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SENATE HANSARD 5 MAY 2022 VOL 31 NO 38
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 5th May, 2022
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Today is Thursday and for the Senate, today is a day for Questions Without Notice and Questions with Notice. Before I read out the list of Ministers who are present, I have a list of apologies which has been tendered.
Hon. C. G. D. N. Chiwenga, the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Hon. Dr. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement, Hon. D. Karoro, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Modi, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. Dr. Mangwiro, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities and Hon. Prof. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.
The Ministers who are present: we have Minister Mudyiwa, Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development; Hon. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. Machingura, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; Hon. Musabayana, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Hon. Chiduwa, Deputy Minister Finance and Economic Development; Hon. Mavhunga-Maboyi, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage and Hon. Chombo, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
*HON. CHIEF NEMBIRE: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Hon. Minster, what measures are you taking - considering the issue of human trafficking, especially for the ladies who are going to Kuwait to look for jobs which they will be promised but end up suffering, being raped and some of them killed? Thank you Mr. President Sir.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. MUSABAYANA): Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank Sen. Chief Nembire for the pertinent question. It is true. As a country we are having a problem with people who are spreading false information that there are job opportunities in other countries. Some people get help, they get tickets, visa cards and all their papers are processed easily. Above that, there are agents - we can call them mediators who are influencing the girl children and women to do that. After going to those countries, they realise working conditions are hard and they work for long hours without getting paid.
Therefore, it is a problem and the Government is concerned. As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, we have started taking action that workers from the Foreign Affairs department are uniting as a department and working together with workers in Kuwait, Oman and other countries and they make arrangements that those ladies and girls are brought back to Zimbabwe. We are helping women to come back to Zimbabwe but as a country, we have not gotten the opportunity to do that and we are trying our best to use some other means like mobile cell phones. We are in the right direction to reach Omani using our ambassador in Abu Dhabi, you get into Omani. After getting permission, he will tell us if this is true or not and if there are Zimbabweans who are suffering in that particular country.
Funds are being processed so that if there are victims, they will get assistance and if there are Zimbabweans who need assistance, they can get in touch with us so that we help them. Hon. President, as I sit down, we are kindly asking people that if they want to get out of the country, for job opportunities, education or whatever reason, it is good to pass through our offices so that they report to us and we clearly indicate to them if there is a bright future ahead or not. We can easily tell them through our ambassadors if there are job opportunities or not, colleges offering scholarships or not. So far, that is what we are doing to help our citizens in those countries. Thank you Hon. President.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. What is Government’s plan concerning the police officers in rural areas who do not have vehicles for transportation to attend to crime scenes? Three days ago, we had a robbery case and the police said they could not attend the scene because they did not have a vehicle. The wife and her husband were robbed but they got no assistance from the police.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI): Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Ngezi for the pertinent question. Yes, we have plans concerning those police officers to look for vehicles for them to use so that the service is reliable. However, we are having problems with funds. We have a lot of places which do not have vehicles to use and we have observed that our police officers are poorly resourced in terms of lack of transportation system, especially when there are armed robbery and murder cases, the police service is not reliable and they cannot easily attend to the crime scenes because they do not have vehicles. Therefore, we have plans that if we have enough funds, we will buy cars for the police officers so that they have adequate transport. There is also the issue of registering documents for the people, it takes a lot of funds from our budget but if we raise funds, we will do that. At least at each police station, there should be one vehicle and if we find enough funding, we will do that. Thank you Hon. President.
*HON. SEN. KHUPE: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans but since she is not available, I do not know who will answer the question. Since my question is pertinent, I am going to ask so that the Hansard will record the question. I would like to thank the Ministry for registering liberation fighters. We saw that happening some days ago, but in some places, people did not get information in time and the programme did not reach them, especially in Matebeleland South Province. A lot of people were not involved in that programme because it did not reach them. My question is; what is the Government position concerning that programme? Can the Government not run the programme again for a week or so in order for other people to get involved? The liberation war left people destroyed, a lot of people do not have WhatsApp and information did not reach them.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Sen. Khupe. I do not know if there is a Minister willing to answer the question. However, this question is pertinent and I think we can reach the Minister by putting the question in writing so that we make sure next week the Minister of Defence and War Veterans can answer the question. The question is important and it needs immediate attention. The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Service is in and if you have any questions in that area, the Minister is now here.
Questions without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President Sir for giving me the opportunity to ask my question. Mr. President, my question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Recently, we heard that our citizens in a neighbouring country are victims of xenophobia, some of it instigated by Government officials who later turned the citizenry of that country directing their anger at our citizens. I am referring to what happened in South Africa. I understand that a Government Minister spread xenophobic language that ended with the loss of life of our citizen.
My question Mr. President is, what has our Government done? Have they received an official apology from the Government of South Africa? What measures have been put in place to ensure that our citizens who are earning an honest living in that country are protected? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. MUSABAYANA): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Sen. Dr. Mavetera for asking a very pertinent question. Indeed we are concerned whenever the interests of Zimbabweans, wherever they are, are threatened or compromised. As you know, Section 12 of the Foreign Policy of Zimbabwe is very clear that first and foremost, we are focused on promoting and protecting the national interests of Zimbabweans wherever they are. At the same time, we respect our neighbours in terms of their jurisdictions and the way they do their things, as long as they do not compromise or conflict with our own interests. Our President is forever saying that we are friends to all and enemy to none.
Mr. President, indeed there was a sad incident that happened in South Africa where a precious life of a Zimbabwean who was a breadwinner was lost, the late Mr. Nyathi. The facts that we gathered are that in this particular incident, the perpetrators of the violence were looking for a particular individual who they thought was engaging in illegal activities like stealing. So it was a question of mistaken identity, according to the facts that we got from the people who attended the scene. Over and above that, with this mistaken identity, these perpetrators of violence against a Zimbabwean took the law into their own hands. It is not even within the laws of South Africa but a violation of the South African law because they took the law into their own hands - maybe what they call ‘self help’, which was inappropriate.
The Government of South Africa through President Cyril Ramaphosa, issued a statement and in that statement, he was apologizing on behalf of the South African Government and on his own behalf. He categorically stated that it was not the culture of South Africa to murder people in cold blood. So these perpetrators were mere criminals who murdered a Zimbabwean. Yes, it is also true that there are xenophobic attacks in the area. Even in the Limpopo area, in Cape Town and several other areas, there are reports of xenophobic attacks or the activation of these negative sentiments of xenophobia against Zimbabweans. Actually, it is targeting Zimbabweans where there are allegations that Zimbabweans are taking up their jobs.
So as a Government, we are engaging South Africa but South Africa is saying no, we do not condone such acts of violence and inhuman acts of arson, and killing people. We are engaging, and South Africans are our brothers. We believe with more engagement and more education, the South Africans are also going to realise that we are strategic partners because we have huge trade happening between us. Zimbabwe is the biggest trading partner of South Africa, and besides trade partnership, we import – it is in the negative in terms of Zimbabwe where we import more from South Africa than their export to us. This means that we are creating employment for the South African economy.
Last time I had a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, I highlighted that issue that South Africans should not view us as robbing them of their jobs because as it stands, our economies are co-joined in some respects where some value chains from South Africa extend into Zimbabwe. If Zimbabweans stop those value chains, it means that even the South African economy will scream, and South Africa’s employment would also be affected. So it is a question of understanding and continuous education of our South African counterparts so that they get to appreciate it.
The other issue that we are also dealing with is the issue of Public Relations also from the Zimbabwean side where they must also appreciate that we may have different work ethics. You must also have the wisdom when you are working in an institution so that you do not look like you are out-shining everybody to the extent that you become the preferred labourer. So that is also creating problems in some of the winery plantations where most Zimbabweans are employed. Apparently, the leadership also prefers Zimbabweans to South Africans.
So we continue to engage, but it is not the attitude of South Africa, policy or culture of South Africans to kill Zimbabweans because we are the same people. I submit Mr. President Sir.
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Thank you Mr. President Sir, my question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development on transport issues. Hon. Minister, what are your plans concerning provision of transport for people travelling to and from work?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Sen. Chinake for the pertinent question. Yes, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development acknowledges the transport. As a Ministry or as Government, our main aim is that people use Government vehicles so that they travel easily from one point to the other or to work. During the COVID era, we said ZUPCO buses will only be allowed to carry people because there were a lot of accidents on the roads. We realised that we had a shortfall in terms of the number of buses on the routes but we did what we call franchise and we invited all those with buses and kombis to register their vehicles through VID, have them checked for fitness for them to be used as public transport. We agreed that we would pay them a certain amount and that went well.
On Monday, we discovered that a lot of them did not report for work complaining about salaries. They said they were not receiving their salaries on time and the said salaries were not up to date. If we take a close look at how we pay them, we are up to date and everything is okay but they are complaining that the funds are very little for their sustenance. Long back we used to sit down to find a way forward but this time they never consulted us., A few weeks ago, a lot of accidents were happening because the vehicles which are being used by people on the roads are not fit.
As Government, we check if the people are safe and if the vehicle is fit for use. We came to the conclusion that we would not let unfit vehicles be on the roads because some of our workers are on strike. These vehicles are not fit to be on the roads. Upon discovering the problem, we observed that we have buses in transit which transport people to Ruwa and Norton which are on time. So we asked them to kindly travel other routes upon finishing their routes. We quickly serviced our vehicles so that they can help to transport people from one place to another. We are also engaging the contractors so that we can have an amicable solution to this issue.
I am not promising that things are now well but the problem is going to improve because we spoke to the Minister of Transport to increase the number of trains carrying people to and from work to ease the problem. I am kindly asking Hon. Members as legislators in this House to spread the word to the people in our constituencies to work with us so that we can get rid of this problem. The transporters must come back so that we can talk with them to resolve the issue. As Government, we are pleading because our citizens are suffering so they must come and engage us.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. My question pertains to the issue of farmers who are facing problems in that they cannot afford adequate inputs because these are being sold in USD. Seedlings, fertilisers, chemicals and implements are all being sold in USD and even if you want to hire equipment, you are asked to pay in USD. If a farmer harvests his crops and takes them to GMB, the farmer is given RTG$75 000 and will therefore not have enough funds to help him plant again. This will influence them to go to the black market so that they will be able to buy inputs. What are the Government plans to assist those farmers so that they can have access to USD from banks and other financial institutions? Currently, we have wars in Ukraine and those are the countries which were supplying us with wheat. Farmers are busy preparing land to plant crops but they do not have inputs since they are being sold in USD. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Chikwakwa for the question. He raised an important issue which is in line with the National Development Strategy One (1) pertaining to food security. Farmers use foreign currency to buy inputs such as tractors, combine harvesters and so on but they do not have access to foreign currency. As Ministry of Finance, the Government policy states that farmers and all those who plant crops are on the first priority to access foreign currency. Right now, the Government is busy preparing to allocate people USD, especially farmers. We are releasing US$35 million so that people can easily access foreign currency.
I would also want to talk about smart agriculture. Not every farmer who is going to the market is going to get foreign currency.
Banks, AFC and the Government are also giving people inputs. All these companies do not need foreign currency because they are getting it through the Presidential Input Programme. Therefore, we are giving farmers inputs including tractors. People might say that Government must give farmers USD - we received that proposal but we said a lot of crops that are exported to other countries like tobacco and cotton, we pay using USD but with maize, we will pay using RTGs and we are constantly reviewing the prices, for example it was on $32 000 and rose to $56 000 and now we are paying $75 000 per tonne. The programme will continue like that. Those who want to use combine harvesters and other machinery can now hire from AFC and pay in ZWL.
This is under Government programmes to encourage people to use our currency so that we manage our economy and monetary policy of our country.
*HON. SEN. DENGA: My supplementary question is with regards to the issue of permits that they have offered to those that buy maize – the grain millers. Are their permits allowing them to transact locally or internationally? Why are they not buying maize from farmers and paying them foreign currency?
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: This is a new question and it is not a supplementary question. I now give you the floor to ask your question.
*HON. SEN. DENGA: Thank you Mr. President. A few months ago, a paper was published and it spoke about grain millers importing maize from other countries using foreign currency. Why can the Grain Marketing Board not also buy from local farmers using foreign currency?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA: As a country, we have a strategic grain reserve that we have and food that we keep in our silos at the Grain Marketing Board. Our monthly consumption reaches to about 100 000 tonnes per month. There are reserves for human consumption and reserves for stock feeding. That is why we gave permits for those who want to import stock feed but some of them sell their supplies in foreign currency. They import using their funds. We are giving foreign currency to those who are importing stock feeds using their free permits. We are not giving foreign currency for people to import grain outside the country.
(v)HON. SEN. PHUGENI: My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Part of the issue on my question has been raised by Hon. Sen. Dr. Mavetera. What is the Ministry or Government doing with regards to these elevated forms of attacks to our people? There is an individual there in that country called Nhlahlalati who is on daily basis inciting South Africans to go against Zimbabweans. What is the Government doing in order to protect our people in South Africa and make sure that our people have universal rights?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. MUSABAYANA): Thank you Mr. President of Senate for giving me another chance to respond to that question. Indeed, there are elevated xenophobic attacks through cyber bulling activities that happen when some of the organisations go on social media denouncing and encouraging fellow citizens in those jurisdictions to chase away Zimbabweans. Our people are no longer comfortable staying in those countries. Like I alluded to earlier on, as a Government, we continue to engage South Africans and also to encourage them to behave as Pan Africanists. As Pan Africanists, we are the same family and we must cohabitate. When you look at our people working within the region, this is not a new phenomenon. It has happened even during the colonial times. This is why we talk of Wenera and so forth. Even here we have people from other countries coming to work in Zimbabwe, but we have never encouraged such a negative sentiment which is tantamount to xenophobia. We continue to preach the good news to those who are perpetrating violence.
Like I said earlier on, it is not within the policy of South Africa to chase away Zimbabweans, to harass, punish or get involved in any act of violence that violates Zimbabweans or any other citizen in that country. We believe these are criminal elements and at times they are linked to the former colonialists or some people who have been trying to avenge the land reform by inciting acts of violence. It is not within the Government policy of South Africa. Like I said before, the highest level of diplomats in that country with the chief diplomat of South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa apologised and denounced such acts of violence. Of late, they have been dispersing any gathering that involved xenophobic attacks. So we continue to engage and our embassy in South Africa continues to engage the South Africans whenever we believe there are some acts constituting xenophobic attacks.
Over and above that, as a Government we have had policy reforms that are increasing production in this country. When production increases, employment also increases. When employment increases, some of our people who are working out there will also be absorbed back home. Our policy reforms are the long term solutions to some forms of xenophobic attacks. It is not only South Africa doing that, there are many other countries doing similar acts of violence against Zimbabweans. We know names that Zimbabweans are called in other countries even before independence, even before the New Dispensation. This is what has been happening over the years and we are saying our economy is on a rebound - we registered more than 7% growth last year, we expect more than 5.4% this year. That points to improved employment and as we approach the middle income economy, it means more and more people will find comfort in staying in Zimbabwe. I believe that is the long term solution to our problem and Zimbabwe remains open to receive back those people who have challenges when they are out there. I submit Mr. President Sir.
*HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Mr. President of Senate. My question to the Minister of Finance is, the standard of living of people in Zimbabwe is now difficult because of the US dollar currency. The exchange rate between the RTGS and the United States dollar is not favourable. May the Minister of Finance clearly explain the relationship or the exchange rate between the US dollars and the RTGS? The money that the GMB is going to pay to farmers will be eroded by the exchange rate. May the Government address this issue? What is the policy in place to resolve the issue of the exchange rate? The US dollar rate is going up while the RTGS is going down.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. President. I thank Hon. Sen. Kambizi for the pertinent question. It is true that the issue of the exchange rate is an issue which we all know about. Our Zimbabwean dollar has lost value at the auction market. At the parallel market also, the Zimbabwean dollar has lost its value. We also have reports that shops are pegging the dollar at $250, some at $350 and some at $450. There are reports that some schools are even charging $500 per US dollar. As Government, if we look at all the laws which are there from the S.I. 127 which was put in place last year December and later incorporated in the Finance Act, it is illegal to use the exchange rate which is outside the auction rate.
We have discovered that people are using their own rates which are different from the auction rates. The question now is, who is determining the rates? In economics, we look at the fundamentals whether they are okay. Firstly, the printing of money distorts the rate. As Government, since November 2018 till now, we have not borrowed money from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. We are surviving from what we have collected from revenue. This means that there is fiscal discipline and we are living within our means. As a result of the imposed sanctions, we are not able to borrow from other countries and we are going to survive with what we have.
We also have the issue of money supply growth. Looking at the current Monetary Policy Statement, in every quarter we pegged our supply growth at 5%, which means that money supply is not the one driving the exchange rate. Our interest rates are in tally with the inflation rates, which means that there are no people who are going to borrow money because of speculation. What is the cause of the instability in the exchange rate? We do have what we call speculative behaviour and exchange rate manipulation. It is a word which I cannot describe in Shona. In the past, we faced bad times and people’s fears are that things will revert to the bad times. There are others who are manipulating the exchange rate and that has nothing to do with the fundamentals which I have already mentioned and said are in place. Hon. Musabayana also mentioned that for our country to recover from where it is, it needs us as Zimbabweans to work together to resolve our problems. So we need to produce as is always alluded to by our President. We also came up with NDS 1 which focuses on production, road infrastructure and industries. Measures are already in place to improve our production which currently stands at 68% from 37%. This means the country is producing. Even if we go to our supermarkets right now, you will notice that 85% of the products are locally produced. In order for us to move forward,- next week Thursday,, we are going to give a Ministerial Statement on how best we can resolve the exchange rate issue. We also have other measures but we cannot pre-empt them. Those who are involved in speculation of rates are going against the law. Our financial intelligence said they are waiting while following all the bank transactions. There is nothing that we do not know about your transactions. For example, a person with two million in their account, we can see all the transactions. So for those making voluminous transactions and engaging in black market deals, we have sued about 200 companies. Can we develop by manipulating the exchange rate? How is it going to help us? A country is only built through production. We are disadvantaging ourselves by manipulating the exchange rate and this will only result in a negative impact on prices. We are the ones responsible for the high rates that are the order of the day. We will bring a Ministerial Statement on the policies that we will implement, though I cannot pre-empt those now. We are working on resolving this issue of exchange rates.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: My supplementary question to the Hon Deputy Minister is that the explanation was bookish but the reality on the ground is that there is a lot of money on the street. May the Minister please explain where the money which is being sold on the streets is coming from? What does the country’s law say with regards to this activity?
THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think that is what the Minister has explained. He gave us the broad picture and principles. He has defined the problem and clearly said they are working on a solution and next week on Thursday, he will bring a Ministerial Statement which will answer all the issues that you have raised. Unless he wants to answer, I think this question is irrelevant.
*HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. President. I also want to thank Hon. Sen Kambizi for the question. You did mention that I elaborated this issue in a bookish way but let me assure you that we are aware of what is happening as we also see it every day. Many illegal activities are happening in the country and these are being perpetuated by us as individuals, business owners, at service stations as well as us in here, we also go there to do deals. The truth is it is illegal. Right now, because of exchange rate manipulation, all these players that I have mentioned do not want to get money from production but from casino activities. No one can build a country through casino activities. The economy of a country can only rise through production. This is the message that is being preached by the President at all opportune moments, which is production, production, production. When you go to a shop, they sell goods in US$ then they give their runners the money to go and sell on the streets with RTGs. Their aim is to see huge figures but as we continue to do this, we will be devaluating our own currency. Some say our exchange rate must rise to 1:500. We call that devaluation because we cannot have power by raising rates to unexpected figures. All of us are advocating for devaluing our own money. In order to generate wealth, we must produce.
Hon. Senator, what you have said, we have heard it. The money is coming from shops, individuals and from service stations. We are the ones who are taking money and bringing it to the street where the exchange rate is happening and it is illegal.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: I move that time for Questions Without Notice be extended by 15 minutes.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We have already overrun by 10 minutes as it is. I am sure if you look at the clock behind me, you will see that and I have broken Standing Orders of Parliament. I do not want to be a criminal.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: So will 10 minutes be okay?
HON. SEN. CHIEF NHEMA: I second.
*HON. SEN. MAKUMBE: Thank you Mr. President. My issue is, we hear what is being said by the Minister and it is indiscipline. We see money every Tuesday being auctioned in millions, but those who get that money do not show any production. My question is, in all those areas where there is indiscipline, how are we going to address that? Those who are going on auction are taking money but that money is not being invested in production. Is there any plan to end the indiscipline for those who take money from the auction? Thank you.
*HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. President. I want to say although there is indiscipline, it does not mean everyone is indisciplined. There are those who are getting foreign currency and they are using that foreign currency properly. I also said that capacity utilisation has risen from 37% to 69%. If you see the annual reports being written by companies, they are thanking Government because of the auction system. It helped them to raise production but we also have those who steal through the auction system through those casino activities.
What we have done to those culprits, if you remember on our auction, we used to have those who are in gas and fuel. We also discovered that they were forming companies in South Africa and other countries and we ended up banning all those who are into gas business. Right now, I have mentioned that those who are receiving money from the auction floors and not using it for production, we are following up the invoiced addresses to verify if these companies are existing and whether they are into that business which they have mentioned. We have penalised those who have come to the auction with false information. We are also talking with banks that they must do KYC so that the banks can identify the culprits.
We are working with the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe together with the banks and the RBZ. We are working together so that we can identify those who come with false invoices. If we see that, when we report, we list the number of companies which have been disqualified because some of them will be lying that they are into that certain production sector. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NHEMA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. This question is not new but we do not get proper responses from where we are coming from and from all the areas we travelled to. We are being told that we must use our local currency but right now we do not have any garage which is accepting RTGS and the price of the fuel is rising everyday in United States dollars. If the Statutory Instrument is being made for us the people, if we say the SI is not working, listen to us and come up with another SI which will help us as individuals. We will be looking up to you as Ministers and we say our children are working to promote production and the livelihoods of Zimbabweans.
The Minister of Finance also said let us wait for the Ministerial Statement on Thursday while we are dying and things are difficult for us. These issues did not start yesterday or today, they began a few weeks ago. They must agree that there is a problem.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senator Chief Nhema, will you please ask your question.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NHEMA: It pains me. May the Minister tell us which garages accept Zimbabwean dollars so that we can go and get fuel from those garages?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): The question touches more on fuel, that is diesel and petrol which must be sold in our local currency. Yes, we understand it is a big problem which is affecting everyone in Zimbabwe. The issue of fuel being sold in our local currency, the RTGS, there is fuel which is being sold in RTGS in some service stations. It is not all service stations which are selling fuel in RTGS but there are some service stations which are selling in RTGS, though the fuel for RTGS is very limited. The quantities which we are getting for RTGS fuel are not much. The quantities are below one third or one quarter compared to the fuel which is being imported through the DFI arrangement.
If we are saying DFI, we mean that service stations are using their funds to import their fuel and they sell their fuel in United States dollars so that they will be able to buy another lot of fuel again to sell. The service stations which sell their fuel in RTGS get their money through the RBZ. So the amount of money which we are getting from the RBZ is very little compared to the DFI money. That is why we see RTGS fuel is very limited and the fuel for RTGS is servicing Government departments, hospitals, councils, rural and urban councils, parastatals like ZESA, CMED and others. Many Government departments are getting RTGS fuel and they are getting the little fuel which we get per month. That is where this fuel is going. So for those few service stations which provide RTGS fuel, it does not last long because it is sold out in a short period of time.
We have selected 57 service stations, with ZERA AND NOIC, working together with RBZ under the Ministry so that these 57 selected service stations sell their fuel in RTGS. These service stations must meet other conditions which ensure that the fuel is monitored. To date, we are not able to get fuel to deliver to all these 57 service stations - that is why you assume that there are no such service stations. There is little fuel found and sold in RTGS, that is what I can say for now. These service stations which sell fuel in RTGS must be monitored by the National Fuel Management System which is a computerised system and monitors how many litres of fuel have been received, when it reaches the service stations and the levels must be monitored from a remote controlled office. That system has not started working properly and we are not getting enough fuel under RTGS. That is the problem but plans are there to work towards that.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Minister. I think you also need to communicate and let the Hon. Members and the public know where that little fuel is found – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Order. If you do not do that, you then create a vacuum and people start speculating and it is not good for the country. Thank you for your response – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Order.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
A cellphone having rung
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: You should switch off your phones when you come to this House or put them on silent
The Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade having been unable to provide the answer to question number 6:
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Ministers, you should look at the Order Paper and prepare answers for your written questions.
NUMBER OF MALE AND FEMALE OFFICERS IN CHARGE WITHIN ZRP
- HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to inform the House on the number of male and female officers in charge that are present in the police force in the country.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI): Mr. President Sir. I am not ready to respond because they have not given us.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: No, these questions are actually sent to your offices.
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: Yes, please.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: So why do you not have the answer?
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: The police department has not reacted.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Minister and the other ministers, make sure that you prepare responses. This question was submitted on the 17th of March. You are not doing your Ministry a favour if you do not respond to it. You will not be in good standing with yourself, Parliament and the public.
WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
MEASURES TO ADDRESS TEACHERS GRIEVANCES
- HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to appraise the House on the measures being implemented by the Government to address the grievances of teachers so that they are able to resume their work.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you Honourable for the question. Conditions of service for teachers are under the purview of the employer, the Public Service Commission (PSC). However, it is now public knowledge that the Government has given a package to the teachers, which includes paying part of their salaries and allowances in hard currency, payment of school fees for teachers’ children and working on a programme to provide decent accommodation to teachers among others. The Government has also promised to continuously work on improving the conditions of service of the teachers.
Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.
REPORT OF THE 50TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PLENARY FORUM HOSTED VIRTUALLY BY THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 50th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Plenary Forum hosted virtually by the Kingdom of Lesotho from 10th to 12th December, 2021.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 10th May, 2022.
MEASURES TO RESUSCITATE THE ECONOMY
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to come up with measures to resuscitate the economy.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 10th May, 2022.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MATHUTHU, seconded by HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE, the Senate adjourned at Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 10th May, 2022.