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SENATE HANSARD 6 DECEMBER 2022 VOL 32 NO 2

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 6th December, 2022

The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SUSPENSION OF VIRTUAL MEETINGS

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. KAMBIZI): I have to inform the Senate that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, at its meeting held on Friday, 18th November, 2022, resolved that all parliamentary sittings and committee meetings will be held physically with immediate effect. The only exception will be meetings of the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEES

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the House that all Committees that subsisted in the Fourth Session, Ninth Parliament, will continue to operate to expedite the work of Parliament.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Mr. President, I move the motion standing in my name that a respectful Address be presented to the President of Zimbabwe as follows:

May it please you, your Excellency the President:

We, the Members of Parliament of Zimbabwe, desire to express our loyalty to Zimbabwe and beg leave to offer our respectful thanks for the speech, which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.

HON. SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI: I second.

HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Mr. President, I stand before this august House to move a motion in support of the Presidential Speech. In so doing, I also wish to thank His Excellency the President, Dr. Emmerson Mnangagwa for giving the nation a clear roadmap towards the socio-economic development of this great nation. The President clearly highlighted the vision and direction that the country is undertaking under the New Dispensation.

Mr. President, I am sure fellow Senators will agree with me that this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) has been on with a marked difference in the context that it projected a remarkable list of accomplishments and milestones that have been achieved and implemented under the Second Republic. His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa demonstrated the Government’s commitment and serious determination for socio-economic progress and growth.

His Excellency also highlighted many examples of tangible attainments that the Government has implemented in fostering the country forward. In this regard, His Excellency has been constructing, breaking ground and commissioning a myriad of projects throughout the country. Typical examples of these initiatives have been witnessed through major growth in the mining industry, infrastructure development, energy and manufacturing sectors as well as aggressive measures to tame inflation through monetary and fiscal discipline.

Several stalled projects have either been completed or are at various stages of implementation. I have in mind projects such as the Gwayi-Shangani Project which was a pipe-dream but has now become a reality and is   70% complete. The Beitbridge-Harare Highway is near completion. The new Parliament in Mount Hampden, Harare, has given dignity to the legislature and we must applaud our President for this vision and focus.

Mr. President, Matabeleland North, several projects have been implemented such as the Epping Forest Water Project which was commissioned by our President last year in 2021. Several mining projects have also been initiated and also solar farms have been implemented in this new dispensation. In the City of Victoria Falls, the New Dispensation has ushered in a stock exchange in recognition of the country’s tourism status as a financial special economic services zone. All these are projects the New Dispensation can pride itself in.

During the Presidential SONA Speech, His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa also tabled parliamentary Bills for debate for the current Session. He implored us as legislators to engage with critical pieces of legislation as a matter of urgency. I am sure all of us are alive to the fact that good laws and policies are one step towards achieving a prosperous stable Zimbabwe. We have therefore been given the right direction and a clear roadmap towards achieving our national socio-economic sustainable development.

Growth in road infrastructure development in other areas such as the Bulawayo/Nkayi, Bulawayo/Tsholotsho and Bulawayo/Victoria Falls are such projects under consideration in this New Dispensation.

On the agricultural sector, we also emulate that the Lupane/Bubi Dam has brought hope and enhanced the livelihoods of the surrounding communities. This massive green belt development in the Matabeleland North Province will benefit immensely the communities in this project. Through income generation, the project is destined to sustain their livelihoods.

Furthermore, SONA emphasised that the New Dispensation is targeting over three million families in Zimbabwe under the Presidential Input Programme.  It is therefore incumbent upon us as legislators to ensure that inputs that are to be distributed under this programme are safeguarded and utilized for the purpose for which they are meant for.  We should ensure that we strive for a corruption free distribution of the presidential inputs.

          His Excellency also echoed milestones in the energy sector wherein Unit 7 & 8 at Hwange Power Station would be commissioned soon, adding a cumulative 600 MW to the national grid.  This will be ideal at the time when demand for power is growing due to rapidly expanding manufacturing and mining sectors.

          In order to ensure a sustainable supply power, His Excellency highlighted that there are plans to step up efforts in renewable energy generation and that more energy expansion projects will be required.

          The manufacturing sector has realised a capacity utilization of over 66% in this current year up from 47% in 2020.  The implementation of the local content strategy has led to the emergence of new products that are critical in the agriculture, mining and transport sectors, among others.

          I would like to applaud His Excellency for highlighting the local content policy as I believe this is an important area if we are going to see more development in our country.  In the same vein, I would also call upon the government to continue supporting the implementation of this policy as we can substitute imports by ensuring that a lot of the products are being made locally.  This import substitution will save quite a substantial amount of foreign currency.

          His Excellency underscored the importance of State enterprises and parastatals in economic development.  He stated that there is need to ensure they operate efficiently and profitably.  In pursuit of that, some of these State enterprises and parastatals have made some structural adjustments.  For example, the Grain Marketing Board was demerged from SILO.  This has ensured that the strategic grain reserve is now a stand-alone devoid of the commercial arm.  The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe has also become an independent institution.  The same goes for the Airports Company of Zimbabwe which now operates as a stand-alone entity.  The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation is being boosted through a series of joint ventures with like-minded business enterprises.

          Emphasis was placed on the successful completion of the 2022 population and housing census.  This was the first ever in Zimbabwe to be conducted digitally, leading to preliminary results being released in less than three months. 

          Another noteworthy milestone was the recent launch of Zimbabwe’s first satellite into space, ZIMSTAT-1.  This innovation was plausible as it will contribute immensely to agriculture, mining, weather forecasting and land management sectors.

          On the E-Government system, His Excellency said that it was long overdue and that the government is prioritizing the introduction of a robust digital system.  Under this platform, citizens would be able to obtain permits, licences and personal documents online.

          Modern and efficient infrastructure is the cornerstone for socio-economic development.  As such, His Excellency indicated that 340 kms of the Harare/Beitbridge road have been completed so far.  Construction of the Mbudzi interchange is also currently ongoing.  Local companies contracted on the Emergency Rehabilitation Programme have created both direct and indirect jobs.  Considerable progress has been made on airstrips for Binga and Bumi Hills, which the upgrading and modernization of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport is on schedule.  Phase 1 of the Beitbridge Border Post Modernisation Project is complete and now open to the public. He reiterated that these are some of the infrastructural developments that are going to boost the manufacturing industry further.  There are also further plans to construct the Beitbridge Airport as this will further open the southern corridor for domestic, regional and international flights.

          Road transport is the dominant means of transport in Zimbabwe, with 80% of traffic and trade by volume utilizing this resource.  In Zimbabwe, mining and agricultural exports are a major source of foreign currency and a driving force for socio-economic growth.  These exports are largely transported by road.  In this regard, road transportation is therefore indispensible to socio-economic and development in any country.  This has a significant implication on development and the economy of our nation, thus, the rehabilitation and maintenance of roads to an acceptable standard is a prerequisite as roads also play a crucial role in determining the competitiveness of exports and imports on international and regional markets.

          These are some of the salient noteworthy highlights of the Zimbabwe SONA 2022 address by His Excellency the President, Cde Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to add my voice and views on the Presidential Speech which contained the legislative agenda and set the pace for the business of Parliament. I would like to thank the mover the motion, Hon. Senator Mpofu who endevoured to highlight the issues that were raised by His Excellency the President.

          Most issues have been raised by the mover of the motion but allow me to mention some as a way of emphasis. In his address that marked the opening of the Fifth Session of the Ninth Parliament, the President touched on a wide array of agendas that give Government direction. I will not attempt to regurgitate everything but I will touch on just a few.

          On agriculture, the President stressed expansion and Government support on farming programmes on issues to do with Pfumvudza/Intwasa. This programme has increased our farming yields tremendously, especially in rural areas. It has come with a new farming technique that gives concentration on small farming areas but with tripled yields. Gone are the days when farmers would waste their time on very big hectares of land which do not give equivalent harvests. A lot of energy and time is saved on Pfumvudza. This has seen the President and Government now extending hands in supporting villagers and headmen on the Zunde raMambo Programme, expanding and promoting traditional leaders for social welfare, thus, buttressing his mantra which says “leaving no place and no one behind”.

          The President’s re-engagement programme has seen Zimbabwe benefiting immensely in a lot of assets, starting with the new Parliament of Zimbabwe building donated by the Government of China. We can all bear testimony to this, no wonder why most of us were sleeping during SONA – [Laughter.] - We had a lot of comfort.

          There are several mining companies that are doing mining in areas like Hwange and many others. In Matabeleland North and Binga to be precise, for the first time ever we have seen Government pouring a lot of resources that have seen the consistent works at the giant Gwai-Shangani Lake. If completed, the project will resuscitate most industrial operations in the biggest town of the region, that is Bulawayo, and supply water to a green belt that will be along the pipeline cutting across all five districts starting from Hwnage, Binga, Lupane, Tsholotsho and Umguza before we get into Bulawayo.

          Lupane and Binga Government Complexes are all at advanced stages of completion after decades of abandonment by the previous Government. The airstrip of Binga is second to none after being renovated by Government through DDF. This will go a long way to boost tourism in Binga District, supported with massive road works that have seen the long awaited Binga-Siabuwa-Karoi road being tarred starting from both ends and meeting at the centre. This will reduce the distance to the capital from Victoria Falls by 300 kilometres.

          On electricity, Hwange Unit 7 and 8 are at various stages of completion. Unit 7 is expected to come into life by the end of the year. However, Lucifer is also not sleeping but very busy trying to derail Government efforts. We hear of dwindling water levels in Lake Kariba which has put a lot of pressure on the efforts in place. Let me warn whosoever the driver of that scam that Zimbabwe is now in different hands and we say go back to sender. We shall overcome and emerge victorious. We will win and we will not fail to have electricity.

          On industry and commerce, the local content strategy introduced by the President has brought confidence in the market. We are now witnessing more locally produced products on the market which was not there before. Again, the launch of ZIMSAT1 will improve service delivery. It will improve service delivery in Government ministries and promote an investment of e-governance, thereby doing away with winding queues that are always witnessed in most Government offices that deal with the public.  That will also go a long way in the fight against the endemic vice of corruption which has been institutionalised in some departments like Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) and promote the ease of doing business.

          Allow me to leave some to my Hon. Members to fill in. Once again, thank you very much for the opportunity given to me. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter as we get closer to achieving our Vision 2030. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 7th December 2022.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. DR. PARIRENYATWA seconded by HON. SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI, the Senate adjourned at Three o’clock p.m.

 

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