respond along political lines but we will be asking questions which concern the development of the country. I want to thank the Minister that he answers the questions very well. There is never any day he answers the questions on political lines but he gives an explanation and satisfactory answers. Even if you want to leave the House, when I see him responding, you are able to enjoy the questions because he answers them very well. I want to thank you Minister for the job you were given. You accepted the job and you dedicated your time to it. Drawing from what the other Senator has said, I want to thank those who nominated you to be the Minister. I want to thank that the new dispensation that has got a good vision compared to the old dispensation. The new dispensation gave ministerial and other posts to young people who are educated and qualified and understand their respective areas. I want to thank the President of the new dispensation Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa’s vision towards the development of the country. If you are in this House as the opposition, you can see that this person was given a post because he works well. As if having war credentials was the only way to be given a job but right now, His Excellency, Hon. E.D Mnangagwa is now giving people posts in terms of their capacity to contribute towards the development of the country.
The young people have been put on the forefront in terms of developing the country. Even us the elderly, we are happy and we support that. As knowledgeable elders, we are able to follow the young and give them advice. That is why we are here so that we can guide them whilst they are performing their duties.
I also want to give you a brief background of my life to date. I never once in my life worked for anyone. In 1967, I was in Chirenda and trained as a carpentry teacher for three years. During that time, I was qualified even to teach at secondary schools. When I finished my studies, I came to Harare to live with my brothers. They are now pensioners. One of my brother was working at Coca Cola and he assisted me to secure a job there. He forced me to apply for a job and I was called for an interview. I passed the interview but I refused to go and work there and my brother kicked me out of his house and I had to go and live with another brother who was a novice carpenter.
I could see a chance of using my training and I started working with my brother in his shop. I worked with him for six months and in the seventh month I took over his shop and registered it as Machipisa Carpentry Training Shop. During that time, there was also Mbare Vocational Training Centre which is near Mai Musodzi where people were taught welding, carpentry et cetera.
However most of the trainees were not competent enough after the training, so I began to train people who were then hired by companies like Bowline Furnitures and Springmaster. They were so good and fitted in well to the extent that we made an agreement with the companies that I would train people that they would employ. That was possible through the training which I did for three years. I think I trained about 10000 people.
Some say a lot about white people but they put a landmark that you cannot pass Form 4 and go ahead with your education. So I also trained those Form 4 students so that they could also be employed. I therefore want to thank the Minister for bringing a crucial Bill which is going to help in the development of the country. If this Bill had been brought in during our time as youths, I think this country would have moved forward in terms of development.
There was a time when many people lost their jobs and companies closed but I did not lose my job. I retired because of old age and also new technology. I want to send you to thank the person who appointed you and say Hon. Femai is thanking you for appointing you as a Minister. The President must continue to appoint young people to be leaders in the different sectors of the economy. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President. I also rise to add my voice to the debate. I want to support this Bill with very good words if it passes and is implemented. Mr. President, I am happy with this development because of the issue that we were all worried about. Looking at the issue of tertiary institutions versus universities, that you leave university be it at Masters, BA Honours level and you become lecturers, some will go and lecture at a teacher’s college and the salary that they get compared to their counterparts at a university - the gap is too wide. If you lecture at tertiary institutions, I am sure you know of the strikes that happened before. The only difference is that these ones are producing students with graduate degrees but the salary difference was not reasonable. I see you now want to narrow the gap and address that matter.
On the issue of professional skills and academic training, you are the one holding the Higher and Tertiary Education Ministry but some say you are not the leadership of the Higher and Tertiary Education. We have technical colleges. Let us take a journalist for example, does this apply to journalism? This is because there are some professional journalists. I think that word does not qualify because for you to say professional it does not apply. They are not professional – are you going to be monitoring to see what is happening there?
I want to talk about management of statutory bodies. The issues that you have noted here of good corporate governance, I will not say a lot. Under ZIMDEF there was a lot of corruption. I think you said that you are going to address those matters. You have also said that the Minister will give the policy direction – that is a challenge Hon. Minister. If you can address that, then I implore you to expedite it.
Parastals are statutory bodies and where they lose it, is what you have said that performance based is probably giving a term limit and a contract and you say someone is head of ZIMDEF for five years. If you perform well and show competence, we can renew it but what normally affects this measure is that when you give someone leadership, before a person assumes on each and every day, the Minister is interfering, he is phoning and issues of nepotism and dictatorship are rampant. So, that will not apply when you talk of performance based.
You are the CEO and when I have failed, it is you who should be evaluated and not me. The parastatals that we have are ZTA and others. That is a challenge that has not been addressed. From other best practices, we have been told that it is eyes on, hands off, but in Zimbabwe that is not yet applicable and it has not been addressed. If you are able to adopt such a system, then people will start working because if you do not do that, you have not given the person the mandate to run the organisation with his expertise.
You talked of custodian of public funds to do with issues of fraud and corruption – we thank you for that. You want to promote innovation; intelligence that results in inventions, that is a toll order Minister but judging from your expertise, may you be the first Minister to surpass that. The issue of innovation is talked about but for results to be realised there is a challenge. It is not only Zimbabwe but Africa as a whole. Why can we not have vehicles that are manufactured in Malawi yet we say Africa has the largest population. What has come out of Africa in terms of innovation? There is nothing at all but people who are watching and those who have spoken before have said that you cannot develop if you do not have a culture of doing things,
You cannot develop by abandoning your own culture and so, what you are saying is good but if it is not embedded in our traditional norms and values, it is going to be lip service. We can look at other countries Mr. President. All countries that are innovative, for example Japan, the cars that we drive like Toyotas and other cars are coming from there. The Mercedes Benz, you get them from Germany and you look at China – how many things have we copied from China? Now they are currently constructing the new Parliament Building, then you ask yourself how they are doing it. What is of importance is that they use their language.
There is no country that can talk about innovation using other people’s languages but you innovate using your own language. If an educated person comes and proves to me that those countries that have managed in terms of innovation have used foreign languages, come and challenge me. In Europe, they have very small countries such as Finland, Norway and others and each of those countries have maintained their language. We can have the European Union but they have maintained their languages no matter how small they are.
So, where we fail in terms of innovation, is because we do not recognise our language. Education 5.0 is possible if we address the issues. You talked about performance based management and you talked about not defrauding public funds. In this country we have legislation to address fraud – do we have the values and dignity to understand that these are public funds? We need another programme or page to strengthen that issue. For the Chinese to develop, they went through a cultural revolution and it is in the history book. We also need a revolution of culture.
Some will say that has nothing to do with it because we are going to school. All the people who are defrauding public funds have been to school but what lacks in people is Ubuntu. As we develop an individual in terms of manpower development, we need to ensure that we build the individuals. When you put up nice buildings, people will come and write obscenities on the walls even when you rehabilitate a road and because a person does not have Ubuntu, they will destroy those things. I want to thank you Mr. President.
HON. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. I just stood to applaud the Minister and to thank him for the Bill that was presented in this House by the Minister. We are aware that we were experiencing hardships because the curriculum that we had was designed for us to be employees and not inventors but because of the Bill that has been brought into this House, we foresee a change in our lives because we will be able to invent and produce our own things in Zimbabwe. In hotels where we stay, you will find tables set and there are toothpicks there that are written ‘Made in South Africa’, but here we have so many gum trees and even other trees in the forest yet we are unable to even make toothpicks that we can use to clean our teeth after eating delicious food. I think that will assist us.
The SMEs that we mentioned, if we look at Budiriro Mr. President, there are Zimbabweans who make beautiful furniture. In the past, they used to supply the furniture to Pelhams and the prices would be very exorbitant but that furniture would be manufactured by our Zimbabwean nationals, born and bred individuals. My request is that if possible, it would be good for you to go on a tour and work together with the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development to ensure that these are the products that we are producing, see how we can market them and develop our nation.
An Hon. Member mentioned that if we catch them young, they will be able to learn a lot. My opinion Mr. President, is that there was the National Service Programme; the programme was good in shaping students who will have completed school before proceeding to university. I think that is a programme that needs to be reconsidered to ensure that our children go to university as individuals who know what they are doing.
Mr. President, a lot of good things have been said but I just wanted to find out or to say; are there any measures that have been put in place to ensure that production that is taking place at Innovation Hubs are being monitored and evaluated? Without monitoring and evaluation, we will not see results. Most times we have written documents but in terms of implementation and monitoring, there is need for that to be addressed. I once spoke in this House when the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities came through, that now houses are being built and some are falling apart because building inspection visits are not being done. In the past, they would start monitoring at foundation level and pass each and every stage.
What we are requesting is that all the brilliant ideas that have come from here should be followed by monitoring and evaluation. We need a department that is going to deal with that. Our new President, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa had set up a target of 100 Days where he would monitor and evaluate to ensure that when we were not in line with objectives we would re-strategise. So it is important that we have people to monitor and ensure that we are on track. If we are not on track then they can give ideas on how we can get back on track and re-strategise. I think that way we can develop.
Mr. President, I want to say that our country is premised on agriculture. Currently, there is a challenge in agriculture. The herbicides that are used to deal with weeds on the farms are beyond the reach of many. Now we are talking of agro-business, go to Command Agriculture and get some funds but those herbicides are expensive and it is impossible for you to use archaic means of farming. So Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, may you assist us to ensure that you address the issue of agriculture. Can you put it on your priority list to ensure that every farmer, whether they are coming from rural areas or wherever, when they come to buy herbicides for weeds; it should be available and affordable because we need it to be produced locally since that is what is affecting us as farmers.
We want to farm but we need those. The late Hon. Minister Shiri left behind the Pfumvudza Programme but we need those herbicides to deal with the weeds. If that is addressed it will assist us. With these few words Mr. President, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. I will just say a few words that were not emphasised by my predecessors.
Hon. Minister, you have done a good job. You have come on the right track. We want technical people and we want vocational trainings to come to rural areas. People may look down upon rural areas but the rural areas can turn around this country. No one spoke about cattle, Hon. Minister, you mentioned that you want to come up with a breed probably coming from Canada. We are still waiting. Most Zimbabweans do not care about livestock production. They speak good English but that is not even important. We need to be objective, when we speak good English, what is going to come out of that?
I was born as a herder and saw my parents looking after livestock. I changed after my parents died and brought my own technology. We cannot burden the Government about sanctions. If you have chickens and livestock, you can afford to buy salt and paraffin. I am saying that people in the rural areas are not educated. because livestock production does not need you to be education. There are no cows in the rural areas. You will realise that there are hard maShona types but they cannot look after the livestock. What can we do since we are not educated? If we are given an office to run, we cannot write but what I am saying is; let there be people who can assist those in the rural areas that if we need to turn the economy, we can do it through livestock production.
I took about 25 of my cattle, hired a truck and trailer but they failed to transport all the cattle. They only managed to get 17 because the cattle were too big. Minister, I did not have people with the technology that you are talking about. I looked after livestock and they became extra big. I needed to keep more cows so that they could give me more calves. When I went to the abattoir, people were impressed by the cattle but one of the white guys said no, do not keep these bulls. Look after the cows and not the bulls because if you look after the bulls they will not bring in much. So, I want you to have this in mind because the sanctions that we talk about affect those in urban areas mostly.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Mr. President. I am extremely humbled by the inputs and comments of the Hon. Senators. What I can assure you Mr. President is that we will develop this country with our minds and our hands, to make sure that our education has a meaning. We cannot as a country say we are educated and yet we are importing medicines and we cannot even drill our own boreholes. Mr. President, the dignity of a nation comes from what the nation can do and not what they can say. Whether we can mine our minerals, smelt them, till our land, grow our crops, value add our goods, it will have an effect. Mr. President, what I can just say is that I am very humbled by the support on this Bill and I want to move that the Manpower Planning Amendment Bill [H.B.2A, 2020] be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
MANPOWER PLANNING AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 2A, 2020]
First Order read: Committee Stage: Manpower Planning Amendment Bill [H. B. 2A, 2020].
House in Committee.
Clause 1 to 5 put and agreed to.
On Clause 6:
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: Thank you Hon. Chair. I need some clarification from the Minister. On Clause 6 (b), Student Representative Council, we have items 1 and 2. Item 3, I think is out of place. It should have been before Clause 6 (b). It should be part of the Student Representative Council.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): The Hon. Senator is right. It was a misplacement.
Clauses 7 to 12 put and agreed to.
On Clause 13:
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: Again, I need a bit of clarification on Section 13 on part 6. Members of the board shall, subject to good performance hold office for five years renewable for only one further term. Now, there is an operational problem there because in normal cases when you are having a new board, it is usually good to stagger boards. So I think for purposes of the operation of the Act, as well as for the Minister’s own sanity for continuity in a board, there is a need to not to have all board members either being renewed their performance at the same time but renewed in a staggered manner such that the whole board is not resigned.
What we have in most of the Public Service Boards which is very unfortunate is that when a new Minister comes in, they then come in and do a performance appraisal, remove the whole board and start all over again and that creates a vacuum and as well as lack of continuity and making Public Service subject to a lot of turmoil. I think that has to be addressed by a section that allows for staggering of tenure for Public Service boards. I therefore, recommend that the Minister considers that point.
THE MINISTER OF HIGEHR AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Mr. President. I think that is an operational issue and the movement of the board from one time which is time one to time two. Even if you change two, it is a new board but I think the point that is being made from an operational point of view and from a statutory instrument point of view, it is a very good one. However, I think as it stands it is just according to the corporate governance. I thank you.
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: In that case I will ask a different question on the same section, on item 48 b2, the appointment of the Chief Executive, I want to understand the Minister’s motivation for having the chief executive appointed by the Minister rather than the board. If he is not appointed by the board, what is the use of the board, is this board just an advisory board or it is a board that is supposed to monitor the performance of the Chief Executive and have more powers to regulate the Chief Executive’s operational activities or is it the Minister? So if there can be clarification between the board extent of policing the Chief Executive vis a vis the Minister, I will greatly appreciate. Maybe it might as well clear some of my concerns. I thank you.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I wish to thank the Hon. Member for seeking clarification. Mr. President, the board recommends for the appointment for the appointment of a chief executive officer and the Minister is just part of the approval process. In actual fact according to the Corporate Governance Act, the President signs off, but the board starts the process.
HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: I think the Minister has already touched on what my concern was and the impression that is given by the Act itself as it stands. I think we have gone through some of the Acts here and it is clear that the board recommends and the Minister them appoints. Here, it is as if the Minister will appoint and therefore, it creates the impression that the Chief Executive is answerable only to the Minister rather than the board.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Mr. President. The appointment of a C.E.O is a standard procedure that is governed by the Corporate Governance Act.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI: I wanted the Minister to clarify what starts because what starts should be the board but he has clarified that it is first the Chief Executive and then the board is appointed.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: It is the board that starts.
HON. CHIEF NTABENI: Mr. President, suppose we are starting a new company which is a parastatal, is the board going to sit when there is nothing then appoints a Chief Executive Officer or it is the Chief Executive that is appointed by the Minister then a board is chosen, that is a situation we have at ZISCO Steel. How do I become a chairperson when there is nothing?
Clauses 13 to 22 put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading: With leave forthwith.
MANPOWER PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 2A, 2020]
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF MURWIRA): I move that the Bill be now read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read for the third time.
RATIFICATION OF THE KIGALI AMENDMENT TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL ON SUBSTANCES THAT DEPLETE THE OZONE LAYER
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. N. M. NDLOVU): I move the motion standing in my name that;
WHEREAS 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 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, held on 15th October, 2016, in Kigali, Rwanda, adopted an amendment to the Protocol, now termed the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer, which Amendment has not yet entered into force on 1st January, 2019;
WHEREAS Zimbabwe is a party to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer and is desirous of becoming a party to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer:
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the afore-said amendment be and is hereby approved for ratification.
I wish to give an explanation on the Kigali Amendment. The Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer is a well established multilateral environmental agreement that is successfully preventing massive damage to human health and environment from excessive ultra violet radiation from the sun by phasing out the production and consumption of substances that deplete the ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol has been amended several times and most recently by the Kigali Amendment which is the fifth in a series of amendments to the protocol and was adopted to phase down hydrofluoric carbons (HFC) which are mostly used as substitutes for ozone depleting substances. Although HFCs are not ozone depleting substances, they are powerful greenhouse gases that have significantly high global warming potential.
Committed to addressing the stratospheric ozone layer depletion and climate change which continue to be threats to development, Zimbabwe participated in the historic 20th and 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol which took place from the 10th to 15th October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda. The 28th Meeting of Parties resulted in the adoption of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The Government of Zimbabwe ratified the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol way back in June 1992, binding the country to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of ozone depleting substances. The Montreal Protocol has put the ozone layer on the road to recovery by phasing out nearly 99% of the ozone depleting substances that were in use prior to 1989. In the process has also mitigated climate change. Under the Kigali Amendment, parties will phase down production and consumption of hydrofluoric carbons creating the potential to avoid up to 0.3 degrees celcius of global warming by the end of the century. The main aim of the Kigali Amendment is to phase down the production and use of HFCs.
The overview of the Kigali Amendment Mr. President Sir; will require parties to the Montreal Protocol to gradually reduce the use of HFCs by between 80% to 85% by late 2040 for developing countries and 2036 for developed countries. The Kigali Amendment entered into force on 1st January 2019.
I now turn to the justification of the ratification. Besides the major
objectives of addressing the adverse impact of global warming, there are particular incentives for Article 5 Parties which are the developing countries that ratify the Kigali Amendment. On the financial mechanism; Article 10 of the Montreal Protocol established a financial mechanism to provide financial and technical cooperation including the transfer of technology to support Article 5 compliance with the protocol. Part of this package is the multi-lateral fund (MLF) which amongst other things meets the agreed incremental cost of Article 5 Parties. The 28th Meeting of the Parties made a number of key decisions about multi-lateral funds support to Article 5 countries that ratify the amendment.
On flexibility; Article 5 Parties will have the flexibility to prioritise HFCs to define the sectors, select technologies and alternatives and elaborate and implement their strategies to meet agreed HFC obligations based on their specific needs and national circumstances following a country driven approach. On the support for enabling activities, there will be support for enabling activities for institutional strengthening which is the national ozone units for import and export licencing and quotas. Article 7; Data reporting demonstration projects and the development of national strategies for phasing down HFCs. I also add on the extra financial support for fast starters. Extra financial support will be available to provide support for Article 5 parties that make a fast start to phasing down HFCs. Zimbabwe has already benefitted from this facility as Capri, a refrigeration appliance manufacturing plant in Harare has already received financial assistance to convert to ozone and climate friendly technology.
I turn to the legal requirements. Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe empowers the President or his representative acting under his authority to conclude or execute international treaties in terms of subsection 1 of Section 327. The definition of international treaty includes protocols and agreements. Instruments of this nature will only have a binding effect on Zimbabwe if approved by Parliament. Mr. President Sir, I therefore move that the Kigali Amendment be ratified. I thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE MINAMATA CONVENTION ON MERCURY
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. N. M. NDLOVU): I move the motion standing in my name;
THAT WHEREAS section 327(2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any 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 Minamata Convention on Mercury, adopted at the Fifth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee held in Geneva, Switzerland on 19 January 2013, is a global treaty whose objective is to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury;
Mr. President, I wish to bring the background of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. It is a global treaty whose objective is to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Mercury is a toxic pollutant that can circulate globally through the oceans and atmosphere for years or even decades and can cause significant harm to human health and the environment. Sometimes very far from its point of origin.
RATIFICATION OF THE MINAMATA CONVENTION ON MERCURY
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. M. NDLOVU): Thank you Mr. President Sir. In this House, I gave notice to move a motion to Parliament on the Ratification of the Minamata Convention that;
WHEREAS Section 327, (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any 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 Minamata Convention on Mercury adopted at the Fifth Session of the Inter-Governmental Committee in Geneva, Switzerland on 19 January, 2013 is a global treaty whose objective is to protect human health and environment from the adverse effects of mercury;
Mr. President, I will bring the background of the Minamata Convention. The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty whose objective is to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Mercury is a toxic pollutant that can circulate globally through the oceans and the atmosphere for years or even decades, and can cause significant harm to human health and the environment, sometimes very far from its point of origin. Acute or chronic exposure can be fatal; the World Health Organisation (WHO) lists it as one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern.
A meeting of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) held in Kenya in February 2009, agreed to develop a legally binding instrument on mercury. Negotiations on mercury resulted in the adoption and subsequent signing of the Convention at the Fifth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee held in Geneva, Switzerland on 19 February 2013, Zimbabwe participated in the negotiations and signed on this date.
To date, 128 countries have signed the Convention while 115 have ratified. Out of the 115 that have ratified, there are 50 African countries and this leaves Zimbabwe among the four. Humans are mainly exposed to mercury through emissions in the air and from eating certain foods mostly marine fish. The United Nations Environment Programme Estimates that anthropogenic releases have increased mercury in arctic marine animals by 1 to 12 times compared to pre-industrial times.
I now turn to the overview of the Convention;
- A ban on new mercury mines and the phasing out of existing mines;
- The regulation of mercury releases from industrial equipment such as boilers, incinerators and power stations;
- A ban on the manufacture, import and export of products that use mercury;
- The need for parties to exchange information on relevant new technological developments, economically and technically feasible mercury and mercury compounds in manufacturing;
- The ability by States to register for exemptions;
- The management of mercury waste in an environmentally sound manner and the ability to cooperate with other States, relevant inter-govenmental organisations and other entities in order to develop and maintain global, regional and national capacity of the management of such wastes;
- The promotion and facilitation of public information dissemination, awareness and education on the health and environmental effects of mercury as well as alternatives; and
The conduct of research and monitoring.
- There are obligations by State parties to provide within their capabilities resources for national activities that are intended to implement the Convention in accordance with national policies, priorities, plans and programmes;
- The State Parties have the responsibility of multilateral, regional and bilateral sources of financial and technical assistance as well as capacity building and technology transfer to, on an urgent basis, enhance and increase their activities on mercury in support of developing country parties in the implementation of the Convention.
Mercury in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s most significant (anthropogenic) mercury sources are from artisanal small scale gold mining (ASGM) production, dental amalgam and waste water treatment. Zimbabwe’s mercury use is already strictly controlled under a number of regimes, including the Environmental Management Act [CAP 20:27], Control of Hazardous Substances (S.I. 268 of 2018), Public Health Act [CAP 15:09], and Control of Goods (Open General Import Licence) SI 132 of 2015. This Convention is strongly aligned with the way Zimbabwe deals with anthropogenic mercury. It aligns with other international obligations and takes account of Zimbabwe’s existing strong controls of mercury use and release. It could therefore be implemented into Zimbabwe law simply and without needing to create extensive new regimes or specialised agencies.
Reasons for Zimbabwe becoming a party to the treaty:
There are several significant reasons in favour of Zimbabwe becoming a party to the Convention. Primarily Zimbabwe will be contributing to global efforts to protect human health and environment. As the Convention is reviewed and international rules around mercury are developed, the best way for Zimbabwe to protect its interest will be for it to participate in the negotiations as a party because as a signatory, Zimbabwe attains but only as an observer and our contributions to the discussions are extremely limited. Significantly, we are not allowed to vote on any decision should the need arise. This rise will only be available once we ratify the Convention.
Secondly, the Convention complements Zimbabwe’s obligations under the Basel Convention (Trans-boundary Movement of Hazardous Waste), Rotterdam Convention (Hazardous chemical and pesticides), Stockholm Convention (chemicals that are persistent organic pollutants), and the Montreal Protocol (ozone-depleting substances) that controls emissions which may also provide co-benefits for climate change mitigation.
Thirdly, global phase out dates ensure that Zimbabwe does not end up as dumping ground for out of date mercury products after the rest of the world phases it out. During the Third Conference of Parties to the Minamata Convention, it was agreed that a dental amalgam total phase out and ban will be complete by the year 2024. Therefore, for Zimbabwe to participate in the phase out plans, it has to become party to the Minamata Convention.
Fourthly, supporting the Convention will help avoid further risk to the fishery industry where mercury levels have been seen increasing. Mercury circulates in rivers, dams and takes a much longer than in the air, so immediate action to reduce anthropogenic emissions is needed to avert further potential harm to the dams in the future.
A fifth reason, domestically, Zimbabwe largely uses mercury in the artisanal small scale gold mining (ASGM) sector. However, with the rate at which mercury is being phased out, we foresee the world buying mercury free gold which will even fetch more money and as such, countries that use mercury for their gold production will suffer the consequences. Zimbabwe therefore needs to be prepared before these consequences.
Taking note that Zimbabwe signed this protocol in October 2013 and considering the need for Zimbabwe to influence the direction and pace of the Convention and also the challenges and dangers posed by uncontrolled mercury use, it is highly recommended that Zimbabwe ratifies the Minamata Convention.
Motion put and agreed to.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
BILLS RECEIVED FROM THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that I have received the following Bills from the National Assembly; The Finance (No. 2) Bill [H. B. 9: 2020] and the Appropriation (2021) Bill [H. B. 6: 2020].
FINANCE (NO. 2) BILL [H. B. 9:2020]
Fourth Order read: Second Reading: Finance (No. 2) Bill [H. B. 9:2020].
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. President Sir, the Bill seeks to give effect to the revenue and tax measures that I announced through the 2021 National Budget Statement delivered on 26th November, 2020. These measures seek to avail relief to taxpayers through the adjustments of tax rates as well as enhance revenue generation capacity, taking into account the recent economic developments. In summary, the Bill tries to capture the following:
Corporate income tax
Mr. President Sir, operators that trade in local and foreign currency are currently obligated to pay corporate tax in proportion to the gross income earned in either currency without regard to the prevailing Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) retention or liquidation thresholds.
The Bill seeks to amend legislation such that operators will pay corporate income tax in foreign currency on the basis of gross foreign currency received remaining after deduction of the prescribed retention or liquidation thresholds.
Unredeemed Capital Allowances
Whereas assessed losses and capital allowances are deductible against gross revenue in the denomination of taxable income, the promulgation of Statutory 33:2019 resulted in foreign currency denominated unredeemed allowances and assessed losses being converted and carried forward as RTGs dollars on a one – one basis. A number of companies are thus recording artificially high profits on the basis of inflation since the conversion to local currency, thereby increasing their tax liability.
The Bill, thus seeks to minimise the tax burden on such companies through rebasing such unredeemed capital allowance as at 1 January, 2021 to the local currency equivalent of the outstanding foreign currency invoice value at the beginning of each financial year.
Youth Employment Credit
The Bill proposes to review the Youth Employment Tax Credit from ZWL$500 to ZWL$1 500 per month for each employee hired and adjust the limit on the maximum credit from ZWL$60 000 to ZWL$180 000 in the year of assessment.
Personal Income Tax
In order to minimise the tax burden and also enhance income, the Bill seeks to review the tax-free threshold from ZWL$5 000 per month to ZWL$10 000 per month as well as adjust the tax bands to begin at ZWL$10 001 and end at ZWL$250 000 per month, above which the highest marginal tax rate of 40% will apply.
In addition, the Bill seeks to review upwards bonus tax-free threshold from ZWL$5 000 to ZWL$25 000 with effect from 1 November, 2020.
In order to enhance the contribution of informal sector to the fiscus, the Bill seeks to review upwards amounts payable in terms of Section 22 ( c ) of the Finance Act, which imposes a general tax on the basis of the presumed income (presumptive tax). Such specified amounts on operators of taxi-cabs, omnibuses, goods vehicles, driving schools and hairdressers among others.
In addition, the Bill proposes to introduce a presumptive tax structure in self employed professionals who do not furnish a return under Section 37 of the Income Tax Act in any year of assessment. These professionals include architects, engineers or technicians, legal practitioners, health professionals and real estate agents among others.
Intermediated Money Transfer Tax
Mr. President Sir, the Bill seeks to review tax-free threshold for intermediated money transfer tax from ZWL$300 to ZWL$500 and adjust the maximum tax payable per transaction by corporates from ZWL$25 000 to ZWL$800 000 on transactions with values exceeding ZWL$40 million with effect from 1 January, 2021. The tax-free threshold for transactions in foreign currency still remains at US$5.
In addition, the Bill seeks to exempt from IMTT, transactions conducted on the foreign currency auction system operated by the RBZ, the transfer of money from a Nostro foreign currency account in the name of a person exempted in terms of the Privileges and Immunities Act [Chapter 3:03] and this is basically our development partners and transfer of levy chargeable in terms of Section 53 of the Manpower Planning and Development Act [Chapter 28:02].
Tax Incentives for Real Estate Investment Trusts
The Bill seeks to exempt, under specified conditions, income accruing to Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs) from corporate income tax. This should enhance the attractiveness of the financial instrument and improve the liquidity of pension funds.
Mr. President Sir, Government has already promulgated legislation to govern production, procurement, distribution, possession, sale, provision and transportation of cannabis. The Bill, thus seeks to introduce a cannabis levy chargeable on the value of exports at varied rates of tax corresponding to the level of processing. Mr. President, I now move that the Bill be read a second time.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.
FINANCE (NO.2) BILL [H. B. 9, 2020]
Committee Stage: Finance (No.2) Bill [H. B. 9, 2020].
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 11 put and agreed to.
On Clause 12:
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): On Clause 12, in the lower House – the National Assembly, we agreed that this Clause be removed. The reason being that in the end, I also felt that this Clause could cause confusion in the market. It tries to prescribe the formula for how Government rates and charges ought to be adjusted over time, relying on the level of inflation. I thought that this was going to give the market and economy the formula to use and this will cause us problems.
There is a second reason, which is that if we look at the effective inflation rate in the economy, it is a more blended inflation rate because citizens are able to use hard currency and domestic currency so the effective inflation rate is blended and this formula was seeking to clarify things but may cause more confusion. Therefore we decided to expunge this Clause.
Clauses 12 to 37 put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
FINANCE (NO.2) BILL [H.B. 9A, 2020].
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I now move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
APPROPRIATION BILL [H. B. 6, 2020]
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):Mr. President, the National Development Strategy (NDS) seeks to take us to our Vision 2030 of being an upper middle income economy by year 2030. This requires us to deploy our national resources or public sector purse in a manner that supports the key pillars of the NDS. In this Appropriation Bill, we are seeking to do that. We are seeking this House to endorse our strategy of supporting infrastructure development, social sector which includes the education sector which received the highest vote allocation, the health sector which received the second highest vote allocation and then our infrastructure sector as well as the direct social protection of our vulnerable citizens through the BEAM programme and the girl-child through the provision of free sanitary wear and also to support our re-engagement and engagement programme so that we live in harmony with other nations. They support us and we support them, and we will eventually clear our arrears.
We have not forgotten the need to allocate enough revenue to those ministries that seek to domesticate our value chain or drive import substitution such as industry and commerce, including an allocation for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair company within that Ministry which saw no revenue coming this year at all because of Covid-19. In there is enough resources to support the activities for attracting foreign direct investors into ZISCO Steel programmes to make sure that we resuscitate our motor car industry. Not that the Ministry will invest directly but to make sure that it is capacitated enough to make sure that those who seek to invest in these sectors are brought in.
We have actually not forgotten the mining sector which is trying to build a $12 billion industry in the next two years, again making sure that there is enough capacity to move around and inspect to make sure that there is order in the mining sector. Also, to make sure that the cadastral system is well supported and developed. Finally, in terms of our security cluster again, we think that we have allocated an adequate budget. Already in the 2020 Budget, this week in fact, we have procured 58 vehicles for the police to enable them to move around and by end of January they will have received a full complement of 85 vehicles. This is the beginning of a programme to make sure that our police can respond to cases or issues with the right levels of mobility that they need to be supported with.
Of course, we include other departments like defence and so forth. In doing so, we have not forgotten our war veterans and you will see in the Budget Statement itself beyond what we have allocated through the Ministry, Government has been able to allocate other resources to the tune of $37,5 million towards the support of war veterans, but we will fully operationalise in 2021 the War Veterans Fund. I therefore, Mr. President, stand before you and this august House to support this Appropriation Bill which stands at about Z$431 billion, which is about 17% of our gross domestic product. I thank you
I therefore move, Mr. President, that the Bill be read a second time.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on the Appropriation Bill. I want to thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development especially considering the plight of war veterans.
We want to thank you for remembering war veterans. They did a great job in bringing about the liberation of Zimbabwe, for us to be in this House is because of the commitment made by war veterans. We thank you Hon. Minister for the budget that you availed to the war veterans that will earn them respect from the people. We thank you Hon. Minister for that support. They had become a laughing stock as if they had not done anything for the country yet they gave their lives for the liberation. As I represent the liberation heroes, I also want to thank you for supporting the girl child. The Rwandese Government also took a leaf from us in the provision of sanitary wear to girls. I thank you that if we have such initiatives, other countries can follow suit because it is a good policy. So we thank you Hon. Minister for bringing respect to the war veterans. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for the money that he availed to the health sector which is 13%, although it falls slightly lower than the Abuja Declaration of 15% but that is commendable.
Mr. President, there is an issue that the Budget did not address, the issue of cancer treatment. We have people who are suffering from cancer and this was mentioned during the Pre-Budget Seminar that cancer treatment is needed because cancer is claiming the lives of many people. Mr. President, the Budget provides for re-equipping of equipment in our hospitals and also to ensure that the health personnel have adequate resources in order to allow them to execute their work but that is a bit of a challenge because cancer patients travel all the way from rural areas with some coming to Parirenyatwa, one of the referral hospitals and others to Mpilo Hospital. They face challenges as they travel in terms of transport and because of that, people are dying in their homes. They say that early detection of cancer can lead to treatment and prolonged life.
I also want to thank the First Lady for the programme she rolled out through her ‘Angel of Hope Foundation’, raising awareness on cervical cancer. So our request is that in terms of finance, the Hon. Minister should avail funds earmarked towards cancer treatment. When women go to clinics that are not Government hospitals, they are charged about USD$50.00 and this is too exorbitant for people. We were once delighted when the Hon. Minister said that Ekusileni Hospital would become a cancer treatment center but due to COVID-19 pandemic, this became a COVID-19 quarantine centre. So the request is that COVID-19 was an unplanned calamity but the issue of the cancer hospital should remain on the cards to ensure that cancer patients are screened and treated on time because cancer is claiming so many lives.
Donors were once doing that but as a nation, we cannot depend on donor funding. We have our country that has a lot of resources which if utilised responsibly, especially the resources that we have, can address the challenges and also lead to the building of hospitals especially in rural areas. Rural areas have the poorest of the poor and they are the one who face challenges when coming to referral hospitals. Mostly, it is a challenge for a person who suffers from cancer to travel to Parirenyatwa or Mpilo Hospital and that is why most people end up dying in their homes. Due to lack of knowledge, in rural areas, they believe that a person was bewitched and yet it is because they are not knowledgeable about cancer and do not know where to access treatment. That awareness is also needed so that people know where to go for timely treatment.
So Mr. President, my request is that COVID-19 is with us and most resources are going towards COVID-19 but let us not forget that cancer was mentioned before. We need to ensure that we do not ignore this. I want to conclude by thanking the Hon. Minister for the money that he availed towards the health sector because that money will assist the nation and those who are not well. I thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity.
+HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President. I am very grateful to the Minister for allocating the Health Ministry more money. As a mother, I would want to speak on issues affecting the girl child. Many girls start menstruating at an early age, and in most cases, whilst they are still at school. Some of them absent themselves from school during this period because they cannot afford sanitary wear. At times, these girls end up using tree leaves and cow dung, which might have an effect on their health. I would want to believe that some of the cancers that women experience are due to unclean material that girls and women use as sanitary wear. I would therefore want to thank the Minister for prioritising the Health Ministry.
+HON. SEN. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President. I would want to thank the Minister for assisting the Police. The Police have no duty vehicles and have become a laughing stock in communities. If the Police do not have vehicles, they cannot fully perform their duty, that of enforcing the law. I would want to give an example of a girl in my constituency who was raped. The police failed to attend to the case because they had no transport. In such cases, people would start to complain about the Police.
I would also want to thank the Minister on behalf of the war veterans. War veterans were now a laughing stock. People were saying where did these old people think they were going when they went to war. We are now in this august Senate because of the war veterans. They suffered and some of them even died. They have nothing and their families are suffering. Some of them died without having been vetted. We really appreciate what the Minister did for the war veterans. May God bless him. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Mr. President. I want to debate a few issues on the 2021 budget. We want to thank you for the Health budget. We are happy that you availed $13.5 billion and I hope that hospitals will be built to ensure that women travel short distances to medical centres. I am sure with the COVID-19 pandemic that has befallen us, this health Vote will make it easy for people get treatment.
On the issue of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, we are happy that you have availed funds for transport but there is also need to increase their salaries to guard against bribes that they take from people. NDS 1 has a programme known as wellness. When we talk of investment, it is done in the rural areas that we stay in but the rural areas fall under the traditional leaders. The status of the chiefs and their welfare need to be looked into. The chiefs have raised alarm that you need to look into their wellness issues. Besides the 16 or 18 chiefs in the Senate, most of the chiefs in the rural areas are facing challenges. We are the ones who spearhead development. Whenever anything is done, the traditional leader has to be there. We thank you for the funds that you have increased. However, for the chief to travel in a district, sometimes it is 60 to 70 kilometres. They have the vehicles but do not have fuel to access those areas and that is a challenge.
When looking at the issue of traditional chiefs, the Chiefs Council is a bi-product of this Parliament and it should be independent. The funds that we availed to the Chiefs Council are not adequate to ensure that we get offices in provinces or even in districts. There are some people whom we work with in rural areas. They say that the traditional leader is a well respected adult in the society so they want to travel to areas where they can get assistance. There are no provincial offices and there are no chieftainship councils. Our request is that may you look into the issue to ensure that the chiefs are recognised because we are the window where investors come through. If investors come and see me shabbily dressed, they will not invest in the area. So, we need to ensure that the welfare of chiefs is looked into.
We also want to thank the Minister for having the education sector as a priority. We heard the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development talking about Education 5.0. So the challenges that we have in this country can be addressed through education where we can now invent and produce our own things. I thought I would say these few words and thank the Minister for the Zimbabwean home grown budget. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice. I want to thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development who has brought the Finance Bill into this august House.
Mr. President, there has been a serious challenge in the rural areas. We drafted our Constitution and recognised the war veterans but it has been long before they were recognised and remunerated. So we want to thank the Hon. Minister for remembering the war veterans.
Hon. Minister, we also want to thank you as the representatives of the rural constituencies because our police had challenges in terms of transport. A policeman travels a very long distance after a child has been raped, so assist them with vehicles. It is very difficult to find a vehicle in the rural areas for the police to do their work. We urge your portfolio to keep progressing and continuing sourcing for funds to ensure that the Police Department is upgraded and well funded.
Moving on to the Health Vote – in rural areas most of the elderly people suffer from either diabetes or hypertension. For them to travel to hospitals or health care centres and get medication, it is a challenge. Therefore, the money that you have availed towards the health sector will assist them solve that problem.
Mr. President, I want to thank the Minister for bringing this Bill. People’s lives are premised on health, so our request is for the Minister to continue to increase the budget allocation on the health sector. As has been alluded to, most people are suffering from cancer. Cancer patients are experiencing challenges, so our request is that funds should be set aside for cancer patients. As a responsible Minister, we know you are going to consider this matter in order to assist cancer patients especially in the rural areas. The Minister should avail funds to build a cancer hospital only in order to address this challenge. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. SIANSALI: I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for the good work he has done. I would like to thank him for the attention that he has given to the war veterans. I would like to thank him for acknowledging that they are also human beings just like others. They have played a very important role towards this country.
I would like to remind the Hon. Minister that there is a lot of cry from the chiefs. Year in year out, the budget does not put duties into consideration. As chiefs, we appraised the Finance Ministry on our functions, what exactly that we do. It was our anticipation that when the Ministry looks at what we are doing they will put into consideration the nature of our role.
On top of the three programmes that we had come up with, attention was only given to one programme and that is leadership and governance. It is as if attention is given to things that are of no importance. We are doing a lot of work and we are looking forward to embark on a lot of programmes but because there are a few resources to enable us to do our work, it becomes very difficult for us to execute those programmes.
We would want to maintain shrines of our forefathers but there is nothing within our means to enable us to maintain them. We are worried about the attention that is given to other programmes yet the least of attention is being given to our programmes as chiefs.
Chiefs do not become chiefs because of academics but they are culturally chosen. Teachers went for teachers’ training but it seems that as chiefs we are being forgotten. If you are to make a survey, a lot of people stay in the rural areas and the chiefs are the custodians of peace in this country. They have a lot of work and people to take care of in the rural areas.
Hon. Minister, if you are to focus your attention on the Judicial Service Commission, you will see that a lot of training is given to their officers yet not much attention is given to us as chiefs though we are carrying our job very well. As chiefs, we are expecting a lot of support from the Ministry. It is now as if the Budget is only concentrating on the academia, those who have gone to school and studied a particular programme but neglecting people in the rural areas. It is our plea to the Ministry that the Minister understands and considers the plight of chiefs. Looking at the issue of agriculture, other government departments in the rural areas are not focused on building of schools, it is the chiefs who are playing a leading role. In the eyes of those who are learned and in the eyes of those who have gone to school, it is as if we are worth nothing. We kindly ask the Hon Minister to reconsider our position. We expect our institution to be on the same level as that of other institutions. Little attention and financial resources are given to us. It is our anticipation and we look forward to this institution being taken into consideration as much as others are. I thank you.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this Bill. Allow me to thank the Minister for trying to come up with a balanced budget under very difficult circumstances. All the efforts are appreciated.
I have got a few things I would want to put forward to the Ministry which I did not see coming prominently but which I consider to be important. Before I do that, I would want to thank the Minister for trying very hard to reach the 15% but I do not know why he collapsed before he hit the rope. He was almost there. It is almost $1bn for him to break the record and that would have put Zimbabwe on the map. With the unallocated $8bn, I think he can find it necessary to just put a few more cents to health and that money will be worthwhile.
When we look at the budget on the Social Service, we want to applaud the Minister for trying but I got the impression that he forgot a very important constituency. We are standing here today because our fathers, the elderly managed to keep the country running until today. We can sit and say we are presiding over Zimbabwe but I did not hear much which was given to the elderly. Our Constitution actually requires us to put aside money to support the elderly from 70 years going upwards. I have the feeling that during these very hard times which everyone including the able - bodied are experiencing, we would put much more just as an appreciation, that we understand the elderly are suffering.
In terms of social support, I would wish the Minister could reconsider and allocate more funds to the Ministry of Social Services and money be set specifically for supporting the elderly. These are the very same elderly who are finding it very difficult even in our public institutions when it comes to the hospital. They are the ones who have a the high burden of these non communicable diseases which we were talking about; that is cancer, diabetes and hypertension. When they get to hospital they are supposed to pay but how do they pay under these very difficult circumstances? I would want the Hon Minister to look and try to address either from the health direction, to say we allocate this money specifically so that our elderly from 70 years upwards when they visit our health institutions, they are not asked to pay like what is happening now. They are dying Mr. President. Those to me are very key. As a Government, we need to consider them seriously. Tave kuita sevana varikukanganwa vabereki vavo. That is basically what this budget may end up giving that impression. With those few words, I want to thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Let me start by saying the Minister of Finance is also a great Minister who is doing very good work. He is already turning around the economy. Just yesterday when I was reading the press that the Zimbabwe dollar firmed against the US$, it was a long time since I heard that the Zimbabwe dollar was firming against the US$. It has always been depreciating. So, good work to the Minister. The Budget is a very good budget. We read it and it is the most progressive and developmental Budget.
I am a bit frustrated that the Budget came into this House very late in the evening when we are all tired. Most of us are saying, let us just pass it because we are tired. It is not good for Senate but we have to pass it. We have been short-changed. I think next time let us arrange these things fairly so that the Senate will also be able to give some input. Do not put Senate in that difficult position when you plan your work. I have said it is a good Budget, so we will pass it but in future when you want to come to Senate, try to plan so that we also make a contribution as an Upper House.
All good things have been said and I do not want to repeat but only to say let us implement Section 305 in the Constitution which is a very serious section that which appropriates revenue to certain institutions that are listed there including the National Council of Chief. Some of them are independent commissions like ZEC but I think with respect to the National Council of Chiefs, since 2013 when this Constitution was passed, that provision is not being respected and we believe we will sit down after this to see how we can improve the manner we have been performing with respect to that provision. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON PROF. M. NCUBE): I want to thank the Hon Senators for their contributions, comments, input and also questions. Let me begin with a contribution from Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi who delved into the issue of support for war veterans, which she appreciated and also the support for the girl child especially through the issue of sanitary wear provision which again was well received. We will continue in this regard to make sure that our war veterans, the girl child and others continue to be supported in this way.
Hon. Sen. Tongogara, the issue of the health budget, that she appreciated and really we are moving closer to that 15% Abuja target. We are currently at 13% but there should be more on that. The cancer treatment issue was not adequately targeted and I agree with her. We thought last year we will begin this issue in earnest and we said that Ekusileni Medical Centre should be earmarked as one of our first cancer hospitals but we were overtaken by COVID-19. It is true that it became almost a COVID hospital and the future does not seem to be clearer after that in terms of being a cancer hospital, so we need to get back on the horse we fell off from.
Hon. Senators, we have done very well on the Aids levy. We are a role model for the rest of the world. I know this myself because I spend a lot of time consulting for the Global Fund in Geneva. I know the state of all the funding for HIV around the world. Zimbabwe is a role model. So, when I begin to reflect further on how cancer should be supported, I am thinking in that direction, that perhaps what is needed - and these are just thoughts and not an answer or a pronouncement, that maybe we have some kind of cancer focused fund with some specific source of funding. We said 2% tax but we will not go there but some specific source just targeting the capitalisation of this kind of fund. I think maybe it is the way to go.
The other idea we have entertained in my discussions with colleagues at the Global Fund is that perhaps the Aids Levy itself - because Aids goes along with other co-morbidities, especially these cardiovascular challenges including cancer itself, TB and so forth. Perhaps there is room to build around it so that it becomes a broader HIV and cancer levy. All these are ideas that I think between myself and the Minister of Health and Child Care, we need to sit down seriously and look into this.
I am also happy to report that the President has appointed a Cabinet Committee to look into the feasibility of introducing a National Health Insurance Scheme and I am the Chair of that Committee. All that goes a long way if we make progress on it to raise additional funding for health, especially to do with cancer related issues. So you can see we are seized with this matter and we are thinking through it. I agree with Hon. Sen. Tongogara and others that we should specifically pursue this cancer treatment targeting. In this Health Bill let us be honest, we had not applied our minds because I think it is something that needs careful thought both in terms of cancer institutions as well as direct funding for it which is clear and ring fenced. We just need time to think through that.
Hon. Sen. Dube again mentioned the issue of sanitary wear which is assisting the girl child with their schooling and now they are able to go to school without the kind of challenge associated with the absence of proper sanitary wear. Then Hon. Sen. Ndlovu mentioned the issue of police vehicles. Our target is buying upwards of 300 vehicles. For ease of travel in urban areas, they do not need 4x4s and land cruisers but just the small cars which we see in neighbouring countries. In South Africa the police do not use fancy cars to move around and that is what we have bought. So the first 85 are those small cars and for what it is worth – by the way, ZBC is also really under pressure.
In fact in 2020 we have also allocated about 10 vehicles for them through this vehicle acquisition programme so they can move around and also the $10 million to refurbish studios as well as half a million US$ to buy cameras and so forth so that they become a competitive media house and compete with the emerging competitive private media. The issue was about the policy so we will do everything to support them and make sure that we get all the vehicle support.
Support for war veterans is welcome. Next year we will be seized with building that war veterans fund into a proper institution. I have said in other quarters that the various mines that will be allocated to war veterans have been identified gold mines and so forth that will need to be transferred to the fund. The farms - we have said at least one farm per province must be for war veterans so we want to make sure that we walk the talk and then other assets in the hospitality sector and finally some kind of financial institution for war veterans. We have committed resources in this budget towards that. So we really want to make progress on this issue in addition to the US$37.5 million that I referred to.
Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe applauded the Health budget, particularly the source that has been targeting the isolation centres. We will continue to do more. We know there is still much to be done in supporting our health sector and again support for the police is applauded. Then NDS 1 the issue of wellness and the support for the Chief’s Council that needs more resources. This issue was raised quite forcefully by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira and by Hon. Sen. Chief Sansiali. They articulated the issue very well and I think as chiefs you have the right to influence and access devolution funds. It is not just for the Rural District Council CEOs. I urge you to assert yourselves in the choice of projects in your area that will improve the livelihood of your citizens in your area. Please do not leave this issue of choosing projects to RDCs and then they choose themselves because they have resources and not even interacting with the real leader of the people. I have shared the same information with Hon Members Parliament. There are districts and other areas that have shown that this can be done offline. I will be very happy to speak with the various chiefs here to see how we can assist you to insert yourself there and be part of the decision making, in fact lead the decision making. Politically it cannot be left to the RDCC or just left with the State Minister who is overall for a whole province. It is about the local leaders who ought to be involved. So, in all thinking about the budget for the National Council of Chiefs we had that in mind that in terms of developmental resources. The devolution resources have given all of us an opportunity to tap into. This year the resources have been underutilised. What we have allocated for 2021 is $19.5 billion and it is a lot of money. Sometimes I wonder whether there is enough absortion capacity to absorb all those resources at the local authority levels, but I think that is where our opportunity lies. We then look into the future if there are any issues that pertain to the wellbeing of the chiefs. That is where we need to try harder to make sure that your wellbeing is taken care of.
In terms of development projects, we think that the devolution funds are a very good start. I am also aware that the programme of Dura raMambo Isiphala Senkosi has also been restarted because there was a danger that that programme was going to be drowned by Pfumvudza and presidential input scheme and the chief loses status,. I think it was launched in Zvishavane Dura raMambo and so forth.
Those are some of the things that we can see there is some insensitivity towards the restoring of the dignity and position of the chief, but devolution funds are the key. Even offices, devolution funds can also cover the offices for the chiefs. Let us work together to make sure that you are able to access those resources.
Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe mentioned Education 5.0 that you are happy with our support. We have really tried. If you add the budget for the Primary and Secondary and Higher Education, they come to almost 17% of the entire budget around education and skills and that is a large allocation.
Hon. Sen. Chirongoma talked about the war veterans and support for the police and then Health. He also mentioned the cancer issue which we have tried to address.Your comments are really welcome. Hon. Sen. Chief Siansali, you mentioned the issue of support for the chiefs in terms of the Chiefs Council and my plea is that let us find a way to graft you into this strategic usage of the devolution funds for development of your area, but there is a specific areas around the training of chiefs and so forth which you highlighted. Even from a judicial point of view that you preside over cases, that training is needed. We need to look into this issue which is the capacity of the chiefs and their other issues.
Hon. Sen. Mavetera, again the 13% of health perhaps you could have moved it to 15% in terms of the Abuja target. I was working out quickly. We have a budget of $421 billion, 2% of that is actually about $8.4 billion. So, if we just try to move from 13% to 12%, we would have to allocate the entire unallocated reserve to one Ministry and that will be untenable. We need the back pocket to respond to emergencies in all the other Ministries. I think we have tried to get to the 13%. COVID really pushed us but we have to say to get to the 15% it is a multi-year target – who knows next year we may just be there. We will nail it.
If we can adopt that multi-year target, we will get there but if we do 2% extra and now we will be getting 15%. We will just wipe out and the reserve we are in really trouble. You cannot run and come to public finances without the back pocket allocated reserves. Support for the elderly - that we needed to do more. Again, we have consulted a bit on this with the relevant Ministry and in our conversation we really felt that the $7 billion or so that we have allocated to the Ministry is a very good start from where it was the previous year. We feel it is a good start. In any case again, the room for maneuver is not clear in terms of reallocations if we think of allocating more to this Ministry.
In the lower House we went through a lot of debate about where to move money and do this and we have done that already and now there is just zero room for maneuver. I would not even see where to begin even if there is a strong case to do it, we are up to here in terms of resource allocation. Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira. Thank you for your comments that the economy is turning around - stable, the currency is stable and it is even firm today. The budget is developmental, which is what it ought to be and you are right about that. I do not want to stand in front of you and then just give you figures on how much I have collected for each VAT et cetera.
It has to be about what these resources are being used for, and where they are being applied – are they being applied strategically in a way that addresses our challenges that addresses the imperative to develop our country and improve a lot of our people and get to vision 2020. That is what we have tried to achieve hence, the anchor of the budget on NDS I which is our National Development Strategy. It is right that we would have needed more time to debate in this august House but alas, we did it and two things happened.
I think COVID created challenges for us. It forced me to present the budget rather late on the 26th November, 2020 which we had because everything was just held back. Planning purposes, people doing retreats, Parliament retreating and all of that. So, if you are in this kind of car crash situation, certainly we had also completed and launched the NDS 1. That process had to happen first because the budget is anchored on it.
I think that we have done very well to have concluded both the NDS 1 and here we are debating the budget and it is not yet Christmas. We are almost at Christmas and finally, it is always a good idea to make sure the budget is concluded before year end. That way, we do not have to do some legal gymnastics in the first week of January to allow Government to function, we will have a budget legally on the 1st of January. That then has compressed everything. All those three factors have compressed everything and forced us to have less time than anticipated in this House to debate our very important budget.
Hon. Sen. Charumbira came back again with the issues of the Council of Chiefs. He is right, there may be even room for maneuver and we should find room for maneuver and an opportunity to do more to assist the National Council of Chiefs to improve the working conditions like salaries and other emoluments. I think that I agree with him on that and we will certainly look into that.
I want to say that in the last week we have improved the wellbeing of Senators and Chiefs and that is all I can say. Some of you may have heard a rumour and it is not just a rumour but it is true and I can confirm it and thanks to His Excellency who approved an improvement in the working conditions. I 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.
APPROPRIATION (2021) BILL
House in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 5 put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
APPROPRIATION (2021) BILL [H. B. 6, 2020]
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. President, I move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Before we adjourn, I want to thank the Hon. Senators for a job well done. You have risen to be counted when the need comes. You are going to be served with dinner in the Members’ Dining Room.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE), the Senate adjourned at Five Minutes past Seven o’clock p.m.