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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 11 APRIL 2017 VOL 43 NO 55

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 11th April, 2017

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that I have received a Non-Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following Statutory Instruments gazetted during the month of January, 2017.  The Committee is of the opinion that Statutory Instruments 153, 154,155, 156, 157, 159, 160 and 161 of 2016 and Statutory Instruments 1 up to 22 of 2017 are not in contravention of the Declaration of Rights or any other provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. 

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I just want to indicate that in terms of the Judicial Laws Amendment (Ease of Settling Commercial and Other Disputes) Bill, (H.B.4, 2016), I had forwarded the amendments not understanding what then happened because the technical people at the office of the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs who were supposed to take them on board - In fact, they indicated that they were going to incorporate them and I hoped they were going to also be reflected on the Order Paper.  However, it is my observation Hon. Speaker that those amendments, which are very important to enrich and ensure that the Bill really passes the test of jurisprudential legitimacy are not included on the Order Paper. 

          I have conversed with the Hon. Vice President who is indicating to me that he is not aware of the amendments, so I seek your guidance because it will be very unfortunate if these amendments were to be disregarded.  In terms of the Standing Orders, once a Member has some amendments to make, he has to make a notice of those amendments, which I did in terms of the Standing Orders.  They were supposed to be included on the Order Paper and that has not been done.  I have got the amendments and I was going to seek the indulgence of the House to have regard to the amendments as and when we debate the specific clauses during the Committee Stage.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Do your amendments relate to the Judicial Laws Amendment Bill?  

          HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  Indeed Hon. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  It is only fair that what has to be discussed in the Chamber must be before the Chamber in the record of the Order Paper and for two major reasons, firstly the Ministry responsible must be favoured with those amendments and secondly, the Hon. Members must also be favoured with those amendments.  So, I suggest that they be incorporated for tomorrow in the Order Paper.

COMMITTEE STAGE

DEEDS REGISTRIES AMENDMENT BILL, (H.B.3, 2016)

          First Order read:  Committee Stage:  Deeds Registries Amendment Bill, (H.B.3, 2016).

          House in Committee

          Clauses 1 to 2 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 3:

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA):  I move the amendment standing in my name that;

          Clause 3 (New Part inserted in Cap. 20:05): Electronic Registry Amendment of New Section 89 (“Interpretation in Part VIII”)

          On page 3 of the Bill, insert between the definitions of “registered user” and “user agreement” the following definition:

“self-actor” means an individual wishing to lodge any document for registration in a Deeds Registry or for attestation or execution by a Registrar—

                    (a)   on his or her own behalf, or on behalf of himself or herself and one or more other persons having a shared interest in the property in question; or

                    (b)   on behalf of a company (other than a public company) of which he or she is the alter ego, or the majority shareholder;”.

          New Section 93 (“Registration of Registered Users and Suspension or Cancellation of Registration”)

          On page 4 of the Bill, in sub clause (3) of clause 93, delete paragraph (a) on lines 34 and 35 and redenominate paragraphs (b) and (c) as paragraphs (a) and (b) respectively:

          On page 5 of the Bill, in sub clause (4) of clause 93, delete paragraph (a) on line 12  and redenominate paragraphs (d) to (i) as paragraphs (c) and (h) respectively.

           Amendment to Clause 3 put and agreed to.

           Clause 3, as amended, put and agreed to.

           On Proposed Second Schedule:

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA):  I move the amendment standing in my name that;

          Clause 4 New Schedule Inserted in Cap. 2:05

          On page 10 of the Bill, in paragraph 1 (“Scope and Purpose of User Agreement”) insert after line 25 the following subparagraph after subparagraph (a) and (b) subparagraph (1):

   “(c)  have access to the electronic registry as a self-actor .”

          Amendment to Clause 4 put and agreed to.

          Clause 4, as amended, put and agreed to.

          House resumed.

          Bill reported with amendments.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

                   THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA):  Madam Speaker, there has been representation that some Hon. Members, in particular Hon. Chamisa handed over some proposed amendments to that Bill, but there has been some technical deficiency I think in the process, and the proposed amendments are not appearing on the Order Paper.  This is not a guarantee that I agree with him but we would like to facilitate the fact that it comes on the Order Paper and we can argue tomorrow.  So I move that Order of the Day, Number 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

MOVABLE PROPERTY SECURITY INTERESTS BILL, [H.B. 7, 2016]

          Third Order read: Second Reading: Movable Property Security Interests Bill,] H.B. 7, 2016].

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Madam Speaker, I rise to present the Movable Property Security Interests Bill [H.B. 7, 2016] for consideration by this august House.  The Bill’s principal objective is to provide a framework within which movable property may be used as collateral or security for purposes of obtaining loans upon reasonable terms from members of our financial system.

          Background

          Madam Speaker, in order to allow a wider demography of our citizens access to bank loans at reasonable interest rates and in equal measure, in order to provide players in the financial sector the additional comfort offered by security, we have considered it fit to introduce this Bill so that it spurs enterprise development and at the same time, that it promotes stability in the financial services sector of Zimbabwe.

          Principally, the initiative entails the establishment of a collateral registry of movable property such as machinery, automobiles, inventory, and accounts receivables.  The registry will serve as a central source of information and will facilitate commerce, industry and other economic activities by enabling individuals and businesses to utilise their movable assets as collateral for credit, thereby injecting vitally important liquidity into their respective enterprises.  The initiative promotes the availability of credit by significantly diminishing the risk assumed by lenders as they may bond movable assets as collateral and have immediately available recourse where a borrower defaults in loan repayment.

          As alluded to in the 2016 National Budget Statement, access to finance is one of the most important components for sustainable business and economic growth in any economy in the world.

          However, the majority of Zimbabweans are not able to access credit from financial institutions due to lack of acceptable security in the form of immovable property such as houses or factories which are traditionally preferred by formal lending institutions.  This Bill seeks to specifically address that gap.

          Purpose and functions of the Collateral Registry

          Madam Speaker, the collateral registry system is aimed at the following:

1.     providing a mechanism for efficient registration of security interests in movable property and realisation of such interests in the event of a default of payment by borrowers;

2.     the creation and perfection of moveable security interests;

3.     providing a platform to inform parties and the public about the existence of a security interest in movable property; and

4.     the collateral registry will be established as a department of the Reserve Bank headed by a Registrar appointed by the Governor.

          Enabling Legislative Framework

Currently, the legal framework dealing with secured transactions is fragmented and needs to be consolidated and modernised in line with international best practices.  The current laws include:

·       The Deeds Registries Act;

·       The Hire Purchase Act;

·       The Bills of Exchange Act;

·       The Grain Marketing Act and

·       The Agricultural Finance Act, among others.

This system is inefficient, costly and lacks the transparency required to support the growth of secured lending transactions.

This Bill will provide for a holistic approach towards the utilisation of movable assets as collateral by harmonising all the relevant Acts. In this regard, even the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act and the Banking Act will be amended for the financial sector to achieve the intended objective of this Bill.

Creation of security interest by execution of security agreement

Madam Speaker, the Collateral Registry will register the security interest provided the debtor has the rights in the movable asset.  Such assets may include any type of movable assets such as machinery, automobiles, inventory, livestock and account receivables.

Collateral Registry Fees

The operations of the Collateral Registry would be funded through levying of cost recovery fees and charges to be specified in the regulations.  The fees may be charged for registration, amendment and cancellation of notices. 

Consumer Protection

          In order to protect the borrower from inaccurate information being registered in the Collateral Registry, the Bill will ensure that any information that is registered would be confirmed and authorised by the borrower.

          Access of information to the public

Madam Speaker, currently lenders have limited information regarding the borrowers.  For example, if a lender is considering a loan to a small or medium size enterprise, one of the biggest deterrents is the possibility that the borrower has already given its assets as collateral to another lender which evolves into a dispute involving lenders concerning whose debt is superior to the other.

The Bill will therefore create a reliable and affordable public registration system to allow lenders and the public to see which assets have been pledged as collateral by the borrower which will assist the lenders in making a more informed business decision when advancing a loan.

Benefits of a Collateral Registry

The expected benefits of a Collateral Registry are as follows:

a) Promoting financial inclusion since most economic agents, including SMEs, women, youth and other under-banked groups currently experience challenges in accessing financial services due to lack of immovable property often required for collateral purposes;

b) Increased access to credit through reducing the risk of credit;

c) Improving competition in the financial sector by enabling both banks and non-bank financial institution to offer secured loans; and

d) Reducing cost of credit through reduced interest rates as economic units move from informal to formal financing.

Experiences in other countries

Madam Speaker, many countries regionally and internationally have established collateral registries over the last few decades.  These include Liberia, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, China, Peru, Mexico and Ukraine, among others.

Studies show that collateral registries have substantial economic impact.  A study conducted in 2013 found that in countries that have introduced collateral registries, access to bank finance increased by 8% and the terms increased by six months whilst interest rates declined by 3% per annum on average.

In conclusion, Madam Speaker, the proposed Collateral Registry will bring substantial benefits to the economy including enhancement of the participation of MSMEs in the mainstream financial sector through the growth of secured lending in Zimbabwe.

In view of the anticipated benefits from the establishment of the Collateral Registry, I hereby table the proposals to introduce the new legislation for the establishment of a Collateral Registry before this august House for consideration.

I therefore move that the Movable Property Security Interests Bill (H.B. 7, 2016), be now read a second time.

HON. CHAPFIKA:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  I rise to present the Portfolio Committee joint report of the Finance and Economic Development and Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development on the Movable Property Security Interests Bill (H.B. 7, 2016).

          INTRODUCTION

         The Movable Property Security Interests Bill which was gazetted

 on 28 November 2016, seeks to provide for use of movable property as

 security for purposes of obtaining loans from financial institutions. The Bill comes against the background in which government is stepping up its efforts to improve the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the country. The majority of Zimbabweans are facing challenges in securing bank loans, particularly capital to invest in their businesses, given that financial institutions require collateral security in the form of title deeds which most citizens do not have. Zimbabwean banks, which are the traditional sources of funding, are reluctant to provide loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and individuals who do not have immovable properties as collateral due to the high perceived risk associated with lending to SMEs and individuals. Therefore, the Bill will enable borrowers and lenders to recognize movable assets as collateral, thereby supporting credit financing secured with such assets. The Bill was well received by mostly Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and individuals in general, as it will create an opportunity to secure credit much easier than before.

          METHODOLOGY

The Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development

 together with the Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development resolved to analyse the Bill jointly since it largely affects the MSMEs which the latter Portfolio Committee superintends over. In order to solicit the views of the public on the Bill and consistent with Section 141 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the two Committees conducted joint public hearings on the Bill. The hearings were held from 20 to 24 March 2017 in Mutare, Marondera, Harare, Chinhoyi, Bindura, Masvingo, Gweru, Bulawayo, Gwanda and Victoria Falls - thus ensuring that each of the country’s 10 provinces are consulted.

 

         The two Committees would like to extend their sincere appreciation to all members of the public who participated during the hearings in their individual capacities and those that made written submissions as representatives of organizations. These include the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises, Microfinance Companies, Deposits Protection Corporation, lawyers and members of the public in general. Their valued contributions form part of this report with recommendations for consideration by the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

         FINDINGS AND OBSERVATIONS

         The Bill was welcomed by both prospective borrowers and financial institutions. For the borrowers, the Bill will unlock funding for their business activities as they would be able to borrow funds using an array of movable properties at their disposal. However, for the lenders, the Bill was received with some reservations as they sought clarification on some issues, as will be highlighted below.

 

Clause 2: Interpretation/Definitions

         While a number of words and phrases have been defined in the Bill, it was observed that some of the definitions lack depth and require further explanations so that they are unambiguous. For example, “intangible assets” is defined as all types of movable assets other than tangible assets in the Bill. It was argued that this definition, if juxtaposed with the Kenyan Version, it includes receivables, deposit accounts, electronic securities and intellectual property rights. In Zambia, their Movable Property Security Interest Bill defines an intangible asset as including movable property, a financial contract, incorporeal rights, excluding goods, documents of title, securities, money and negotiable instruments. Thus, the comparison shows that the Zimbabwean Bill has to be more comprehensive to avoid misinterpretation and allow certainty of the law.

         Clause 3: Application

         This clause states that security interests in movable assets will no longer be registered as notarial bonds from a specified date. Members of the pubic welcomed the development, in particular, given the current challenges faced in the registration of notarial bonds. It was highlighted that the costs of registering notarial bonds were prohibitive and therefore a deterrent to investors. However, members of the public are hopeful that the registration fees for security interest in terms of the Bill will be more administrative than anything else. Thus, there is need to ensure that that borrowers are not overburdened with high security costs and therefore it is imperative that the registration fees be pegged at affordable levels, which will only cover the costs of operating the registry.

         Clarity was also sought on whether it is mandatory or not to involve conveyancers in the registration of movable property as is the case with the registration of immovable property and notarial bonds.

Clause 4: Establishment of Collateral Registry

          Whilst there were no objections with the establishment of a Collateral Registry, members of the public and business organisations pointed out the need to consider housing the registry under the existing Deeds Registry Office. This would ensure that one public office is responsible for matters relating to the registration of securities for movable and immovable assets. The Registrar must be a public officer in the same manner as the Registrar of Deeds and the Registrar of Companies.

          There were also numerous calls for the registry offices to be decentralized so that borrowers do not travel long distances to register their security interests as this might increase costs. It is however, the Committees’ understanding that creditors will register their security with the financial institutions who in turn will register these with the Collateral Registry electronically, hence there will be need for decentralization.

          Clause 4 (3) provides for the position of the Registrar of Collateral Registry, who shall be appointed by the Governor of the Reserve Bank. This provision was found to be contrary to the powers given to the Governor in section 59 of the Reserve Bank Act. It was recommended by members of the public that such appointment be done in consultation with the Minister, for purposes of enhancing transparency.

          Clause 8: Enforcement of registered notices relating to

security interests

         The Committees noted that the Bill deals with fears expressed by financial institutions relating to delays that might be experienced when enforcing the security notice. The provisional sentence proceedings are acceptable as these avoid a trial process and according the security notice liquid document status.

         Although the Bill affords the financial institutions protection by empowering a secured creditor to seize and take custody of the movable assets pending the grant of the provisional sentence, it is important to consider empowering the Deputy Sheriff or Messenger of Court to carry out such seizures. If this is not possible, requiring the presence of the police during the seizures would prevent any consequential problems.

         Prospective borrowers expressed concern over the issue of sale procedures during enforcement of the contract. The Bill should ensure that neither of the parties lose out by factoring in the issues of depreciation of the asset and undervaluing of the assets. Some members of the public proposed that assets be disposed of only after the creditor and debtor have agreed to a reserve price.

         Clause 9: Registered Notices and other Entries in Collateral Registry to be conclusive proof of rights and obligations 

         The clause provides that the registered notice will be conclusive proof of the rights and obligations of the parties. However, it was highlighted that there was need for the notice to have a detailed account of the rights and obligations of the parties in the same way as the security agreement. There was also need to clarify on which of the two takes precedence, i.e. between the notice and the security agreement in terms of the rights and obligations of the parties.  Stakeholders also suggested deletion of the word “purporting” in Section 9(2) which is misleading. Documents issued by the Registrar should have a standard format and should follow the prescribed format for it to be admissible in court, as the term “purporting” could be ambiguous.

          Clause 11: Regulations

         Although the Bill has significant detail on the registration process of security interests, the Regulations to the Bill need to be promulgated immediately after the enactment of the law. It is envisaged that the Regulations will specify the registration costs, the acceptable list of movable assets and the prescribed documents, among other issues to be regulated. The Committees recommends that extensive consultations be done before the Regulations are gazetted.

Clause 17: Period of Effectiveness of Registration of Notice

The clause states that the period of effectiveness of the registration of an initial notice may be extended more than once. Section 17(3) should therefore provide for the maximum number of extensions for the period of effectiveness of the registration of an initial notice.

First Schedule Part III, Clause 10 (4) and 21(2) – Rejection of registration of notice or search request and Search results

The clause provides that if the registration of a notice or a search request is rejected, the Collateral Registry must communicate the reason to the registrant or searcher without delay. Members of the public submitted that there should be a specific time frame for such communication as the word delay is not explicit. The time period within which the Registrar is required to issue an official search certificate indicating the search result should also be specific.

First Schedule, Part III – Clause 22 (1) Errors in required

 information entered in notice

The clause provides that an error in debtor identifier renders the registered notice ineffective. Stakeholders submitted that the validity of a registered notice should not be affected by any defect, irregularity, omission or error in the registered notice unless the defect, irregularity, omission or error in the registered notice is of a material nature and is seriously misleading.

Mandatory Insurance

         The Bill should also clarify how movable assets, which are prone to fire, theft, death and other hazards should be treated.  There might be need to consider mandatory insurance policy on all movable assets that are offered as security in order to protect both parties from possible losses that may occur.

         Valuation of Movable Assets

Members of the public and business organisations raised concerns over the valuation process of the movable assets, given that movable assets depreciate in value. Thus, the valuation process must be able to protect both parties involved in the loan transaction. It was proposed that the regulations classify assets based on their ability to sell on the market, given that second hand goods are being used as collateral.

        Property Registered in the Husband’s Name

Some participants sought clarity on how the Bill will deal with women who would want to secure loans using property registered in the husband’s or spouse’s  name whichever case may be – either husband or wife. This was raised in light of our African cultural practice where the family’s assets are registered in the husband’s name as head of the family.

         COMMITTEES’ RECOMMENDATIONS

         The Committees recommends the following in Parliament’s quest to

 improve the Bill:

         That Insurance policies should be mandatory for all movable assets

to be used as Collateral.

         That appointment of Registrar of the Collateral Registry should be

 done in consultation with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to enhance transparency.

          That a clause be included in the Bill to provide for assets registered in the spouse’s name to be used by the either spouse subject to consent of either party.

         That the term ‘intangible asset’ be clearly defined.

That the Bill provides a mechanism for determining the depreciation of movable assets.

         That the Bill be specific on the time frames within which the

 Registrar must issue reasons for rejecting a search request and the issuance of a search certificate.

         That the Minister of Finance and Economic Development should

promulgate regulations as soon as the Bill becomes law in order to

 operationalise it.

          CONCLUSION

          The Bill was widely accepted by the members of the public and business organisations as very progressive since it has the potential to unlock the much needed financial resources and will boost economic activities particularly in the SMEs sector. The Bill is, therefore, recommended for adoption, subject to the proposed amendments for the Hon. Minister’s consideration.

          HON. KHUPE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would also like to add my voice to this very important debate on the Movable Property Security Interest Bill.  I would like to add on to what the Chairperson has just presented.  I would like to speak about an issue which is very close to my heart.

          Madam Speaker, it is a fact that Zimbabwe is highly informalised, with more than 5.4 million people in the informal sector.  It is also a fact that more than 78% of those people are women.  Women have tried to go to financial institutions to borrow money, but financial institutions look at women as people who are not credit worthy because they do not have either immovable or movable property which is registered under their names and hence that is why we are advocating for a women’s bank which will not require collateral in the traditional banking sense but rather would harness the trustworthiness of women as an asset in business.

 However, as far as this Bill is concerned, for the sake of this Bill, I would also like to add my voice and propose that women be allowed use property which is registered in their husband’s names as collateral so that they are able to access loans from financial institutions.  It is a fact that the majority of women as I said earlier on do not have any property either movable or immovable which is registered under their names.  Therefore, they are not able to access any loans from the banks, so we want women who are the majority in the informal sector to be able to access loans so that they are able to grow their businesses and contribute to the growth of this country and the economy for the good and better life of every Zimbabwean.  So, I would like to buttress what the Chairperson said, to say the Minister must consider allowing women to use property which is registered under their husbands as collateral so that they are able to access loans from financial institutions.  I thank you.

HON. MANGAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker.  First of all I would want to thank the Minister for coming up with this Bill which is very noble since the SMEs sector has been much affected because they could not easily borrow from the financial institutions.  I am actually happy with the issue that there is no dispossession of the security item, one would remain with that security item and it will continue to be used.  However, people out there are actually worried about the payment period which these financial institutions usually give.  If you are borrowing small amounts, repayment period of at least three months to six months may not be feasible and then people will end up with their security items being dispossessed as they will be sold out, as it is now.  So, that issue should be thoroughly addressed so that the security items are not going to be sold if the repayment period becomes small.

The other issue is about the insurance of such of security items.  I think the Bill should also address the cost of insurance; it will also affect the cost of money.  So, when those two issues are addressed, I think members of the public, specifically the SMEs will benefit.  I thank you.

HON. CHAKONA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  I would like to first of all thank the Minister for bringing this Bill before this House, a Bill which is very critical especially in some of our constituencies that are rural based.

Madam Speaker, I would also want to thank the Minister especially on the creation of collateral registry system which is very imperative in so far as this Bill is concerned.  Madam Speaker, I also just want to comment on the main benefits of the Bill itself, especially on the financial inclusion that we are also now including in the financial sector, those that are marginalised and especially those in the rural areas.  They also now have access to financial resources to increase productivity and to increase their operations.

Madam Speaker, as we move towards value addition and beneficiation which is part of our Government’s pre-occupation at the moment, the creation of a financial base for those that have the means of production would automatically mean that they can equip, retool themselves in order to increase productivity and value addition.

Another issue Madam Speaker, one of increased credit worthiness amongst our populace, the majority of our people are in the rural areas and they do not have title deeds to their land.  They do not have title deeds to stands they have at growth points.  So, the creation of this Bill unlocks value and means of productivity amongst our people.  Competition itself is very important in the financial services sector where in, the more the customers, the less the interest rates will become.

However, I just want to touch on a few issues.  Madam Speaker, the liberation struggle itself was actually fought in order to unlock value amongst our people and this Bill really fulfills the major objective of the liberation struggle itself where people wanted equality; equal treatment as human beings, right to access financial systems, right to access financial models and stuff like that.  I think this is one of the fulfillment of the liberation struggle.

Since time immemorial, Madam Speaker, the economic power of an African was always found in his livestock; it was always in his farming land in the rural area - that is where the economic power of an African has always been.  Now, the inclusion by the Minister of that particular sector of our people means that the majority of the people who are in the rural areas will now have access to financial resources. Our people in the rural areas have got the livestock, land but that land cannot be colletarised as a result of the non-existence of title deeds.  So, I want to thank the Minister for that. 

Another issue is that since the majority of our people are in the rural areas, their access to financial resources has been limited as a result of their unavailability of the financial sector itself in that particular area.  So, the creation of this Bill will obviously mean more banks will go into the rural areas and then people will have access to the banking sector; which means there is more money that will circulate in our economy. The more the banks are out there, the more money will be circulated in the banking sector.

On recommendations, I just want to recommend one thing.  Our people have this tendency of not paying back loans and we have seen it especially loans that are Government initiated and driven.  I think it is important that in the Bill, there is a clause that mandates people to repay loans so that we create a revolving fund for the economy. 

Again, also the creation of credit bureau, whilst the collateral registry system is going to be there but we also need a credit bureau to vet and assess loans and the type of collateral that will be pledged by any applicant.  So, it is important that there be a credit bureau like the financial credit bureau which was created by the financial service sector.  So, this other credit bureau will be there to register the collateral and at the same time vet the collateral when somebody is pledging it.  Those are my recommendations, I thank you.

          HON. CHASI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise to support this Bill and to commend the Hon. Minister of Finance for coming up with this Bill. I also do not want to pretend that this is by any means a very simple and straightforward task that we are setting up for ourselves as a country. We need to appreciate that by enabling our people to be financially included; we are also creating a greater market for financial task. We are also creating the possibility of our people to be swindled by various people that may be approaching them for purposes of advancing loans to them.

          I wish to raise just a few points that we need to consider. I want to suggest that before this law becomes operational, the Ministry effects a roll out programme. This programme will educate our people to understand precisely what is going on so that the institutions that are going to be playing critical parts in this exercise in particular the Reserve Bank, understand and prime themselves for the mammoth task that they are going to be playing in order for the policy that underlies this law to be effective.

          Central Banks the world over have an obsession with security and are not primed to have the multitudes of people that are going to be interested in the type of exercise that underlies this law. The Reserve Bank will have to principally prepare itself for the many people that will be coming to its offices in Bulawayo and Harare. I say this against the backdrop of having worked there for over two decades. It is not primed for hundreds and hundreds of people who may want to access the Registry at the Reserve Bank. One would have thought that there will be a very strong need for the Reserve Bank to decentralise itself to be able to effectively serve the people that will want to access the Registry.

          This is where I have a fundamental issue with the housing of the Registry at the Central Bank. I can see very serious limitations with the space. For example, limitations of visitors at the Central who may want to access this Registry. I am sure that if the Ministry visits countries where the Registry is housed at the Central Bank, it will have very clear ideas on how this has been done. So, there is a fundamental need for us to have a practical appreciation as to how others have implemented this on the ground. I would like to emphasise that at a practical level, we need to understand what the implications are.

          I am happy that issues of valuation have been considered because I am sure as we begin to operationalise the contents of this Bill, we will begin to deal with very real and practical aspects of what the implications of the Bill are. I would like once again, to thank the Minister for coming up with this Bill which will help our people to be financially included. I thank you.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to air my views on this Bill. Like my colleagues who came before me, I would like to applaud the Hon. Minister for coming up with this Bill. It is a Bill that shows creativity on the part of the Executive in trying to empower the majority of our population. Contrary to the other Bills that sought to empower the black people especially one that sought to loot what we did not create, I strongly believe that this is a Bill which is going to empower our people without unnecessarily looting from other people.

          So, we want to applaud the Hon. Minister for coming up with this Bill. I honestly believe that this Bill is going to open up room for entrepreneurship skills in our people because it is going to make it easy for the small business people to access loans. Hon. Speaker, I believe that as good as this law is, like one Hon. Member indicated earlier on that there is need for further dissemination of information so that everyone becomes at equal level in terms of understanding how this law is going to operate.

          I also foresee a scenario that during the incubation of this law, we are going to see a lot of resistance especially from the financial institutions and uncertainty in the market. I believe that it is important that the Executive comes up with measures to deal with that level of resistance and that level of uncertainty as this is a new development in the economy. Therefore, as a new development it is important that we give assurance to the finance sector so that they can come aboard as quickly as possible into this new development.

          I also want to say that whilst some colleagues of mine were indicating that women should be allowed to use property that is owned by their spouses or that is jointly owned in marriage, it is my belief that this law should be sensitive to such property so that we do not see our society being affected by situations where one of the spouse would, without the agreement of the other take movable property and leave it as security in order to get a loan for a business, which usually will be run by only one of the spouses, not jointly owned by the family.

          Hon. Speaker, I think during the public hearings, one thing that we also realised was that this Bill does not have a lower limit of the amount of money that it caters for or the amount of loan that can be borrowed by a person who takes movable property to the financial institution. I believe that it is important, although the Minister of Finance is not listening, I think it is important that...

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO) Order Hon. Member.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Yes, he was not listening Hon Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: It is not your duty to say that.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: He was busy speaking but I am saying the Bill needs to come up with a lower limit of how much people can borrow using the movable assets. This is because if we do not set a lower limit, it means that when I am broke and I need money to go and buy beer, I can simply take a movable property to go and secure a loan of $20 or $200. In reality, that loan will not equip our business because what we want to achieve is to ensure that our people are equipped in terms of business. So, it is important that we set at least a lower limit of the amount of loan that can be secured using this Bill. I also propose that it is important that the Bill should set guidelines through which the two parties that want to agree on a loan should determine the value of the movable property that is being used as collateral security.  If we do not do that and leave it entirely up to financial institutions, as currently is the case, to state the value of collateral security, the danger is that we will see a lot of movable property being secured as collateral for an insignificant loan amount.  This will not have an impact in terms of what this Bill desires to achieve.  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. 

          HON. ZINDI:  I also rise to lend my support to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development on this very important piece of legislation.  However, allow me to say that this law will not operate in a vacuum.  This is the angle that I want to come in and lend my support.  In other words, all the other policies; for example, the Ease of Doing Business should be at the back of our minds when we start implementing this kind of law.  We have seen that most of our businesses experience so many difficulties to the extent that people get discouraged from operating their businesses simply because of too many levies and statutory requirements that business people ought to observe and pay.  So, we are not going to implement this piece of legislation in a vacuum but in relation to all other policies which we are saying are positive in terms of making sure that our businesses operate profitably and does not discourage the entrepreneurs.  I am saying so because our economy has become so informalised and the majority of our people are in the informal sector so, the laws ought to be user friendly.  I can give an example of the Shop Licensing Act; so many levies are required.  I am happy at least that Government has realised the importance of ease of doing business and I am sure that law is going to be tabled in this House in order to facilitate business other than to hinder progress in profitability of businesses. 

At the same time, the taxman, ZIMRA, ought to come up with user friendly compliance laws because when you look at how ZIMRA enforces compliance, most people end up closing their businesses.  Just two or three days ago, I was reading in the media that most businesses, particularly those small businesses have closed shop because of the pressure they are getting from ZIMRA.  So, I am coming in and lending my support to Hon. Minister Chinamasa for unlocking the value of our country, financially, by inclusion of the moveable assets but these laws ought to be in support of ease of doing business.  The taxman should not end up being termed ‘harassment’ by entrepreneurs or by business people.

          The other issue I would also want to raise for the attention of the Minister is the issue of cost of money.  There are processes which one goes through to access a loan.  There are costs that come with it.  I will give an example of the commercial banks.  The registration process can end up taking close to $10,000 if you borrow $30,000 and you will be left with $20,000 yet effectively, one would have applied for $30,000 for the business to be viable.  So, the cost of money also ought to be looked at in terms of facilitating what we think is meaningful to the lower end of the market who are our poor people, the youths and the majority of women who are in the informal sector.  Therefore Mr. Speaker, having pointed out these areas of concern in terms of making sure that our laws are speaking to each other in terms of facilitating business, it is important to ensure that this law facilitates entrepreneurship growth and also protects the reserved sector, which is the retail industry where most of our people are found engaging in such economic activities.  We need a law to protect that reserved sector.  I thank you.

HON. KWARAMBA:  I would like to applaud the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for coming up with this Bill Movable Property Security Interests.  It is very important in that it is going to empower people, especially those in the informal sector who were not able to access loans due to non-availability of collateral.  As we were going round during public hearings, in Chinhoyi, we came across graduates who felt that they were not being included in this Bill because they have no security, collateral or jobs.  So, Hon. Minister, would you please consider this group of people.

*HON. CHINOTIMBA:  I also stand to add my voice to the Bill, which is very good.  I want to say a few things concerning, especially us, who come from rural areas.  This Bill is good because people can now access loans but the access that I am talking about is that as I speak right now, there are people who are losing their property because they took loans hoping to repay after harvesting.  Unfortunately, there was no rain for a couple of years and that affected them and now they are losing their properties.  This is a very good Bill but people should be protected so that when they access the loans for farming purposes and do not get good yields, it should be understood.  Currently, they are losing their property because they cannot pay back.  Where they rush to get loans, the movable property that one can take can have a value of US$6000.  On that value, there is administration fee wanted and insurance is also needed.  So, they end up getting that money as US$4000 instead of US$6000.  Over and above that, the interest rates here in Zimbabwe, that are being charged by the banks, are not fair.  They are not justified considering we are using the United States dollar.  If you are charged 10% interest per US$1, you are destroyed.  So, we can be happy and applaud all this, but the interest that is being charged by the banks is unbearable.  I once mentioned it here and people laughed at me when I said the point-of-sale machines were good and you said the interest charge was too much, but I was happy when the Minister reconsidered after realising that surely, people were losing money.

This Bill is very good and it would be good to have certain amounts that can be borrowed because, especially with women, if you tell them that money is now accessible using movable property, they will rush to get loans and that money will not be repaid.  This is a good Bill, but we should consider how we can protect our nation to ensure that they do not lose their properties.

My issue was on the interest on the loan borrowed.  The issue was that our colleagues, the women, we might make them happy, but they should be careful.  Secondly, I am not saying women only, even the drunkards who want money to go and buy beer can access those loans and end up getting their wives into problems without any property at home. I stood up to also talk about the interest rates to say that once loans are borrowed, the interest rates should be reviewed.  Some may take the loan to buy fertilizer and the yield is not good enough and they lose out.

On US$10 000 or US$20 000 - if you are charged interest over one or two years, you are unable to repay that because the amount becomes exorbitant.  So, our request is that the Minister should protect the people of Zimbabwe who will access these loans so that if we do not achieve very good yields, that should be understood.  I thank you.

HON. SANSOLE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I think we have all agreed that the Bill will go a long way in facilitating access to finance for SMEs and individuals who do not have movable property that they can pledge as collateral.

I just want to point out that at the moment, micro finance institutions are actually accepting movable property as collateral, but then the difference is that they insist upon the collateral to be placed in their possession.  So, that becomes a challenge to someone operating a business.  Imagine someone who operates a garment making business being required to surrender their sewing machine because they want to borrow money.  They are no longer able to generate money to repay that loan or someone operating a commuter omnibus business being required to surrender their commuter omnibus vehicle to the money lender in order to access finance.  It becomes a problem to raise money to pay back that loan.

So, with the establishment of the collateral registry, that will no  longer be necessary because the collateral registry will take care of that, but I think the Bill needs to go further to actually outlaw that practice so that borrowers are protected and do not lose their assets in the process of securing loans.  Also, measures need to be taken to ensure that assets that are pledged as collateral are not fully depreciated before the loan is extinguished and I think the value of the loan and the lifespan of the loan needs to be matched to the amount that is borrowed.  So, I think also, problems associated with the registration of livestock used as collateral needs to be addressed so that those livestock that are registered as collateral are actually easily identifiable.  Those are the points I needed to add to this Mr. Speaker.  I thank you.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I also rise to just amplify in support of what I consider and perceive to be a very important Bill.  A very important Bill in the sense that it is immediately going to open the flood gates to development and growth.  Also, it is punctuating a good and positive signal coming from Government in terms of creating a conducive environment for ease of doing business.

I say this Hon. Speaker Sir, because most of our economies in developing countries or in the third world countries are being affected by the laws, rules and policies that we institute as countries and the legal morass has been the centre of the downward flow of economic activity, but this Bill is going to be very important in terms of inviting more economic players, more participants and I would have four reasons why I urge members to support this Bill.

The first important reason why this Bill must be supported by all members is the ability to unlock dead capital.  There is what is called dead capital which was invented by Hernando de Soto from Peruvia.  In his study he said US$9.3 trillion is entrapped in middle class and poor classes the world over because emerging economies are not able to immediately tap into the so called dead capital or under utilised assets.  So clearly, once we allow movable property to be hypothecated and to be also monetised, we are going to immediately unlock that dead capital, but we are also going to invite more players.  Instead of just having big players, we are now translating our economy into being an economy for all.

It used to be an economy for big banks, an economy for the propertied class in terms of immovable property, but once we have done what we are doing, Hon. Speaker, we are going to immediately unlock fundamental capital, resurrecting dead capital into live capital, resurrecting the yester year capital into today’s capital and that is very important because immediately, we will then be able to move our economy to a higher standard, to a higher level and I think it is a very positive development and we must support it.

You are aware – I have read what is called the ‘Centre Periphery Thesis’ from Andre Gunder Frank and also Walter Rodney on ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’.  You will find that most of our economies are under developed because we have not moved a step further to allow for our own circumstances to define the kind of economy we have, which leads me to the second point and I would like the Hon. Minister to take note of this.  We have been operating on a template of Rhodesian policies and Rhodesian laws.  For the first time, we are moving from Rhodesian laws to Zimbabwean laws.  We are now legislating for – [AN HON. MEMBER:  From Rhodesian law?]-  Yes from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. So, I call them Rhodesians from Rhodesia.  I know that it is a Queen’s language, so I understand.  We are moving to entrench developing economies by making sure that we have effective growth strategies for those economies.  The only way we are going to be able to do this is when we are able to implement laws and policies that will speak to our circumstances.

In Rhodesia, they would say immovable property was the only form of property respected and honoured by banks.  For the reason that our people were unable to have that kind of property, they were almost shut out and were not part of the mainstream of the economic activities.  Now, we are moving into the movable property where most of our people own certain movable property, and we will be able to involve them in terms of participation and inclusion.

          The third point, this Bill is automatically going to introduce financial inclusion at the highest level.  It is going to create what we have seen as a shadowy economy being translated into a mainstream economy.  We must be able to understand the circumstances of our people so that we move that which has been hitherto, regarded as shadowy economy into what is our obtaining economy.  That way, we will have inclusion to a greater extend of most of our people.  Once we have financial inclusion alongside the dead capital which we are releasing, we will be able to realise new models which will speak to fundamental issues of the means of production in terms of what we own and what we have.  So, it is a very important Bill and it has to be supported.

          I am also particularly very happy with the creation of a bureau that will deal with people who have borrowed.  That way, you cure the mischief that we have seen in the banks where people develop a penchant of borrowing and not honouring their obligations.  However, once we have that, we are then going to have credit credibility in terms of how certain people do business.  Your pattern and track record will speak for itself.  With modern ICT digital platforms, you are able to say, this person is a ‘do not touch,’ that one is ‘to do business with.’  It is a very important and creative provision of the Bill which I have seen and I think it is a commendable one which we have to support.

          More importantly and my last point Hon. Speaker Sir on why I moved to support this Bill; a lot of our people in the rural areas are unbanked and under-banked.  However, once we are able to look at these assets which are entrapped in the dead capital, we will be able to bank the unbanked.  How do we have the banking of the unbanked?  Immediately, we are going to the rural areas and see banks having a lot of interest because by law, we will now be having assets in the rural areas being recognised and acknowledged.  This is going to give a major boost to our economy as we rebuild our country.

          I want to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing such a positive Bill.  I do not know what has been happening of late Hon. Speaker       Sir.  It would appear there is a fresh breath, a breeze of wisdom that is blowing through Government and it must be appreciated – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – This is a very nice breeze.  We are beginning to see some very technically sound Bills coming, not corrosive, atrocious or seeking to take away people’s rights but to entrench the rights of our people and the dignity and integrity of Zimbabweans.  It must be applauded Hon. Minister.  If you may continue to associate with this kind of spirit, we will continue to help you.  However, if you bring your old – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Alright I will leave that one, but if you continue on this path, we will support you and encourage you to make sure that you continue on this path.  The pastoral bit got a bit of me – [Laughter.] – Thank you very much.

          HON. SHAMU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to add my voice to this very important debate which I feel does speak to the economic policies of ZANU PF – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, it is very clear that an analysis of the current developments in the country underscores the fact that the majority of economic activities in the country are carried out by Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs).  Hence, Government through the wisdom of His Excellency, saw it necessary to have a Ministry headed by Hon. Nyoni in existence. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill, which the Hon. Minister had aptly presented to this honourable House, clearly defines the best way of fighting poverty.  The best way of fighting poverty is to capacitate small businesses, corner vendors, the village cobbler, growth point grocery shops, clothing tailors and the various small business enterprises that we have.  Mr. Speaker Sir, small as they are, collectively they are a special economic group that requires serious support from all institutions that are responsible for money lending business.  Hence, I feel that this Bill has a very important role to play.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to underscore this point which has been touched slightly, though in a different way by Hon. Chinotimba; that lack of finance to SMEs will see them resorting to borrowing money from money lenders whose average interest rate of 30% per month are too heavy for any business cash flows to carry.  Hence, we feel that this Bill was long overdue. 

          Furthermore, it is now very necessary that all local authorities should formulate SME supportive by-laws so that they begin to charge reasonable licence fees and levies and adopt policies and methods of policing those policies that have a human heart.  Mr. Speaker Sir, at the end of the day, the bigger picture is, we need to gravitate towards creating an environment, where the people of Zimbabwe will indeed be capacitated to be able to control the means of production.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          *HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Are you able to see through those spectacles?] – I can see you clearly.  One of my eyes was scratched whilst I was harvesting maize.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I just want to add one sentence to the Bill that is before us in this House.  This Bill was long overdue because the liberation struggle was fought for the black people to be equal to the white people who were in the minority. This was realised when the Land Reform Programme took place and Zimbabweans were given their farms.  Before, they had lost their farms to the white farmers because they did not have collateral to engage in commercial farming.  The spirit of the liberation struggle has now returned to say that even cattle or any property can now be used to get a loan from the banks.

          The President said for 2018 to be a successful year in Zimbabwe, people should engage in farming.  The Hon. Minister said movable property should be used for collateral.  Whether it is movable or immovable, one can now access a loan. 

          Hon. Mliswa having passed between the Hon. Member speaking and the Chair.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO):  Order Hon. Mliswa.  You cannot pass between the Member debating and the Chair.     

          *HON. MATANGIRA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I said that movable property should be registered according to the Bill, so it is a welcome development.  Those in the rural areas whom we represent can form groups or cooperatives and bring their resources together where their movable property can be valued.  They can be given loans to ensure that each one can farm one or two hectares.  Who then will not be able to engage in productive farming?  In 2018, we will have a lot of food and there will be no challenges; everything will work according to plan as what has been said by the President, Cde. R.G. Mugabe. 

          My only wish is that this Bill should be expedited to ensure that those in the A1 schemes are able to access loans and also that they should insure their scotch carts and property in order to engage in productive farming.  Others may say that in the case of cyclones and other disasters, the property should be insured.  We should understand that there are low and high risks.  You cannot fail to insure your property for $500 and yet your collateral is for $10 000.  This Bill should come.  The two million jobs that are mentioned in ZIM ASSET will be created because everyone will be engaged in production.  Each one will have machinery or something and be able to access loans. 

This is amazing Mr. Speaker Sir. We should expedite this Bill because we are behind time.  Those that might be a challenge are those who may have run out of ideas, who have gone to access loans but have failed.  If they take their movable property like scotch carts and other property, they can get the loans.  2018 might be a challenge to them but in short, this is a very good Bill and it is a welcome development for all of us.  Thank you Mr. Speaker.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I feel over the moon by the overwhelming support that Hon. Members have given to this Bill.  I feel heartened by the efforts that we made in coming up with this piece of legislation.  I would want to echo what Hon. Chamisa said that this is a Bill which is recognising the reality of our situation as we speak, the reality that our economy now is highly informalised.  I am the Minister responsible for our commercial banks and the more I have been thinking about it, the more I am feeling sorry for our commercial banks because it is very clear.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, what is your point of order?

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  Hon. Speaker, when the Minister is responding, if it could be possible for Members just to honour our Ministers so that they respond in silence.  It is so disrespectful.  When our Ministers are responding, you find some Hon. Members will be whispering and they will not be whispering meaningful things.  They will be talking about things irrelevant to the House and we are talking about making the law for the nation.  It is very important that we give the honour to our Ministers – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] – Next time, you would want to be Ministers.  Some may not be Ministers but it is good just to have good habits.  Even if you are not going to be a Minister, let us respect our Ministers.  Even when we become Ministers, please respect us.  It is very important – [Laughter.] -

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order! Order Hon. Members.  That is a very pertinent observation from Hon. Chamisa.  The Minister is responding and others are discussing some issues that are not relevant to the debate.  What are we here for?  What do we take to our constituencies?  Gossiping?  Hon. Minister, you may continue.

HON. CHINAMASA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was saying that I am the Minister responsible for our commercial banks and the more I think about our reality, I understand how they operate.  They do not seem to understand the movement of the situation that is taking place in our economy.  They are still mired in practices of the past and not relating to the reality of our situation.  Our economy now is highly informalised and as a result, the commercial banks continue to apply very outdated, obsolete engagement methods with the clients.  They do not go out to the clients.  They wait for the clients to come to them and then they talk of business plans and so forth, which in reality may not have a meaning to small businesses. 

I would want to say this Mr. Speaker Sir, that as Minister of Finance, the Governor of the Reserve Bank is obliged bi-annually to report to me on the activities of macro finance institutions.  He did a report which I received last week and I would want to share that report with Hon. Members.  I am going to produce copies to circulate to Hon. Members so that they read and understand what is already beginning to happen amongst our people.  It is something quite amazing, the growth in the credit to small scale individuals and SMEs is on the rise and that is without even the security which I am going to provide here.  Basically what I am saying Mr. Speaker Sir, when this Bill is enacted into law, I see exponential growth in credit which will unlock the potential of this economy.

Mr. Speaker, let me now come to the specific contributions made by Hon. Members.  I thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development. I am heartened that in fact they made a joint effort with the Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development.  That is how it should be, because the major focus of this Bill is on small and medium sized enterprises.  Those unbanked and unserved enterprises that are in our economy had no access to credit.  That is the major thrust of this Bill.  So, I am very happy with that joint effort by these two Portfolio Committees. 

As I have already said Mr. Speaker Sir, I will certainly circulate the report from the Governor on the activities of the macro finance institutions.  There are now 185 of them and I think that about four of them are deposit taking and there is now out there about $250 million credit to individuals and small scale enterprises.  This Bill will go quite some way to increase the level of that credit.  So, I am happy that also the public received this Bill and is supporting it to the hilt.

With respect to the observations made Mr. Speaker Sir, I am going to engage the Portfolio Committee with a view basically to go throuth the suggestions for amendment and those which I think can be taken on board, I will certainly do so - which means, that is the way that I am going to operate.  Today I hope that the august House can do the Second Reading and we can postpone to another day for Committee Stage so that we have enough time to discuss amendments before the Bill becomes a law.

The clarifications which were sought about intangible assets, I thought that Hon. Chamisa the lawyer, was going to help me to explain to the House what are intangible assets –[HON. CHAMISA: I understand.]- You understand, you should have done that without prompting from me.  But clearly for lawyers, it is very clear.  It comes from the Latin word, ‘tangible’, means to touch.  Anything that can be touched is tangible.  Anything that you cannot touch, which is incorporeal, that is what becomes now intangible assets and these include, intellectual property, trademarks, brands, goodwill and so on, they cannot be touched, but they are asset all the same.  As long as these assets can be recorded and registered, they will become available to operate as security.

Clearly I agree with the observations of the Committee that, the view of the borrowers was that this will unlock potential of their businesses – no doubt about that.  Also the issue about notarial bonds, clearly I agree that the cost of registering a notarial bond is very expensive and what this Bill is going to do is to bring a more transparent registration system and this is why we are housing it.  For as long as things are registered in the Deeds Office, they tend to be more dead capital than live capital, which is why there is the provision here that it becomes a department in the Reserve Bank.  We are monetising assets which had no value before and only the Reserve Bank can understand that language and not the Deeds Registrar.  The Deeds Registrar is just there to register and keep – whether people utilise the assets register there, it is neither here nor there for him.  As far as he is concerned, they have been registered and he is a good keeper; he keeps his records that is it. 

Now, I want us to have that mindset shift to say we are now going into the business of monetising whatever is movable – whatever we have from livestock, goats, sheep, chickens and what have you.  We are now going to be in the business of putting value to those assets.

Clearly, conveyancers have no place here when we come to the registration system.  I think I have already answered the recommendation to say, it should be under the Deeds Office – no.  We want to monetise these assets.  The issue about decentralsation; clearly for now, let us have a pilot scheme and we see how it evolves.  In the event that there is demand for decentralisation, we will do so - but for now I think let us start it being resident in the Reserve Bank and as our people become electronic/digital, we will find that the issue about decentralisation may not even arise.  I have noted the requirement that the appointment of a registrar should be with the approval of the Minister.  Personally, we will incorporate it but clearly for me, I do not feel the need for it.

We will also look into the issues of course in our consideration of amendments into the issues raised on enforcement and on seizures so that we are clearly within the law and within the Constitution.  I also notice and took note of the demand that the registration fees should be reasonable – that I think goes without saying.

The point made by the Committee that women should feel free to use assets which are belonging to their husbands.  Yes, with their consent, I agree – no problem but without their consent – no; and vice versa – no.  So, with consent, no problem but you cannot, if the car is registered in the name of a person, you cannot tomorrow just hear that it is now a security for a debt which you were never aware of.  That cannot happen and in any case, the creditor cannot accept such security; because the creditor will know that without the consent of the person who owns the asset, there is going to be trouble ahead, and we do not want to expend a lot of time in quarreling over whose asset it is.

The recommendations about insurance policy, we will consider that.  That the registrar be appointed with the approval of the Minister, we will also consider that.  Then Hon. Khupe, I think that I have already answered her. She was quite passionate that women - and I do not think that she thought the reverse could also be true, that women should be allowed to use movable property in their husbands’ names.  Yes you can but with the consent of the husband or by the husband with the consent of the spouse.

Hon. Mangami, thank you very much for the support for the Bill.  I also thank Hon. Chakona for his support.  Clearly what we are doing is towards promoting financial inclusion.  Whether you are into production, whether of a secondary nature, value addition, you need access to credit and depending on your resources, we want to make it easier for people to receive that credit.

Hon. Chasi, thank you very much for your support.  Again, you were raising a query about Central Registry but I think that you supported that it be housed at the Reserve Bank.  Hon. Sibanda, thank you again for your support for the Bill and I agree with you that this is about empowering our people.  This is about bringing our marginalised people into the mainstream of the economy and it is a very good effort that we are making.  You make the point which I have already alluded to earlier that of possible resistance from the commercial banks but I want to say that I think any commercial bank worth its salt will now have a window which basically is going to address the needs of SMEs.

Thank you very much Hon. Zindi.  In fact, what motivated this Bill is that in our exercise to carry out ease of doing business, this is how this Bill was spawned, it originated from that exercise.  That exercise remains continuous as far as we are concerned.  We are looking at sector by sector to understand what obstacles are standing in the way of ease of doing business.  We will then take decisions to remove those obstacles and this Bill is a product of that exercise.

Hon. Zindi, you also raise the issue about ZIMRA.  I want to say that when we have an informalised economy; in my situation, the problem is raising revenue.  All of us want good service delivery and that good service delivery, whether we are talking about education, health, medicines, roads, irrigation schemes and so on; all that service delivery requires money.  With an economy that is highly informalised, my problem is how to get the money.  Essentially, what ZIMRA is doing is to identify people with income who are not paying taxes.  There are people with income who are not paying taxes. 

All they are doing is to follow up to understand who has income and one of the methods that they are using is that if you supply to an established trader, for instance you supply goods to TM or OK Bazaars, OK Bazaars are under legal obligation to withhold 10% of the price of goods that they bought from you.  They withhold if you do not have a tax clearance certificate.  It is ZIMRA’s way of identifying would be tax payers.  If your money is withheld 10% because you are not able to produce a tax clearance certificate, when you go to ZIMRA and produce it, you will get your money back.  But it is a way to identify who the emerging tax payers are.  It is to build and broaden the revenue base.

Hon. Chinotimba, yes, you support the Bill but of course you raised an alarm about what will happen in a default.  Life is about taking risks.  If we agree that we do not take risks we will never develop.  We must be able to take risks and a risk means you may lose that which you already have.  But taking risks also means that you can quadruple the assets that you have.  That is the risk. Infact, I always believe when I look at my close relatives; it is like I went to school to study too much about risk and not to take a risk.  Some of my relatives who never went to school are much richer because they take risks - perhaps because they do not analyse and they do not get paralysed by analysis. They take risks and they make money.  With me, we have to sit and analyse, take it to people who will further analyse and in the process I do nothing.  The point I am making is that we need to encourage risk taking on the part of our people.   That is the essence of business. 

We must not mourn too much when things go wrong and then cry and say people must be protected.  No, we will never progress.  If you protect and then say do not lend money; if there is no lending of money, there is no business.  We need to understand that equation that no risk, no money.  The higher the risk, the higher the return.

Hon. Sansole thank you very much for your support.  The hire purchase is already provided for in the Bill in terms of the amendments.  It is very important that we take note that the asset you are providing as security, you remain the owner but you cannot do what you will during the time that you have pledged it in security.  The whole concept of hire purchase is that yes, you are driving the car but the car is not yours.  Also with lease title, yes, you will be using the asset but the asset is not yours until you finish paying for the asset.

Hon. Chamisa I thank you very much for the eloquence with which you have supported this Bill.  You are quite right, we foresee the opening of flood gates to our economic development and turnaround.  Already, I keep telling people that I sleep well because I see the stirrings of an economic recovery.  I see the entrepreneurship that in fact, is very evident among our people.  It is coming right across the economy and across all sectors. What is happening in the gold sector; you can ask Hon. Nduna or Hon. Matambanadzo - [HON. CHAMISA:  He is not reliable.]-  No, no, no, on gold he is very reliable.  I do not know about other issues.  Artisanal miners are now contributing 40% of our gold production.  Last year it was 21.6 metric tonnes.  40% of that came from our artisanal miners. 

If you look at what is happening with cotton and what is happening under Command Agriculture; just look at what is happening across the board, it is a very impressive record.  It is something that cannot happen overnight but it is already beginning to happen.  Please keep your eyes open, give it encouragement and not comment negatively on those who fail because a lot of them will make attempts, not everyone will succeed. 

Our problem is that we have a culture of laughing at failure.  Failure is a good basis for success.  It teaches you very good lessons if you want to try again.  I agree with Hon. Chamisa that we are in the process of unlocking dead capital.  It is not just with movable assets but we are also doing it in the case of the land that we acquired under the land reform exercise.  As you are aware, we are undertaking exercises to re-survey the new boundaries with a view to giving A1 permits and also with a view to giving 99 year leases which we have agreed with the banking sector will now be used as collateral.

As we are talking about movable property as collateral, we must also say, those who benefited under the land reform programme, you can apply for a 99 year lease and it will be collateral which means you can use that instrument to go and borrow for your capital development and your working capital.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I agree entirely with what Hon. Chamisa said, especially about the Rhodesia-Zimbabwe, he makes a very apt point.  In fact, I did not expect that it will come from him but we must recognise when valid points are made from any quota.  Our problem Mr. Speaker Sir, is that we still think in the old ways.  We have all been damaged mentally by colonialism and we define ourselves in new terms.  We should try very hard to define ourselves in new language, in new terms.  Define ourselves as people who can do it.  The major problem that we confront among our people is, the damage of colonialism made them feel they are incapable, made them feel they are just workers, they have to look for employment, made them feel they cannot be employers.

It is very catalystic.  If you at children from the white community and children from the black community at same school.  At the school in primary, the white boy is now saying, I am going to be an employer, yet the black boy is saying, I am going to look for employment.  That is the mind shift that we have.  As people mourn, where is employment?  They never asked themselves, what employment am I creating for other people.  All they can think is where is the employment?  Who is going to give that employment to you and your community?  Who is going to create it?  Government cannot create employment.  What Government can do is to create a conducive environment for those who are creative, who are entrepreneurs to create jobs and make money for themselves. 

People should be asking us, coming to Government to say, please your environment is not conducive enough to do a, b, c and d.  We are quite happy and we will listen.  That basically, is what I think I need to add on to what Hon. Chamisa has said.  The period we are going through in terms of the development of our economy is a transitional period.  Formal businesses collapsed.  I want to say that in 2000, there were two million people in formal employment. Over the years, because of the challenges that we have faced, we now have only half a million.  This means the rest of the people are now in the informal sector. 

According to the 2012 FINSCOPE survey, 5.8 million people are employed in the informal sector and there are 3.8 million businesses employing those 5.8 million people.  So, it is very important for us to understand and situate ourselves as to where we are.

Thank you very much for the comment that you noticed that there is this fresh breeze blowing through Government.  We took time to put our act together but we are now in full swing as we go to 2018.  We are very clear where we are going, we have built the necessary consensus and you are going to see even more as we go in the next twelve months.

Hon. Shamu, thank you very much for your support for the Bill and I also want to thank Hon. Matangira for his support and for lamenting the delay in bringing this Bill before the House.  With this response, Mr. Speaker Sir, I now move that the Bill be read for a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee:  Wednesday, 12th April, 2017.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, as Parliament and as parliamentarians, we must encourage the positive conduct and positive habits by our Ministers.  Hon. Chinamasa has come in to say, our Portfolio Committee did a lot of work because these are ideas coming from the people and he is willing to embrace those ideas to effect changes.  It is a very good thing.  We must applaud it as Parliament and we want to thank you Minister.  This is a positive development, it must be encouraged because it moves us forward.  Thank you very much – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members.  I thought that was a well thought comment that was made by Hon. Chamisa, what is the haaaa for?

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

ISSUANCE OF TREASURY BILLS AND BONDS

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to make a Ministerial Statement on the Issuance of Treasury Bills and Bonds.  Mr. Speaker Sir, my Ministerial Statement provides important information about the issuance of Treasury Bills and Bonds by the Government of Zimbabwe.  A Treasury Bill is a short term debt obligation backed by the Government with a maturity of less than one year.  Bonds, on the other hand, have a maturity of more than one year.  I will use the acronym “TBs” to represent both Treasury Bills and Bonds. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, my statement will cover the following critical areas:  total issuance of TBs since 2014; TBs that matured and have been liquidated; outstanding TB maturities; and Government’s policy on effective management of domestic debt with a view to minimising the issuance of TBs.  The Central Government issued TBs to raise money to fund its programmes as well as to address legacy issues that include  servicing Government debt; the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) debt; Recapitalisation of Public Institutions; and takeover of collateralised Non-Performing Loans on the balance sheets of Commercial Banks by Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation (ZAMCO).

Mr. Speaker Sir, I have appended supporting tables to my statement for the benefit of Hourable Members of Parliament and the general public and plead that they peruse these in the Hansard.  Mr. Speaker Sir, Government remains fully cognisant of the need to effectively manage risk that is associated with over issuing of TBs in the market and the implication that it may cause. 

Issuance of Treasury Bills

With respect to issuance Treasury Bills, the total value of Treasury Bills issued since 2014 stands at US$4.417 billion.  A total of US$1.102 billion has since matured and been liquidated leaving an outstanding amount of US$3.315 billion as at 3rd March, 2017. 

Table 1: Issuance of Treasury Bills

 

2014

2015

2016

2017

Total

Amount Issued

705,043,241

1,381,371,792

2,018,725,945

311,760,551

4,416,901,529

Matured and Liquidated

(260,041,205)

(648,832,382)

(192,937,644)

-

(1,101,811,231)

Outstanding

445,002,036

732,539,410

1,825,788,301

311,760,551

3,315,090,298

 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, 25% of the amount raised went towards the financing of Government programmes while 75% went towards dispensing with legacy debts as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Utilisation of TB Proceeds

 

US $

% of total Issuance

Financing of Government Programmes

1,104,779,334

25.0%

Government Debt

1,686,780,970

38.2%

RBZ Debt

925,453,385

21.0%

Capitalisation of Public Institutions

196,878,384

4.5%

ZAMCO

503,009,457

11.4%

Total

4,416,901,529

100%

         

Government has been honouring its obligations – I want to emphasise this.  We have been honouring our obligations on the maturing Treasury Bills as demonstrated by a total of US$1.102 billion that has so far been repaid timeously.  The breakdown of this amount is as set out in Table 3.

Table 3: Liquidation of matured TBs

Activity

US$

% of amount raised for the activity

Financing Government Programmes

641,618,405

58.1%

Government Debt

382,320,006

22.7%

RBZ Debt

59,172,820

6.4%

Capitalisation of Public Institutions

0

0.0%

ZAMCO

18,700,000

3.7%

Total

1,101,811,231

24.9%

 

          Let me now turn to a brief discussion on the main areas that benefited from the resources mobilised through Treasury Bills.

          Financing Government Programmes

Government occasionally goes to the market to raise resources to fund its critical expenditures such as infrastructure, production and recurrent expenditure among others.  Government has been able to fund projects such as Tokwe-Mukorsi and other infrastructural projects as well as productive activities using Treasury Bills.

          Under normal circumstances, such infrastructural project would have been funded by long-terms loans from Development Financial Institutions such as the World Bank and African Development Bank among others.  However, this has not been possible for Zimbabwe given the country’s external debt overhang.

          A total of US$1.105 billion was raised since 2014.  Of this amount US$641,6 million has since matured and been repaid leaving an outstanding amount of US$463.2 million.

Table 4: Financing of Government Programmes

 

US$

Amount Issues

1,104,779,334

Matured and Liquidated

(641,618,405)

Outstanding

463,160,928

 

Issuances for the Financing of Government Legacy Debt

          Mr. Speaker Sir, Government remains a major economic player in the market.  It draws services from both private and public institutions.  These services should, however, be paid for.  Unfortunately, Government has, over the years, been “consuming” these services without paying for them resulting in the accumulation of domestic arrears.

          Failure to pay by the Government for the services rendered negatively affected the operations of the local industry.  Therefore, Government has since issued US$1.687 billion worth of TBs to meet its debt obligations to various local players since 2014.

          A total of US$382.3 million worth of TBs have since matured and been honoured leaving an outstanding stock of US$1.304 billion.

Table 5: Financing of Government Legacy Debt

 

US$

Amount Issued

1,686,780,970

Matured and Liquidated

(382,320,006)

Outstanding

1,304,460,964

 

          A number of firms in the production sectors have resuscitated their production due to the initiatives taken by Government to honour its commitments and legacy debts.

          Assumption of RBZ Legacy Debt

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the amounts issued towards the financing of the RBZ legacy debt were subject to validation and reconciliation according to the RBZ Debt Assumption Act, which was passed by this House not long ago.  As a result, Government issued TBs worth US$925.5 million.  Of this amount, US$59.2 million has since been paid while a total of US$866.3 million remain outstanding as at 3 March, 2017.

Issuance for the Recapitalisation of Public Institutions

          Public Institutions are essential vehicles through which Government influences economic activities.  However, low capitalisation of such institutions has been negatively affecting the operations of some of these critical institutions.

          In view of this, Government has extended a total of US$196,878 million towards recapitalisation of Public Institutions as set out in Table 6.

Table 6: Capitalisation of Public Institutions

Institution

US$

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

110,000,000

Agribank

36,878,384

ZB Bank

20,000,000

People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB)

20,000,000

Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation (SMEDCO)

10,000,000

Total

196,878,384

 

Issuance for the financing of ZAMCO

          Mr. Speaker Sir, with respect to issuance of TBs for financing ZAMCO, the financial services sector stability remains crucial for sustainable development.  However, when we noted rising Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), we could see that this threatened to cripple the country’s financial services sector.

          Government responded by establishing the Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation (ZAMCO) that bought collateralised NPLs on the balance sheets of Commercial Banks.  As at 3 March, 2017, the total NPLs bought by ZAMCO amounted to US$503,009,457.

          This strategic initiative sought to:

·       Give banks an opportunity to release resources that had been tied

up in NPLs so that they could continue to support economic activities throughout the country; and

·       Help borrowers to restructure their facilities so that they would

 continue to service their loans at affordable interest rates over a relatively longer period.  Banks tend to impose stringent conditions for customers who are in default, thereby pushing them further down the cliff.

     Government has also made a conscious decision to resuscitate CAPS Holdings and Cottco through warehousing their (these companies’) legacy debt under ZAMCO before Government fully takes up its equity.

     Mr. Speaker Sir, I hope my statement will help address the speculation in the market regarding the amounts raised through the issuance of TBs, utilisation of proceeds, liquidation of maturing TBs and the outstanding stock of TBs.

     Government has never defaulted on any of the maturing TBs.  It is therefore, important for anyone who wants to comment on TBs to do so from an informed position and to always endeavour to get the correct  information from either Treasury or the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. 

     Mr. Speaker Sir, Government is fully aware of the implications of TB issuance for the financial sector stability and economic growth.  I thank you once again Mr. Speaker Sir.

     HON. MANGAMI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  May I find out from the Minister, if there are Treasury Bills which have been issued which have not been sold out?  What has happened to SMEDCO and has anything happened so far in terms of their TBs?  What is the role of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development if the TBs which were given to a particular institution, are not disposed?  Do you claim them back what happens to them if they are not sold out within a period which you might have specified?

          HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I just want to find out from the Minister whether there is communication or any meeting that is held between the company when it is bought, the debt from the bank and that person who initially owed that bank or that loan?  Is there any meeting that is held between the two to advise the initial debtor that indeed your debt has now been assumed by this Government institution which is buying the debt from the banks?  Thank you.

          HON. HOLDER: I just want to find out from the Minister regarding to the Treasury Bills that have been issued.  I did not hear him mention anything of Treasury Bills that were issued and were cashed in before maturity period; I never heard any of that information.  Some Treasury Bills that were issued to certain companies and have actually been cashed in before the maturity period, I did not hear the Minister commenting anything on that.  Thank you.

          HON. MLISWA: Thank you very much.  I just want to seek

Clarification from the Minister; some of the Treasury Bills were used for the production sector.  I just wanted to find out from him if the Command Agriculture which has been so successful was also a beneficiary of that?

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Thank you very much.  I want to thank the Hon. Members who are seeking clarification.  This is a very important subject because; I think Hon. Members need to understand how we have been financing Government programmes.  It is very important.  We find ourselves in a situation where our major problem is low production, low exports and we realised that for as long as we do not address these two areas, we will remain forever in a vicious circle.  We also found that there was an attitude by commercial banks to extend credit in that whatever credit was extended is too expensive and therefore it is basically extended to ruin the very businesses which are seeking the credit.  So, the issuance of Treasury Bills has been targeting to keep the State ship afloat.  We have been doing this by supporting the productive sectors, supporting those who were owed for services they rendered to Government but were near collapse and are strategic.  We felt that we should identify those entities and support them and we pay them some of them, through Treasury Bills, I think it is about, US$1 billion that we forked out.

          You raised the issue Hon. Mangami, about Treasury Bills with SEDCO.  I have supported SEDCO and again it has been in the form of TB’s.  Again, let us understand that TB is a debt instrument.  In other words, I am borrowing money from the market to give it to them.  It is a loan which has to be paid on maturity.  Every TB will state the date of maturity and this is why I mentioned, repeatedly that we have never defaulted on any TBs that matured.  We have always honored our obligations.  If we had failed to honour, I am sure the market would have already said something about it but we have been conscious to keep the confidence of the market.  We have never defaulted in honoring our obligations. 

          So, I have supported SEDCO and I think you also need to know of course that in my 2017 budget, I raised a presumptive tax on SMEs and I wring-fenced any revenues from that presumptive tax to go towards further capitalising SEDCO and we will be watching to see what the falls are.

          Hon. Gabbuza, you asked the question; an individual owes bank money, collateralised. Generally, the people who approach ZAMCO, it is not the bank; the bank is almost in speed or trying to achieve a sale in execution of the property. So, the person who approaches the ZAMCO is the debtor, the client of the bank.  Then ZAMCO, will then negotiate with the bank and the bank is only too happy because as you will appreciate; on its balance sheet, is a non performing loan and I am happy to say that we have also to discount those loans as they come to ZAMCO.

          What I think you will need to understand is, how are we going to come out of this.  Essentially, we have more faith in the future of this economy, maybe than the commercial banks themselves.  We believe that when we take collateralised debt, including the immovable properties; these properties value, will appreciate and when the economy recovers, everyone should be able to end up very happy.  We will get paid, the asset would have appreciated and the creditor will be able to dispose of that property for real value not for basically giving away prices as is the case at the moment.  So, the person who is approaching ZAMCO is invariably, the debtor and then ZAMCO approaches the bank.  An agreement is struck with respect to the conditions upon which the debt can be taken over.

          Hon. Holder, like I mentioned, when a TB is issued, it has a maturity date say five years, but someone is so desperate, they may not be able to wait for those five years.  He will go to someone where they will discount it.  While it has a face value of US$100, the person may say if you give me US$50, I give you the debt instrument.  So, generally it is transferable, so that happens.  I am sure there are a lot of TBs which have been discounted in the market which are no longer with the original holder of that TB.  As far as we are concerned, at the end of the maturity period, we pay what is on the face value.  Whatever transactions may have happened between now and the maturity date have nothing to do with us; we pay whoever is holding it, the face value of the TB.

          Hon. Mliswa, yes Command Agriculture has also benefited under the TB’s but as you can appreciate, this is not money borrowed and wasted.  With the production that is quite evident this season, we are going to be paid back and will be quite happy that we will be able to retire a lot of these TBs easily, which is why now we are extending the Command Agriculture to cover this coming winter wheat programme and also to cover the 2017/2018 agricultural season.  We are also in the process of expanding the scope of Command Agriculture.  We hope this coming season we will expand it to include all seeds, soya beans, sunflowers and so on.  This is because currently all the cooking oil companies are importing crude oil because there is no raw material in the form of cotton seed soya beans or sunflower seed. We want to cure that through support to producers of soya beans and oil seeds. This will add to the productive capacity of our country and our people. So, we use TBs in a very careful manner. I am very wary that I do not want it used for purposes of consumption because that will get me into serious trouble.

I have used TBs to complete the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam. Tokwe Mukorsi was funded through the issuance of TBs. We now have an asset and we are looking into the issues to do with developing an irrigation scheme with a view to expanding the productive sector and increasing output which can be exported. That is what will give this country the economic recovery it deserves. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. MLISWA: I am just standing as Hon. Member to appreciate – [HON.  MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Order at the back.

          HON. MLISWA: I am just standing as an Hon. Member, to appreciate the work that the Minister has put in. I must admit that I was one of the first people that thought that a lawyer would not be a good finance person, but I must withdraw that and say I have seen a man who has put in a lot of work into what he is doing. He is thorough and I think he must be commended for that especially when TBs are going into the aspect of production like command agriculture and Tokwe-Mukorsi, which is critical. I think it goes back to our theme when we went to Bulawayo, of Domestic Resource Mobilisation. If the local industry can be resuscitated through that, I think certainly we are on the right track. Thank you. 

          HON. GABBUZA: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the Minister’s explanation raises further areas of clarification and I need to seek those clarifications. We have ZAMCO buying bad debts from the banks. This person is failing to pay the bank but ZAMCO has bought that debt. Obviously, they are entering into payment arrangements with this bad debtor. The Minister has given us how much of the bad debts they have bought. Does he have figures of how much these bad debtors are paying back to ZAMCO? Is he happy with the response?

          Secondly, if this person has been failing to pay the debt to the bank, does ZAMCO have the mandate to write off the debt and say this man is a bad debtor and so, let us cancel the debt because he is a bad debtor? This is because he is now banking on speculation and the value or the collateral is going to appreciate. Suppose it does not appreciate and the economy does not improve, what happens to this debt? ZAMCO is remaining with the debt. Thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Those are the risks that the Minister has been talking about.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I find that when ZAMCO takes over these debts, they are always at the point of sale in execution. This means that this person’s business has collapsed but he had given that security. So, what ZAMCO is doing is merely to warehouse the debt until such time that there is good economic recovery. That is the risk that we are taking. Personally, I am sleeping well because I know the foundation that we have been laying and also see signs of economic recovery. It will be over time. I do not believe in miracles in terms of economic recovery but step by step, I can see things happening to recover our economy.

          This august House needs to know that because of what we did and also contributed by these TBs with respect to command agriculture; anyone of you who is coming from a cotton growing area will see the miracle that has taken place this season alone. From last year’s production of 25 000-30 000 metric tonnes, we are now expecting between 110 000-150 000 metric tonnes of cotton seed. What this will mean in terms of the general economy, stock feeds, cooking oil, lint and spinning and so on, is enormous and exponential in terms of its impact on the economy.

So, I have every faith that the economy is going to rebound. Mr. Speaker Sir, I must say that we are in the process of revising our growth targets of GDP for this year. We are now looking where I had anticipated in the 2017 budget,  I had projected a growth of say 0.7%. I am now looking at something like 3.7% this year, largely contributed not just by agriculture. Every sector has performed, whether it is sugar, cotton, maize and cattle. There are those areas like soya beans which we want to boost now. If you look at mining, it is also performing and there is growth in gold, platinum, ferrochrome and chrome ore.

Let us take for instance chrome ore; last year we allowed export of 30 million worth of chrome ore. About this time last year we had exported 10 million. This time we have already sold 50 million and we are projecting something like 300 million by the end of the year. Those are tangible signs that the economy is recovering if we remain focused on doing the right things. To remain focused, we certainly are going to. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          On the motion of the MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA), the House adjourned at Thirteen Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 11 APRIL 2017 VOL 43 NO 55