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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 01 FEBRUARY 2017 VOL 43 NO 30

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 1st February, 2017

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

COMMENDATION ON BUDGET DEBATE

THE HON. SPEAKER: May I start by commending the House in the manner in which Hon. Members conducted themselves in a very illustrious manner yesterday during the budget debate – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I was pleased although the larger part of the debate time I was not in but I listened very intently from my office. I was so pleased that Hon. Members were debating issues and these issues were across the political divide. I only wish that spirit should be carried forward so that we raise the bar in our debate. Congratulations.

APOLOGY RECEIVED FROM CABINET MINISTERS

THE HON. SPEAKER: The second thing I would like to ask you is that I have received communication through the Chief Whip from Cabinet that our Hon. Ministers are in Cabinet and they sent their apology. They should be joining us any time. I have discussed with the Chief Whip and I must apologise that I did not consult Hon. Gonese, the other Chief Whip to say that meanwhile we can have the Ministerial Statement which was promised this House by the Hon. Minister Mupfumira. With your indulgence, may I therefore request the Hon. Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Service to present the Ministerial Statement on behalf of the Minister who has travelled outside the country?

HON. ZINDI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I am of the opinion, on behalf of Members of Parliament, to acknowledge the debate that took place in this House by Hon. Members across the political divide. It is motivational; I think on the part of members, that you acknowledge the illustrious work and effort being put into investigative debates, the kind of presentation by Hon. Maridadi taking his time to come up with all the evidence that he presented before Parliament. I think we are very delighted Hon. Speaker that you have acknowledged the work that Hon. Members of Parliament are doing. It is my wish and the wish of all Members of Parliament that we will continue to deliver as expected by the nation. Thank you.

          HON. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, Section 107 (2) is very clear. While you have said that the Ministers are in Cabinet, the Deputy Ministers equally must be here to answer the questions. I did not hear you saying the Deputy Ministers are equally in Cabinet. Thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: That is a very good observation. In looking around, I see an array of Deputy Ministers. They are here in full force. So, take comfort in that.

          HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Be that as it may, I think from a housekeeping perspective and from a hygiene perspective, to try to have good corporate governance, it is important if there are any Deputy Ministers who have sought leave of absence for the Chair to make that announcement. I know that they are not all here. We need to be informed. I know that Ministers and Deputy Ministers are required to seek the leave of absence from the Speaker if they are not able to attend Parliament. So in that vein, it is good practice for the Chair to inform us if there are any of those Deputy Ministers who have sought your leave so that the House and the nation at large is made aware of those who have complied with the rules.

We can excuse the Cabinet Ministers for today but similarly, whenever we have our sitting when we have got Question Time, it is good practice for the Chair to make that pronouncement that so and so has sought the leave of the Speaker to be absent for that particular day. –[THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Chibaya, you cannot be up standing when the Chief Whip is speaking.]- That is what I am requesting that as a matter of routine Mr. Speaker, if there are any who have sought leave of the House, let us be made aware so that we do not paint them all with the same brush.

HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Sorry, I need to respond to the Chief Whip Hon. Gonese. We have leave of absence sought by the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. Mabuwa; the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Moyo; the Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs and Gender and Community Development, Hon. Damasane and among the Ministers we have received communication from the Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. Dr. Parirenyatwa who is currently in Thailand on Government business. The leave of absence is accordingly granted. Hon. Chamisa, you had a point of order.

HON. CHAMISA: Yes, Hon. Speaker. We want to acknowledge the communication from Cabinet which is very important. I would like to say that in terms of our Constitution, this Parliament reposes and retains the right to defend its space. We are a Parliament of Zimbabwe. There is what is called the doctrine of separation of powers. In terms of that doctrine, there is no arm of Government, the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature which is more important than the other. We take great exception when the Executive invades the space of Parliament to have a Cabinet meeting on a day which is fixed in terms of the rules of Parliament.

We do not have Ministers here because there is a Cabinet meeting. You cannot have the Cabinet being more important than Parliament. Cabinet is very important but it is supposed to have its own day. Parliament is important and that is why on Wednesdays, we are supposed to dedicate it to questions. It is not our questions. These are questions from Chikomba, Mukoba, Zaka, Kuwadzana, Binga and Chirumhanzu. These are not questions from Members of Parliament. These are questions from the people of Zimbabwe who are paying those who are sitting in Cabinet. So, when we invade the space of Parliament, it is a serious issue.

We cannot just take it as a simple issue Hon. Speaker because this is what we call invasion of one arm by the other. It cannot be allowed and we should not allow it because what it does is undermine the power of the Legislature to give oversight functions on the Executive. Ministers must be summoned and they must be told that this is the last time. In fact, we were supposed to disband their meeting and have them to answer questions in this Parliament. That is how Parliaments function across the whole country. This is not to do with MDC and ZANU PF. It is simply to do with our Constitution. Let us respect our Constitution. If it is a day to ask questions, let us ask questions because parliamentarians have a duty and a right.

So please, let this be taken seriously and let this be taken to the Executive. You cannot do it as our Speaker, but Parliament has the right to send the message on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe to say, you can sit at night, midnight, even on a Saturday perhaps not on a Sabbath, but go and sit anytime but just respect our day of questions as parliamentarians. We have questions about roads in Zimbabwe, money that is not in the banks, medication and the issue of how health insurance is being administered. Those questions require answers and we may need to be answered on those questions. Thank you very much. 

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. The question will be conveyed undiluted to the Executive. Thank you.

HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mine is on a progressive aspect with regard to the issue. I propose that all those Cabinet Ministers who are attending Cabinet today must be charged with contempt of Parliament and that process – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- that process must be done anytime soon in accordance with our Constitution.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Mutseyami, when your Chief Whip has spoken and when the Vice President of your party has spoken, you cannot speak. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

           THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Hon. Gonese, Chief whip and Hon. Chamisa, Vice President of the MDC Party, had spoken already and in terms of protocol, Hon. Mutseyami, you are not supposed to speak.

          HON. MUTSEYAMI:  It is alright Mr. Speaker Sir.  I withdraw my statement as a backbencher.

          HON. GONESE:  On a point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir.  In terms of procedure, we are supposed to start with Notices of Motions.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yes you are right, perfectly correct.  On that note, Hon. Members, if there are Members whose motions lapsed from the Third Session, please reinstate them because I am advised that the Hon. Ministers have prepared the responses accordingly.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

GOVERNMENT FOOD DEFICIT MITIGATION PROGRAMME

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you for the opportunity to give a Ministerial Statement on the Government Food Deficit Mitigation Programme.  My statement is largely in response to requests by some Hon. Members that we shed light on the structure and implementation framework of the programme. 

          We appreciate that the need for explaining has been prompted by disturbing allegations by various media that the Government Food Deficit Mitigation Programme is being run on partisan lines.  It is therefore imperative that as I outline this programme, I also give an expose of how it is and has been running over the years.

          The Food Deficit Mitigation Programme is a strategy that was adapted by Cabinet as part of the larger Drought Relief Management Programme to assist vulnerable households that include older persons, persons with disabilities, and the chronically ill and orphaned children with food hand-outs to mitigate the impact of drought.  Each year, a crop and livestock assessment is carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development followed by rural livelihood assessment carried out by ZIMVAC.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it is the reports of these assessments that form the basis of determining which areas are food insecure, by percentage of population, in order that the programme targets and registers beneficiaries from those areas.

          The assessment process is indicated as follows:

1.    The First Round Crop and Livestock Assessment is carried out from November to January each year.

2.    The Second Round Crop and Livestock Assessment is from February to April.

3.    The ZIMVAC Rural Livelihoods Assessment follows from May to June of the following months.

4.    The declaration of the national percentage of the rural food insecure population is usually made in the period July to August of the year.  This is followed by the launch of the Drought Relief Food Distribution Programme in the rural provinces.

The Provincial Drought Relief Committees (PDRC) and District Drought Relief Committees (DDRC) use these assessment reports to carry out the beneficiary identification and registration process.

Mr. Speaker Sir, issues of drought mitigation require a collective approach with the active involvement of all concerned.  This is therefore implemented in a hierarchical structure following the national development structures which are the National Committees, Provincial Development Committees, District Development Committees, Ward Development Committees and the Village Development Committees.  The Drought Relief structures that implement the programme at different levels are as follows. 

At national level, the structure consists of the Cabinet, followed by the Cabinet Committee of Ministers, under which is the Working Party of Officials composed of Permanent Secretaries of the respective Ministries.  The national level deals with policy issues giving direction of the programme and implementation modalities.

At provincial level, there is already in existence a development structure called the Provincial Development Committee (PDC), where all line Ministry and Government agency provincial heads meet and discuss development issues.  The Provincial Drought Relief Committee (PDRC) is a sub-committee of the PDC and is chaired by the Provincial Administrator.  The traditional leadership representatives at provincial level are automatically members of the PDRC and participate on drought issues in this committee.  The Department of Social Services is the Secretariat.

At district level, there is the District Development Committee (DDC) chaired by the District Administrator.  In the same manner as with provincial level, the District Drought Relief Committee (DDRC) is chaired by the District Administrator.  The Department of Social Services is again the Secretariat in this meeting.  Traditional leaders are automatically members of the DDRC.

At WADCO level, the Chief or the Councillor chairs the Ward Drought Relief Committee (WDRC).  The Secretariat is provided by the WADCO.

At VIDCO level, the Drought Relief Committee (VDRC) is chaired by the kraal head or village head and members of the committee are also determined by the Chair.  The VIDCO provides the Secretariat.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the beneficiary selection is carried out by the villagers themselves.  They are fully aware of vulnerability levels within their communities and are able to distinguish the labour constrained and non-labour constrained households.  The names of vulnerable households are compiled by the village head and submitted through the ward where initial verification is done.

Thereafter, the registers are forwarded to the District Drought Relief Committee through the Department of Social Welfare.  After receiving the registers, the District Drought Relief Committee undertakes a process of verification of the households in the registers before submitting the requirements to the national level through the Provincial Drought Relief Committee.  At no time during this elaborate registration process is political party affiliation ever requested.  

Mr. Speaker Sir, grain is collected from the GMB depots and delivered to the various ward distribution points for collection by beneficiaries.  The verified register is the legitimate piece of document that is used during the distribution.  Beneficiaries are required to produce only their national identity documents.  No political affiliation document is needed to access the food. After the distribution exercise, monitoring teams from the national, provincial and district levels undertake regular monitoring visits in all the provinces. Where there are reports of food distribution on party lines, these are investigated by all the teams including the grain importation logistics and distribution taskforce.

However, we have in place a grievance system that can be used by those with complaints related to the grain distribution.  Any aggrieved person has recourse to the Village Head, Social Welfare Officer or the Police.  We are still using the manual system of tracking down the system for verification and tracking will go a long way towards resolving challenges that are faced from time to time in this programme.

Mr. Speaker Sir, as part of the empowerment of the vulnerable households to mitigate the adverse effects of the drought, this season the Government is distributing agricultural inputs under the Presidential and Vulnerable Households Agricultural Inputs Scheme.  Each vulnerable household receives a 50kg bag of basal fertilizer, a 50kg bag of top-dressing fertilizer and a 10kg bag of seed maize.  A cumulative total of 5 432.02 metric tonnes of basal fertilizer, 15 685.50 metric tonnes of top-dressing and 7 785.48 metric tonnes of maize seed has been distributed as at 18 January, 2017.  Hon. Members, please note that this scheme covers both urban and rural households.

Mr. Speaker Sir, this past year has been particularly unique in that, over and above catering for the traditionally vulnerable members of our society, a lot more households were assessed as food insecure as a result of succumbing to the negative effects of the drought induced by El Nino.

Accordingly, His Excellency, the President declared the drought a state of disaster on 3rd February, 2016.  Government in turn, appealed to the domestic and international communities on the 3rd and 4th  February, 2016 for assistance in mitigating the effects of the drought.  Government acknowledges with thanks all the positive interventions and assistance received from our social partners, both international and locally.

Mr. Speaker Sir, my acknowledgement would not be enough if I did not take time to also thank the Hon. Members who from time to time, availed transport to ferry grain from districts depots to ward distribution points.  Thank you Hon. Members.

To buttress this submission, distress calls were also received from peri-urban areas that were also affected by the drought.  In July 2016, Cabinet made a decision that the Food Deficit Mitigation Programme be introduced in urban areas.  The programme has since been introduced in Bulawayo and Harare Metropolitan Provinces where 18 937 and 11 094 households are receiving a total of 946.85 and 554 metric tonnes of grain per month respectively.

The programme will be rolled out to the other urban areas when the results of the Urban Livelihood Assessment are adopted by Cabinet.  The assessment of vulnerable households in the past year has been on a continuous basis.  My Ministry has frequently been inundated by distress calls from districts and constituencies appealing for food aid.  In these desperate circumstances, we had to urgently step in with immediate relief to avert hunger pending detailed assessments of the vulnerability state of the concerned areas.  It is important to highlight that the ad-hoc responses to distress calls were in all regions of the country.  There was no pattern to them and most importantly, it was not on partisan lines.  My Ministry responded to all distress calls regardless of origin.  The response was positive, resources permitting.    In the few instances where food distribution appeared to coincide with political activity, it is important to highlight that the Food Deficit Mitigation Programme has always been on-going, even in the absence of political activities.  We reiterate Government position that the two should never be mixed.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we have called and we continue to call for information on where people are being denied food on partisan lines.  In the past year, we received six isolated cases in the whole country – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – which I believe my Ministry staff responded to and corrected.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.  When a Ministerial Statement is being made, what follows are points of clarification or questions of clarification.  However, if you are not listening to what the Hon. Minister is saying, how do you raise points of clarification?  You are subject to be ruled out of order because you were not listening.  All Hon. Members who are busy with their cell-phones, please can you listen and follow the debate.

HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The success of this programme has recorded a total of 809 279 households receiving 40 463.95 metric tonnes of maize grain per month, reflecting a grand total distribution of 490 366.63 metric tonnes of maize as at 18 January, 2017.  Ten thousand metric tonnes of rice out of the total received of 19 000 metric tonnes have been allocated to the country’s 10 provinces.  Additional releases will be dispatched on the provinces’ successful completion of first distributions.  We recognise the special efforts of all departments which have been involved.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we continue to advise Hon. Members that food distribution should be done through the recognised established structures.  More often than not, it is when Hon. Members negatively interfere where we hear of partisan alignment, which is contrary to Government policy.

As I conclude Mr. Speaker   Sir, I reiterate that Government’s policy and position on food aid distribution is clearly transparent and non-partisan.  Anything to the contrary is wrong, cannot be condoned and will not be allowed.  His Excellency, the President is on record that “no one should be allowed to starve.”  So, let us all work together across party lines in upholding this position.  I thank you.

HON. PHIRI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I need some clarification on urban centres.  The Minister said that food is not distributed on partisan lines.  I am a ZANU PF Hon. Member and in my own constituency, we have not gotten anything.  My question is, is it correct to say that…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you identify your constituency.

HON. PHIRI: My constituency is Kadoma Central.  Is it correct to say that what the Deputy Minister said is not actually what is true on the ground in terms of equal distribution?  The report itself includes urban centres but my own constituency got its share in 2013 and they are struggling up to today.  I visited his offices several times, written letters to no avail…

THE HON. SPEAKER: You have made your point Hon. Member.  I think it is understood.

*HON. MASHAYAMOMBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question which I need clarification on concerns Harare province, we are not getting this food but we heard that the Cabinet set down and also said those in urban areas should also get food.  In my Constituency, Harare South, we have Hopely and those who used to stay in compounds do not have land to farm, they are not getting any food.   Minister can we have food in town?

          HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I wish to thank the Hon. Minister for his statement and seek clarification on the following issues.  Firstly, I would hope the Hon. Minister would actually clarify as to what the composition is of those Provincial and District Development Committees; who comprises them?

          Secondly, what measures the Hon. Minister has, if any, to ensure that those committees are not staffed on a party political basis.  Lastly, I have heard the Hon. Minister speaking about grain.  I would want to hope that he can clarify whether he means maize only or rice.  The reason I ask is because I want the Hon. Minister to clarify that from time to time we hear that the People’s Republic of China has donated many tonnes of rice to Zimbabwe which one can assume is for drought relief.  My question is, is that rice included in drought relief and if so how is it that it is only ZANU PF Members of Parliament who are able to access some rice and are able to distribute rice to their constituencies?  If indeed rice donated from the Republic of China is meant for drought relief, I would want him to clarify that distribution by ZANU PF MPs .  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, when you ask for points of clarification, please stick to one point so that you give chance to everybody.

          HON. D. SIBANDA:  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker.  Hon. Minister we hear you, what I want to know is what efforts have you put in place to train those who are distributing or the DDRC Committee?  I also want to know the role of the police in the food distribution if there is any because I did not hear you mention any police?

          *HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I also need some clarification from the Deputy Minister.  He has given a definition of vulnerable groups.  I want the Minister to know that if we follow that procedure to give the vulnerable groups food, we will remain with surplus realising that the President pointed out that because of drought  everyone is vulnerable.  Is there a problem giving everyone food  because they are all vulnerable groups only?

          *HON. MATUKE: Minister we can see that you are doing a very good job by giving primary schools maize and rice.  I want to ask if it is possible to extend that to secondary pupils and colleges because we know that all children are affected by hunger.  When we visit secondary schools we are coming across pupils who are hungry who do not have food.

          HON. MUNENGAMI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  We are now 16 years after we have done our land reform programme which according to the Constitution is irreversible.  Is it admittance by the Hon. Minister that by having this programme of drought relief and helping Zimbabweans, that the land reform programme was a failure? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  When you ask point of clarification, these must be based on the statement.  We do not want ancillary questions that do not arise from the actual Ministerial Statement.      

          HON. CHAKONA:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I first of all want to thank the Minister – [HON. MEMBERS; Inaudible interjections.] – Can I have some protection Hon. Speaker?  I would like to applaud the Minister for the efforts to feed the nation.  In our district which is Zaka, we are getting 520 bags per ward. However, there are more than 1000 per ward meaning that there are more people that are actually in need of food.  Is there any possibility that the number can be increased in the near future?  Thank you. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order. Hon. Chakona, the Ministerial Statement indicated the structures that must be used.  If only your question would have been, you approached the structures and you did not receive joy then the Minister should answer.  That statement is a bit too general.

          HON. CHAKONA:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we did we approached the structures, the District Drought Relief Committee to increase the number of beneficiaries and we are having no joy.  That is why I am asking.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  That is better.

          HON. MLISWA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I would like to ask the Deputy Minister concerning the Ministerial Statement.  Is there a change because when I was Chairman of ZANU PF, ZANU PF structures were used to distribute food?  When I left ZANU PF – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order! The Hon. Member was raising his point of clarification and he was drowned.  I did not hear what he was saying.  Can you be brief to the point?

*HON. MLISWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  When I was the Provincial Chairman of ZANU PF, I would be told that all the members of ZANU PF should be given food.  I would like to know why I am not being told now –[HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order.  Hon. Member can you conclude –[HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order!  Hon. Member can you wind up your point of clarification?

HON. MLISWA:  I would like to but ZANU PF is busy heckling. 

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Can you wind up?

*HON. MLISWA:   I would like to know whether that has changed because I have noticed that when I became an independent Member of Parliament, I am not involved in the distribution of food –[HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – 

Mr. Speaker, I say this because now as an independent Member of Parliament, I am no longer consulted.  I want clarification on why the Minister is saying it is not political but now I am not being consulted.  Is it because I am no longer a ZANU PF Member?

HON. J. TSHUMA:  My point of order arises from the allegation that Hon. Mliswa has brought to this House –[HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –  I want the House to know and this must be on public record, that is one of the reasons why Temba Mliswa was expelled from ZANU PF because he was doing things that are not within the dictates of our party –[HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Takamudzingira izvozvo.Ndosaka takamudzinga because ZANU PF haibvumire huori.  Paakange achiita huori hwake uhwu, takamudzinga.  Hatidi vanhu vane huori muZANU PF –[HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

+HON. MLILO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Minister for the Ministerial Statement.  I would like to tell the truth about distribution of food in Luveve and Gwanda.  I am happy because Government is willing to assist people with food.  The Social Welfare in Bulawayo works with the Residents Association; they assist each other to identify needy and vulnerable people so that they can be assisted.

In short, the Social Welfare and the Government of Zimbabwe are doing very well.  I would also want to say that …

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, you are not supposed to debate the Ministerial Statement but to seek clarification.

HON. MLILO:  I was not debating the Ministerial Statement but I was clarifying…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  No, no, no, you do not do that.  You do not do that.

HON. CHIMANIKIRE:  I am seeking clarification on the composition of the structures at district level.  I would like to enlighten the Minister that –[HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order at the back there!

HON. CHIMANIKIRE:  At Hoya Growth Point, that is Centenary District; there are officers from the Central Intelligence Organisation refusing to register MDC members for food aid.  I have a specific name of the officer who refused to register alleged members of the MDC and I can supply the name of the officer to the Minister.  Can the Minister clarify the role of the President’s Office?   I thank you.

*HON. CHASI:  I would like to thank you for giving me time.  I would like to seek clarification on people who were not given land; are they also going to be part of those who will receive food aid?

*HON. NYAMUPINGA:  Mr. Speaker, I am seeking clarification on food distribution on men who have polygamous marriages.  Are they going to be considerate on this particular state of affairs because I have heard that they are only looking at a family with one man and wife?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, the Ministerial Statement appears to be – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order!  I was saying the Ministerial Statement seems to be at the heart of many Hon. Members.  Let us give the Minister a break to respond to the first batch of the questions and we will take the second round. 

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I will start by addressing the question raised by Hon. Phiri from Kadoma.  In addressing his question, I need to highlight that this particular past year has been different from the norm over the years.  Normally, when we are doing the ZIMVAC assessment, we are limited to the rural households.  We will be looking at the eight rural provinces.  However, during the course of this past year, because of El Nino, we saw it necessary to do an urban assessment of livelihood.  That has been done and the report is with Cabinet.  Once Cabinet has approved the results of the urban livelihood assessment, we will embark on the food mitigation in the urban settlements. 

There was immediate need during the course of last year to come up with interventions in Harare and Bulawayo.  In the Ministerial Statement, I gave the numbers of the assistance that is being given on a continuous basis in these urban and peri-urban settlements.  Indeed, that is going to come through to Kadoma, Kwekwe and other settlements once ZIMVAC urban report has been accepted. 

Let me also mention that the peak of the hunger period, according to the ZIMVAC report is January to March of every year.  So, we are in the peak hunger period.  As a Ministry, we fully appreciate that the questions that Hon. Phiri and Hon. Mashayamombe raised are very pertinent and need to be addressed urgently.  Hon. Majome spoke about the composition of the committees.  The composition of these committees, starting from the ward levels, I mentioned that at ward level, the headman, the kraal head or the councillor heads that committee.  That committee comprises of elders in society.  We say that the beneficiaries are identified by members in the society.  This programme also extends to other social protection programmes like the BEAM programme where we say members of the communities are best suited to identify the potential beneficiaries.  Therefore, the composition of the committees is a set by the communities themselves.  

Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Members raised issues on the grain that is being allocated, whether it is all maize or it is all rice and the source of that food.  In my report, Mr. Speaker Sir, I gave tonnage on maize grain which I gave as 409 000 owed as at 18th January.  I also went on to say that the rice that was received and being distributed currently is standing on 19 000 thousand metric tonnes.  Ten thousand metric tonnes has already been taken to the provinces and additional nine thousand tonnes will be dispatched...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Hon. Members, if you do not want to get responses from the Hon. Deputy Minister by not listening, I will rule that I think he has done a good job in his Ministerial Statement.  It is either you listen or he stops responding.  Thank you.

HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I was saying that the maize that has been distributed so far is 490 thousand metric tonnes of maize grain as at 18th January.  We also received 19 thousand metric tonnes of rice from China.  Of that 19 thousand metric tonnes, 10 thousand has already been distributed to the 10 provinces in the country at a rate of a thousand per province.  The outstanding 750 metric tonnes per province will be distributed as and when provinces have completed distributing the first tranche. 

The Hon. Members asked on the role of the police officers in the maize distribution exercise.  Mr. Speaker Sir, at every point when we distribute the maize and the Social Welfare officers are there, they will be in the presence of police details and police officers.  The working documents they will be using are the confirmed registers that will be with the Social Welfare officers.  Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Members asked on additional assessments of the vulnerable groups.  In my report, I highlighted the fact that assessment has been on a continuous basis.  The initial reports and registers that we started with at the beginning of the exercise in October of last year are very different from the registers we have. 

When we started distributing food for the food deficit mitigation process, we started with households in excess of 200 thousand.  As we speak right now, we have 809 thousand households that are accessing food aid.  The exercise is continuous, should there be food insecure families that are identified at any point, members are free to bring this up with the Social Welfare officers and the additional members will be added onto the registers. 

Hon. Matuke wanted to know whether the school feeding programme will, at any point in time be extended to secondary schools.  The intention of Government is for this exercise to be extended to secondary schools.  However, this will only be done after the initial assessment of food being given to the ECD and primary levels.  Resources permitting, the intention is surely to get school feeding programme extending to secondary schools.

There is an Hon. Member who tried to equate the food deficit mitigation programme with the success or lack of it of the Land Reform Programme.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not see where the two go hand-in-glove.  The food deficit mitigation programme is in response to the drought which we had this year which was induced by El Nino.  So, how he relates that to the success of the Land Reform Programme, which indeed is a major success, I do not know where that question comes in. 

Hon. Chakona spoke about the 520 bags of maize given to one particular ward in Zaka. I would like to highlight that should the leadership in Zaka feel that there are other families which are vulnerable, our offices are available to move in to assess if there is a genuine need for us to increase the allocation in that particular constituency.

          Hon. Mliswa spoke about his time when he was Chairman of ZANU PF  and said when he was Chairman of ZANU PF, food distribution was being done along partisan lines. I would like to say that he was very irresponsible if that is what he was doing - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – because Government policy is very clear. We do not condone distribution of food on partisan lines. The President himself has said no one should die of hunger and that is the position that stands.

          Hon. Chimanikire spoke about Centenary District, particularly Hoya Growth Point. I have taken the name of the officer who is alleged to be abusing the system and we will certainly look into that as a Ministry and see how best we can correct that. Hon. Chasi requested that when we are looking at food assistance, we also look at mines and farm workers. I would like to say, yes indeed we do that. The point is looking at vulnerable people regardless of their position in society. So anyone, regardless of whether it is a mine worker or farm worker and is vulnerable, we will be able to assist that person.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Nyamupinga spoke about food distribution to polygamous families, the policy as it stands right now is, tinopa chikafu nezvoto. Meaning that the food is given to the wife and if the man is in a polygamous marriage, the distribution will be based on the wives rather than on the husband. I think that adequately covers the questions that were asked Mr. Speaker. I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I am advised that there is a vehicle blocking other vehicles, registration ADV 7511. Please remove your vehicle before it is clamped.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

QUESTION TIME

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have been advised by the Hon. Chief Whips that perhaps we can move to question time. You will get your time as agreed earlier on.

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that I have received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Finance Bill [H.B 3, 2017].

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          *HON. MATAMBANADZO: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services. What is Government policy regarding people who are now 70 years old and above and have never been employed but their counterparts who were employed are getting pensions. Is it not possible for them to give these people who are 70 years and above a free duty so that they can benefit from the pensions? If you can give these people an equivalent amount, they may also benefit because they worked hard for the progress of the people during their hay days. We should show some form of gratitude.

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): The Government policy is that beneficiaries of pensions are people who were workers and had pensions deducted from their salaries. If you were never employed, you are not supposed to get any pension. Be that as it may, in July 2013, the Government enacted a Disabled People’s Act which has given us a loophole where we can give assistance to the aged, such as the Harmonised Social Cash Transfer. In this programme, we look at beneficiaries such as the aged who are disabled and we may also integrate these people who have never worked. We then enacted an Old People’s Fund, which also enables Government to give some form of gratuity to the aged. I thank you.

*HON. MATAMBANADZO: My question was, when we look around the country, we have people who are 70 years old and have never worked. I do understand those who were working are receiving their pensions but on behalf of those people who have never worked, they should also be given some form of gratuity. South Africa is paying these elderly people. In Britain, these elderly people are getting some payments and my request is please just give them a token of appreciation and they will know that they have a people’s Government in power because it is taking care of their needs.

*HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I have already responded to this question and said we have an Act which is directed at the aged people which was enacted in the year 2013. This law which is on the aged led to the creation of a fund which is going to help these elderly. Be that as it may, we now have social programmes aimed at giving assistance to the aged such as the Harmonised Social Welfare Fund and this fund looks at the aged people who have no other source of income and they are given an amount of $20 per month. In order for them to benefit, they should be registered through our Social Welfare Office and we have a board in place which looks at where these people are and also gives us some proposals on how these people can be assisted from their problems and financial status.

HON. MUZONDIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. May I know what initiative the Government is implementing to ensure that women in mining are adequately capacitated? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDHAKWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. There are a number of areas where we are looking at capacitation of our miners. The first is to ensure that they are legally provided with mining concessions, whether in gold mining, chrome mining or the other minerals. The first stage we need to ensure is, that those miners who are mining on ground illegally are given mining title. It may not be where they are mining, but wherever we give them...

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Order Hon. Minister. Hon. Members, lower down your whispers or if you want to chat with your colleague, just go outside. We need to hear the response from the Minister. You may continue Hon. Minister.

HON. CHIDHAKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. So, that is the first stage. The second thing is that there is a gap between our miners, makorokoza and what we aspire to be. We have instructed the School of Mines to go out of the mere training of its geological engineering technicians and so on; to go beyond that and start programmes which they have already started, of going into the communities to meet with groups of miners, so that they can teach basic knowledge about mining. That programme is going on particularly this year. We started off late last year. It started slowly but this year it is going to be much more developed and it will touch more communities. So the School of Mines is going to do much more work.

The third thing is that we have been looking at various ways of supporting them with equipment because one of the biggest problems our miners have is the issue of equipment. I want to say a lot of our small scale miners have been very resourceful. They have gone to the milling companies and we have 417 milling companies. They have said, “we have a group of small scale miners. We want you to supply us with a jack hammer, water pump, generator and a compressor. You supply that to each and every one of our small scale miners. They will then mine and extract the ore and bring it to your milling facility for the purposes of milling.”

So, there is a growing relationship between the millers because the millers are interested in increasing ore that is coming from the mill and miners are interested in getting equipment that enables them to mine more. That relationship has been growing significantly. Government at the moment has got a team that is out looking at sourcing equipment for the purposes of supporting the small scale miners. In supporting the small scale miners, we do that with the women miners in mind as well because the law and the Constitution is very clear about how you balance out things between men and women.

As we move towards supporting with equipment, we will do so with the issue of gender support or women support as a strong component of our programmes because they are consistent in their repayment programmes. If you go to the banks, particularly ZB Bank which supports the small scale miners, you will notice that the women are strong borrowers, but they are also strong at repayment. When we gave awards late last year, they won awards as small scale miners right across the provinces. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

HON. MAONDERA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.

HON. MARUMAHOKO: Order, what is your point of order?

HON. MAONDERA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I remember early last year, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development had promised this august House that there were some investigations being carried about the disappearance of the US$15 billion in Marange. I am imploring you Mr. Speaker, that can we be favoured with a ministerial statement because it is about a year now, and it is a long time. The nation wants to know what happened with the US$15 billion at Marange so that we are enlightened of what happened. Thank you.

HON. CHIDHAKWA: Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member. We said work would go on and I reported to this House that we had discussed with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. We had agreed with the Auditor General who had appointed a number of companies to do a forensic audit on all the companies. The forensic audit has not yet been completed. We have not yet received the various reports from the audit companies. As soon as the audit companies finish, we will compile a report and we will bring it to Parliament. If you want it as part of a statement, that is fine but we can only do so when the audit is complete. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. MAONDERA: Mr. Speaker, while I acknowledge the effort the Minister is putting; it cannot be open handed because this is a national question which is begging for an answer. So, can he tell us the timeframe because if it becomes open handed, we might not know what is happening.

HON. CHIDHAKWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, may I undertake to advise this House as soon as I speak to the auditors so that I can establish where they are and how long it will take them to get to the end for the actual audit. Thank you.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question relates to empowerment of certain sections of our miners. Last year, the President in his State of the Nation Address, indicated that there was an increase in gold that was being deposited with Fidelity by the small scale miners. As a result of a $500 million loan that had been advanced to small scale miners, I want to find out from the Minister because it turns out that there is no such loan that has been given to small scale miners. However, the President’s Speech made us to believe that a loan had been advanced to small scale miners. I just want the Hon. Minister to tell this House who misled the President into believing that a loan had been advanced to small scale miners when it had not been done so? Thank you.

HON. CHIDHAKWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to check the status of what he is saying. I know not of a US$500 million facility. I do not think that the President at any time mentioned that. Let me find out and I will come back to you.

*HON. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care.  This is in regard to dialysis machines which are used in kidney ailing patience because these people have to undergo some dialysis. 

Is it Government policy that the Ministry goes to source for dialysis machines for the 10 provincial institutions?  When  these have been acquired and imported and are in the country, what is surprising - I may give an example of what is happening at the Masvingo Provincial hospital where an expensive and essential machine has been vandalised and yet it has not been fully utilised.  Somebody has already taken some parts off it and we do not have specialised rooms where this special equipment can be installed and used for the safety of both the workers and the sick people.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order.  Can we please hear the Hon. Member in silence?

*HON. ZINDI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker for protecting me.  I am asking my question and saying, is it Government policy that the people simply go out and purchase this expensive equipment without first of all training the people who are going to operate those machines and the places where these machines are to be mounted have been constructed.  What we have noticed is that over a period, these machines will become obsolete because of vandalism and again, wear and tear as a result of people who lack experience in using those machines.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  If you could put the question in writing so that he will respond to you. 

HON. ZINDI:  Handisi kunzwa.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order please.  Order, order.  You need to give the Minister ample time to do some research on that because you have mentioned a particular hospital.  If you could put it in writing. 

*HON. MAPIKI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am directing my question to the Minister of Home Affairs.  His Excellency was in Mali where he discussed human trafficking.  When we look at what is happening in the country, we have people who are using both electronic and print media, calling for people who may want jobs or scholarships outside the country.  When these people go to those people, they are either put into forced labour, bath old people in those countries or go into forced prostitution.  What is Government policy regarding this scenario?

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. DR. CHOMBO):  I wish to thank the Hon. Member for his question.  Zimbabwe is very much concerned about human trafficking and has taken all necessary measures to alert and prevent human trafficking.  If there is anyone who is advertising falsely for jobs overseas and so on, please let us know.  The police will arrest and get that person imprisoned.

Secondly, as Members of Parliament, we are also appealing to you to conscientise your constituents to be very careful when something sounds too rosy.  We really urge people to be double sure before they accept jobs oversees or out of the country.  A lot of times, when genuine companies are interested in employees, they advertise.  They go through the processes, but I do not remember any companies that sell the services of recruiting an employee.  When you have some recruiting agent demanding money from you, you need to be very careful.  Police are ready to assist in any situation that arises.  We even have an Inter-Ministerial Committee of all the relevant Ministries that meets periodically to make sure that we attend to and address human trafficking issues.  Thank you Mr. Speaker.

*HON. SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Now that we have most of our youngsters going out of the country to seek for greener pastures, does it mean that Government is going to help these youngsters by promising the jobs because they were told that there were going to be some jobs which were to be created for the benefit of our youngsters?

HON. DR. CHOMBO:  Thank you again Mr. Speaker.  The issue of 2.2 million jobs is on course.  Minister Chidhakwa and his mining sector has created many jobs.  The agriculture sector has created many jobs, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development has created many jobs, but there are only a few other companies that are not creating many jobs because of sanctions which you ordered for.

*HON. MARIDADI:  On a point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir.  When we look at the issue of unemployment in the country, let us treat it with the seriousness that it deserves.  It hurts me to hear a senior Minister of Government talking about unemployment in the country in a jocular way.  Minister, please, you should be aware of the fact that we have a lot of problems of unemployment in the country and you are telling the nation that we have mines which are creating jobs.  I am begging you Minister, you are running this country on behalf of the people and not other delusions.  Let us be serious about this talk of employment

* THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Maridadi, the expression you have used to say, you are not running this country on behalf of other delusions is unparliamentary, please use a respectful term.

*HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I will remove the term which I used and replace with the term fools.  You are not running the country on behalf of fools.  Zimbabweans are people who are very intelligent. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Maridadi, I asked you to withdraw that unparliamentary language which you are using.

*THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE): I want to implore the Hon. Member to withdraw the statement that makorokoza mafuza, it is not fair.

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Can the Hon. Member withdraw the statement in which he referred to artisanal miners as stooges.

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I will send someone out very soon.  Hon. Maridadi, yesterday you performed a sterling job, which was held in high esteem.  May you use parliamentary language and avoid speaking derogatory language.

*HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  When we were talking about human trafficking where we have people who are fooled to go out of the country for better jobs – I remember the Hon. Minister saying police are mounting so many road blocks so that they can curb crime.  However, now that we have aerial and other technology, we may have few police officers manning our roads.  Instead they should use modern technology – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order.

*HON. CHAMISA: My question is that, how are we going to solve this problem of human trafficking so that we can reduce the number of police officers manning road blocks?  Our tourists are fed up with the frequency of road blocks on our roads, even Hon. Members are also fed up.

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. DR. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  It is very true that when we are talking of human trafficking, that is not the reason why we have so many road blocks on our roads.  These people who are falling victim to human trafficking are not criminals.  I will therefore deal with these two issues separately.  The police mount road blocks to arrest criminals and other people who try and evade the payment of licences for their vehicles and other services.  The money goes to the service delivery in Government so that the people can enjoy the benefit of their work.  Sometimes they may also want to check whether the cars are road worthy. 

We have also realised that the number plates of the vehicles on the roads and the way they were registered were not arranged in a consolidated way.  We have come up with a system where if one comes across any road block, the car is scanned by the equipment and it reveals the full status of that car in terms of ownership, registration and fines which may be due and so on.  Someone who may be found on the wrong side is apprehended on the roadblock.  On the other hand, when you pass through a toll gate, the police officer will scan your vehicle and it will reveal all the details of the car and the owner of the vehicle.  We are now computerised and we are assured that thieves will be arrested.  However, good citizens will be able to go through these road blocks without hassles.  This exercise started yesterday where trial runs were being held to check the compatibility of the technology.  This was held at Avondale Police where the hired experts were working from.

The machine is able to identify the police officer on a road block and the amount of money paid.  It also enables the collection of funds for ZINARA and the local authorities and the computerised system transfers the money to respective institutions.  I am telling the senior lawyer who is also the Vice President of the Party Hon. Chamisa, that the questions he asked previously are now being taken care of well.  The issue of human trafficking which you referred to, we will work hard on that in collaboration with the international world so that we apprehend the human traffickers. 

On the issue of employment, Hon. Chidhakwa talked about the jobs which have been created in the mining sector through the allocation of mining claims, those we refer to as artisanal miners.  Derogatory statements are not pleasant, but you should truly appreciate that ZANU PF has tried its best despite the sanctions – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order please.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: My point of order Hon. Speaker is that, when the House is debating issues, it is not debating political party issues.  It is debating governance issues.  Now, when the Hon. Minister wants to tell us that ZANU PF has done well, there is a likelihood that he would have opened the veil and therefore Hon. Members on the opposite side are also likely to attack the political party rather than to ask questions that are related to the performance of Government.  It is my view therefore Hon. Speaker that the Hon. Minister should withdraw his issues pertaining to the performance of his party and apologise otherwise we are also going to attack his political party.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO):  Order, Hon. Sibanda when the Minister spoke I think that was the last statement he did as a joke.

          HON. P. D.  SIBANDA:  I am sure if it was a joke this is not a House of jokes and if it was a joke then the Minister should withdraw the joke.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Point taken please take your seat.      

          *HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I will direct my question to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Hon. Dr. Gumbo.  What is Government  is policy regarding the assistance given to local authorities regarding roads?  We do agree that our roads are in a very bad state and I will give an example of Mkoba constituency.  The roads are so bad that it is beyond the capability and capacity of local authorities.  What is Government doing to enable these local authorities to maintain and construct new roads in their areas of jurisdiction?  

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMETN (HON. DR. J. GUMBO):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to respond to the Hon. Member of Mkoba Constituency in Midlands.  The question may have been directed to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Hon. Kasukuwere but since it is regarding to the roads I will respond.  Whatever was going to be said by the Minister, I was going to echo what we discussed at an inter-ministerial meeting. 

          May I tell this House that the whole country – the roads are in shambles; we have had so much rain that the roads have been destroyed.  Our roads are full of potholes and we need to attend to them as a matter of urgency.  We have talked to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Minister is responsible for fighting national disasters.  Therefore, if a state of disaster is declared, we will work with local authorities so that as the Minister for Transport we will go to the local authorities and assist them just as we are now doing with the roads in Harare.  We are saying funds allowing, the new Limpopo Bridge has to be done. 

          When we use the Beitbridge crossing especially the north-south corridor, we have funds which we collect and we are given some months in which to distribute to deserving local authorities.  The local authorities are receiving little amounts of monies from ZINARA and hence they need a top up on these allocations.

          *HON. MASHAYAMOMBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Hon. Mandiwanzira.  My question is, what is the Government policy regarding citizens of Zimbabwe who may want to embark on projects which are aimed at creating jobs in the country. I need clarification on the duration that the whole process will take.  I directed my question to Hon. Mandiwanzira because this is with regards with Mr. Masiyiwa who had to take his project to some other countries and yet he is a Zimbabwean citizen.  The problem, is when Mr. Masiyiwa wanted to introduce his station there was a lot of bureaucracy and circuitous routes which has made him give up on this process and introduced it to other countries and  yet it was supposed to emanate from Zimbabwe and then go to other countries.  So, what are we doing to create jobs for Zimbabweans?

          *THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MANDIWANZIRA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for the question.  I am very grateful to Hon. Mashayamombe for this question. I am the Minister responsible for technology.  When I say we are looking at technology and that is the responsibility of my Ministry.  Talking about internet television, the Government has two Ministries; there is the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services and then the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services. The licences or the Internet television are given out by the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services because there is an element of broadcasting using internet technology. 

          What I can tell this House is that Mr. Masiiwa has the licence to launch this technology in the country but the broadcasting aspect belongs to another Ministry.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, I think it was my mistake.  I did not specify which Minister I just only said Minister.  I beg your pardon on that part. Is the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services around or the deputy?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU):  Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for such an important question. I have not had sight of that document ye application from vaMasiyiwa. May be I will request the Hon. Member to put it in writing so that I do – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I need your protection Mr. Speaker Sir.  

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Order, order Hon. Members.

          HON. SEN. MATHUTHU:  I was saying I am requesting the Hon. Member put the question in writing so that I do proper research and bring a well informed response to this august House although it is not a policy question.  I thank you.

          HON. MUDYIWA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs.  What is Government policy with regards to foreigners who are arrested within the country whilst on transit?  For how long are they supposed to be detained in remand?

          THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. DR. CHOMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker.  It depends on the nature of the crime that the foreigner has committed.  If you have specific cases of individuals that you think were affected, let me know and we will attend to the matter.  If it is an issue of wrong papers, the person will be deported accordingly but some people come in and they do not even have the money to have them deported.  We have to keep them somewhere safe and then liaise with their Governments to make sure that money is found to deport them.  We cannot be in the business of deporting people at our own expense. 

HON.  MUDYIWA:  We have got quite a number of such people who are detained at Chikurubi Prison.  Some of them have been detained for more than a year or so. That is why I have asked that question.

HON. DR. CHOMBO: Mr. Speaker Sir, they are not arrested. They are just being kept whilst negotiating with their countries.  We have about 40-50 from Ethiopia, Somalia and a few from other countries.  As soon as arrangements are done, they will go back to their home countries.

HON. MLISWA:  Minister, the issue is the expense.  While they are being kept somewhere, it is Government that is forking out money.  Is it not better for the Government to have them deported earlier because when you are keeping a foreigner in this country, you have to also adhere to the human rights rules which are there.  The expenses are kind of critical.  Are we not spending a lot of money on that? –[HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Mliswa.

HON. DR. CHOMBO:  I really do not think that keeping them while we are negotiating with their Governments chews a lot of money because to deport someone from here to Ethiopia takes a lot of money.  We are doing all that we can to make sure that we negotiate with the Governments that they come from for their return.  We also work with other positive looking Non-Governmental Organisations in trying to get money to ensure that these people go back to their homes.

*HON. MAHOKA:  My question is directed to Hon. Minister Undenge.  What is Government policy regarding schools that were electrified; some of these schools paid full amounts for electricity installation but you have never put electricity so that these people may benefit from their investment.  I have seen schools in my constituency which paid their monies but are still in darkness since 2015.

*THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. UNDENGE):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  She has put her question properly.  We do want to electrify our schools.  When we have taken electricity to a school which has paid some money, we then ask for a connection fee so that we can put up the electricity power into the institution and therefore I am asking Hon. Mahoka to put the question in writing and mention the schools that are affected.

*HON. MAHOKA: The schools are Chikuti, Karoi Enterprises, Chirariro and St Michaels.  They have paid all the required amounts and I can bring the receipts to this House.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Those are specific schools.  I think the Minister needs to –[AN HON. MEMBER:  Inaudible interjections.] – Order, I am still talking and you stand up for a supplementary question.  Hon. Minister, may you put this in writing so that you would respond to that after you have made your research because particular schools have been mentioned.

HON. MLISWA:  My supplementary question to the Minister on the schools which were given computers by the President from as far back as 2005 is in terms of computerisation, they have no electricity; are you not undermining the vision of the President in ensuring that they have that?

*HON. MATAMBANADZO:  Haisi supplementary iyo! –[HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order. Order. Order Hon. Minister. Hon. Minister resume your seat.

HON. DR. UNDENGE:  I would advise…

 THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order, order.

HON. DR. UNDENGE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, may I request the Hon. Member to give me the list of such schools so that we will follow up. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  It would be very difficult for the Minister to answer correctly if you do not give him the names of the schools.

HON. ZINDI:  My supplementary question arises from the fact that from a policy point of view, is it not logical in cases where electricity is not connected but all other expenses have been paid and only connection fee would be the only outstanding cost in order to connect.  Is it not logical for the Ministry to ensure that even if when that connection fee has not been paid, it would be better to connect so that they start recouping all the expenses, they would have expended in the process of ensuring that there is electricity to the particular schools, from a policy point of view.  I thank you. 

HON. DR. UNDENGE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, let me point out in this august House that the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) responsible for rural areas and disaster on the other hand, have electrified close to nine thousand institutions, schools, clinics, et cetera.  I will request the Hon. Member to put that in writing so that I will address specific problems.

HON. ZINDI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Zindi.  Hon. Minister, as a matter of policy, your Ministry has a policy that the connection fee has to be paid by the community.  It is a policy that is there and why should she put that in writing.

HON. DR. UNDENGE:  It is a straightforward case that before that electricity is connected, there is a connection fee which is paid.  It is a categoric policy and it appears that the Hon. Member is talking about other problems besides that because if it is a case of paying connection fees, it must be paid. 

HON. BEREMAURO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  Hon. Minister, of recent, we have witnessed an influx ....

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  May you speak up please, I cannot hear you.

HON. BEREMAURO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development

Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development having been talking to another Member.

  THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Minister of Finance, that question is directed to you.

HON. BEREMAURO:  Hon. Minister, of recent, we have witnessed an influx of cash barons who are charging people interests of up to 23 percent.  What is Government policy on cash barons?

  THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, did you get that one.  You did not get it!  It was difficult for me also to get it.  May you move down here and ask your question.

HON. BEREMAURO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance.  Hon. Minister, of recent, we have witnessed an influx of cash barons who are charging people interests of up to 23 percent for one to access cash.  What is the Government policy to that effect?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  The import of the question seems to suggest that he is talking about money lenders who are charging exorbitant interest rates.  The policy is that you cannot lend money without a licence.  Those who lend money have to be guided, managed and regulated by the Central Bank to ensure that they operate within the law.  Currently, interest rates which are encouraged in the market are up to 15 percent and not as exorbitant as the figure mentioned by the Hon. Member.  I must say that any person who lends money without an appropriate licence is committing a criminal offence.

HON. BHEBHE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I am realising that the Minister of Home Affairs has walked out.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  He has gone out, he might come back.  You may reserve your question and when he comes back, I will give you the opportunity to ask.

*HON. MURAI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am directing my question to the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Made. There was an outbreak of armyworm in four areas.  What steps have you taken to control this outbreak because we later realised in areas like Kwekwe and Guruve, people were now using manual methods of fighting this armyworm.  Do you not have chemicals or other technology that can be used to fight this armyworm?

*THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. MADE):  Thank you Honourable for the question regarding fight against armyworm, especially the fall armyworm.  I will start by giving a definition of the fall armyworm because this is different from the general armyworm which we all know.  It is very important to know that our field workers should work hand in hand with the farmers in scouting for this fall armyworm.  Farmers should scout at least three times per day so that they check on the prevalence or existence of this fall armyworm.  When the armyworm is fully developed, it is at an extent that it is resistant to any drugs that we may have or we may use a very stronger drug to fight this fall armyworm.

Fall armyworm attacks most crops such as maize, soya beans, cotton and even sugarcane is not spared by this fall armyworm.  Hence, we have to fight it at our best.  It is usually prevalent immediately when we are coming from a drought season, like the last season and now we have lots of rains.  The fall armyworm is one of the notifiable pests because they need to be fought as soon as it is seen.  This worm will also attack winter crops.  May I assure this august House that we have our team on the ground, working hand in hand with farmers, especially when the rains have cleared.  This is when the eggs of this fall armyworm hatch; hence there is need for cooperation between the farmers and the technocrats.  

*HON. MLISWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  May I contribute by saying what was happening when the whites were fighting this army worm using aerial spray. Do you not think that it is very logical for us to adopt aerial sprays as a way of fighting this army worm?

         *THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND

IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (DR. MADE): When I said it is a

notifiable pest, it means that Government definitely has to take the necessary

measures to fight off this pest. Government is working with farmers supplying

them with the chemicals to fight this army worm. The way it is distributed is

such that it is not advisable to use aerial sprays because it is different from

fighting the ordinary armyworm. This army worm barrels into the ground,

hence we have other means to use but not aerial sprays working hand in hand

with the farmers.

           *HON. CHIKUNI: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. What is Government’s policy regarding teachers who are working from 0700 hours to 1700 hours? What is Government policy regarding the working hours for teachers?

           *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OR PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for letting me respond to this question regarding the working hours for teachers in our schools. I will respond to this question but I have got a feeling that this is what should be responded to by the Ministry or Department of Public Service Commission because they are responsible for looking at the working conditions for civil servants and teachers. Teachers normally work eight hours but of course, the starting time may differ because it depends on what the school offers. If it has a double session, then that could be a different story but in most cases, teachers start their duties at 0730 hours and work up to 1600 or 1630 hours. Those who start in the afternoon usually start at 1100 hours and knock off a little bit later. Like I have said, this issue regarding the working conditions may be better responded to by the Public Service Commission.

           HON. J. TSHUMA: My supplementary question is in line with the same issue of working hours from 0700 to 1600 or 1700 hours. This same period now also extends or is subjected to the school children themselves. What is Government policy on having school children going from 0700 hours in the morning until 1700 hours still at school and doing school work considering that concentration levels cannot sustain that? What is Government’s policy towards the issue of the elongated hours?

           HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Hon. Speaker, I am not sure I know of schools that are keeping learners from 0730 until 1700 hours. If there are any such schools, it will be good if I know the specific schools so that we can address that. Having said that, for secondary schools, it is not unheard of for learners to go from around 0730 to about 1600 hours because there is also time for study, research and prep. So, I do not think it is really a misnomer for learners to go up to about 1630 hours when they have started around 0730 or 0800 hours because their studies demand that, apart from the regular classes they also do prep work, research and now our curriculum also includes sporting activities. So, on those days when they are doing sporting activities, it is pretty normal for them to go to about 1630 hours and I do not think it is much of a concern really because if the learners are occupied productively, then it is okay.

           *HON. MUPFUMI: What is the Government policy for children who have completed Grade 7 but cannot access their results because of debts? These children did not enter into any agreement with the school that they should hold their certificates. The law of the country also says children should be given their certificates. Our Constitution also says it is within their right for them to get their certificates after completion but we see that heads of schools withhold these certificates. What is Government policy on this one?

           *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): I want to thank the Hon. Member for Dangamvura-Chikanga Constituency for a question which is very pertinent. We encourage parents though I am aware of the children’s rights that they are supposed to go to school and that their certificates should not be withheld.  We also encourage parents and guardians to clear debts with their current schools before pupils complete either Grade 7; Form 4 or Form 6 education.

           The challenge that we are facing is that many parents are not paying school fees and when a child gets their certificate and leaves that school, we do not anticipate the debt to be settled. So we want to encourage parents that if they are facing any challenges in paying fees, they should come up with payment plans and settle their debts before results come out like what has just happened for the 2016 ‘A’ level results.  We are looking forward to the ‘O’ Level results being released next week.  Parents should settle their debts so that we do not infringe upon the rights of pupils and also ensure that our schools get resources in order for them to continue functioning.  I urge you Members of Parliament to encourage parents to settle their debts before results are released.  I thank you.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER, in terms of Standing Order No. 64

HON. HOLDER:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker, may I extend the minutes for question time?

HON. ZINDI:  Mr. Speaker, I propose that we extend the time for Questions Without Notice.

*HON. SITHOLE:  Through you Mr. Speaker Sir, ZIM ASSET has been launched for four years now.  We request Hon. Chinamasa to give us a Ministerial Statement on the progress for ZIM ASSET since it was launched here in Parliament, we would want to know the progress.  I thank you.  

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, the whole budget debate is in itself a review of ZIM ASSET and we have had extensive debate over these issues.  I do not see the need and necessity of coming here to prepare and make a statement on what we are already discussing almost on a daily basis.

 *HON. SITHOLE:  Mr. Speaker, a Budget Statement covers plans for next year but ZIM ASSET is for the next five years which is different.  We want to know the ZIM ASSET progress for five years which is different from the Budget Statement.  I thank you.

HON. CHINAMASA:  I will look into the request Hon. Speaker.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER, in terms of Standing Order No. 64.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

MEDICAL DOCTOR FOR SIAKOBVU HOSPITAL

1.     HON. MACKENZIE asked the Minister of Health and Child

Care to appraise the House on the following:

a)    When Siakobvu Hospital would be assigned a medical doctor;

b)   When Siakobvu Hospital would get X-ray machines and

surgical equipment;

c)    The amount of fuel which is supposed to be allocated to

 Siakobvu Hospital for transferring patients to referral centres.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE

(HON. DR. MUSIIWA):  Thank you Hon. Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Mackenzie for asking that question.

a)       Siakobvu Hospital has an establishment of two Government

Medical officers.  The posts are filled by Dr. Emmason Paradza, EC No. 5101617 K and Dr. Goromonzi Penelope Sarudzai, EC No. 0118076 S.  Both doctors are stationed in Hurungwe at Karoi Hospital because we have an accommodation challenge at Siakobvu Hospital.

HON. MACKENZIE:  Madam Speaker, my question is in three

parts and so, it has not been sufficiently answered.

          HON. DR. MUSIIWA:  As to the second part of your question, currently there is no x-ray machine at Siakobvu Hospital.  The major challenge at the institution is that of erratic power supply to the extent that the one allocated to them in 1997 got obsolete as it was rarely used.  However, we are considering giving you a mobile x-ray machine that is self-powered.

        c)  In the 2016 Budget, Siakobvu Hospital was allocated US$6

000.00 for fuel.  Unfortunately, only US$3 000.00 was availed by Treasury.  Their total budget for operations was $65 000.00 with only $14 000.00 being availed by Treasury.

          HON. MACKENZIE:  Madam Speaker, I am aware that one doctor’s house was refurbished last year but up to now, there is no doctor.  What is the Ministry’s position otherwise that house will be dilapidated again?  Thank you.

          HON. DR. MUSIIWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank Hon. Mackenzie and make further clarification that I made follow up after we received this question with the PMD for Mashonaland West Province.  I was informed that indeed, one house is still under renovation.  We would want to place both doctors at Siakobvu Hospital but until we have sufficient accommodation, we are hamstrung.

          HON. ZINDI:  From a policy point of view, I need to find out from the Ministry, what is it that they pre-conceive when they construct a hospital with regards to the assignment of medical doctors. I need to know from a policy point of view. Further to my question, I also want to know when Siakobvu Hospital was constructed, for us in 2017 to be talking of a doctor being assigned to a hospital when the hospital has since been constructed, and without enough equipment to cater for the patients in that given area. Would it be prudent for the Minister from a policy point of view to inform this House that if at all a doctor had been placed at Siakobvu Hospital, was it necessary to have this extra expenditure of diesel in order to refer patients to wherever the referral hospital is? Thank you Madam Speaker.

          HON. DR. MUSIIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Zindi for seeking that clarification. What I would want to say about Siakobvu is that it is in a remote area. At some point we used to have a ferry service between Kariba and Siakobvu. That is not working at the moment and the roads are bad. However, as to the infrastructure, hospitals are upgraded from rural health centres. The infrastructure for a rural health centre may not have the houses to accommodate the medical doctor.

At the moment, we have upgraded Siakobvu hospital. What we are looking for now is funds for capital development to provide the houses. The nearest best thing we could do for Siakobvu was to have the two doctors to the nearest hospital which is Karoi.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Would the Hon. Minister address the Chair please?

HON. DR. MUSIIWA: Thank you. The nearest best thing we could do for Siakobvu was to have the two doctors to the nearest hospital which is Karoi so that we could also relieve the pressure and allocate them fuel for referral. We are constrained by the funds. If we had funds to complete the houses, we would immediately transfer the doctors to the relevant institution. Thank you.

*HON. MURAI: I am saying charges in Government hospitals are very high. Even if you are admitted one night, it is very expensive. To be taken an X-ray in a Government hospital is more than $80 which is expensive. Can the Government not do something to subsidise those charges so that it will be easier for our people to access medication?

*HON. DR. MUSIIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. It is true that money is a challenge these days. If it was possible, we could offer X-ray services for free, but because the Government is facing challenges of money, the money that is charged on each X-ray is not more than $30. This money is for consumables but machines would have been bought long back and technicians would be there. So in other places, there are categories of people taken X-rays. Those under five years and those above 65 years, X-rays are for free. Thank you.

*HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. This issue of doctors is very important. I want to know what Government policy is on the availability of drugs at Siakobvu and all the other areas which are far away in the remote areas. Do you have an idea of the amount of drugs that we have in all those hospitals like Siakobvu and other hospitals which are alike so that the real hospitals are not just structures, but are functional to serve communities.

*HON. DR. MUSIIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Nduna for the question that he has asked which relates to drugs. It is true that now our drug stock supply situation is low. In the district hospitals, the drugs which you referred to as vital are below 40%.  The ones which we classify as necessary are below 25%. This means that these drugs are very low. What touches us is that the issue that we are faced with is that the budget that we get as Ministry of Health and Child Care is very little for it to cater for the drugs. So, the drugs that we have which are in surplus are provided by donors and they are for malaria, tuberculosis and HIV. We plead to this House that when we get our budget, we should be allocated more money so that we will be able to help our people. Thank you.

NUMBER OF CLINICS CONSTRUCTED TO DATE

2.      HON. CHIMANIKIRE asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to give a report on how many clinics have been constructed to date and what their distribution is countrywide, considering that in 2013 the Minister stated that the Ministry was going to build 1400 clinics in 5 years.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MUSIIWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Chimanikire for asking this very important question. Since 2013, we have constructed 253 rural health centres and they are distributed as follows:

Mashonaland Central Province               30

Mashonaland East Province                    35

Mashonaland West Province                  41

Matabeleland North Province                 18

Matabeleland South Province                 21

Midlands Province                                   21

Manicaland Province                               32 and;

Masvingo Province                                            45

We would have wanted to construct many more clinics, but we are hamstrung because of lack of physical space.  However, I would also want to add that many more clinics have been constructed by Members of Parliament, in conjunction with the local communities and at the moment, we are currently lobbying Treasury so that we get finances for staffing and recurrent expenditure.  I thank you.

HON. CHIMANIKIRE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  The Hon. Minister has referred to a general statement that many more clinics have been constructed through Members of Parliament.  We have Food for Work Programmes that are being utilised for road construction and sometimes building classrooms at schools.  Has the Ministry appreciated this kind of an approach to assist in the construction of clinics since you seem to have just covered only a very small percentage of your targeted figure?  Next year is the fifth year.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. DR. MUSIIWA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker, I would want to thank Hon. Chimanikire for this further clarification.  I am sorry I actually did not add the appreciation.  We actually appreciate the role that has been played by Hon. Members and the community at large in constructing clinics. 

Many clinics, particularly in the newly resettled areas, have been constructed through community efforts.  Right now our challenge is that we have got a freeze on the employment of doctors and nurses, what we have had to do at the moment is to take nurses from the nearest district centres to open these new centres because we realise indeed, there is a need and I really want to appreciate what the Hon. Members have been doing.  Thank you very much.

*HON. PHIRI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is looking at local authorities.  Is there a policy or law that enforces councils to build clinics where there are new settlements, looking at the number of people who live in those areas?

*HON. DR. MUSIIWA:  Thank you Hon. Phiri for your question.  The policy that we have in the Ministry of Health and Child Care is that people should not travel more than 8km to 10 km to access services, but in urban areas the population density is too much.  So, it is a prerequisite for planning authorities that when they are planning new settlements, in regard of the population, if it exceeds 15 000, they should include a clinic.  Once they have done those plans they appraise the Ministry of Health and Child Care because we are the ones who help them to employ nurses and supply of drugs.

*HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Are you in agreement if Hon. Members can go and grab former farm houses and turn them into clinics so that people will not travel long distances before they get assistance?  If we can grab the houses from those who were given farms will you be surprised by that?

*HON. DR. MUSIIWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Thank you Hon. Nduna for your question.  What I have earlier on alluded to is that Hon. Members are constructing clinics and then we help them to look for workers and supply them with drugs, but for them to grab houses, it is now the prerogative of the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement.  We cannot instruct you to take or not to take, but there are a lot of places where people were resettled and there were farm houses.  People agreed and they were converted into clinic.  We went there and they opened them and they are now functional.

HON. CHIBAYA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  This question has been on the Order Paper since last year and the Hon. Minister was in this House today, but he just decided to leave the House.  These questions are not our questions.  We are being sent by the people who elected us to come and ask these questions.  If you can see Question Number 6 to 13, they are all directed to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, but he was in this House, Hon. Speaker.  So, I request your office, if you can talk to the Minister to take this august House seriously.  I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Point taken, Hon. Chibaya.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  On a point of order.  Hon. Speaker I seek your indulgence.  Before we started on the Questions Without Notice there was a Ministerial Statement that was given and we had not yet exhausted seeking clarification from the Hon. Minister.  So, we were not told whether the clarifications would resume after the question session or will resume tomorrow, we are not yet sure, but we definitely have a number of clarifications that we wanted the Hon. Minister to make.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  You still wanted to go along with clarifications.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  What happened is that after the first batch of questions or clarifications the Hon. Speaker said we are now going to Questions Without Notice, but he did not clarify when we are going to resume on the clarifications.  Definitely, there are clarifications that are still required.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  But now we are still on the Questions With Notice.

HON. P.D. SIBANDA:  Yes I just wanted to hear your guidance Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  But I thought now we are taking time for those Questions With Notice.  You are questioning yet we are still having Questions With Notice while the Ministers are here.  Why could you not wait after the questions so that the Ministers answer those questions?

ESTABLISHMENT OF A YOUTH CENTRE AT CHIWETU TRAINING CENTRE IN RUSAPE

          18. HON. CHITURA asked the Minister of Youth Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment whether the Government has plans to establish a Youth Centre at Chiwetu Training Centre in Makoni West, Rusape.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF YOUTH, INDIGENISATION AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT (HON. TONGOFA): Hon. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the Hon. Member for asking this question.  Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment had so far established five Youth Interact Centres in five provinces at the following locations;

·       Midlands Province, Shumba Youth Centre;

·       Masvingo Province, Mucheke Youth Centre;

·       Manicaland, Marange Vocational Training Centre;

·       Mashonaland Central, Mt. Darwin Youth Centre and;

·       Matebeleland North, Tsholotsho Youth Centre.

The objective of establishing these centres is to equip young people with the knowledge and life skills needed to overcome the challenges they face as a demographic grouping.  Youth Interact centres can best be described as youth friendly sites established to promote youth access to information for their development and empowerment.  Resources permitting, the Ministry will set up one Youth Interact Centre in every district of the country and eventually every ward.

     Madam Speaker, in addition to the Youth Interact Centres indicated above, the Ministry also administers a network of 42 Vocational Training Centres countrywide and is looking forward to establishing at least one Vocational Training Centre in each district.  In Manicaland Province for instance, there are seven Vocational Training Centres which offer vocational and entrepreneurial skills training to young people.  These are; Magamba Provincial Training Centre, Mutare, Kukwanisa, Marange, Chipinge, Nyanyadzi and Buhera district centres.  Makoni does not have a Vocational Training Centre and plans are underway to establish one in 2017.

     In line with the National Economic Empowerment Strategy, the Ministry is working towards a long term objective of establishing a Vocational Training Centre in every district and a Satellite Centre in every constituency.  This will result in skills training taking place in every ward.  To that end, the Ministry has identified suitable infrastructure at Chiwetu Training Centre in Makoni West Constituency in Rusape.  A decision has not yet been made on whether Chiwetu Training Centre will be a District Training Centre or one of the Satellite Centres.

     At the present moment, an Integrated Skills Outreach Training Programme (ISOP) is being carried out at the centre.  Negotiations with District Development Fund (DDF), which owns the property, are in progress.  Thereafter, consultations will be made with Hon. Member of Parliament and the local community to agree on the way forward.  I thank you.

CONTINUED OWNERSHIP OF SHOPS BY FOREIGNERS IN TOWNS

          19. HON. SITHOLE asked the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment to inform the House why the country continues to have shops wholly owned by foreigners in towns, despite the existence of the Indigenisation law.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF YOUTH, INDIGENISATION AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT (HON. TONGOFA): Thank you once again Madam Speaker.  Let me thank Hon. Sithole for asking this question.  Madam Speaker, the question relates to investment by foreigners in retail and wholesale trade, which is amongst the eleven sectors reserved for Zimbabwean entrepreneurs.  It should be clarified from the onset that the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment legislation does not prohibit foreigners from operating retail businesses, but seeks to reduce their participation to the barest minimum so that the bulk of the business is undertaken by Zimbabwean entrepreneurs.

The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Regulations (Statutory Instrument No. 21 of 2010) provides for the reservation of certain sectors for Zimbabwean entrepreneurs.  The regulations came into effect on 1st March, 2010.  This means that foreign owned businesses operating in the reserved sectors that were in existence before this date were allowed to continue operating, provided they submitted applications for verification and confirmation, which confirmation they were given in the form of Compliance Certificates.

After 1st March, 2010, new foreign investors who wish to operate in the reserved sectors should first obtain approval from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority and subsequent confirmation that they are compliant with the 51%:49% shareholding threshold in favour of indigenous shareholders before they were allowed to operate.  Following the Presidential Statement clarifying the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Policy on 11 April, 2016, foreign investors who wish to operate in the reserved sectors may, after obtaining approval from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority, be granted special dispensation by the relevant line Minister.

For the purpose of clarification, the reserved sector businesses include the following;

·       Transportation: passenger buses, taxis and car hire services;

·       Retail and wholesale trade;

·       Barber shops, hair dressing and beauty salons;

·       Employment Agencies, Estate Agencies and Valet Services;

·       Grain milling and bakeries;

·       Tobacco Processing;

·       Advertising Agencies and;

·       Provision of local arts and crafts including marketing and distribution of the same.

Madam Speaker, for these reasons, it is correct that we still have foreign owned businesses in the retail sector, either because they were in existence on 1st March, 2010 or were established then after and were authorised to operate taking into account such factors as level of investment and employment creation.  It should also be noted that some foreigners have over the years, become Zimbabwean citizens by registration in terms of Section 38 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20, Act of 2013.  This means that businesses in which they are shareholders qualify to operate in the reserved sector, despite that the individuals may continue to be identified as foreigners by ordinary Zimbabweans.

     Madam Speaker, the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board is continuously monitoring the operations of the reserved sector in order to ensure that local entrepreneurs dominate the sector.  However, resource constrains have continued to hinder effective monitoring of compliance to ensure that unauthorized foreigners do not operate in this sector.  I thank you.

     *HON. SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question to the Hon. Minister is, what plans are in place in terms of working together with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing because it is the one responsible for shop licencing through the Local Authorities.  What plans are there or is there any agreement in terms of a smooth transition and communication between the two ministries.  I thank you.

     HON. TONGOFA: Thank you Hon. Member for your question.  I stated that currently, line ministries are responsible for this issue.  We will give them advice in terms of collaborating with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing so that the licencing is done in a way that will enable a smooth monitoring system.  I thank you.

     HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  What one wants to know is that – in order for it not to become a talk show in terms of sanctions that are being applied for those who are delinquent and those conducting their business outside the norms and statutes of your dictates;  what is it that you have done to those who are being delinquent in their modus operandi, without applying their operations to your dictates.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: May the owner of the vehicle registration number ABH 6613 remove it since it has been blocking other vehicles for a long time.

          *HON. ZINDI: Hon. Speaker, I have a point of order from your announcement.  I want to verify that does it mean that as Hon. Members, do we not have enough space to park our cars because for you to interject debates so that we go and remove our cars is not ideal.  As Members of Parliament, this is our home but we cannot park our cars properly.  Our cars are clamped. They tell us that we have parked wrongly.  Where is our place – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, we can applause but the car that is blocked belongs to another Hon. Member.  I think this issue is between you Members of Parliament. If you want to raise an issue that you do not have enough parking space, you should use the proper channels not that I have made an announcement to free someone, then it becomes an issue.    Bring it to the House using the proper channel.

HON. TONGOFA:  Let me thank the Hon. Member for asking the question.  I want to say to the Hon. Member that there are provisions in the legislation which are there to punish those who do not follow the law. 

However, this is done currently by the Minister responsible for that sector.  He is the one who should apply those sections in the law to either revoke the licence, close the business or deny entry into the reserved sector.

AFFAIRS OF CITY OF GWERU

 

6. HON. CHIBAYA asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to explain why the Ministry is still administering the affairs of the City of Gweru through a Commission in view of the fact that its legal mandate has expired.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):  Thank you Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member for asking the question.

However, let me inform this House that this is not a Commission that administers the  affairs of the City Councils in the absence of Councillors but rather a Caretaker Council as given by Section 80 1(a) of the Urban Councils Act which states that, “in the event that  there are no Councillors for a Council area” or 80 1(b), which states that “in the event that elected Councillors for a Council area have been suspended or imprisoned, the Minister may appoint not more than three persons as Caretakers.” 

In this case, there are only three Councillors who do not form a quorum, hence the need for the Caretaker Council to administer the affairs of Gweru.  Once there are Councillors in place, then the Caretaker Council’s tenure will be terminated as stated in Section 80 (3) (a) of the Urban Councils Act which states that, “the Caretaker Council will terminate as soon as there are any Councillors for the Council area who are able to exercise all their functions as Councillors”, or (b) “ninety days after the date of his or her appointment whichever occurs sooner.”

HON. CHIBAYA:  Thank you very much Hon. Minister for your response.  My concern is that Gweru City Council has been run by the Caretaker Council for almost two years now and you are quite aware of the roles and responsibilities of the Councillors that the residents of Gweru are in a difficult situation for a long time.  There is nowhere they can present their grievances especially on issues to do with service delivery.  How far have you gone now in order to resolve this issue?

HON. KASUKUWERE:  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that very good follow up question.  It gives me an opportunity to explain further where we are with Gweru City Council.  I hear you Hon. Member that we have gone for some time with the Caretaker Council but let me also say to you that it is one City Council which has registered a lot of progress.  All the positions from an HR point of view have now been filled.  I did allude to what the Commission has done; revenue has increased and improved and I want to thank the people of Gweru for having faith in the Commission.

Thirdly, the Caretaker Council has gone on to acquire quite a lot of the equipment that was required to get the services delivered.  The question that you have raised to do with payment without representation; that you want the people to have an opportunity to discuss or present their grievances, the Caretaker Council is in place and it still functions in the same normal way as any council would.  I hope and trust that they can be able, through your support as the local Member of Parliament – you are also there to take the grievances and concerns of your constituents and should they need the council or the Caretaker Council to come, they are available.

Lastly, we are seized with the manner to resolve the issues of Gweru once and for all.  We are actually at the last stage.  We have received letters that have come from our Councillors which we are now considering for us to close this matter.  I am aware that we had set up a tribunal which is in place.  Our desired way forward is to have an amicable solution to the challenges that have been bedevilling the City of Gweru.

I hope and trust that the Hon. Member will also prevail on some of the City Fathers.  What is required is maturity if we are going to be running these councils successfully. We should take people’s business seriously and I hope that with his cooperation and support, we will be able to achieve an amicable solution to the challenges or the resolutions that we have for Gweru.

HON. P.D. SIBANDA:  From the section that you read from your first answer, it appears that the law has created that situation where you have to intervene for just a short period of time.  I heard you reading up to about 90 days or sooner but this Caretaker Council has been in place for over a year and close to two years.  Are you not therefore subverting the will of the people of Gweru and are you not violating the provisions of the law especially the Constitution as far as the right of the people of Gweru to govern themselves rather than being governed by you from Harare.

HON. KASUKUWERE:  I would like to thank the Hon. Member and assure him that that it is not the intention of this Minister to govern Gweru let alone from Harare.  It is the intention of this Ministry to ensure that there is good governance in Gweru.  What I have laid out is in terms of the law.  The law provides that in the event that there are no councillors for an area, this Minister is empowered by law to set up a caretaker council.  The sub-section that I quoted for you is to say, in the event that councillors do not have a quorum, this Commission or Council cannot continue for more than 90 days.  This is what the law provides and this is what I have quoted.

What I am doing currently, we are within the laws of the land.  It is not our intention whatsoever.  We do not want to be running Gweru but we cannot keep quiet when things are going wrong.  We have a duty ultimately to the people of Zimbabwe, in particular people of Gweru, we have got to look after them.  When we have councillors who have gone wayward, we have a duty to correct that waywardness.  I think and would want to believe that with Hon. Chibaya, we have been having very good conversations and we will continue that way.  Do not spoil the broth for him.

HANDOVER OF HOUSES BUILT UNDER THE NATIONAL HOUSING PROGRAMME TO BENEFICIARIES IN KADOMA

7.  HON. PHIRI asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to indicate when the Ministry would handover to beneficiaries, the houses built under National Housing Programme in 1996 in Kadoma.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):  Thank you Madam Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Phiri for his question.  I would like to inform this House that the properties in question are the 123 Munhumutapa National Housing Fund (NHF) houses sitting on council land that were built under the Pay for Your House Scheme.  The houses are to be valued at the earliest possible time and offered to the tenants for purchase.  However, the majority of the occupants have not been paying rentals resulting in huge rental arrears that even if they are offered the houses for purchase, they may fail to pay given that it is a requirement that the rentals accumulated over the years be paid in full before any purchases for the properties are made.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

*HON. PHIRI:  Madam Speaker, I thank the Minister for giving such a response.  I think those people who responded to this question left another section regarding the houses for the 1996.  During that time, they were using a derogatory name ‘musana wenzou’.  I was the councillor at that time and I know all the stories about this issue.  I believe this question should not be removed from the Order Paper so that a response can be given in the future.  What we know is that these houses were issued out by the Government and renovate them.  This was during the time of Minister Chikoore.  He had made a commitment that when people reside in those houses for ten years, the houses would go on ownership programme. 

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Phiri, you said you have a supplementary question but from what you are saying, you are talking of a part of the question which has not been responded to.  You started on well, when you said this question should be retained on the Order Paper so that a full response can be given.  There is no need for you to repeat yourself.

From the way you are narrating, you seem to be advocating for the response from the Minister.  My advice to you Hon. Phiri, is that you put the question in writing.

HON. KASUKUWERE:  To assist the Hon. Member, on question number 7, there is only one question which I can read - to ask the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to indicate when the Ministry would handover to beneficiaries, the houses built under National Housing Programme in 1996 in Kadoma.  That is the question that I am answering but the one the Hon. Member is referring to is not there.  I cannot respond to a non-existent question.  If you have the question, please put it down.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Phiri, you are advised to write down your question so that it can be responded to.

MEASURES TO COUNTER ABUSE BY COUNCILLORS IN THE ALLOCATION OF STANDS ON STATE LAND

8.  HON. PHIRI asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to state the measures the Ministry has put in place to counter the abuse by councillors in the allocation of stands on State land.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking the question.  It is indeed a fact that my Ministry decentralised the management of State land to urban local authorities, especially the small towns.  Clearly defined procedures and guidelines on how the pieces of land are managed are given in the manual for the management of State land.  In short, the local authorities are to retain 90% of whatever number of stands are developed and 10% goes back to the State as commonage (which according to the State land manual refers to the 10% of all vacant and undesignated urban State land at the point of transfer).  However, after realising that the manual was generated before the emergence of a new calibre of unscrupulous councillors, the Ministry is undertaking the following to curb any malpractices;

·             Updating the manual to address some of the concerns raised by the Hon. Member.

·                The Ministry has since issued Circular Number 92 of 11th February 2016 which clearly states that;

(i)              A councillor is entitled to one residential stand in a lifetime in the ward where the councillor was elected, at a discount of 40% of normal value, to be paid for, in fixed instalments, before the end of the term of the councillor for which title would be given only on completion of payment.

(ii)           A councillor is entitled to one commercial stand or industrial stand in a lifetime at full price to be paid for in fixed instalments, before the end of the term of the councillor for which title would be given only on completion of payment.

It is not the responsibility of councillors to allocate land.  If councillors happen to be involved in land scams, the Ministry will take back the land and deal decisively with the unscrupulous councillors.

POSITION REGARDING AN ILLEGAL SETTLEMENT IN GLEN NORAH

11.  HON. MAONDERA asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing;

(a) What the Government’s position is on an illegal settlement in Glen-Norah High 2 Secondary School at the site popularly known as “KwaFarai”

(b) What measures the Government is going to take on the land baron Caesar Kunaka, who has been illegally parcelling out housing stands and duping residents of their hard-earned cash in Glen-Norah

(c) What measures the Ministry is taking to stop further illegal land parcelling by land barons throughout the country.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):  Madam Speaker, the property in question is Glen Norah High Two Secondary School.  A site known as Kwafarai is reserved for Primary and Secondary School use and is owned by the City of Harare.  The illegal settlers have been resisting the 48 hour notices issues to vacate the land.  Summons are currently being prepared to obtain a court order to evict the illegal settlers. 

Madam Speaker, the efforts by the local authority and the ZRP toenforce the eviction order were hindered by the illegal occupants who had allegedly armed themselves with weapons like petrol bombs and guns resisting eviction.  In the meantime, efforts to identify the culprit (Caesar Kunaka) are ongoing and once confirmed, enforcement agents are to be requested to interrogate, arrest and prosecute the suspect.

          c). A draft policy has been prepared and its effectiveness is currently being tested in areas like Chitungwiza and its environs.  Among the measures being proposed are public awareness campaigns to conscientise the public on the risks associated with illegal land dealings.  Seeking the assistance of enforcement agents like the police to arrest and prosecute all those found to be involved in underhand land dealings.  Issuance of enforcement orders for the eviction of illegal settlers from the sites.  Utilizing the judicial system through the issuance of relevant court orders to evict and demolish the resultant illegal structures and improving access to stands to the general public.

          HON. MAONDERA:  Thank you Minister for your answer.  These land barons are well known people and they belong to your party.  Caesar Kunaka is a losing candidate in the 2013 council elections.  He was defeated by Councillor Chikombo in Ward 28.  In Chitungwiza, Frederick Mabamba is a well known land baron who belongs to ZANU PF and also Mrs Matambo.  Would it be because these people belong to your party and you are hesitant to deal with them for political expedience? 

          HON. KASUKUWERE:  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for raising very pertinent questions.  My answer is that this Minister will take no prisoners when it comes to people who are being corrupt with land.  Secondly, if what you are saying is not as a result of political posturing, we will ensure that the law takes its course.  The challenge comes when somebody, fearing that they might be defeated at the next elections, will try and use the law to permanently take away their political rivals.  Let us separate corruption from fighting your political rivals.  We must grow up and ensure that we implement the law as the law and not to use it to silence your opponents.  However, the names you have mentioned, we will enforce the law and help deal with this scourge.  As Government, we will not tolerate those who sell public land and those who are corrupt.  Some of the cases you have talked about, some of them are already being prosecuted.  In addition, I am happy that my colleagues have raised this matter.  He has gone political – your party which in any case is in charge of Chitungwiza and Harare, you know very well that the councillors have become seriously corrupt.  We will be taking action on the land.  In Harare, some of the councillors that I have mentioned are involved in cooperatives.  How can councillors involve themselves in running cooperatives and ignoring the fact that council itself is the biggest cooperative?  They should be allocating land fairly and not after being elected councillors, they go and form cooperatives and parcel land to themselves.  This is the problem we have been having in Harare.  We have failed to get Harare to work because councillors come first including even having their salaries and allowances paid before the workers are paid.  This is what this party has been doing.  I hope and trust that they will realise in the long term that the people must always come first.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

          [Time limit]

          HON. SITHOLE:  Madam Speaker, can the question time be extended so that the Minister can answer the remaining two questions.

          Motion put and agreed to.

OWNERSHIP STATUS OF HOMES IN UNIT-N POLICE CAMP IN CHITUNGWIZA

12.    HON. SITHOLE asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to inform the House on the ownership status of homes in Unit-N police camp in Chitungwiza.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):   Let me inform this august House that the homes in question belong to Chitungwiza Municipality.  They are being leased in blocks to the Zimbabwe Republic Police and have valid leases for all the houses concerned.  Of late, we have received separate applications from some sitting tenants wanting to buy allocated houses permanently, especially after retiring from the police.    Currently, there is a ministerial directive barring local authorities from transferring council properties to third parties, no matter under what conditions.  Leasing of the properties to ZRP was meant to solve accommodation problems from the force.  However, if they indicate that they no longer require this facility, council can easily terminate the valid leases with ZRP and offer the houses to sitting tenants if our parent Ministry has sanctioned the move.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

STEPS TO REHABILITATE CHIMUSANA BRIDGE IN MASVINGO

          13.    HON. CHIGUDU asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to inform the House, what steps the Ministry is taking to rehabilitate the potentially hazardous Chimusana Bridge, located between old Masvingo City and Mucheke high density area where three lives have already been lost since the beginning of this rainy season.

                THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE): Let me inform this august House that according to the information that we currently have, one life instead of three has been lost since the start of this rainy season at the bridge mentioned by the Hon. Member.  Chimusana is an old and very low bridge linking the city centre and Mucheke area.  Due to the traffic congestion experienced at peak times at the main bridge crossing Mucheke along the BeitBridge highway, residents of Mucheke have of late resorted to using the Chimusana bridge as the alternative crossing bridge.  However, the following are the measures the Ministry would take to address the situation at the bridge:

1.    The dualisation of the Beit Bridge highway will result in the expansion of the main Mucheke bridge.  This is envisaged as the solution to the current traffic congestion and the reduction in the use of Chimusana bridge.

2.    Masvingo City Council however has plans to rehabilitate and raise the level of Chimusana Bridge but due to budgetary constraints, cannot proceed with the works.  It is estimated that the cost of the work is +/-$3.5 million. 

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

RECRUITMENT OF FIRE FIGHTERS AND AMBULANCE TECHNICIANS BY THE BULAWAYO CITY COUNCIL

9.  HON. MASUKU asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to inform the House why it is not authorising the Bulawayo City Council to recruit more fire fighters and ambulances technicians in view of the overwhelming number of calls from clients who need such services since their timely responses would serve more lives and property.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):  Madam Speaker Sir, I would like to start by thanking the Hon. Member for asking the question.  However, let me inform this august House that the local authority which is in need is the one which makes an application to the Minister for approval.  Capacity needs are assessed by the local authority which in turn makes the determination on the number of personnel required in any field. 

However, Bulawayo City Council has never applied for recruitment of fire fighters and ambulance technicians. If there is real need for such recruitment, the local authority in question knows the procedure to follow.  Even the recently approved application dated 16th November, 2016 from the local authority to recruit did not mention anything to do with fire fighters and ambulance technicians.  Instead, authority was sought to recruit the following personnel which we hope will rectify the realised challenges to improve service delivery;

1.    Director of Health Services – Grade 15;

2.    Director of Housing and Community Services;

3.    Deputy Director of Engineering Services (Town Planning) – Grade 14;

4.    Deputy Director of Finance – Grade 14;

5.    Assistant Director of Finance – Grade 13;

6.    City Economic Development Officer – Grade 13; and Research and Contract Manager – Grade 13.

SOLUTIONS TO WATER CHALLENGES FACED BY THE CITY OF BULAWAYO

10.  HON. MASUKU asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing what plans the Government has to provide lasting solutions to the water challenges facing the City of Bulawayo.

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):  Madam Speaker, it may please this august House to note that Bulawayo City Council no longer has water challenges and is providing water 24/7.  Bulawayo City Council is servicing 127 666 households out of 130 146 in the city.  The council is no longer shedding water and the physical parameters and micro-biological tests meet the set drinking water standards.  Madam Speaker, for your own information, Bulawayo City Council scooped the best local authority award for providing water in terms of quality and supply at the 2015 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.  It is the only local authority in Zimbabwe supplying non-revenue (an amount of water which is not charged) water to its residents.  As a long-term solution, the Ministry will continue to work hand in glove with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate to fully assess more sustainable sources of water to the city.

SIGNALS IN AREAS BETWEEN RUNDE AND LIMPOPO RIVERS IN CHIREDZI

15.  HON. RTD GWANETSA asked the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services to inform the House when the broadband television signals would be available in the areas between Runde and Limpopo Rivers in Chiredzi District of Masvingo in view of the fact that the communities in those areas are relying on signals received from Mozambique and the Republic of South Africa.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, MEDIA AND BROADCASTIC SERVICES (HON. MUSHOWE): I am not sure whether the Hon. Member of Parliament is asking about when broadband television signals will reach Chiredzi District as stated in the question or when the digitalisation project being undertaken by the Ministry to extend and improve broadcasting signal coverage in the country will reach the said areas.

A broadband television service is a television service that is provided through a telecommunication network which, for example, can be optical fibre to the home or a mobile network capable of delivering such a service.  In other words, for a broadband television service to be provided in an area, that area must have connectivity to the appropriate telecommunication network, which is not the case in most rural areas.  These networks are provided by telecommunication operators as distinct from broadcasting signal carriers and would manifest in the form of broadcast signals on telecommunications platforms through the mobile phone.  Although available in the Third Generation (3G) technology, which is technology prevalent on smart phones in Zimbabwe today, broadband broadcast signal is more visible in the Fourth Generation Platform, Long Term Evolution (LTE), which is not yet very common in the country though its use in other countries, particularly in the developed world, is now widespread.

Under the Zimbabwe Digital Broadcasting Migration Project, Zimbabwe is putting in place an important component of the country’s ICT backbone for the delivery of digital television services based on a terrestrial digital transmitter network, in line with developments across the world.  This project is also addressing the challenge of poor radio reception currently being experienced in significant parts of the country, particularly in rural and border areas where members of the public have resorted to foreign services.

Implementation of the project is currently 25% complete.  Significant progress has been made with the completion of two digital television studios in Harare and Bulawayo, the Master Control Room, Playout System, Headend and Satellite Uplink terminal.  Digitalisation of six existing transmitter sites has been completed for Kamativi, Kenmaur, Mutare, Nyanga, Harare and Susamoya.  Furthermore, six new transmitter site towers have been completed for Binga, Kotwa, Bindura, Nkayi, Gokwe Sengwa and Mashava.

Presently, the greater part of areas along Runde River are supposed to be covered by the Chiredzi and Rutenga transmitter sites for radio services and the Chiredzi site for both radio and television services.  However, due to ageing equipment, coupled with terrain challenges, these areas are experiencing very poor or no coverage of both radio and television services.  Some of the areas along the Limpopo River are covered by the Beit-Bridge transmitter site but for radio services only.

Through the digitalization project, significant improvements will be made to both the areas along the Runde River and along the Limpopo River.  For the areas along the Runde River, apart from the renewal of transmission equipment at Chiredzi and Rutenga to improve on coverage to the Chiredzi District, an additional site is being developed at Buchwa in Mberengwa.  This site will extend and improve on coverage along the Runde River.  Television transmission will also be provided from the Rutenga site which has only been transmitting radio services.  For areas along the Limpopo River, the Beit-Bridge site will be fully equipped to transmit both radio and television services.

Following the completion of the Digitalisation Project, areas that continue to experience reception challenges will be covered through gap-filling.  The Digitalisation Project, which was expected to be completed in March of 2016, has fallen behind schedule due to funding challenges.  The Digitalisation Project, which requires a total of about US$172 million, is still in need of funding to see it through to its completion.  To-date, a total of about US$47 million has been released to the project with the balance of US$125 million still required for the project to complete.

It is thus difficult to say with certainty when digitalization will cover Runde and Limpopo areas as asked at this stage since there are inconsistencies in the disbursement of funds, making it difficult for meaningful projections to be made.  However, what is clear is that, the Digitalisation Project, apart from addressing the issue of migration from analogue to digital television broadcasting, is also addressing the issue of universal access to both radio and television services in the whole country.

Whilst Hon. Members rightly view this development in terms of their constituencies, we view it with a bird’s eye site, covering the whole country since its completion will revolutionise broadcasting in Zimbabwe in terms of signal coverage, content and quality of programmes.  Completion of this project will see more channels with better picture quality and improved reception being delivered to the public.  The need for content on the digital platform is going to create an opportunity for content producers in the production of digital content whilst creating employment opportunities in the Zimbabwean creative arts industry and contributing to the growth of the economy.  I thank you.

INSTALLATION OF COMMUNICATION BOOSTERS IN THE SENGWE COMMUNAL AREAS

16.  HON. RTD GWANETSA asked the Minister of Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services to state when communication boosters would be installed in Sengwe Communal areas between Mwenezi and Limpopo Rivers to alleviate communication challenges.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MLAMBO): Thank you Hon. Member for the question.  ICTs have a demonstrably positive effect on income growth and they can ensure a wider participation on the empowerment of citizens, institutions and private sector in the decision making process. As a Ministry, we are therefore committed to ensuring that all citizens, regardless of their geographical location, have network coverage so that our people will not have communication challenges.

Mobile operators are working hard to ensure this.  NetOne has a base station that is operational at Malipati. NetOne is also in the process of acquiring additional transmission bandwidth to commission a base station at Pathela to improve coverage and network quality.  The following are sites that NetOne has surveyed;

1.    Chikwarakwara;

2.    Sango and;

3.    Gezani

Other sites which are not in the said area but within the same constituency which have been surveyed include the following;

1.    Chilonga;

2.    Chivumbura;

3.    Chibwedziva;

4.    Chikombedzi and;

5.    Boli

Development works for these identified sites are currently hampered by lack of funding.  NetOne is currently in the process of finalizing the Mobile Broadband (MBB) Phase 3 Project where a number of new green field sites will be developed and this will result in the improvement of network coverage as some of the above surveyed sites will be developed.

     Telecel has also surveyed two sites, which are Sengwe and Chikwarakwara and work will begin in 2017 as funding is still being sourced.  The same problem of funding is a challenge being faced by Econet but the organisation has indicated that they will soon work to enlarge coverage from Malipati to other peripheral areas of the Sengwe communal area.

     The regulator, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has indicated that, once its project proposal has been approved, it will soon use the Universal Services Fund (USF) to equip the under-serviced areas inclusive of Sengwe communal area. 

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): With leave of the House and in light of the fact that there was a Non Adverse Report on the Finance Bill [HB. 3, 2017], I seek leave of the House that we now proceed to do the Second Reading.

SECOND READING

FINANCE BILL [HB 3, 2017]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, in moving the Second Reading of the Finance Bill 2017, I want to emphasise that the purpose of the Bill is to give effect to the revenue measures which were announced in the 2017 National Budget Statement which I presented to this august House on the 8th December, 2016.  The measures seek to achieve the following:-

·       They seek to promote foreign direct investment;

·       To provide tax relief to tax payers particularly  small and medium enterprises and players in the informal sector;

·       They seek to enhance revenue collection through enactment of anti-avoidance measures and widespread use of information technology in tax administration;

·       The measures also seek to mobilise additional revenue to fund critical sectors of the economy and also to promote efficiency in tax administration and;

·       Lastly, the measures seek to strengthen initiatives towards promoting good corporate governance.

Madam Speaker, in order to attract foreign direct investment and enhance the economy’s capacity to competitively produce goods and services, Government enacted the Special Economic Zones legislation.  I have thus proposed the following tax incentives for investors into Special Economic Zones:-

·       I am giving exemption from corporate income tax for the first five years of operation and 15% thereafter.  I am granting a special initial allowance on capital equipment to be allowed at the rate of 50% of cost from year one and 25% in the subsequent two years.

·       I am granting a flat 15% personal income tax for specialised expatriate staff.

·       I am also giving exemption from non-residence tax on fees payable in respect of any services of a technical managerial, administrative or consultative nature.

·       I am also granting exemption from non-residence tax on royalties’ payable as consideration for the use of or the right to use patents, trademarks, secret formula or processes among others.

·       I am also granting exemption from non-residence tax on dividends.

Madam Speaker, small to medium enterprises play a critical role in the economy hence account for significant portion of the gross domestic product and employment creation.

          Initiatives by SME’s have thus greatly assisted in poverty alleviation, eradication and economic empowerment.  In order to further enhance the growth of SME’s, I am proposing the following support measures:-

·       I am waving the requirement for SME’s to account for output tax from the deemed date of qualification for registration, that is when gross turnover exceeds, the threshold of US$60 000 per annum.  This measure will apply to SME’s whose turnover does not exceed US$240 000 per annum and also voluntarily register for VAT with Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

·       Eligible SME’s will thus account for VAT from the date of registration. Also one of the support measures is the option to account for provisional tax on a monthly basis. 

·       The informal sector largely views taxes as an additional cost to business.  In order to encourage voluntary compliance within the sector; I am proposing to review downwards all presumptive taxes and the payment period from quarterly to monthly basis.

Madam Speaker, in order to provide relief to tax payers of various classes, I further proposes the following amendments to the Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax Act and the Capital Gains Tax Act.

·       I grant VAT exemption for banking and payment solutions offered by institutions registered under the National Payment Systems Act which are assisting in resolving some of the payment challenges arising from the current cash shortages.

·       I am granting exemption of board fees accruing to non-executive directors from non-residence tax on fees.

·       I am granting exemption of Government from debt redemption and strategic reserve levies.

·       I am granting reduction of the debt redemption levy on petrol by 1% per litre.

·       I am extending deferment of export tax on un-beneficiated platinum to 1st January, 2018.

·       I am also giving and allowing elimination of double taxation for informal traders who are currently required to pay presumptive taxes and in some instances informal traders tax.

·       I am also granting reduction in rates for carbon tax charged on foreign registered motor vehicles to a uniform rate of 10% per annum.

·       Further, I am granting tax exemption for the Zimbabwe Asset Management Company that is ZMCO with effect from 15 July 2014, instead of 1st January, 2016.

·       I am also granting income tax exemption on proceeds of the 5% export incentive paid by the Reserve Bank on Zimbabwe on receipts of earnings by exporters and on remittances from abroad received by individuals in Zimbabwe which are channeled through dealers.

·       I am granting capital tax exemption on donation of housing units to any local authority, employee, share ownership scheme or community development trust and I am granting capital gain trust on these schemes.

·       Lastly, I am zero rating gold sales to Fidelity Printers and Refineries with effect, retrospective from 1st January 2014, this measure will be effected through subsidiary legislation.

Madam Speaker, in order to raise additional revenues to fund critical Government programmes, I am proposing the following measures:-

·       Introduction of a health fund levy of 5 cents for every dollar of airtime and mobile data under the theme “talk safe and save a life”.  This will promote access to comprehensive and effective health services for all citizens.  The resources raised will be ring-fenced for the purchase of drugs and equipment for public hospitals and clinics.

I will be granting an extension of the limit on tax deductable expenditure which is currently restricted to transactions between the parent company and its subsidiary or branch to apply to transactions between associated companies. This will minimise base erosion and opportunities for profit shifting to lower tax jurisdictions. I am also granting introduction of  the concept or permanent establishment which is necessary in establishing the right for Zimbabwe to tax the profits of a foreign country.

          Also to be included is exclusion deemed dividends arising form disallowed interest expenses exceeding the date to equity ratio threshold of three to one from the current income tax exemption.

I will be also expanding the definition of specialised assets for purposes of levying capital gains tax to include income accruing from the disposal of prescribed property of any description whether tangible or intangible including whatever nature of rights to such property.

I am also seeking the introduction of VAT withholding tax at two thirds of the output tax payable by specified VAT registered operator designated by the Commissioner-General of ZIMRA.

Madam Speaker, the proposals in this Bill will be complimented by the following measures aimed at improving administrative efficiency and minimising tax fraud.

I am providing for the payment of dividend tax arising from disallowed interest in terms of the self assessment provisions. Currently, the tax is payable upon notification by the Commissioner-General of ZIMRA.

Secondly, the $30.00 daily penalty per machine for failure to connect acquired fiscalised devices to ZIMRA server for purposes transmitting real time data of vettabale transactions.

Lastly, to empower the Commissioner-General of ZIMRA to report any unethical conduct by tax payer or a tax practitioner to a recognised controlling board or association  that regulates their conduct.

Madam Speaker, the current monetary amounts for level one to three of the standard scale of fines are no longer deterrent enough to errant behaviour particularly on our roads. As a result most of the carnage that is witnessed on the country’s roads is a result of human error arising from failure to observe road traffic regulations. I am therefore, proposing to review upwards monetary amounts for levels one to three on the standard scale of fines. I now move that the Finance Bill be now read for the second time.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I just want to add my voice on this Bill, in particular the last point that he touches on that raises the level of fines where they relate to road fines. What I need to say Madam Speaker, as long as there is no computerisation and integration of transport management systems - the systems are not speaking to each other  that is the police are not speaking to public service vehicles in particular they are not speaking to RMT who are the providers of permits and who are also the providers of licenses for public service vehicles. 

What this in essence means as the police stands on the road he does not have any know how of exactly what it is that he is supposed to be looking at. He is only left with the option of finding a driver who is driving that public service vehicle, but when these systems are linked to each other as has been alluded to by Hon. Chamisa, earlier when there is computerisation there will not be any need or appetite to up the fines. There will be compliance relating to people adhering to statutes and adhering to Governance ethos in that sector.

What exactly the Minister is losing in terms of taxes is as a reason of an antiquated moribund and historic way of collecting revenue. If we are adhere to economic modern day economic dictates, we are going to collect revenue without further taxing the unsuspecting innocent public. So, it is my fervent view that the Minister instead of majoring on minors he can certainly indulge and engage in computerisation and integration of transport management systems as opposed to upping up the fines.  He can get a lot of revenue from existing payments using modern day technology.

The second last that you spoke about of charging 10% per annum for foreign registered vehicles. One needs to start at the border where the TIP or the Temporary Import Permit in its self does not even have a serial number. So, the Minister of Finance is losing a lot of revenue right at the border because there is no serialisation of the documents that are supposed to be used in revenue collection. So, one wants to say as the foreigner imports their vehicle into the country, at that point as long as there is no computerisation of the tipple ‘C’ or the Customs Clearance Certificate and there is no computerisation of the TIP you can go down from 12 months in terms of importation period to 3 months without any avail at all. One needs to make sure that you computerizs that TIP so that you are plugging revenue leakages. Who is benefiting currently - are the officials of ZIMRA where as long as they do not attach a receipt which is serialised to the TIP which is not serialised the country is losing a lot of revenue.

The introduction of five cents per dollar of air time in terms of the scheme for our health insurance is very applaudable, what did not come out clearly is maybe the amount that is going to be realised.  I have a feeling that it might be around US$8.5 billion, from the current usage in ICT.  If that can immediately be employed in sectors and sections such as Chegutu West and all other outlying areas, we certainly are going to applaud the Minister in our numbers.

The dilapidated infrastructure and the non-availability of drugs in hospitals is really a cause for concern.  This can make the country achieve a major milestone.  It is certainly quite applaudable that you bring out a measure at such a time such as this one.  I want to congratulate the Minister and say to him, he is going to resonate well with what the people of Chegutu West Constituency are really clamouring for.  Today, their cries have been met with a positive outcome in terms of the introduction of this five cents per dollar in airtime usage. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate effectively, vociferously and efficiently.  I thank you.

HON. MAJOME: Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to raise maybe a point of order or privilege.  I am not certain whether it is proper for the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to seek to amend, to raise funds in areas that are chargeable for offences, such as roads – the police ones, if that is what he is doing.  It would actually entail amending particularly the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.  I am not sure that in his motion, he actually moved that the House amend the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.  What I see is, it is a Judicial and Quasi-Judicial matter.  It does not appear to be a straight forward fiscal matter.

If I am correct, last year in the budget for 2016, that issue came for debate in the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC).  The PLC actually took a position and I believe it would not be good practice to then vary that.  It is an issue that I believe actually needs to be researched because I worry that we are on the blink of doing something that is illegal here, if that issue is not thoroughly dealt with.

HON. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I think I just have three areas for clarification…

HON. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order.  There is no quorum in the House.

Bells rung.  

A notice having been taken that there being present fewer than 70 members, the bells were rung for Seven Minutes and a Quorum still not being present, THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER adjourned the House without question put at Twenty Eight Minutes past Six O’clock p.m. pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order Number 56.

NOTE: The following members were present when the House adjourned: Hon. Beremauro, G.; Hon. Chapfika, D.; Hon. Chibagu, G.; Hon. Chidakwa, W.; Hon. Chigudu, M.; Hon. Chikuni, E.; Hon. Chimanikire, G.; Hon. Chinamasa, P.; Hon. Chirisa, F.; Hon. Chitindi, C.; Hon. Chitura, L.; Hon.Chiwetu, J.Z.; Hon. Dziva, T.M.; Hon. Gonese, I.T.; Hon. Hungwa, G.; Hon. Katsiru, L.; Hon. Kaundikiza, M.; Hon. Khanye, N.; Hon. Khumalo, M.; Hon. Majome, F.J.; Hon. Maondera, W.; Hon. Masamvu, L.; Hon. Matambanadzo, M.; Hon. Matimba, K.M.; Hon. Matsikinyere, N.; Hon. Matuke, L.; Hon. Mawere, V.M.; Hon. Mguni, N.; Hon. Mhona, F.T.; Hon. Mkandla, M.; Hon. Mlilo, N.; Hon. Mpofu, B.; Hon. Mpofu, M.M.; Hon. Mtingwende, T.; Hon. Mudyiwa, M.; Hon. Mukwangwariwa, F.G.; Hon. Mukwena, R.; Hon. Musvaire, W.; Hon. Mutseyami, P.C.; Hon. Ndhlovu Alice; Hon. Ndlovu, D.M.; Hon. Ndoro, L.F.; Hon. Nduna, D.; Hon. Phiri, F.P.; Hon. Rungani, A.; Hon. Samukange, J.T.; Hon. Shava, J.; Hon. Shongedza, E.; Hon. Simbanegavi, Y.; Hon. Uta, K.; Hon. Vutete, M.; Hon. Zhou, P. and Hon. Zindi, I.

 

 

National Assembly Hansard Vol. 43 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 01 FEBRUARY 2017 VOL 43 NO 30