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SENATE HANSARD 17 MAY 2024 VOL 33 NO 49

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Friday, 17th May, 2024

The Senate met at a Quarter to Ten o’clock a.m.

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON THE APPROVAL OF THE LOAN BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT (IFAD) FOR HORTICULTURE ENTERPRISES ENHANCEMENT PROJECT

(HEEP)

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. NCUBE):  Mr. President, I seek leave of Senate to move that Notice of Motion on the loan agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) which was superseded by the adjournment of the Senate due to lack of a quorum yesterday be restored on today’s Order Paper as Order of the Day Number 1 in terms of Standing Order Number 76, I thank you. 

          Motion put and agreed to. 

MOTION

RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON THE APPROVAL OF THE LOAN BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT (IFAD) FOR HORTICULTURE ENTERPRISES ENHANCEMENT PROJECT (HEEP)         

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. NCUBE):  Mr. President, I move that Notice of Motion on the loan agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) which was superseded by the adjournment of the Senate due to lack of a quorum yesterday be restored on today’s Order Paper as Order of the Day Number 1 in terms of Standing Order Number 76.  I thank you.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL OF THE LOAN BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR

AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT (IFAD) FOR HORTICULTURE ENTERPRISES ENHANCEMENT PROJECT

(HEEP)

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. NCUBE): Thank you Mr. President, Members of this august House. I have before you a request to approve a loan agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).  This loan seeks to support the horticultural sector.  It uses the acronym HEEP.  We call the horticulture enterprise enhancement project known as HEEP.  It seeks to increase agriculture production and productivity especially by horticulture farmers which enhances food and nutrition security, income and increase opportunities for value addition and the development of agro business value chains.  

Mr. President, to this end, the Government of Zimbabwe secured a loan of US$37.140 000 from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in order to enhance agriculture production and productivity.  The project is being co-financed by the OPEC Fund for International Development.  The objective of this project HEEP is to support, increase sustainable horticulture production and sales by small holder farmers and micro small and medium enterprises engaged in horticulture value chains.

Mr. President, the project shall benefit all small holder farmers who will be organising what we call agricultural producer groups in village horticulture gardens.  Agriculture producer groups in four Ps that are linked to anchor firms.  Four Ps, here we mean public, private and people partnerships.  There are two aspects of support within this loan arrangement.

The project would be located in four provinces, which are Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland for the village horticultural gardens only.  For the four Ps programme, the project will be located in well-functioning irrigation schemes throughout the ten provinces of the country.  In particular, in the high potential regions of Mashonaland and Manicaland provinces.  I must hasten to add Mr. President, that there was a prior programme which this Parliament approved in 2021 again funded by IFAD.  IFAD financed a project called the small agriculture cluster project (SACP), which was implemented in five other provinces , Mashonaland Central, Mash East, Mash West, Midlands and Mat North. These provinces are excluded in the new HEEP project because they were already included in the previous project.  So, the 2021programme and this 2024 programme, together cover the entirety of our provinces.  Therefore, no province is left behind at the risk of repeating the size of the loan of $37.14million, and we signed this loan on the 7th of May, 2023.

  If you look at the structure in terms of interest and repayment Mr. President, what is really happening is that this loan has no interest at all.  It is interest free and in the first ten years, we do not service anything, but from year eleven, we start paying part of the principle at a rate of 4.5% per annum.  This runs up to year thirty, then from year thirty- one to year forty, this payment of the principle drops from 4.5 % to 1%.  So, the entirety of the tenure of the loan is 40 years, of which then the first ten years is a grace period of no payment at all. We pay this loan from budget appropriations in the usual way and there are enormous benefits from this loan Mr. President, such as employment creation for local communities, capacity building for local communities, climate smart agriculture and easy market access for our communities. Other benefits include improved food nutrition and security for our communities, increased household incomes and improved resilience to climate change effect and economic shocks and finally it just increases production and productivity, especially in the horticulture sector.  I submit Mr. President and I move that this loan be adopted.  Thank you.

*HON. SEN. GOTORA: Thank you Senate President Sir.  I want to add my contribution regarding the issue of the loan.  I want also to thank the Hon. Minister for sourcing for credit lines despite the fact that we are facing sanctions.  This is quite important because there is no nation which can thrive without credit lines, particularly from nations that have a good relationship with the country as well as other partners.  I am quite excited because this is going to benefit our people who do not have sources of livelihoods and are facing challenges.

Secondly, I am happy because we are being given a grace period of 10 years, we are not going to pay anything.  However, the interest is below what is being charged in most nations in Africa.  This rate of interest is normally given to developed countries, but it is being given to African Countries.  At the moment, African nations are given 9.4 plus interest rates. However, the developed countries are being given loans with a small interest by the World Bank, IMF and other lenders.  So, indeed, the Minister has brought quite a good thing.  The people we target to benefit from this should be educated on the importance of this Government initiated programme because sometimes our people do not take advantage of the opportunities that are availed to them because of lack of knowledge. The Bible says that my people perish because of lack of knowledge.

  The first programme that came, which was mentioned by the Hon. Minister was not taken up by people from different provinces because of lack of knowledge.  So, my plea is that Extension workers should do due diligence so that when the loan comes, then it cascades down to the people not only benefiting the people, but also benefiting the nation because when people are able to sustain their livelihoods ,then this will be beneficial for the nation, for Government and this will benefit the education, transport, health and different departments.  If we do not look after ourselves, it works against us and it affects a number of programmes.  So, I implore Hon. Members of this august House to accept this loan to pass even the Minister’s plea.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Senate President Sir, for affording me this opportunity to add my voice in support of this initiative which was brought by the Hon. Minister.  We are aware Mr. President Sir, that the effects of climate change are felt, rains are not adequate.  We did not get enough harvest and we are facing a drought.  Indeed, this programme is behind time.  When the Minister mentioned four provinces, I said how about our province?  What are we going to do because people are asking for nutrition gardens, schools, need grain for food relief so that their children can have access to food?  We can also do nutrition garden projects so that we feed our people and the children. It will also help in empowering our communities with income generating projects because the Minister mentioned the issue of projects and I believe that when people are taught like what was said by the previous speaker, this would eventually culminate in a situation where we are able to export our produce and earn foreign currency as a result; which is quite important. My desire is that this should happen.  We need to determine whether Government employees are doing due diligence and it is important to have a criteria in terms of selecting the people who are going to be working on the floor. We need to make sure that this is done and there are projects like fencing, solar, irrigation projects.  Borehole projects are quite important because without irrigation, indeed some programmes might not succeed, irrigation is quite important. So, Hon. Minister, I also believe that it is important for us to educate our people in different constituencies so that they take advantage of this for posterity, for the sake of our people so that as they plant and cultivate their fields, they would get something to sell. I thank you Senate President.

          HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: Thank you Mr. President for this opportunity to debate this issue on a loan of US$37.2 million that the Executive has sourced and found. Mr. President, the issues of empowering people of Zimbabwe at the base level should be taken seriously.  We should never pay lip service to issues of development of the most down trodden people.  Mr. President, before I delve in the details of my debate, I also would like to talk about the attitude of the Executive with respect to the view of Senate.  I think that when important issues are taken to us, they need to be done with due respect to the Senate.  The belief that this Senate is a parking Senate where people endorse and rubber stamp things should be a view of the past.  We need full respect…

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Senator, it looks like Madam President made a ruling regarding what you seem to be starting afresh and I think it is only important that we proceed with the business of Senate.  You can proceed.

          HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: Sorry I did not quite pick the point that you raised.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I am reliably informed that Madam President made a ruling with regard to that.  Is it different?

          HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: I think that will confuse me, let me keep on with my debate.  As they say in Latin, moribus non facile mori it means bad habits should die and new clean habits rise so that we all get the respect that we require.  Mr. President, US$37.2 million borrowed for consumption, I think is not a very good idea.  Zimbabwe is a country of abundant riches, Zimbabwe is pregnant with diamonds, platinum, iron ore and gold like no other country in the world. It is a wonderful gift from God that we got. 

          Two of the seven wonders of the world are in Zimbabwe; that is Victoria Falls and Great Zimbabwe and we have got a lot of sunshine and arable land.  For me, I honestly think that when His Excellency the President talks of Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo, he is speaking to issues of the resources that we have which must be our own resources being deployed of the needs of the people of Zimbabwe.

          What is the difficulty around our own resources being deployed for the development of the people of Zimbabwe?  It is difficult to get US$37.2 million from our own resources to fund the empowerment of the people of Zimbabwe that we have to go and borrow US$37.2 million.  For this nation that is pocket money; do we have to go and borrow pocket money?  For me it is difficult, I do not see us taking seriously the agenda of empowering the people of Zimbabwe.  If we must depend on a loan that we are rushed to pass; is it because we do not have US$37.2 million available from our own resources?  Why do we have this appetite to borrow?  This country is overborrowed. We owe billions of dollars and we have got a serious bad appetite to keep borrowing and creating a very bad name for ourselves out there in the world.

          Particularly when you borrow for consumption, our children and our grandchildren are burdened with having to pay for this loan; 40-year period of paying US$37.2 million dollars, it shames this country and it reduces the dignity of this great nation to go out with a begging bowl for US$37 million.  I think this is not good for this country.  We are burdening our great grand children to keep paying for such loans.  So, I have got concerns with respect to that Mr. President.

          I would like to implore the Executive and the Minister to try and find from our own resources so that we can abundantly work on empowering the down trodden people of Zimbabwe.  Mr. President, it is also important to know how effective the predecessor loan that the Minister was talking about was, how did it help? Has it improved the great lot of the people of Zimbabwe and to what extent or is it just money going down the drain? Who is paying back, what is the payment period and all that? I am also even concerned about issues of lack of transparency around these issues of loans.  I think the Executive should respect Parliament and at least at the minimum walk together with Parliament with the Committee on Budget and Finance so that we are walking together on the loans.  Also give us a full-term sheet in our pigeon holes so that we can see for ourselves the meanings of this loan, the conditions relevant to this loan.

          Now we just believe the summary that we are getting from the Minister.  Why is it difficult for the Executive to give us the full-term sheet so that we know the full details so that we apply our minds fully to this issue and decide whether it is necessary for us to okay it or not. Mr. President, with this contribution, I submit that the Executive should find more money out of our own resources to empower the people of Zimbabwe. I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. RICHARD. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank the Minister of Finance for bringing the motion on loan approval to the Senate. The provinces that were highlighted; Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland are provinces which have been affected by climate change.  There is no water, people are facing drought, unemployment and other challenges and indeed my hope is that when we agree, these loans are going to benefit our people in boarder lying areas.

People are migrating to South Africa, Johannesburg and other places. They come back dead because some are taking a lot of drugs and alcohol; so the Minister of Finance is bringing a very good programme which is going to benefit people particularly looking at the fact that the water table is very low in these provinces. There is equipment for sinking boreholes, but it is over 100 metres, others 250 to 300 metres for people to reach the water table.  Indeed, we need boreholes which have water.  I implore the department of Agritex, which is responsible for Extension to work hard.  You will find that irrigation schemes are not operational.  You find people pilfering solar equipment and there is staff exodus.  So, we want this programme to succeed so that it transforms communities so that people can see the good work that is happening in communities.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. TSHABANGU: Thank you Mr. President.  Very attractive loan, with very attractive conditions of service, very juicy and tempting, but my question is; Zimbabwe is hosting the fifth structured dialogue on debt with creditors this month.  Is this loan not going to add another burden to the already existing debt?  This is happening on the eve of this critical, crucial meeting.  What measures has the Ministry put in place to ensure that the loan is managed responsibly?  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. President.  I arise in support of this loan, which is in line with agriculture.  My view is that I want to see this money being directed to the real beneficiaries, those we are anticipating; because we come from these people who were mentioned by the Minister of Finance.  If these get enough funding, there will be no point in them not being empowered.  What is challenging is that funding is not enough.  We are looking at things like equipment, the necessary irrigation equipment for them to be able to irrigate.  I also want to add knowledge of farming. I know there are Extension officers, but I have reservations because it needs him as the custodian of our finances and for what he is looking forward to, that this money should benefit and that it is beneficial to all of us as a loan so that we will be able to service the loan.  You can also engage the Minster of Agriculture, Hon. Masuka so that you may tell him how this money should be used so that the Extension officers deliver in their doings. 

At times the farmers are not knowledgeable because when people farm tomatoes, you will hear them saying that the crop has been destroyed by insects.  Someone will come and say that they do not know the name of the insect, but we are talking about horticulture.  So, that knowledge is very important so that we will be able to service the loan.  Whatever we farm is destroyed. If we did not fumigate our crops and do not know which insecticides to use, we will lose out.

          Furthermore, I do not see people failing because we have seen from the past.  Looking at people from Domboshava, Murehwa, Birchenough where I come from or even Nyanyadzi, it shows you that people do not fail if they have enough resources.  With the little that they have, they are doing great things.  I will ask you as the Minister of Finance, when you come up with your budget, I think you should try by all means to liaise with the local supermarkets before we export our produce. We use horticulture produce almost on daily basis, things which we consume like tomatoes and vegetables are perishables, but we find ourselves importing them from South Africa, whilst we have our own horticulture farmers who are producing the same and do not have markets.  What I am saying is for us to be able to service the loans, before importing, when coming up with the Finance Act, try by all means to encourage local markets to buy from local farmers.  Supermarkets should venture into contracts with horticultural farmers so that they can take their produce to local supermarkets, where their produce is needed on daily basis.  That would help us and in turn they will be helped because they would not throw away their produce.  If you go to Mbare, you will find that there are heaps of rotten vegetables thrown away because of lack of market.  It is now a challenge yet in the supermarket, they will be importing onions, cabbages, butternuts and all the horticultural produce from South Africa. 

So, you should come up with ways which will encourage our local farmers to continue farming, those you would have sourced loans for, so that they show their expertise, so that they do not get challenges of throwing away rotten produce. It paints a picture that we are not capable, yet it is the issue of market. I think when it comes to economy issues, they were in the hands of the white people.  They had ways been used when buying and selling.  Those channels are still open.  I think we should revamp so that we support our people so that they get into the market chains.

          In conclusion, I would say it is very important that when we get these loans and give them to the people, we should go back and monitor and come up with statements showing how the money would have been used.  We should come up with an evaluation programme so that we know the outcome.  We should also put in place an evaluation programme so that we see how the programme is coming up – if there are any loopholes, we would curb that for future benefits.

          HON. SEN. S. MOYO: Thank you very much Hon. President for allowing me to add my voice on the motion on approving the loan of US$37.1 million, which was brought in by the Minister of Finance.

It is no secret that we owe a total of US$17.5 billion in total debt.  How can the country move forward in development when monies come out repaying loans and paying interests, will we go anywhere?

First of all, it is our duty as the Senate to exercise our oversight and accountability roles and also be engaged in discussion with the various stakeholders in debt discussions and decision making.  I am here to hold the Minister of Finance to action on behalf of the citizens to express the will of the people of Zimbabwe.  We, as the Senate and representatives of the citizens, must pay attention to all proposals for the loans as it relates to the impact on the lives of the people we represent.  In Zimbabwe for example, the Constitution in Section 119 is clear about the role of Parliament to protect the Constitution.  As the Senate, we should consider the impact that any loan decision has on the progress and understanding of rights (including agriculture and social development).  We need to pay attention to this loan of US$37.1 million and what impact it has on several macro-economic factors and the potential impact of the debt on the overall economy.  We support good laws as the opposition.  We support what benefits the country and what is important for the country.

As the Upper House, we need the following requests accepted by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development:

The value for money tracking – the Minister is here requesting this approval so we need to have committees to be formed which will be resourced to allow them to conduct physical visits to observe first hand and to feed into tracking of resource use by the Executive.

Debt tracking – we will need to hear updated reports; what are the implications of this loan on development and the Zimbabwean Economy.

Budget and Audit Analysis – we need there to be discipline towards preventing unsustainable loans and debts.  We need transparency and accountability on the use of public resources.

We need to track illegal financial flows – we have to make sure this is not another way for Government to continue getting money while the children of Zimbabwe suffer.  Can this Government and the Hon. Minister tell the country if they have created growth and progress.  There is no progress, just regret.  Our people are suffering, they cannot eat.  There are no jobs.  Where is the development?  Many have come and gone. Some are still here promising development through loans but there is nothing to show for it.

As the House of Senate, can we be the change this time as past Parliaments have failed to monitor the implementation of projects through investigation visits which limited us to look at the truth and Government’s progress in the use of loans like this one.  We propose a debt and loan audit to be conducted with a view that it will reveal the realities which may be shaded in the motion presented by the Minister of Finance.

Mr. President, the Government has failed us and continues to.  We cannot support this motion because how do we know this one will serve the people compared to others in the past?  It would be against our value system.  We want the country to do well.  We see this motion as misinformation – another way for the Government to continue getting money to finance their interests while the children of Zimbabwe suffer.  We need more information, transparency because the Government continues to waste money and abuse the taxpayer’s money.  I say to the Hon. Minister of Finance, withdraw this motion and tell us where past monies have gone in the name of loans and also tell the children of Zimbabwe on your wastage and destruction of our economy.  Thank you very much Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. C. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the occasion to comment on the initiative, which is most welcome, by our Minister of Finance and Economic Development concerning this loan from IFAD.  As a diplomat, I just want to remind the House that IFAD is a United Nations organisation which is supported by the richest countries in the world, basically the industrialised countries as well as OPEC countries - which of course everybody who goes to a pumping station is sending money to OPEC.  This institution generates loans on behalf of United Nations organisation to support rural development and to eradicate poverty.  I want to commend the wisdom of the Minister of Finance, together with his boss, the President of the Republic, for reaching out to this fund of concessional loans which are there to support the most disadvantaged sections of our society, particularly rural people. 

          Besides the cheapness of the loan, the Minister is taping on the expertise of IFAD, an organisation based in Rome which is operating in more than 200 countries and has got the advantage of comparative experience in how different societies which have used these loans have applied them so that they can improve on the livelihoods of rural people.  Here we are blending the best of practice on the global scale from IFAD with our internal expertise, which we have garnered over the years as to how to change the lives of rural people. I am taken back a little bit by the negative sentiments which I am hearing from across the room which do not seem to have full appreciation of what the Government is doing in terms of improving the livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe.

There is a scare mongering which is coming from across the House about loans.  I want to remind this House that the USD17 billion which is being talked about is mostly default penalties for loans which were inherited from the pre-colonial era.  This is not a bi-product of prolificacy on the part of the post-independent Government.  Definitely, not a fault of the Government of President E. D. Mnangagwa in the last four years or five years, which has really been running this economy on the bases of legality, but at the same time marshalling domestic and global resources to improve our economy.  It is because of the sterling performance of the dream team of the economic Ministers and the Central Bank Governor.  I want to pay my respect to the Minister of Finance who has done a remarkable job in the last five years to do wonders to make this economy be what it is today.  Just two months ago, for the comfort of those who are positive and education of those naysayers about the development of this country, none other than the International Monitory Fund which is the supreme authority of monitory and economic governance in the world reimbursed the Zimbabwe economy from US$17 billion to USD47 billion as a testament of homage to the work which is being done by President E. D. Mnangagwa and his Economic Dream Team.  This is a big thing.  What does it mean?  It means that we can borrow money easily, not only from institutions like IFAD, but we can now borrow money from even the private sector, the commercial sector of this world?  We are on our way there but more importantly, we are attracting investment because our economy is showing positive strides of growth – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – If you can reimburse your economy from USD19 billion in 2018 to USD47 billion in 2024, you are doing extremely well as a country. 

          Mr. President, this is a country which is not being given access to the soft finance or the concessional loans which are coming from other international financial institutions.  We are doing well, and when the Minister goes to look for a loan from IFAD for the rural people, we are saying whether it be big money, whether it be small money, as long as it changes the lives of our people in this country, we want it – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – This is money for rural people of Zimbabwe who want solar pumps to do their drip gardens as has been said by Hon. Senator Mupfumira, Hon. Senator Zindi and as has been said by my colleague here to the right, Senator from UMP. 

          Mr. President, this is money which changes people in our rural areas.  We need to support that because it touches on where most of us came from, the rural people.  We need to support that loan.  For the naysayers, you need education.  I heard some Latin phrases being mentioned here sounding very profound about issues.  That is very good to sound learned, but it is more important to appreciate what President E. D. Mnangagwa and his Minister of Finance and the Central Bank have done to make Zimbabwe’s economy do well. 

          Mr. President, we are attracting private money into this country, which is risk capital not loans.  When you hear of lithium being exploited in Zimbabwe, it is not a loan.  It is somebody who has come from outside to say Zimbabwe is open for business, I can put my money and if it will make profit and because the people of Zimbabwe are hardworking, it will make profit in the shortest possible time.  That is why out of seven mining lithium, four or five are in Zimbabwe today.  We want to thank President Mnangagwa for doing that. 

          Mr. President, we are going to become a battery producer because we are attracting private capital.  This last week, we fired the blast furnaces in Manhize for producing steel in this country on a big scale, ten times, twenty times bigger than ZISCO.  This is what the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe is doing for this country, attracting private capital.  So, when we attract this money, private capital, the proportion of our loan which you are so much scared of becomes very little because the economy is performing very well.  We cannot fail to go and borrow money to grow our economy because we are scared that the loans will be burdensome when we know that the risk capital which is coming into this country is growing this economy so fast that the loan becomes very little. That is why the Americans and the British and everybody are now coming back to Zimbabwe to negotiate.  They realised that our economy is doing well.

          Hon. President, when you do well, nothing succeeds like success.  This is what President E. D. Mnangagwa has done for this country. So, Minister of Finance, you are doing a brilliant job.  This loan needs the support of this House.  I do hope that the naysayers from across the board, after my intervention, can even go and learn a little bit more so that Latin phrases can be replaced by debating from an informed appreciation of the economy.  I thank you…

          HON. SEN CHAPPFUDZA:  On a point of order Mr. President. Thank you, Mr. President Sir.  May the Hon. Senator withdraw the word naysayers referring to Hon. Senators in the House? 

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  You can withdraw Hon. Senator Mutsvangwa. 

          HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA:   Mr. President, as I was listening to this debate, there were negative sentiments which were expressed about this loan.  Naysayer means people who say no.  I heard it, why should I withdraw for just repeating what somebody has said from the other side.  I want to stand guided.  I thank you. 

          HON. SEN. ZWIZWAI:  On a point of order Mr. President, I find it very unfair that the Diplomat in the suit of Hon. Senator Mutsvangwa would want to stick to the shallow thinking that he wants to prescribe and conclude that Hon. Members are ignorant or they do not have knowledge.  We are all Senators here and this House should be respected.  We have Chiefs here, we have people who are above 40 years here, so it will be very unfair for her to be very arrogant and want to impose himself as the most knowledgeable individual in this House.  I second that she withdraws and debate as a Diplomat and debate in a very dignified way than to be very arrogant and look down upon other Senators in this House.  We will not allow that to happen. 

          In terms of the rules, that is not allowed.  When you address fellow Senators, you say Senators, you do not say what Chris Mutsvangwa has said, even to refer to you as John Moyo.  We always refer to you as the President of Senate.  Not that we do not know your name.  I insist that he withdraws and if he wants to debate for the whole day, he can proceed.  I thank you.

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The question in contention is if you check from the dictionary, it only means those who oppose, however you raise a quite reasonable point where you said when addressing each other in here, it is always honourable as opposed to using the individual’s name.  That point has been taken on board.  But for progress’s sake, let us move on with the debate.

*HON. SEN. MBOHWA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I do not have much to say and it is very difficult to say much after the experts have debated before you – the likes of Hon. Senator Mutsvangwa.  You run out of points to add.  However, I have stood up to thank the Minister of Finance for the leap that he has taken in making us have faith in our economy.  We were people who were not trustworthy in terms of loans, so when he came into this House saying he got another life line to get a loan, I realised that Zimbabwe is now back to its original status where it is being trusted to get loans. 

We know that Zimbabwe was in a sorry state.  In 2008, we know what happened when we were faced with a drought.  If we compare the drought of 2008 and the one we are faced with this year, in 2008 we were left with nothing on our shelves.  Cattle were being exchanged for a bag of maize but because of the likes of Hon. Senator Mutsvangwa, who is an economist, you find that there is a huge difference which shows that our economy is now on the right track.  We are getting what we want and we have the money to buy what we want, which means that we are at another level where we are managing as the citizens of Zimbabwe.  With these few words, I want to thank the President E. D Mnangagwa, together with his Minister for where they have taken us so far.  We are proud of that and implore them to continue in that trajectory. 

We cannot judge you because of what we experienced in the past but we will judge you from what you are bringing and what you are doing.  So, we want to give room to the new dispensation to revamp our economy.  We should not be in the middle.  Even in the rural areas, we should stand in the gap and also give room to them.  We should be thankful for what is happening.  There is one speaker who said that this is beautiful to hear, to see and to behold.  What has been brought to this House is what we have been crying for all along, for the rural populace to benefit and take our country back to being the bread basket of Africa.  The farmers are in the rural areas and if this succeeds, we will not have hunger in our country again.  So, I thank the Almighty and ask him to use us as Senators to be able to uplift the lives of our rural people.  This loan should help them.  I thank you.

+HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA:  Mr. President Sir, thank you for affording me the opportunity to add my voice to this debate as a Member representing people from Matabeleland South.  What I want to say is that we know the mantra of the President and we respect it when he says a nation is built by its owners.  What I want to say to the Members on the other side is that we are also the owners of this country.  What it means is that when you are one who is also owning the country, you also have the right to ask where clarification is needed, especially on how this loan is supposed to be used.  

This country is a democratic country, that is why we are here.  We were chosen by people who wanted us to represent them and we are Members who have different views.  We are not the same and we do not have the same views and do not expect us to agree on everything.  Mr. President Sir, what I want to say is that whilst we are here representing different members of our constituencies, we are here as their mouth piece.  The first thing that I want to say Mr. President is that this loan is being used in Matabeleland North and as Matabeleland South, why was Matabeleland North not assisting us if the loan was once used in Matabeleland North.  As Matabeleland South, it is a very dry region in our country.  Hon. Senator Moyo and Hon. Senator Ndlovu indicated that the water table for Matabeleland South has gone low.

Where you are saying you are going to drill boreholes in rural areas, this loan is supposed to be used whether we agree or not but I know it is going to be passed.  We need to say our views and also share with the Minister on how we can improve the use of this loan.  The water tables for Matabeleland South is very low now. Minister, when you presented your budget, I remember indicating that we need construction of dams that will assist us in water conservation rather than drilling boreholes.  It is not horticulture only in Matabeleland South that is being practiced.  We also look at cattle ranching.  We have so many cattle in Matabeleland South hence our livestock needs dams.  We have boreholes that have been drilled but you realise that they have dried up again.  You want to drill more boreholes and at the end of the day we will have the same situation.  The little water that we get through rains should be harvested in the dams.  Why should we continuously ask for water?  When I look at Matabeleland South as a dry region, we will not be able to practice horticulture because it is a very hot region.

Another thing that I want to suggest here Mr. President Sir, which I want to correct the Minister is that there is so much gold punning that is being done in Matabeleland South.  I want to find out what are we using that gold for? The locals are not benefiting from that gold that is being punned in Matabeleland South.  The resources that we have in Matabeleland South, we can use them and benefit from them.  So many people are doing gold panning around the river banks which we claim that it is assisting in improving lives.  Where exactly is it assisting in Matabeleland South as it remains the same?  Yes, those with money can come and do mining, look at Antelope Dam, there are people who come to put cyanide in that dam when it is the only water resource that people are using in Matabeleland. South. 

          In the whole of Matabeleland.South, Gwanda, Insiza, Matobo, Bulilimamangwe, people are mining in all those places that I have alluded to.  Why should you beg for loans to assist Matabeleland South when we know we have enough resources?  Whilst we are doing all this, please have us in mind that we need dams and I once suggested to you Hon. Minister that why should we have boreholes instead of using the current dams that we have and connect our water pipes.  It is a dry region, we travel a long distance to fetch water and here you are saying you want to drill boreholes; we still walk a long distance to fetch water. As a Member representing my people from Matabeleland South, I am pleading with you Hon. Minister.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Senator, direct your question to me. Unfortunately you have finished, I wanted to say direct whatever you are saying to me.

HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: My apologies President of Senate. I am directing my question to you again. I will further emphasise that as people coming from Matabeleland South, we know that inasmuch as we cry out loud, we are the minority viewed as people who are always negative. However, I have people from my constituency or people from my province in mind. Please try to construct more dams so that we can practice smart farming. Dams that you will construct will not benefit horticulture only, but as Matabeleland, we are a region that is known for cattle ranching. We can see the gold that is being mined in Matabeleland benefiting people from Matabeleland South and not people from afar.

*HON. SEN CHINYANGA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. I would like to applaud the Minister of Finance for a job well done. Some of the work that he is doing is so big, such as sourcing for funds that are meant to help the needy and also promoting the rural populace to get relief and be productive in agriculture. For some of us from Murewa, we are so proud of this move. Some people may not see the importance of this move because they live in urban areas and to them this loan does not mean anything, but it is very significant to the rural populace.

          I support this loan. There is no amount of money that is too small, any amount can work. Even if you are given 5 ZiG today, it will be very helpful. For horticulture, we do not need a lot of money like what you are thinking. It is a lot of money, we can use this money efficiently and ask them to give us some more if we were allowed to pay well in advance, we would work out to clear it.

          One other thing that I want to refer to Hon. Minister is that horticulture must be supported by laws that block horticulture imports.  In some countries, we realise that if you import goods that are produced or grown in that country, you are charged exorbitant duty.  Right now, we realise that apples and tomatoes are usually imported, but sometimes they give us rejects.  So, I feel that if you give a lot of loans not only on vegetables and other products that are consumed, I appeal to you to impose heavy duty on them for this amount of money. Some of us who have small businesses, if you approach a bank for a loan, they will tell you that there is a loan facility for women which has a very small interest. You will run to look for such a loan; that is what we expect from the Minister of Finance; looking around for cheap money or loans that have very favourable conditions. So for some of us, we expect that and to me, I appeal that we help each other to support this loan sourced by the Minister of Finance. I thank you.

HON. SEN. PHULU: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to appreciate the fact that our Government still brings these loans before Parliament. I know that it is a formality but when it is done, we must appreciate it because it appreciates the importance of our institutions and our oversight function so that whatever agreement that the President signs, is fully debated and ventilated in this House.

Mr. President, I rise today to express my deep concerns in opposition to the loan agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD. I acknowledge the importance of agriculture in our country’s economy Mr. President. However, I believe this loan at this time is a grave mistake that will only exacerbate our country’s already dire financial situation.  As we all know, Zimbabwe is currently facing a significant external debt burden, I know arguments have been advanced that it is a colonial legacy. I will address that as I move on below.

However, our country’s debt has grown to unsustainable levels and we are struggling to service our debt obligations. Indeed, our Government is currently undertaking some structured negotiations platform (SDP) in order to deal with these gigantic issues. The World Bank estimates that our debt to GDP ratio is currently over 80%, making it one of the highest in the world. This is a ticking time bomb that could lead to a debt crisis if not addressed.

          In this contest, it is imperative that we prioritise our spending and focus on reducing our debt burden rather than taking on a new debt. The loan agreement before us today proposes to add USD37, 14 million to our national debt. It does not matter where it is coming from, how concessional it is. At the end of the day, it is adding this amount to our national debt, which is a staggering amount considering our country`s current financial situation. However, it is not just the amount of the debt that concerns me.  It is also the fact that the loan is being taken at a time when our country is facing significant financial challenges. We are struggling to generate revenue and our economy is in need of structural reform. Taking on a new debt without a clear plan for how we will repay it or how it will benefit the economy is reckless and irresponsible in our submission.

Furthermore, I am concerned that this loan will not address the root causes of poverty and food insecurity in our country. It is sad if we simply perpetuate a cycle of dependents on foreign aid and handouts. We need to focus on developing sustainable solutions and promote self-reliance and economic growth. I urge my colleagues to consider the bigger picture to prioritise our nation`s needs over this loan with responsibility to ensure that our resources are effectively and efficiently used to address the most pressing challenges facing our country. Zimbabwe`s external debt, as I have already said, is unsustainable and taking on a new debt will exacerbate this problem.

There is no clear plan in this agreement. I have talked about the cycle of dependency and other things that I am concerned about. However, as we consider this loan, I am reminded of the consequences that come with taking on debt and I believe this is a step in the wrong direction. Firstly, I would like to highlight - in fact I have already talked about this GDP that it is very high. Just to address, I appreciate the concerns expressed by my colleague, Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa.  However, I would like to counter the argument that this loan is as if it is free and concessional, whilst it is true that the loan is from a UN agency, we must not forget that the agency is still a lender and the loan will still add to our national debt.

Moreover, we must consider the opportunity cost of taking this loan. What other projects could we have funded through perhaps another loan to fund other priorities. What other benefits could we have achieved for our people. We must think about the long-term consequences of taking this loan and whether it is truly in the best interest of our nation. Regarding the argument that our external debt is a colonial legacy, I agree that our country`s debt burden is indeed a legacy of colonialism. However, we cannot use this as an excuse to continue accumulating this debt without a clear plan for how we are going to repay it. Let us take responsibility for our own financial decisions and prioritise accordingly.

Regarding the argument that our Government has managed loans well in the past, I agree that our Government has made these efforts to manage its debt effectively. However, we cannot assume that this will continue to be the case. We must be cautious and vigilant with our financial decisions and not take on new debts without a clear plan. Furthermore, we must consider the risk associated with the loan. What if the project does not yield expected results? What if it is not used effectively? What if it creates more problems than it solves? You must think about these risks whether they are worth taking or not.

In conclusion we appreciate the argument presented by our colleagues and I believe that we must exercise conscience and prudence in our financial decision. As I conclude, I am reminded that I will be 87 years old by the time this loan comes to a conclusion, which is 40 years from now.  What worries me is that I do not see in the detail of the argument, what lasting structural benefits that I am going to see when I am 87 years old. I do not think even the impact on the climate change is going to be such that it will be noticeable when I am 87 years old. I urge my fellow Senators to reject this loan agreement and instead focus on developing sustainable solutions that promote economic growth and development in Zimbabwe. We cannot take on new debt without a clear plan, I reiterate. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to make responsible financial decisions that put interest of our nation first. Thank you.

          HON. SEN. D. M. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. President, I do not have much to say except to emphasise the importance of this loan, more so coming from a specialised unit or agency of the United Nations.  The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) has been supporting Zimbabwe for a while.  In this case, it has been supporting us because of the thrust of the new dispensation in terms of setting up agricultural hubs in rural areas at village levels - 35 000 boreholes which are on course to be drilled throughout the country. 

This loan speaks on issues of nutrition at the lowest tier of our people.  It talks of issues of empowerment and security.  These issues are emphasised by IFAD in terms of fighting hunger and poverty.  It is important for us as Senators representing rural areas that we should all join hands to support this loan, Government and all the issues as articulated by the Minister of Finance.      

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. NCUBE):  I would like to thank Hon. Members for their contributions which are very illuminating and passionate as well. 

          Let me start by the contributions made by Hon. Sen. Gotora who was very supportive of this loan because it will boost rural development through the horticulture subsector.  The grace period of 10 years is good, of which we do not have to outlay anything during this period.  In fact, we will be building capacity to begin repaying the principal from year 11 onwards.  The terms of the loan are very attractive.  First of all, it is a long tenure loan of 40 years.  We have stretched out the tenure so that we can reduce the amount we have to pay during the tenure of the loan.  It is a strategy that we normally use in debt restructuring.  The loan has zero interest and this is really a good thing. 

By the way, there are not too many institutions that are willing to give Zimbabwe loans at a national level – they are very few because of our arrears situation.  To get one organisation in the name of IFAD giving us a loan is something that should be applauded.  It is only USD37.15 million and is not a lot in terms of our debt levels.   This loan can transform people’s lives.  It is a small amount compared to our national debt, but the impact for our citizens in our rural areas is enormous.  It is transformative.  I really agree with what Hon. Senator Gotora attributed.

I now turn to Hon. Senator Mupfumira who made similar contributions as the previous speaker Hon. Senator Gotora, that this will improve nutritional gardens programme in the rural areas, improve productivity, nutrition security and water security, especially where we end up drilling solar boreholes and this is appreciated in terms of support.  She did mention that we need to make sure that there is proper targeting and those who ought to be beneficiaries become beneficiaries and we will do so.  I must say that in doing the scoping of the enactment of the programme, we are working with IFAD; they are not leaving us alone to operate and implement this programme.  We are working and planning with them.  We are also monitoring with them and we will produce reports.  I will be happy to even produce a report for the previous programme of 2021 and table it before this House in the next couple of weeks so that you can see that there is proper targeting and monitoring of these resources.

I now turn to Hon. Senator Zvidzai who basically mentioned that it is important that we must empower Zimbabweans at the base or rural level.  He also mentioned that this loan is being borrowed for consumption purposes – that is not the case.  This is actually a loan for investment purposes when we are investing in rural boreholes – that is an investment, that is not just consumption.   Of course, we can consume the water that keep our lives and it is an investment in your body but more importantly, we are investing it so that we can water our nutritional gardens and improve rural incomes and create that capacity to pay back what we owe.  This is a concessional loan, zero interest for investment and production purposes.

He also mentioned that we have sizeable quantity of resources, why not use our local resources and not borrow.  I do not know whether we have enough local resources.  Maybe he has worked it out, I do not think we do.  We should borrow, especially concessionary borrowing.  It is a tough year – we have a drought or climate stroke situation. If someone out there is willing to support us so that we can spread our resources into other areas and it is a concessional loan after all, surely, we should accept it and that is what I have come here to request us to do.  It is not a normal year.  It is not business as usual.  Besides, it is a small loan in the scheme of things, but the impact on our citizens is huge. 

Currently our debt is above 18 billion, we would want to get a loan for USD37.15 million over a 40-year period.  If we look at our debt to GDP ratio, on a conservative GDP figure on consumption basis of 35 billion – that GDP ratio is 54%, which is below the constitutional 70% threshold and also below the 60% threshold that is set by SADC.  We are beating both hurdles in terms of debt levels.  If you use the 47 billion which is a purchasing power parity measurement of our GDP, that debt to GDP ratio drops to 40% of GDP and again well below the 70% statutory GDP level.  Hon. Senator Zvidzai should not be too concerned, he should sleep well that we are managing things within the limits that we have set in this country’s Parliament.

How were previous loans used, was there transparency? Yes, there is transparency and joint implementation of these loans between the Government and IFAD.  I will be more than happy to table a report on the use of the previous loans and I will be tabling reports on the use of this loan as well.

+Let us also look at what was said by Hon. Ndlovu. He said that he is glad that we are sourcing this loan which is targeted to four provinces that I mentioned.  These are the provinces that are facing the adverse effects of drought.  There is loss of livestock because of the drought.  We are going to sink boreholes in order to assist villagers so that they have gardens. They are going to get support from Government.  Their livelihoods are going to be improved, school going children will be able to go to school as a result of the development which we anticipate to happen in the communities. I thank the Hon. Senator for his contribution. 

          The Hon. Senator praises the attractiveness of the loans and how they ought to be serviced but he was concerned that we may be adding to the debt burden.  I have already tried to address this matter and really my answer is, look, it is a small amount in terms of addition to the debt burden.  Only US$37.15 million and in terms of the levels of GDP, if you are conservative, the debt GDP figure is only 54% and if you are really truthful, the debt GDP figure is only about 40%.  It is way, way below our threshold of 70% for our Constitution or 60% as set by SADC.  You also asked about what measures have we put in place to manage this loan responsibly.  Well, we are working with IFAD, we always do joint management with IFAD, in managing these loans.  Obviously, the Ministry of Agriculture is the interested party but in terms of monitoring, we do joint monitoring.  I am happy again to submit a report on how well this is going. 

          I now turn to the contribution by Hon. Senator Zindi, again she was very happy with the loan and this programme that we are embarking on but wanted us to be clear that we are going to target carefully to the real beneficiaries, to the needy who need to be supported.  I can assure her that this is exactly what we will do in investing in water provision, water equipment and other forms of support but her summation that there is need to provide appropriate extension services and expertise to our citizens who will be benefitting from this loan; I agree with her.  We will do that and the Ministry of Agriculture will ensure that expert advice is provided to the farmers so that they can increase their yield and improve their livelihoods. 

          She also mentioned the importance of making sure that the farmers have access to local market.  Again, I agree with that.  We will do that to make sure that the produce is not wasted and ends up rotting because access to market is difficult, transportation aggregation centres do not exist and all of that.  We will make sure that this is done.  After all, we will not be successful if farmers cannot access the market and therefore realise the income that they ought to realise in the first place and then we spend time importing cabbage, potatoes, onions and so forth from across.   I was shocked to see onions being imported.  I agree with her and we are going to deal with this matter so that our own citizens, from these programmes, are able to access the market and grow their incomes and improve the self sufficiency of this economy and country.

          I now turn to Hon. Senator Moyo, who mentioned that to access $18 million and higher, he was not comfortable with this loan.  I must say that I have already dealt with this by saying that as a small addition to the debt, US$37.15 million is a small addition, this will not impact our debt levels much.  Our debt levels are already below the threshold of 70% or 60%.  You need not to worry too much about the size of the debt.  What he should welcome is the fact that this US$D37.15 million will change the lives of people in the selected provinces.  I know that Hon. Senator Moyo is from Plumtree, which is in Matabeleland South, which is one of the beneficiary provinces. I can assure him that it will change lives of the people in Plumtree.

          I now turn to Hon. Senator Mutsvangwa, and thank him for his eloquence in making it clear that after all, IFAD is a UN organisation, which is supported by some of the largest and most powerful economies and nations in the world.  The fact that they have been able; they have seen it fit that Zimbabwe should benefit from their support, we should welcome that and feel that we are reentering the global economy again, we will become more credible globally; indeed engagement and re-engagement is beginning to work.

Hon. President, this was clear from his presentation but also what was clear was the fact that IFAD focusses on rural economies.  They want to develop rural economies, which is where we all came from.  We know that we have a rural and urban divide and we seek to close this divide.  Therefore, it is important that we should continue to source resources that will support us to develop our rural areas and the IFAD loan is one such financial support which we should all welcome.

          Also, what gave us comfort from his presentation is the fact that he highlighted the growth of this economy.  The economy has grown quite substantially in the last six years and it has attracted foreign investment, which is risk capital.  Therefore, it should have a bigger capacity to repay any debt that it contracts from well-wishers out there.  This is one such debt, which is quite small.  Surely, we should not have a problem at all in paying off these debts from all the benefits we are getting from investment in lithium, the Manhize project just to mention a few.  I agree with him fully that our capacity to repay is going to improve.  Afterall, in the next ten years, we are not going to be paying anything.  So, really what is our problem?  The point is that our capacity to repay has been expanded.  The issue about the arrears carrieg issues – this is about arrears that are from old loans.  All the new loans are being serviced timeously, really we should take comfort from that input and welcome this loan.

          I now turn to Hon. Senator Mbohwa, who again expressed happiness with the loan.  She was very eloquent in her presentation that as a country, we do not have too many options out there.  The fact that there is this one organisation IFAD, that has seen it fit to support Zimbabwe during a very difficult year of drought and targeting our rural citizens, this we should welcome.  That is her first point and really that we should support this loan and we should be able to service it without difficulties.  Our economy is growing and this is evidence that Zimbabwe is back on the international arena and is ready again to take its rightful position as the breadbasket of the region.  This loan will contribute to attainment of that status.

          Let me go to Hon. Senator Mlotshwa from Matabeleland South.  The Hon. Senator said that we are all owners of Zimbabwe.  Indeed, it is true, we all own Zimbabwe together.  The Hon. Senator said that she sees it fit that she needs to understand what the Hon. Minister is presenting and also she said there is no need for sinking boreholes but nothing bad in sinking boreholes and constructing dams only. When you look at what is happening in Bulilimamangwe, you would find this was the first nutritional garden which was launched by His Excellency President E. D Mnangagwa.  We hope the Hon. Senator was there but if the Hon. Senator was not there, I want to urge the Senator to go to Bulilimamangwe and see.  After seeing, then the Hon. Senator will be able to determine whether it is a good or a bad thing to have boreholes. On the same note, dams can be constructed.  You would note that there is Thuli Manyange Dam which is a Government initiative.  The funding might not be enough Mr. President Sir, but we are doing our best to complete that dam and also to complete the Gwai- Shangani Dam which is going to augment the supplies of water for Bulawayo. This will contribute to mobile water supplies to Bulawayo because the dams supply Bulawayo City, from Matabeleland South.  When that happens, then these dams will benefit the people of Matabeleland South.  

That is the Government plan and the dams which are found in Matabeleland South are going to increase.  We are talking about Matopo Dam then the Gwai-Shangani Dam will be completed. We also have a green belt along the pipeline down to Bulawayo.  There is another dam in Nkayi and I am sure you have heard about that dam. Then looking into the future, the Hon. Senator should consider and I believe that the Hon. Senator is going to appreciate the good work that is happening.  The plans that are there are indeed working.

The Hon. Senator also spoke about gold mines and said that it is not clear how the communities are benefiting from gold mining in their areas.  So, I made a request that gold mining companies should set aside 1% of their income towards community development in terms of construction of schools, dams and other community projects.  I agree with the Hon. Senator indeed that what she is saying is already happening. Government is doing that.  We also said that; Hon. Senator Chris Mutsvangwa spoke about investments in lithium and Government has said that those who are mining lithium should beneficiate that lithium in terms of value adding it so that it benefits the nation.  This will contribute towards the fiscus.  Mr. President Sir, if the Hon. Senator looks at the programmes that Government has in place, the Hon. Senator will indeed appreciate the good programmes which will improve the lives of our citizens.   

Hon. Senator Chinyanga also mentioned that we should support the access to market for the producer so that they get their goods to the market.  We should really curtail imports through punitive duties.  I also agree with this because if our own citizens can supply competitively to our markets, why should we allow imports of onion to come into the country?  Surely, this is very wise counselling indeed from Hon. Senator Chinyanga.

I now turn to Hon. Senator Phulu who expressed deep concerns about us contracting this loan as a country.  He is concerned about the level of its burden but again Mr. President, I want to assure you that we need not worry too much as we are within the limits of the 60% or 70% in terms of our debt.  It is a small amount of debt that we are contracting at very attractive terms and that will not add too much to our debt, but it will change the people’s lives.  I can assure you that we conducted the necessary debt sustainability analysis before we arrived at the decision to put this before this august House.  We have done all that and we feel that we are able to service it without difficulty.

I now turn to Senator Khumalo from Tsholotsho who welcomed the loan as an intervention in the horticulture sector.  A critical sector indeed and we need to proceed with approving this loan, which is aimed at improving productivity in our rural areas in the horticulture sector.  However, he be-mourned the fact that Matabeleland North was not included, but I tried to make it clear that the way IFAD has seen this - they have seen basically the 2021 loan and the 2024 loan as one although disbursed three years apart.  In 2021, Matabeleland North benefited but not this time around.  If you take the two loans together, every province will benefit. All the provinces are included, so maybe what we could do for his comfort is, when we submit the report, just check how those provinces that have benefited before have been positively impacted by this loan or that in future as we programme, we can then fine tune the targeting aspect.

I now turn to Hon. Senator Mackenzie Ncube who has been very supportive of the loan as it will transform people’s lives and set up growth hubs in our rural areas to fight hunger and poverty.  He was very supportive. I thank you Sir and I thank all Members of Senate for their contributions.  Mr. President Sir, I therefore move that this loan be approved by Senate.

Motion put and agreed to.

        THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Senators for the extra effort and all the contributions that have been made. I am quite happy that the Hon. Minister has taken on board all the contributions that have been made by almost everyone. I also want to particularly thank you all for the extra day in office.  We were supposed to have gone to our constituencies yesterday but because of circumstances, that could not allow us to do that.  I want to say thank you very much for the effort and I want to thank the Minister for bringing the protocol and for all the effort that you have put in. 

         On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE), the Senate adjourned at Thirteen Minutes to Twelve O’ Clock a.m. until Tuesday, 21st May, 2024.

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