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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 11 MAY 2016 VOL 47 NO 57

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 11th May, 2016

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

BASELINE SURVEY

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I wish to inform the House that Parliament of Zimbabwe engaged Professional Consultants to conduct baseline surveys in the following areas:

  1. Legislative Analysis;
  2. Economic Literacy;
  3. Human Rights and Rule of Law;
  4. Environment and Climate Change;
  5. Gender Issues; and
  6. Committee specific issues.

The Base-line Surveys will form an objective basis for planning various interventions and capacity building programmes for parliamentarians.  They are also a principle tool for identifying areas which require immediate intervention in the short to medium term.  The identified gaps will then be used to motivate the mobilisation of resources for various development initiatives as well as capacity building.

In this regard, Members of Parliament must cooperate fully with our Consultants through completing the questionnaires that are being distributed by the secretariat as well as returning the same to the secretariat.  The process of gathering data will end on the 31st May, 2016.  I am appealing to all Members of Parliament to take this process seriously, as to date, the cooperation has not been very positive or encouraging.

CHANGES TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I also with to inform the House of the following changes to the Committees’ membership:

  1. J. Makonya has moved from the Portfolio Committee on Education, Sports, Arts and Culture to the Portfolio Committee of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment; and
  2. T. Banda has moved from the Portfolio Committee on Education, Sports, Arts and Culture to the Portfolio Committee of Lands, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.

May I appeal to the Chief Whips that please reduce these transfers for purposes of stability in Committees.

HON. CHAMISA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, just a vexing question of procedure.  Yesterday when Parliament adjourned it was on account of the absence of quorum but when the House adjourned, I still had the floor and my debate had to be cut halfway.  I searched long and wide in the rules, it would appear that, that kind of a situation creates a bit of a problem in terms of the direction that you may give whether or not I still have the floor.  I checked with the Clerk, he referred me to a rule, which rule is absolutely not catering for the kind of situation we have.  So, if you may guide us accordingly, Hon. Speaker Sir?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Which rule?

          HON. CHAMISA: Hon. Speaker Sir, I had been informed by our technical team that the motion falls away, which obviously is not the case.  The motion does not fall away, unless it is a motion of urgent public importance.  I just wanted clarity because they had referred me to Rule No. 72, which obviously, is something that I – but 72 speaks to questions and even the interpretation of those questions…

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Generally, you are allowed to complete your debate at the next sitting.

          HON. CHAMISA: What is motivating this submission I am making is because I have been told that the motion falls away and I said I am making a motion.  Mine is a contribution, it does not fall away, I have to conclude what I had started.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The question is simply superseded by the quorum but that does not stop you from carrying on with your debate at the next sitting.

          HON. CHAMISA: Thank you very much, this is the sitting, so I just wanted to be guided that when the debate comes, I will still have the floor.  Thank you very much for that assurance.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, but today is your Question Time and at the next sitting when the motion arises, then you can complete your debate.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. M. R. N MAWERE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Dr. Undenge.  Hon. Minister, is your Ministry aware of a Service Station which is located less than 100 metres from ZBC in Mbare, which is a national broadcaster and a vital installation.  There are a lot of consequences which will happen.  Is your Ministry aware of that, and what are the checks and balances you are taking on ZERA?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, your question should have been on policy.  What is the policy of the Ministry, but the way you have phrased it, it cannot be a policy issue.

HON. M. R. N MAWERE: I stand guided Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, you can bring it under Written Questions.

        HON. CHIMWAMUROMBE: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development.  Hon. Minister in your making of contracts and BOTs in regards to the roads, are you considering the refurbishment or installment of the peripheral or side fencing of the roads.  Their absence has caused a lot ….

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, ask a policy question Hon. Member.

        HON. CHIMWAMUROMBE: What is the policy on the repairs on the perimeter or side fencing along the roads?

        THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I am on record in the august House, stating that as we do the roads from now on, we will  be doing perimeter fencing and I also even went on to say when we do the new roads, we also be targeting villagers along those roads to give them the responsibility to look after their animals.  Also that the animals for the farmers along the roads will also be tagged so that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

        THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, can the Hon. Minister be heard in silence, otherwise we cannot follow the debate.

        HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker, so that whenever an accident occurs and an animal is identified, we can then be able to trace whose animal it is and make that person responsible for that accident.  So, it is true that whenever we are going to be constructing new roads we will be doing some perimeter fencing.  It is policy that I stated in the House.  I thank you.

        HON. MUKUPE: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Chinamasa.  I am seeking to get policy clarification on the 5% bond incentive scheme.  I would want the Minister that the 5% incentive scheme, is it going to the final traders of the goods that have been exported out of the country?  Is the 5% incentive scheme going to go to the producers of the goods that are going to be exported?  Thank you.

        THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Thank you very much and I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  He is seeking clarification on the measures announced by the Central Bank Governor with respect of the 5% incentive.  The short answer is that, we are targeting producers who are producing for exports, not middle people.  So, in this regard, I can, as an example, we are talking of the gold miners; tobacco farmers; those who are going to earn foreign currency for this country will stand to benefit from the 5% incentive.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

        HON. MUKUPE: My supplementary question is that, so in the instances of makorokoza or tobacco farmers, are they going to be paid at the auctions or at the meals.  Is that going to be the case?

        HON. CHINAMASA: I am sure the Hon. Member will know that, that is a matter for detail.  The principles and the policies to reward producers who produce for exports, this is with a view to addressing our balance of payment and also re-orientate and get balance between imports and exports but for now I will say they will be paid through the banking system.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.

          HON. CHAMISA: Supplementary!

THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you serious that you want a supplementary?

HON. CHAMISA: I am very serious.

THE HON. SPEAKER: That is the last supplementary?

HON. CHAMISA: Thank you very much. I think just as a question that is arising from what has been asked by the Hon. Member, considering the fact that Hon. Minister, the Governor is not the Government he is part of the Government. Considering the fact that the Governor is not the Minister, is the policy that was announced by the Governor lawful?  Considering the fact that the Public Finance Management System and the Act itself is very clear about what the Minister is supposed to do and what the Governor should do. The Minister is supposed to come to Parliament if there is any borrowing. Now we understand that the Bonds are coming on the back of  US$200 million which is a borrowing in itself and that raises some  legal issues. Not only that, the Minister is the only one who is supposed to then come to Parliament with such a measure, and not the Governor. Now, under these circumstances where there is an apparent illegality, what is the view of the Minister?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): To start with the question is not arising from the initial question. I will answer it all the same because you raise pertinent issues that require clarification. If I were at a ZANU PF rally I will say ‘Pamberi nekunzwisisa, vasingazive ngavadzidziswe’  -[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- First I want to underscore the point that the fiscal and monetary policies work very closely together, we work hand in hand.

We both appreciate each other’s boundaries as fiscal and also the boundary that delineates the monetary activities.  That is very clear, but we work very closely. Now, the issue you raise is that you must not forget that what triggered the measures announced last week was a cash crises. Cash to do with monetary authorities. If there is n money in the banks, it is not the Minister who should announce measures to deal with those issues, it is the Governor because he is dealing with the financial system of payment.

That exactly is the Governor did and in respect of those measures they come after fullest consultations between monetary and fiscal authorities. I decided and I have basically, restrained myself from coming into this issue because it is a purely monetary issue. I did not want it to be politicised.    It is very important that people look at those announcements on their own merits and not as if it is a political measure or political maneuver. So please bear in mind - as to the last question with respect to whether it is a loan or not. The Bond notes are not yet printed ,it is just an announcement. Whatever, aspect of the measures require me to come to this House, I will come - but there are also some of those measures where we are not required to come to this Parliament. We shall act completely within the remit of the Governor – first of all you need to understand that facility is an overdraft and we do not come to Parliament for overdrafts. The central bank is a Bank they get lines of credit, on an overdraft, we do not come to Parliament here for overdraft authorization but if it is necessary we will come and there will be no problem.

HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order. The Minister is the one ndiye ati pamberi nokudzidzisa vamwe ndiye anoda kudzidziswa panyaya iyi. I would appear that they need help. It is clear that when you are borrowing you have to go in terms of part 4. Minister you are a legal practitioner, who is a Minister and you understand …

THE HON. SPEAKER: Address the Chair.

HON. CHAMISA: Hon. Speaker Sir, the Minister is very clear about what the law says and he agreed with me and I am surprised that he is giving a contrary response. He was in agreement with me that certain things were done illegally and unlawfully [HON. CHINAMASA: No I never agreed with you]- you did. [Laughter]-

THE HON. SPEAKER: Can we clarify the issue.

HON. CHINAMSA: Mr. Speaker Sir, no illegality has been committed and I must emhpasise this. No unlawful action has been. Whatever the Governor has done has been done within the law. It is up to the Hon. Member, if he feels that any of those measures can be challenged in court, we will meet there. -[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

THE HON. SPEAKER: No supplementary! We have had enough supplementary questions.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point or order.

THE HON. SPEAKER: You do not make a point of order when I have ruled that there is no supplementary.

 HON. P. D. SIBANDA: It is different.

THE HON. SPEAKER: If it is different you are out of order. A point of order on what?

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Mr. Speaker I believe that the issue that is being answered by the Minister.

THE HON. SPEAKER: You are out of order and you cannot follow that and the debate is closed.

HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Professor Mavima. Prof. what is the Government policy regarding the recently

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order there are no Profs here you address the Chair. -[Laughter]-  

HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Hon Speaker. Hon. Professor Mavima Minister, what is the Government policy regarding the issuance of teachers with uniforms?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Order! Your question is very vague Hon. Member. What type of uniform?

HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question to him is there any policy to give a dress code to teachers in the country to wear when they are going to work like uniforms.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (PROF. MAVIMA) Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. There has always been a dress code for teachers which is to say that they should dress formal as formally they go before the learners in our schools. His reference to uniform I do not know where it is coming from but our teachers should be properly dressed formally that is the position of our Ministry. Thank you Hon. Speaker.

HON. CROSS: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Minister is it Government Policy to promote Ministers to defy orders from the High Court on the grounds of constitutionality. I refer to the case of Gweru where the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has refused twice to accede to orders given by the High Court on the basis of the unconstitutionality of his actions?

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Member is asking whether it is Government policy to say Ministers should not obey courts. No, there is no such policy. I will repeat no, there is no such policy. He goes further and mentions a particular incident whose details I am not aware of. The best thing he should do is to quote those facts and present them to the appropriate Minister whose facts relate to. That will be given an appropriate answer because the facts will be dealt with by the appropriate Minister. As to policy, let me assure him that there is no policy by Government that Ministers should disobey court orders.

          HON. CROSS: Mr. Speaker Sir, in June last year, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing suspended the Council in Gweru. We subsequently took him to court and the Gweru Courts ruled that the action of the Minister was unconstitutional and the Council should return to work. The Minister then appealed the decision to the High Court. In the High Court in Bulawayo, this matter was heard in March, and an extremely strong judgement was issued by the High Court in Bulawayo against the Minister ordering him again, that the Councillors should be permitted to go back to work.

Instead, the Minister has appealed the issue to the Supreme Court.  Both of these judgements were absolutely clear. I can provide the Minister with a copy of the judgement in Bulawayo. In addition to ruling in our favour, the Judge gave us penalty financial costs against the Minister. This is a complete waste of the Supreme Court’s time. It is costing us thousands of dollars as a country to conduct these hearings. Are we going to permit this kind of activity? Surely adherence to the Constitution is a simple straight-forward matter. This matter is open and shut and I just want to know the views of the Minister?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, just a point of clarification before I call upon the Hon. Vice President. Is it correct to say the matter has now been referred to the Supreme Court on appeal?

HON. CROSS: Yes Sir. 

THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): I thank the Hon. Member for being honest that the matter has been referred to the Supreme Court which I did not know. This is why I said facts that are related to a particular event or court process, it is better to put such questions in writing so that people can peruse. The fact that the matter is in Supreme Court, in terms of the law, -[HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjection.]- Yes, I know you are an economist but if you were a learned Member of Parliament, then you would know that it is subjudice. I thank you.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

VISITORS IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, I wish to recognise the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery of students, journalists from the Christian College Southern Africa (COSA). You are most welcome to Parliament.

          HON. MACKENZIE-NCUBE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. There are technical reports which indicate that the Kariba Dam wall is progressively getting unstable. What measures or policy measures are you putting in place to make sure that we avert a national disaster?

          THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. UNDENGE): Mr. Speaker Sir, let me thank the Hon. Member for asking such a vital question. I should point out from the outset that we do have a bilateral organisation called the Zambezi River Authority which oversees the safety of the Dam, the use of the Zambezi River in terms of livelihoods of the people who live around the dam and power generation. They continuously monitor what is going on there and the safety of the dam etc. What is currently underway is to repair what we call the plunge pool. Funds to that effect have been secured so as to ensure that it does not retreat towards the dam wall. Otherwise, let me tell the Hon. Member not to worry too much because everything is being attended to continuously. I am also the current chairperson of the Zambezi River Authority which I co-chair with my colleague in Zambia. I thank you Hon. Speaker.

          HON. WADYAJENA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Another national disaster engulfing the Energy Ministry is corruption. I want to find out – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - So, I want to find out the Ministry’s position regarding corruption. Thank you Mr. Speaker –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, while the question has got some good intention, unfortunately it does not arise as a supplementary question.

          HON. GAVA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. I understand the 99 year leases are now bankable. What is the policy regarding the transfer of the 99 year lease?

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the Hon. Member for his question. In order to enhance agricultural productivity, we have been taking a host of measures with respect to the land issue and some of these measures include fixing the new boundaries of land that was acquired under the Land Reform Programme.  We acquired about 15 million hectares of land, which was cut up into small pieces and over 350 000 households benefited under the A1 and about 16 thousand to 17 thousand under the A2.

The exercise that is before us is to fix those new boundaries.  We got seed money from the European Union (EU) and technical advice from UNDP.  All this is preparatory to issuing security documents to A1 farmers in the case of A2 99- year leases.  The discussions with the Bankers’ Association, with respect to incorporating collateral features into the 99-year leases are complete and we are now finalising that document.  So, yes, we are going to have 99-year leases which will be transferable and can be used for securing loans from commercial entities.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. GAVA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Are we not reversing the land reform because those with money are the former colonialists?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.  The supplementary question does not arise.

HON. MURAI: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker.  My supplementary question is, what is Government policy regarding farmers who, after selling their tobacco are failing to access their money?  They are limited to US$100 or US$500 per day.  They are spending a number of days here in Harare – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Members, can you be serious in your debate.  Any supplementary question must arise from the previous and original question.  That question is out of order.

HON. CROSS: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I want to ask the Minister if these new documents for security will be available on the open market.  Can we buy land through the open market as a result of this?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.  Again, the question does not arise because the leases refer to acquired land already.

HON. CROSS: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  That is not the import of my question.  Mr. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. What is your clarification?

HON. CROSS: Mr. Speaker, these new documents relating to land occupation or land ownership are of no value to a bank unless they can subsequently sell the repossessed asset on the open market.  It can only be used as collateral when it is available for sale if the bank repossesses the property in question.  I am asking the Minister, will these documents be marketable on the open market?

HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for that supplementary question.  What the Hon. Member needs to know is that, who owns agricultural land is already in the Constitution, you have to be a citizen.  So, to the extent that the open market he is talking about is the citizens of Zimbabwe, the answer is yes.

HON. P. D SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My question goes to the Hon. Vice President and Leader of Government Business in the House.  Hon. Vice President, in terms of Section 104 (3) of the Constitution, the President is entitled to appoint at least five Ministers outside Parliament on the basis that they possess skills that are not available in Parliament.  What policy measures has Government put in place to ensure that these constitutional provisions are not abused by the occupant of State House?  Thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I think the Hon. Member has prefaced his question properly, that the Constitution gives the President the prerogative to appoint the persons as mentioned.  There is no provision which compels Parliament to compel the President to appoint.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.  This is an important national question, which in the interest of transparency by Government, has to be answered.  The Hon. Vice President says, the Constitution provides that the President appoints as he wishes.  That is not the provision of the Constitution.  The Constitution says, he appoints outside Parliament because those people have got certain skills which are not available in Parliament.  Therefore, we are saying, there is strict guidance…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you address the Chair.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I am addressing the Chair.  I am saying the President does not appoint as he wishes, he appoints because these people have got certain skills which are not available in Parliament.  Therefore, what we are trying to ask the Hon. Vice President is, are there any policy provisions to make sure that the President, whoever occupies the Office of the President does not go beyond the provisions of the Constitution?  Mr. Speaker, I think it is an important question that the Hon. Vice President has to answer.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I was going to rule you out of order because you do not mix up policy and constitutional provisions.  I do not know what the Hon. Vice President will say.

HON. MNANGAGWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I have already adequately answered him.  He says Section 104 Mr. Speaker Sir, reads as follows

          “Appointment of Ministers and Deputy Ministers:

  • The President appoints Ministers and assigns functions to them,

including the administration of an Act of Parliament or any Ministry or department, but the President may reserve to himself or herself the administration of an Act, Ministry or department.

  • The President may appoint Deputy Ministers to assist any

 Minister in the exercise of his or her functions.

  • Ministers and Deputy Ministers are appointed from among

Senators or Members of the National Assembly, but up to five chosen for their professional skills and competence, may ‘not must’ may be appointed, from outside Parliament.

          4)  In appointing Ministers and Deputy Ministers, the President must be guided by considerations of regional and gender balance.

          5)  Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are not Members of Parliament may sit and speak, but not vote, in the Senate or the National Assembly.

          6)  Before taking office, a person appointed as Minister or Deputy Minister must take before the President the appropriate Ministerial oath in the form set out in the Third Schedule”.  So, that answers your question.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Hon. Speaker, that brings out a supplementary.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Hon. Sibanda, you rose and I did not recognise you.  You must respect the Chair and for that disrespect, I am asking you to get out of this House – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] -

          *HON. MUCHENJE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.   My question is directed to the Leader of the House who is also the Vice President.  What is Government policy regarding what was said by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, that Zimbabwe is sourcing for food to feed the hungry people in the country?  The distribution is done on partisan lines favouring ZANU PF cadres.  

          *THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I heard the question which was asked by the Hon. Member and I repeat, the member is talking about rumours which emanated from a member who is based in the United Nations.  When Zimbabwe has been given enough food, nobody should die of hunger in Zimbabwe.  The Government works hard so that nobody in Zimbabwe dies of hunger.  The Hon. Member has the audacity to say, when feeding these people, the food is distributed on partisan basis and those who belong to the ruling party are favoured. 

          My response is that this is false.  When we distribute food to Zimbabweans, they are given on their rights and on merit.  Food is given according to the wards and villages.  The residents of those wards are the people who select the vulnerable groups and the list which is compiled determines who receives food assistance without partisan alienation.  We know that as Zimbabweans, we had the negative weather of El Nino and there is hunger.  I chair the Cabinet Committee on Food Sustenance and we are sourcing for food, enough to feed all the hungry people in Zimbabwe.  We have lots of sheep which are dogged in Mozambique in the ports of Maputo and Beira.  The food is targeted at the people of Zimbabwe. 

          I will repeat, nobody in Zimbabwe will die of hunger because of the El-Nino induced drought. We have a quick reaction system which will fast track the food to areas of need. Our Government is a responsible Government; it does not work on rumours. 

          *THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Hon. Member, please you should know that this Parliament does not operate on rumour mongering, but if you have evidence of people who were denied food because they belonged to some certain political party, you are free to bring the names to the Leader of the House for action. 

          HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.  Hon. Minister, what is the national policy on tele-medicine and its implementation programme in Zimbabwe? I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MANDIWANZIRA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, and let me thank Hon. Mudarikwa for a very important question.  There are two components or two elements to the question; one is medical and the other is technology.  In terms of the provision of technology to allow for tele-medicine, Zimbabwe is working on various initiatives through the Ministry of ICT with the support of the International Telecommunication Union which has provided a grant to link various provincial hospitals to each other. 

          There is also a private initiative that was started by a doctor in Nyanga, who is the District Medial Officer for Nyanga, Doctor Jokwiro, who has connected various clinics to the district hospital in order to do consultations with people from the various clinics in the various wards.  From a technological point of view, there are various technologies that are being looked at by the Ministry and of course, the Ministry of Health and Child Care is equally very keen to ensure that the technology is available in order for it to deploy health services.        The policy is that we must promote it and we are looking at various technologies to promote it. I thank you.

          *HON. NDUNA: Thank you very much.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. F. Moyo.  What is Government policy regarding the large scale miners – especially in areas like Mutoko or other mines dotted around the country?  The question is, when these miners have mined their ore, the area in which they are operating from should also benefit from the minerals which are found in those areas.  The areas which they operate from should have good, as tarred roads.  We realise that they should also be responsible for refurbishing and constructing good roads for the benefit of the community they operate from.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINERALS (HON. F. MOYO):  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  This is a very good and pertinent question.  As Government we do not have a policy compelling miners to surface the roads in those areas where they operate from but the existing policy is that miners are expected to look at the infrastructure in the areas in which they are operating from and this includes roads, dams and bridges since they use these roads.  We have not set down the guidelines as to what extent these miners should refurbish, repair and construct this infrastructure.  This benefit is also dependent on the profits and amounts through the mining in these areas.  We also look forward to a harmonious relationship between the community and the miners but the Government has no policy of forcing miners to tar roads.  I thank you.

          HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Chinamasa.  Mr. Speaker Sir, we observe that Zimbabwe is hemorrhaging from externalisation of funds.  What is Government doing regarding foreign supermarkets such as those from Botswana and South Africa?  We look at supermarkets such as Choppies and Pick n Pay, what is Government doing to avoid financial hemorrhaging?  As stated by Hon. Chinamasa that if we are at a rally we would be saying down with Choppies supermarket – [Laughter] –

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, it is a policy that those who are ignorant of the law should be educated.  If you had listened to the Monetary Statement by the Central Bank Governor, you would have picked up measures which are addressing reducing the import bill. The issues you are raising are to do with importation and the measures which we announced are to reduce importation of goods which are locally produced.  We are addressing that issue through a number of measures.  Firstly, we look at the tariff so that we make it high enough to discourage any would-be importers so that when the goods land in Zimbabwe, they are more expensive than locally produced goods. 

          Another measure that was also announced was that from now on, the foreign currency is going to be dedicated to procuring a priority list of products and this is through moral suasion, the discussions have been undertaken between the Central Bank and the commercial banks.  They will have a priority list of goods which can be imported into the country and only those which are not important will clearly be at the very bottom of that list. So, through a combination of those measures, we believe that the Import Bill should go down, that both supermarkets and Zimbabweans also are encouraged to use locally produced goods which by the way, are of very high quality.  There could have been temporarily a problem about the cost of production leading to high prices, but the products now produced are of very high quality and compete globally.

So the short answer to your question is, the issue of importation of goods which can be locally produced is being addressed through a number of measures.  I thank you.

HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank you to the Hon. Minister but my question is that Choppies is foreign owned.  So all profits go outside Zimbabwe, why should we have people coming from South Africa to run Supermarkets?  We do not need any special skill to run supermarkets, that should be the preserve of Zimbabweans, and not people coming from abroad.  Thank you.

HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I get the impression that the Hon. Member is becoming very personal.  At first he mentioned two supermarkets, Pick n Pay and Choppies and just now he has just forgotten about Pick n Pay, but I will answer the question though.

Firstly, I am not aware that Choppies Supermarket is foreign owned.  Clearly I am not aware.  I am also not aware of the content of the stock whether what percentage is locally procured and what percentage is imported.  I am aware though, that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce have been going through various shops especially supermarkets, to determine the local content of what is being sold in those shops.  I believe that local content has increased to what it was last year.

 A lot of supermarkets are very conscious of that fact.  You may also need to know Hon. Member, through you Mr. Speaker Sir that the clarification by His Excellency of the indigenisation framework is precisely addressing the point raised by Hon. Maridadi.  As you may know the policy states that the retail sector is reserved for indigenous people.  Any foreigner to enter that sector must do so under a special dispensation which will include as we go forward, insistence on our part as Government that the investor into the retail must have out growers and must be able to source locally.  Where those factors are satisfied, I am sure that a special dispensation can be given to foreigners or to foreign investment which come into the reserve sectors.  In this case, I will be quite happy to give a licence for a foreign investor into the retail sector where that foreign investor is going to procure everything, 90% locally and also to have out growers. So, the principle is very clear but the implementation will take time.

          HON. CHINOTIMBA: My question to Hon. Chinamasa is, is it possible for him to coin the bond notes so that we have $1, $5 or $10 bond coin because we have noticed that the people are not interested in bond notes but they would rather have bond coins – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - So, if we could have bond coins in various denominations, people will be very happy. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the Reserve Bank Governor should be looking at making $20, $50 and $100 bond coins and people will be very happy because they will have been given the monies they want, bond coins not bond notes – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections].

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, that supplementary question does not arise.

          HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I think that some of our Hon. Members here are not taking this House seriously – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, what Hon. Munengami has done is a cause for him to be thrown out of the House so that they are serious - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – You see what I am talking about Mr. Speaker Sir. This is supposed to be an honourable House and an Hon. Member but you are behaving like thugs. This is thuggish behaviour and you must throw these people out – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Can we have serious points of order - – [HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] – [AN. HON. MEMBER: You are provoking the Speaker] – [HON. ZWIZWAI: Gara pasi iwe Chinotimba, wakuda kuzodzingwa naSpeaker manje.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker, my point of order is I asked a relevant question to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development but I am now surprised as my question was not answered, but you are following the guidance from the opposition who have told you that my question is irrelevant – – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – and you have followed them – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Unotungamira Advocate iwewe] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Musachemere chigaro chamambo.

          HON. SITHOLE: My supplementary question on the issue of externalization to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is relating to the statement that was issued by the Government through his ministry, specifically through RBZ that they are introducing the bond notes in order to curtail externalisation of the currency that we have. My supplementary question is that since the money in terms of the bond notes that they want to introduce, is actually bonded to the loan that we got from Afrexim which is $200 million. What policy measures have they put in place to ensure that they do not print in excess of the $200 million? 

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker, in answer to the Hon. Member and I want to thank you for your question but I thought that Hon. Chinotimba was misunderstood – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – He was – [AN. HON. MEMBER: The Speaker has already made a ruling. You are not the Speaker] – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Minister, I had ruled – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – Order, order and I have discussed with Hon. Chinotimba. It was a question of rephrasing his question and I said I would give him the opportunity to rephrase his question accordingly. So, if you could kindly answer the question.

          HON. CHINAMASA: I want to thank the Hon. Member but to highlight that the extension of the bond coins has been clearly misunderstood. The introduction of the bond notes is merely an extension of the bond coins regime, nothing new and I think that needs to be underlined again and again. The bond coins were supported and are supported by a $50 million facility with Afrexim Bank. In order to do the notes, it is now a $200 million facility. There is nothing that has changed.

          To answer the specific question about his suspicion that we could print beyond $200 million, what you need to understand is that the bond coins will be part and parcel of supporting exporters. Those who export, as an incentive would be given that 5% that is how the money is going to be used.  So, it is not going to be a reckless exercise, I assure you.  So, first of all, I want you to understand.  The rationale of those opposing bond notes, I cannot understand it because they are no different, except that one is a coin and another one is a note.  The only other difference is that it is now going to be a US$200 million facility and not US$50 million facility.  Thank you Mr. Speaker.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA: My question was not responded to.  My question to Hon. Chinamasa, is we have realised that people are not interested in the unveiling of the bond notes but they would rather have bond coins in different denominations, from one dollar up to hundred dollars.  This is what they want. We have people planning to have protest marches against bond notes, so please give them bond coins.  I thank you.

          *HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker, I am very grateful to the question raised by Hon. Chinotimba, the Member of Parliament for Buhera South Constituency, but I beg to differ from his opinion that people do not like bond notes.  My feeling is that people need an explanation on the use of bond notes as opposed to bond coins.  We have bankers and retail associations who have said they welcome the bond notes and this shows that the bond notes are a favourite.  The problem is, we have some small fish that are not well versed in financial issues who are rejecting these band notes.  This is not their problem; it is because they deal in small finances. 

          The question is, is it possible for us to have different denominations of bond coins, from one dollar to a hundred dollar coin.  Hon. Chinotimba, this is a problem because if you have these coins you will need some form of transport to go and buy bigger items because of the weight of the coins.  I thank you.

          *HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister of Finance, Hon. Chinamasa, regarding the bond notes is – is this not retrogressive?  Are we not going to have problems of shortage of goods from the supermarkets because people will not be comfortable using these bond notes.  Is this not going to scare away potential investors from abroad because they will get a feeling that we are going back to the 2008 period and this may destabilise our economy?

          *HON. CHINAMASA: I thank the Hon. Member for the question.  Let me assert that there is no problem of retrogression in the economy of the country.  The measures we have taken are going to improve the economic situation of the country and we are following a path which is developmental.  To tell you the truth, I am now having sound sleeping because I used to have sleepless nights thinking of the finances and the economy of the country.

          Let me explain further, the root cause of the cash crisis, the problem is caused by the appreciation of the value of the US dollar which we do not print; we import it.  We have noticed that the value of the South African rand is depreciating.  As a result, people now favour doing business with Zimbabwe because they get US dollars and we are now suffering because of the value of the rand versus the US dollar.  It is now expensive for people to come into the country and the tourism sector has been affected.  Consequently, we now have fewer people coming into the country because the value of the US dollar versus the rand is now skewed.  If we were able to re-print the US dollar, we could be able to determine the value.  Road blocks have nothing to do with this.

          We have been having a problem in receiving people who wanted to come into the country because we get US$2 billion coming into the country, but tomorrow it will be externalised.  Now, the Reserve Bank Governor, Mr. Mangudya is working on ways of fighting illegal externalisation of funds.

          HON. MAJOME:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity to ask.  I want to direct my question to the Leader of Government Business, our esteemed Vice President who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  Mr. Speaker, exactly a year ago, the Hansard will recall that I asked the Hon. Vice President why there has not been a single tabling of any report of any of the Independent Commissions established in terms of Section 12, to this House despite the very specific provisions of Section 323 of the Constitution that provide that each year, no later than March of every year; today we are now in May, each Independent Commission shall present through the respective Minister, its annual report and other report.

          My question is, why – and last year the Vice President indicated that it was now going to happen but not a single Commission has yet presented its report.  So my question is, is it Government policy to ensure that Independent Commissions do not table their annual reports in this august House despite the Constitution and despite also his promise or even any other report in addition to the annual report.  I thank you.

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  It is correct that in terms of the Constitution, the Independent Commissions must submit annual reports to Parliament.  Last year, they were not able to do so because of various reasons in terms of resources. 

          This year, two have so far submitted their reports which pass through me for Parliament.  That is the Human Rights Commission which have since submitted their report because I have to table the report and before I table the report, I must go through it.  The Judiciary Services Commission (JSC) have done the same and the ZEC has also done so. The two that have not, is the Gender Commission and the Anti Corruption Commission. Currently, they do not, have the capacity to do so I believe they will do so next year through their respective line Ministries but these ones I have mentioned have since submitted   their reports which I will table in Parliament very soon. Of course, in terms of the Constitution, they are required to do so by March of the following year. I am putting pressure to them that in future, they must make sure they comply and table the reports before March. I thank you.

          HON. MUNENGAMI: I propose that we extend Question Time Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I first recognise you. You cannot just start speaking.

          HON. MUNENGAMI: Okay Madam Speaker.

          THE  HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I recognise Hon. Munengami. That is the process.

          HON. MUNENGAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I propose that we extend the time  for Questions Without Notice.

          HON. MATUKE: I object because we have many questions lined up – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Because there is an objection, we proceed to Questions With Notice.

Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

GROWTH POINTS AND SERVICE CENTRES

1.HON MAWERE asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to explain to the House when the Ministry would declare more Growth points and service centres, in terms of the Sales Tax (Deliration of Growth Point Areas, Service Centre) Notice 1987, so that interested persons may apply for title deeds in areas like Chivamba and Vesa.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Members would be aware that the Sales Tax Act was repealed with effect from 1 January 2004. The Act was replaced by the Value Added Tax Act, Chapter 23:12.

          Consequently, the tax benefits that accrued to businesses operating in Growth Point areas were repealed. In view of the repeal of the Sales Tax Act, there is no legislative provision to enable Treasury to declare Growth Point Areas or Service Centres. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

CONSIDERATION OF THE JULY TO JUNE FINANCIAL YEAR

  1. HON. MAWERE asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development when the Ministry would consider the July – June Financial year in view of the persistent El Nino induced droughts.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I take note of the Hon. Member’s proposal. Hon. Members may recall that the Government of Zimbabwe adopted the fiscal and financial year which is in tandem with the calendar year with effect from 1998 through the presentation of an 18-month Budget, covering the period July 1997 to December 1998.

          The change-over of the fiscal year was and continues to be premised on the need to make projections on social and economic statistics more meaningful since most of the data are published on a calendar year basis. This also supports the analysis of social and economic indicators and other variables.

          The ability to adequately support agriculture from the planning stage to the purchase of agricultural produce, as well as mitigate against natural shocks such as the El Nino induced drought, is largely dependent on the strength of the economy and our public finances as opposed to changing the financial year.  

          The thrust of all our efforts, therefore, should be to stabilise and grow the economy, and in so doing, improve the ability of the economy through the National Budget, to respond to the ever-persistent droughts.

          Additionally, our Constitution as well as the Public Finance Management Act, allows the Minister responsible for finance to table a Supplementary Budget for the purpose of funding unforeseen and/ or inescapable unbudgeted expenditure demands that may arise such as the current El Nino induced drought, the expenditure that we are now incurring in order to import grain.  That was not factored in the 2016 Budget and if at all, not to the same extent as it now then turned out when we realised that we were now undergoing the severest drought in living memory.    I thank you.

          *HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question is, the Hon. Minister has responded saying there is going to be a fund to finance agriculture. We are faced with EI Nino induced drought and in winter, we are facing problems especially in wheat agriculture. As far as we know, wheat can be used in any meal and it is the quickest way of making food in the homes and industrial sites. Can you tell this House what steps you have put in place so that we have wheat programmes in place? I thank you.

          HON. CHINAMASA: I think the Hon. Member should acknowledge the contribution by Government to achieving economic growth and more agricultural production. We have in successive years supported agriculture, especially with respect to the input supply scheme to small scale farmers, who in the main are the producers of the maize.  They contribute immensely to the production figures   for maize, so we have been supporting them. The problem of course in the past and as it is in the present, is that there is minimal irrigation development. Our focus now, taking advantage of the drought, is that we should enhance the development of irrigation, not only to communal areas but all over the country. There are measures and policies in place which we are implementing to achieve that.

          We have also Madam Speaker, if the Hon. House will be aware, we undertook as Government to give free inputs to the cotton industry. We started the 2015/16 season but I hear that the drought could have affected what could have been a very good output. We have promised to do so for the next three successive seasons; that support to the cotton sector by giving free inputs. We have never supported the growing of wheat, not directly by Government. We have on our part, encouraged the banking sector to give that support and I am aware that support is being given. What I can only guarantee is that if those farmers can gain credit from commercial banks, if they grow wheat and I am encouraging them to grow wheat especially those who have water. We can guarantee timeous payment of any wheat output from the winter wheat programme just like we are guaranteeing timeous payment for any maize that is delivered to GMB. As you know, at the moment we are importing, we are going to give priority of payment to those farmers who deliver their maize to GMB and we want to guarantee that we will make timeous payments. I thank you Madam Speaker.

POLICY REGARDING REPLACEMENT OF LOST VEHICLE REGISTRATION PLATES FOR FULLY LICENCED VEHICLES

  1. HON. GWANONGODZA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House the policy regarding the replacement of lost vehicle registration plate, for a fully licenced vehicle?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (DR. GUMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Gwanongodza for asking this very important question for which I think many members might benefit from, because it relates to what affects most of our people. Hon. Gwanongodza is asking me to inform the House the policy regarding the replacement of lost vehicle registration plate for a fully licenced vehicle. The new vehicle registration number plate was introduced on the 1st March, 2005. Before its adoption, wide consultations were made and to date, we remain satisfied that the new arrangement has largely lived up to our original expectations.

Since March 2005, if a registration number plate for a fully licenced vehicle is either lost or damaged, the vehicle registered honour is expected to make a formal report to a nearest police station before submitting an application for a replacement of vehicle registration documents. A formal police report should accompany such an application. The vehicle’s registration book and a surviving number plate should be surrendered to the registering office as part of the application requirements for a replacement set of vehicle documents. To conclude the said transaction in the case of a motor vehicle, a fee of US$160 is payable, while for a trailer or a motor cycle, the registered honour pays US$140.

The vehicle concerned will then be issued with a new set of vehicle registration plates and book depicting a completely new registration mark and number than what was allocated before the loss or damage of the original number plate. Thereafter, if the concerned vehicle still has a valid licence, the motorist armed with a new vehicle registration book may approach any vehicle registration licencing office with a request for a replacement licence disk bearing the vehicle’s new registration number.

The logic is that once a specific number plate has been declared lost, it has already been compromised in that it may be abused if it gets into the wrong hands hence, issuance of replacement number plates with the same registration number is considered as unnecessary risk. Before the introduction of the new number plates, some motorists were infamous for holding number plates in a bid to run several vehicles on the same registration number. Such motorists would mislead authorities that their vehicles front or rear number plate got lost. They would then be given plates bearing the same number as the reportedly lost ones.

Before long, they would be holding two or more sets of number plates with the same registration number. One for a properly registered vehicle and the rest for improperly registered vehicles. This tendency therefore, allowed for not only unintended duplication of registration numbers, but the use of unregistered vehicles while displacing clone number plates on our public roads. It was therefore possible to have three or more vehicles with the same number plates which create security concerns.

The current policy of discarding continued use of a registration number whose number plate is declared lost by the registered honour is meant to effectively prevent previous challenges of having more than one vehicle running on our public roads on the same registration number as a result of misrepresentations by dishonest motorists. I must however, add that my Ministry is currently reviewing the cost of the number plates with a view to making it more affordable.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Chair. Hon. Minister I agree with you that the cost is a bit on the high side. I also want to suggest that you do not only look at reviewing the price of the new number plate downwards. Is there a way you can also make the review of the whole new number plate system with a view of putting some identification mark that would not be paid for in the event that you lose a number plate? What is happening presently is that people are now tempted to take number plates that are complete from other vehicles onto the vehicle that has lost its number plates avoiding payment of the amount that you have spoken to.

So my question is would you also not look at putting in an identification system which is devoid of any payment that is not only permanent, that semi-permanent but that is permanent in the event that you lose ...

  THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Your question is heard Hon. Member because you are repeating.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Chair.

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker. The question is heard but not understood. I do not actually get the gist of the question. It is totally difficult for me to understand. May be the Chairperson of the Committee can want to put it in writing then I can understand it.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think so and I was just about to say that the Hon. Member can go on and on and if the Minister cannot hear it, why do you not put it in writing so that the Minister has enough time to research and give you enough answers.

HON. SARUWAKA: My supplementary question to the Minister is I am happy that he said they are going to review the price downwards. Do you have an idea of when that process is going to happen? Are we going to see a review this year, next year or 2018? Is it going to happen soon because certainly, we are worried about the high cost?

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Saruwaka for that question. That is what we are mandated to do, to listen to what the public says and react and in most cases, very favourably to what the people ask for. There have been complaints that people are complaining that the amount that is required for the replacement of number plates is too high and we are already working on it. When we do that, we will still have to come back to Parliament and have everything gazetted in the interest of the public, but we are working on it right now as we speak. I thank you.

HON. SANSOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I understand the justification by the Minister for issuing a new number to replace a number plate that has been lost. What is the justification for changing the number or issuing a completely new number in the event of a vehicle being sold?  There is no risk of the number being used on several vehicles because it has not been removed from the vehicle.

HON. DR. J. M. GUMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank Hon. Sansole for that follow up question.  The reason why there is need to change the number plates when a vehicle has been disposed of by somebody and bought by someone else is that, when you still own your vehicle, you have committed some offences.  Maybe you stole somewhere and people are looking for you, you were using that car and the number plates were recorded or something happened whilst the car was registered under your name.  You might not have been meeting the licence requirements or other fees that you were supposed to have paid.  If it is bought by the second person, the new buyer will be entitled to meet the costs which you incurred.  So, there must be a cut-off point of saying by this time, it was no longer Hon. Sansole, it was Gumbo so that you give Kesari zvaKesari, Judasi zvaJudasi.   I thank you.

TARRING OF MBERENGWA-WEST NICHOLSON ROAD

  1. HON. P. ZHOU asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to state when the Mberengwa-West Nicholeson Road will be tarred considering that it is the shortest route to Beitbridge.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. J. M. GUMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank Hon. Zhou for asking this question.  Madam Speaker, West Nicholeson Road is a 61.3km road with 13.6 surfaced in 1998.  The project is stalled because of funding constraints.  The Ministry is now pursuing the engagement of the private sector in road construction and rehabilitation through public-private partnerships or through Build-Operate and Transfer concessions.

Mberengwa West Nicholeson is one of the projects on this project by the Ministry.  That is the answer that I can give to the Hon. Member. I thank you.

REHABILITATION OF NEMBUDZIYA-TCHODA-MASHAVA ROAD

  1. HON. MAHIYA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to state when Nembudziya-Tchoda-Mashava Road will be rehabilitated.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. J. M. GUMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker.  Tchoda Road is a 20km long road.  Being part of the Gokwe-Tchoda Road, the section in question has not been attended to for some time because of inadequate funding.  Hence, it is in a bad shape.  The road section is going to be attended to by the end of this year.  We have already included it on our work programme.  I thank you.

COMPLETION OF SURFACING HEADLANDS TO MAYO ROAD

  1. HON. CHITURA asked the Minister of Transport and

Infrastructural Development to state when the Ministry will complete the surfacing of the road from Headlands to Mayo.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. J. M. GUMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker.  Mayo road is 112.2km long with 18.2kms surfaced in 2002 to 2005.  This surfacing project was stalled because of funding constraints.  The Ministry intends to resume construction when the funds occur and we will be attending to that road by the end of this year.  I thank you.

PROGRESS ON COMPLETION OF RENOVATIONS AT VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

  1. HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to state the progress that the Ministry has made on the completion of:
  2. The renovations at Victoria Falls airport;
  3. Mabvuku road over rail bridge; and
  4. Engagement of investors for the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare Chirundu highway.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. J. M. GUMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker.  On project number one, Victoria Falls Airport;  Madam Speaker, the US$150 million project, financed by a China Exim Bank concessional loan facility is progressing well and overall progress to date is that the runway, the terminal building respectively and the air control tower were completed and are now in use since December, 2015.  The conversion of the old terminal building into a domestic terminal has now commenced.  This, together with a bigger fire station and expanded car park, should be completed by 31st May, 2016.

He wants to know again on the Mabvuku road over rail bridge.  Madam Speaker, the Mabvuku road over rail bridge is almost complete.  The construction unit is working on the deck, which is now complete.  The construction of the bridge approaches is in progress and is due for completion by the end of May. 

He also wants to know about the engagement of investors for the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway.  Madam Speaker, as already announced by His Excellency, the President on Independence Day on the 18th of April, 2016, a financier and a contractor has been identified to construct this road.  The project reviews and negotiations for final contract signing are in progress.  We expect to commence actual construction before the end of this year.  I thank you.

PROGRESS ON RESUSCITATION OF THE NATIONAL RAILWAYS OF ZIMBABWE

  1. HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to apprise the House on the progress that the Ministry has made in courting investors to resuscitate National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. J. M. GUMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the Ministry has been pursuing the recapitalisation of the NRZ.  The full recapitalisation of the NRZ requires about US$635 million and negotiations with potential financiers are in progress.  Hon. Members will appreciate that negotiations involving such amounts are very delicate as one is bound by non-disclosure agreements.  I therefore plead with this House that, in the national interest, my Ministry is allowed to handle those negotiations outside the glare of the public.  I will make a Ministerial Statement in due course.

REGRAVELLING OF MABOLENI TO CROSSROAD ROAD

  1. HON. MADUBEKO asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to state whether there are plans to re-gravel the road from Maboleni to Crossroad in Lower Gweru.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. J. M. GUMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker.  My Ministry would like to re-gravel the road from Maboleni to Crossroad in Lower Gweru and many more roads in other constituencies, but is unable to do so because of funding constraints.  My Ministry is only able to get these roads to make them trafficable until funds become available.

ZINARA VEHICLE LICENCE PAYMENT SCHEDULE

  1. HON. MAJOME asked the Minister of Transport and

Infrastructural Development to avail to the House the payment schedule by ZINARA from the time it took over vehicle licence collection in 2009 to 2015 and to further state:

  1. how much was collected from Harare Municipal area in

vehicle licence fees;

  1. how much was disbursed to Harare Municipality and when; and other municipalities in comparison to rural local authorities and the proportion thereof as well with due regards to the needs of Harare Municipality which has to repair its roads;
  2. the criteria used in disbursing monies to local authorities;
  3. how much money is owed to Harare City Council and when it will be paid?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. J. GUMBO):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  This question has been on the Order Paper for a long time and we have been providing the answers, but we have not been given the opportunity.  I would want to thank Hon. Majome for having been this patient. 

  1. a) Madam Speaker, ZINARA has a unified vehicle licencing system that is not limited to collections for a particular municipality’s jurisdiction, hence it will be difficult for us to ascertain at any period, the collections per sitting. However, ZINARA and CVR within my Ministry, are currently working on the integration of the two data bases so as to come up with the actual vehicle population for budget planning.
  2. b) ZINARA disbursed a cumulative figure of US$9 292 072

during the period 2009 to 2015.  Listed below are the disbursements made to the City of Harare from 2009 to 2015. 

 

YEAR

VALUE OF DISBURSEMENT IN US$

2009

 654 0337.00

2010

2 355 987.00

2011

2 350 000.00

2012

2 000 000.00

2013

  983 0393.96

2014

    200 000.00

2015

1 402 692.00

TOTAL

9 292 072.96

 

  1. CI) The criteria for disbursements include the following:-

          (i)  The Council gets an annual allocation from ZINARA:

          (ii) The Council prepares a programme of works and submits to ZINARA for funding.

          (iii)  The Council receives a quarter of each annual allocation from ZINARA.

          (iv)  The Council implements the project of or works.

          (v)  The Council acquits for funds received from ZINARA.

          (vi)  The Council received the next quarter allocation after completion of the acquittal process.

C2 Disbursement to road authorities are determined by the following.

          (i)  Council road network.

          (ii)  Road conditions.

          (iii)  Road classes, that is regional, secondary and local.

(iv) Road traffic.

(v) Cost of maintaining each class of road.

(vi) Cost of intervention.

          The Hon. Member still wants to know how much is owed to Harare City Council and when it will be paid.

          d).  As I have already stated, this answer was prepared as at the end of December to the City of Harare for the SADC assignment as at 31st December 2015, the amount owed to City of Harare for the SADC assignment was US$1 659 883.00.  The plan per ZINARA debt liquidation strategy is to pay it off in year 2016 as follows. 

MONTH

AMOUNT

February 2016

300,000.00

March 2016

300,000.00

April 2016

500,000.00

May 2016

100,000.00

June 2016

100,000.00

July 2016

59,883.30

TOTAL

1, 659, 883.00

 

          HON. MAJOME:  I thank the Hon. Minister for answering this question but I note that he said that – if I got him correctly ZINARA is unable to tell how much money it got from which locality.  May I ask the Hon. Minister if he is aware, I suppose as a resident and Member of Parliament of Harare, on behalf of the people that I represent, they were entitled to know exactly how much money it is that they have contributed for their roads because they are not getting the money back.  How can this be remedied?

          HON. DR. J. GUMBO:  In reality, all local authorities regarding the collection of vehicle licencing are getting far much more than they would have been able to collect whilst collecting on their own.  The point is that Parliament and Government came up with ZINARA.  ZINARA has got a mandate which was given by this House out of an Act by Parliament that they must collect fees or licence fees for all vehicles in the country.  This is the reason why in this House, towards the end of last year, we had a debate as to how many vehicles have been licenced and how many have not been licenced. 

It is because all the vehicles have been put together and therefore, collection is done for the country and after that collection and also in proportion of the size, as I have already stated in one of the answers that I have been giving to Hon. Majome, the volumes of vehicles that you find in Harare, the number of roads and how the damage is caused in Harare, you find that the City of Harare gets more money than any other authority.  It is because of that recognition. 

The question is, I hear that the people of Harare would want to know how many vehicles they have got.  Maybe, the other question would have been, how many cars do they know they have got?  You can see that they whole thing becomes like ‘I do not know’ which route to follow?  I think as Parliament and as Hon. Members of Parliament, we are the ones who came up  with this law that put up ZINARA so that we collect this money together and distribute it. 

ZINARA would not have a problem, if there was going to be an identification to say these cars with these numbers are Harare cars, so you collect on our behalf.  It would have been easier just to give which local authority what is due to them.  It is a very difficult question, I understand it; I would also want to ask the same - what is happening to Mudzi Rural District Council, how many cars they have in Mudzi, how many cars they have in Zvishavane, Mutare or Chipinge, things like that.  I think it would make our work very difficult.  I think if we can accept what is happening now.

What we must come up with is to say towns as big as Harare, because of the volume of cars in Harare, they should actually be given a bigger share because they look after roads that cover a very big distance and there are always bigger numbers of cars that ply those roads. I take the thinking behind it, but I also have a problem of how we can apply it in order to come up with what our people in Harare would want to see us do. I thank you.

RESTORATION OF EFFICIENCY IN THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICE BY HARARE CITY COUNCIL

  1. HON. MAJOME asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to explain measures taken by the Ministry to restore efficiency of the public transport services of Harare City Council to similar standards that were set by the Harare United Passenger Omnibus Company of the 1980’s

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Madam Speaker, this question must be directed to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. I thank you.

STATUTORY INSTRUMENT FOR NEW TRAFFIC SIGNS

  1. HON. MAJOME asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House:
  2. what statutory instrument was used for the strange new traffic signs such as white triangles with black borders, hexagonal, red stop signs and road markings such as continuous yellow lines at the shoulders of roads that are being marked mainly at toll gates and to state when it was promulgated into law;
  3. to confirm whether this is promulgated in terms of Section 39 (2) of the Roads Traffic Act (Chapter 13:11);
  4. to further explain what the Ministry is doing to avert the confusion arising from such signs particularly for learner drivers and old drivers who are unfamiliar with the strange new traffic signs.
  5. how the Ministry proposes to resolve the law enforcement dilemma of traffic regulatory signs that appear not to have the force of law, i.e. of the Road Traffic Act (Chapter 13:11)

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): I want to say that these questions are very important for all our Members of Parliament to understand because there is a change of what Hon. Majome is quoting that is this rapport with other SADC countries.

     Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe is a signatory to the SADC Protocol of Transport, Communication and Meteorology of 1999.  Article 6 (11) of the Protocol states that:-

  1. Member States shall cooperate in harmonising traffic operations management and for this purpose, Member States shall take steps to adopt and implement harmonised and minimum standards in respect of:-
  • Traffic signs including traffic signals, road signs and markings;
  • Rules of the road;
  • Speed limits appropriate to road design;
  • Driving signals; and
  • Driving hours.
  1. Member States shall develop, adopt and implement a harmonised system of road traffic signs; and
  2. For the purposes of developing harmonised rules of the road, Member States shall consider accession to the UN Conventions on Road Traffic of 1949 and 1968.

The Ministry of Transport started the process of adapting the SADC signs into our law as far back as 2001.  The new signs have now been gazetted under Statutory Instrument 41 of 2016, Road Traffic Signs and Signal Regulations.

However in the meantime, new roads have been constructed and the Ministry decided that it would be wasteful to put new signs which were not SADC signs since these would need to be changed soon after gazetting of the SADC signs.  An example is the Plumtre-Mutare highway that was funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

The use of the SADC signs on the infralink project was done in anticipation of speedy gazetting of the signs which however, delayed the reasons beyond my Ministry’s control.

However, now that gazzeting has been done, the Ministry will embark on an awareness campaign to educate the public on the new signs and their country-wide installation.  This, in our view, will avert any confusion arising from the new signs, particularly on the part of learner and old drivers.  The issue of enforcement has therefore fallen away because of the existence of this legislation.

In addition, we have already started the campaign to educate Members and even now to start teaching our new drivers using the new signs.  I think the programme will actually explain most of the fears that the Hon. Member has been able to ask in the House, which by the time she asked, the legislation has not been gazetted and it would have appeared like everything that was on the road was in our minds also illegal, but I think it is now taken care of.  I thank you.

HON. MAJOME: Thank you Hon. Speaker and the Hon. Minister.  Is the Hon. Minister aware that since the new stop signs were installed on the roads, which replaced give way signs that the Zimbabwe Republic Police are literally hiding behind corners and waiting to pounce on motorists who are not expecting stop signs on familiar roads, and issuing them with tickets causing a lot of mayhem on the roads;  what is the Ministry doing about that because of the lack of coordination of the gazetting as well as the public awareness campaigns? What is the Ministry doing to avert the suffering of the motoring public on this?

HON. DR. GUMBO: I am aware that we have had reports of such incidences.  It is even the same like  the use  of different tyres on a vehicle but it only shows that at times, dissemination of information to those who are supposed to be enforcing, at times it is not well coordinated.  That could be a problem that we have to address in Government but I cannot deny the fact that this is what has been happening. Like I have already said, we are now on a drive to educate the public.  The public will also include ZRP so that they can understand the new signs and how to deal with situations when they arise.  I think I cannot deny the fact that there are problems and we have to address them as we educate our people.  I thank you.

HON. GABBUZA: There are those signs Hon. Minister that we are already using and are not different from SADC. Why is in not possible to just do a facelift and have them because most of the roads in the rural areas, either there is no road or the whole sign is completely defaced. Why can we not start by just installing those because they are not different from SADC?

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you very much Madam Speaker and I am happy that I am talking to a former ministers and they do understand the problems that we have. The new signs were put at some other places and when people woke up, they said what are these strange signs we find on the roads and they pulled them. To have the new and old signs, this is why we actually then took a back seat and then said, let us first of all educate our people and then come up with new signs. I hear you Hon. Gabbuza when you say why not just maybe use the old ones. It is not something we had thought we would do but we are supposed to be coming up with new signs that have been gazetted under the SADC Protocol, for which we are now a member. I get the point, where we can save why not save but it must also be conforming. We will look into that. I thank you.

HON. NDUNA: Hon. Minister, seeing that the entry point is Traffic Safety Council. This is where we get the provisional licences through the Highway Code, would it not be prudent to quickly repeal the Highway Code so that our kids that are currently getting their provisional licences can get them fully aware that the signs have changed and are now in adherence to what is obtaining in the SADC Protocol and norms?

HON. DR. GUMBO: I take the suggestion and I think our mistake, me and my Deputy will have to bring – the Highway Code is already out. I think it is important from what the Hon. Member is saying, that we bring copies for Hon. Members of Parliament so that they will be aware. So, I will be asking my Deputy to make sure that tomorrow in the afternoon, he can arrange with Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe that we are given those Highway Codes for Members of Parliament – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]. I thank you.

HON. MAJOME: Madam Speaker, I have been waiting for these answers since last year and I am glad that I am getting a chance to pose them. I ask Hon. Members to bear with me. My last supplementary question is that, I noticed on those new and strange traffic signs that are there, they are affixed to the ground by wooden poles. Previously, there were metal or concrete poles. How durable are those poles are they treated? What if they are eaten by termites and I have already seen some of them being smashed by motor vehicles. Is there any plan or means to actually replace the road traffic signs and how durable are they, particularly the wooden poles that are being used on them?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Minister, Hon. Members I can see that you are busy talking amongst yourselves. These questions and answers will help you very much to understand what is taking place. You wonder where these questions are coming from. Someone just drives and does not even check what is happening to the signs and so forth. This is where the answers are coming from. So it will help you Hon. Members to help the constituents out there.

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank Madam Speaker. I cannot thank you more because I thought I did preface my answer by saying the questions asked by Hon. Majome are very important for all of us. Let us be serious about them and this is why we are going to be bringing in the Highway Code so that Members of Parliament can each get a copy tomorrow.

Like I said earlier on, those were temporary installations. We will be coming up with permanent ones because we cannot use wood because some people can even take the wood and use it to make firewood. So, we will be coming up with more durable installations.

PURCHASE OF A320 AIRCRAFTS

  1. HON. WATSON asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to state the following in view of the deplorable financial state that Air Zimbabwe is in;

(a)  (i) The purchase of A320 Aircrafts;

       (ii)  Whether they are brand new or second hand aircrafts

       (iii)  The source of funds used for the purchasers;

       (iv)   The seller and purchase price of the aircraft.

(b)    Explain the justification for purchasing new aircrafts that are seldom used to fly local  and regional routes and despite being more fuel efficient incur loan repayments or leasing as well as higher depreciation charges.

(c)    Explain why Air Zimbabwe chose to purchase Airbus A320 and not cheaper and more fuel efficient turbo – charged aircraft model.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Madam Speaker, the aircrafts were not purchased but are being leased from China Sonangol since 2012. These were part of efforts by Government to support the turnaround process of Air Zimbabwe.

You also want to know whether these were brand new or second hand aircrafts. The aircrafts were not brand new as they have been operating elsewhere. However, they are still relatively younger than our current fleet.

On the source of funds used for the purchases, Madam Speaker, the aircrafts are being leased and not purchased and as they operate, they pay the lease fees. The question therefore does not arise. In addition, the aircrafts are on a dry lease from China Sonangol at US$200 000.00 per month per plane.

For the justification Madam Speaker, the A320 is a medium range aircraft and is adequate to cover the medium range operations projected by Air Zimbabwe from a strategic point of view. Aircrafts are by nature designed to efficiently serve a particular market, depending on the distance. It, thus, becomes uneconomical and not ideal to deploy small aircraft on hire on regional or international routes, despite its fuel efficiency.

Lastly Madam Speaker, whilst fuel is the biggest cost driver in aviation, it is not the only variable used in determining suitability of an aircraft. The airbus A320 is ideal for the regional routes and the aircraft is fuel efficient. It is certainly not ideal to deploy a turbo-engine on a route where you are competing with four other airlines using jet propelled engines and very modern aircraft. Passengers will simply opt for the faster and less noisy options. I thank you.

HON. MUTOMBA: On lease rentals that each plane is paying $200 000 per month, if that is correct. Are these planes able to generate sufficient funds to cover for the rental fees and make a return to Air Zimbabwe?

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker and Hon. Mutomba for asking that question. Aircraft business is very intricate and it is a business that at this present moment is not doing well the world over. The question that you ask is that under normal circumstances when business is doing well, the aircrafts can then be able to make those repayments.  The fact that a contract of $200,000 was agreed upon meant that by that time, it was possible to meet the repayments but as of now, like I am putting it, not only Air Zimbabwe but the world over, the aviation industry is finding it very difficult to make ends meet.  I hear your concerns but at the same time, you have to make a decision to pull out or remain in the business.  So, we have remained in the business with those payments that we have to make. 

          [Time Limit]

          HON. MPARIWA:  In view of the fact that the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development and others who have questions standing on the Order Paper are still here, I move for the extension of time by 30 minutes.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          HON. CROSS:  My information is that these airbuses were purchased with diamond money from Marange.  In fact, it was linked with a company – Mbada Diamonds and the company China Sonangol International is linked to the Chinese businessman Sam Pa/Senpai.  I therefore would like to ask the Minister if he has examined in detail the circumstances surrounding the dry leases that were entered into by Air Zimbabwe of leasing these aircrafts.  If he has not done so, will he do so and take care to examine those aspects and to check whether the contracts are competitive in terms of the global market.

          HON. DR GUMBO:  There is one thing that I thank myself for and that is only that on things of public interest, I do not lie but say it as it is.  So, regarding these two aircrafts we are talking about Hon. Member, with all due respect Madam Speaker, they were not bought by diamonds money.  I am 100% certain.  I have got the contract and the person you are talking about, Sam Pa, did the negotiations but only on behalf of Sonangol.  They are actually pestering us for the payment and I have the overdue account of the repayments that we have not been able to meet.  This is why my response to Hon. Mutomba was that it is either we can pull in or pull out because I know we owe the company the money payable at $200,000 a month.  So, clear your mind and believe me because I am saying the truth as it is.

          HON. CROSS:  I just pointed out to the House that Sam Pa is in prison in China, accused of externalising more than $20 billion dollars in foreign exchange from Angola and Zimbabwe.  What I have asked the Minister is, if he is satisfied that this contract is competitive in the global market.  If it is, I have no query or question.

          HON. DR GUMBO:  The answer that I have given is that when the deal was sealed, by that time that price was competitive and I have also stated that at this time, as we speak, business in aviation is bad and we are not doing well.  So, that is the reason why we are failing to make payments otherwise at the time the deal was sealed, the arrangement was good and acceptable.  However, the history of Sam Pa owing money and so forth is something different. The issue that I am seized with is the issue of the two aircrafts which are on lease at the amounts that I have stated and we are in arrears to repay the dues that we are supposed to be paying to that company that gave us those two aircrafts, which were negotiated with the same person the Hon. Member is talking about, Sam Pa.  I thank you.

REPLACEMENT OF OBSOLETE PLANES

  1. HON. WATSON asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to explain the Ministry’s plans to replace the several old, fuel and cost inefficient planes that have also been unreliable with instances of under carriage failure but are used consistently on local and regional routes.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR GUMBO):  Madam Speaker, the solution to the problems raised is through capitalization of the airline.  However, due to the limited fiscal space, my Ministry, as guided by Cabinet, is in the process of engaging a strategic partner for the airline. 

Madam Speaker, Hon Watson asked this question a long time ago and was not responded to.  This answer was enough for then but for now, I want to let you know that yesterday, Government gave us the go ahead as a Ministry, to negotiate and engage a partner to partner Air Zimbabwe.  So, we have already started the process of engaging a partner because on our own we cannot pull through.  I thank you.

REPAIR OF KANA BRIDGE IN GOKWE-KANA

  1. HON. NCUBE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to state when Kana Bridge in Gokwe will be repaired.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR GUMBO):  Madam Speaker, The Kana pipe culvert (bridge) at the 4.6km peg, on the loop road Lutope, collapsed in early 2015.  The Ministry has so far managed to have the pipe culvert units in place to repair the culvert crossing.  What is outstanding are financial resources to procure cement and wages for contract workers.  The culvert will be repaired before the end of 2016, as soon as we receive our second quarter disbursement from ZINARA.  I thank you.

AIRPORT TAXES COLLECTED BY THE CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF ZIMBABWE

  1. HON. WATSON asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to state the amount of money collected by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe in airport taxes, since it took over the collection from Air Zimbabwe. How much of the funds raised have been spent on infrastructure at Joshua Mqabuko airport in light of the Transport Committee’s report on safety issues.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR GUMBO):  Madam Speaker, CAAZ started collecting the passenger service and IDEF fees on 11th November, 2014.  To date, which was the date when you asked your question and I have not been able to update, the total sum collected was $5,154,910. 

Madam Speaker, Joshua Mqabuko control tower requires US$9 million and so far, the authority has paid US$5.2 million of which US$3.2 million has been committed towards capital projects such as the ATC simulator, Harare Sewer Project, Harare baggage handling equipment, purchase of utility vehicles, refurbishment of the fire tenders and the integrated security system.  It is therefore clear that the rate at which collections are being done, we cannot raise the resources required for the tower among other security and facilitation demands.  I thank you.

HON. NDUNA:  Given this scenario Minister, you have allotted the US$5.2 million to the tower, which tower is critical because it has to offer man-machine interaction.  There has to be a line of sight between the aircraft and the air traffic controller.  When, in your view, do you think you will allocate the remaining amount of US$3.2 million or US$4 million to complete this tower before we have an imminent disaster at that airport?

HON. DR. GUMBO:  I want to thank Hon. Nduna who is the Chairperson of that Committee for that concern.  I want to assure him that your concern is also our concern.  Like I said earlier on, there are discussions which we are undertaking with some suitors in order to assist us in the problems that we face at Air Zimbabwe.  That issue is one of them, so we are addressing that and we would want to see it addressed as soon as possible. 

I cannot off-hand tell you where we are going to get the money for now because we are looking for the money and we are trying to find those who can assist us in order to meet that shortfall so that the work can be completed, but we are doing something about it.  It is only that as a country, we are all aware that finances are our biggest challenge at the moment.  The projects are there.  We would like to see ourselves do the projects, but we have that financial handicap.  I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  As a reminder, Members of Parliament are not allowed to use their cell phones in the House.  So, you can put your phone on silent or switch it off.  Thank you.

SURFACING OF RUSHINGA-CHIMHANDA ROAD

  1. HON. M. M. MPOFU asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to explain why the Ministry is not surfacing the Tiger Reef-Nkayi Lupane road that shortens the distance from Harare to Hwange.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  Madam Speaker, the road from Kwekwe to Nkayi is 86.2km long with 72.5km surfaces and a gravel section of 14km.  The Ministry is unable to surface the remaining 14km between Kwekwe-Nkayi and Nkayi-Lupane road because of funding constraints.  We are however, putting the project on tender for a build, operate and transfer concession.   It is our hope that the project will have investors prepared to surface the remaining portion.

What I can explain to the Hon. Member, Madam Speaker, is that we are looking at that road.  There are certain roads that you will be seeing advertised in the very near future.  Maybe, as soon as next week, you can see that one of those roads is advertised because really, that road gives us a very shorter route from the Midlands and Mashonaland provinces right to Hwange and Victoria Falls.  So, there are plans for us to tar that road and any other roads in that area.  So we are looking into it, but the answer for this question was written or made before the new developments I am talking about.  Thank you.

HON. NDUNA:  Madam Speaker, the reason why this road is in that state is because of mines such as Hwange Colliery and those trucks have trafficked that area to a standstill.  Now they have to go the longer route through Bulawayo up to Harare.  Would it not be prudent for you to immediately be embedded with these miners in order so that they capitalise on the rehabilitation of some of these roads? 

Your position is not enviable.  I do not envy you at all.  Why would you not immediately talk to these mines so that they can reduce some of the responsibilities that you have in order to deal with some of these trunk roads?

HON. DR. GUMBO:  I want to thank Hon. Nduna.  His views are welcome, but I am speaking from a position of Government, what we are doing as Government.  Like I have already stated in my letter, I said BOT or private participation.  That actually refers to the category of the people the Hon. Member is referring to, so they are also welcome.  That is why I said we are going to be advertising for these roads and when we do so, we state that we accept PPP arrangements or BOT arrangements and that takes care of what the Hon. Member is talking about.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  On a point of order, Madam Speaker.  I thought the extension of the question time was just to allow the Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to exhaust the list of questions posed to him.  I therefore raise the issue that Question Time be considered closed.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, when we agreed to the extension, it was stated 30 minutes.  So we still have about 12 minutes to conclude the extension time.

PROGRESS ON FINALISATION OF CONSTRUCTION OF THE TOKWE-MUKORSI DAM

  1. HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change to state the progress that the Ministry has made to finalise the construction of the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Government has mobilised all the necessary resources required in order to complete the dam which is at 95% completion stage.  The contractor has already mobilised back on site essential expatriates experts, all the necessary papers, while all renovations to the camp have been completed.  In addition, all the power supplies have also been restored.  Meanwhile, Government is mobilising external funds to deposit into the contractor’s foreign account so that the contractor is able to buy dam instrumentation equipment and materials that are not locally manufactured. 

However, work on the dam has started and it is hoped that the dam will impound water during this coming 2016/17 rainfall season.  Our hope is that the negative impact of climate change which manifested into drought and floods this year will be a thing of the past.  When the dam is fully operational, we are expecting that 25 000 hectares will be put under irrigation.  Government, through the relevant line Ministry is already seized with this work in putting together a plan of action to be implemented immediately the dam is completed.  I thank you Madam Speaker. 

STEPS TO ENCOURAGE OPTIMUM UTILISATION OF UNDER-UTILISED WATER BODIES

  1. HON. NDUNA asked the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate to state steps the Ministry is taking to encourage optimum utilisation of under-utilised water bodies, among them Biri and Mazvikadei dams.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI):  Madam Speaker, in order to improve the uptake of water for irrigation from Biri and Mazvikadei dams, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate in collaboration with ZINWA, is implementing the following strategies:

  • Actively participating in the Government’s Emergency Irrigation rehabilitation programme aimed at mitigating the impacts of erratic rainfall.
  • Rehabilitate pumping equipment to improve access to irrigation water by farmers at irrigation schemes with broken down pumps.
  • Increased awareness on the reduction of raw water prices for small and medium scale farmers to encourage irrigation by these farmers.
  • They are also considering in collaboration with ZESA, adopting seasonal billing of farmers to reduce the burden of paying for water and electricity before they sell their produce.
  • Engage stakeholders such as ARDA to ensure quick win projects are implemented at non-functional irrigation schemes.

Madam Speaker, we are also working with our counter parts in the Ministry of Agriculture and Mechanisation to encourage our farmers to produce crops using irrigation to mitigate against climate change effects that result in low or poor rainfall.  The farmers are also encouraged to take the initiatives to start irrigation schemes where there is available raw water. 

HON. MUSANHI:  Given that the price of water to the farmer is very high, what is the Minister doing to try and encourage farmers to use the raw water in water bodies.

HON. MUCHINGURI:  Thank you Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member for that very important question.  Suffice to say that last year Cabinet decreased the water tariffs together with environment impact assessment tariff fees.  The matter was presented here in Parliament by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development during his budgetary processes.  If the Hon. Member requires me to submit the same information, I would be more than happy to do so.  I thank you.

REVIVAL OF SHAGARI DAM

  1. HON. MADUBEKO asked the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate to state the plans in place to revive Shagari dam which burst some years ago resulting in the non-functioning of the irrigation scheme in this area.

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): My Ministry through ZINWA, has identified a number of these small to medium sized dams which are located in various parts of the country and require attention like the Shagari dam. 

Over the years, periodic inspections and maintenance on dams were being carried out through funding provided by Treasury.  Due to the funding challenges, ZINWA has not been able to carry out this obligation as provided for under the Water Act. 

In view of the funding challenges experienced by Government, the Ministry through ZINWA, has now introduced the user pays policy.  The principle behind the policy is to allow ZINWA to carry out dam safety inspections as well as to do the required maintenance or repairs through revenue collected from the users that include industry, mining companies, irrigators, including farmers, et cetera.    

However, there has not been any funds being realised at the moment, and ZINWA has since embarked on an awareness campaign to educate water users on this policy.  It is hoped that this exercise will yield positive results and funds realised will then be used to attend to such dams like the Shagari dam.  I thank you. 

WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

POLICY ON ISSUANCE OF LOST VEHICLE REGISTRATION NUMBER PLATES

  1. HON. D. TSHUMA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to state Government policy on the issuance of a lost vehicle registration number plates in view of the fact that the re-registration process  is cumbersome, expensive and time consuming.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): This question is similar to the one in number three by Hon. Gwanongodza, which I have already responded to.

COST OF CONSTRUCTING THE HARARE AIRPORT ROAD

  1. HON. B. SIBANDA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to: (a) state how much it has cost the Government to construct the Harare Airport road. (b) explain the reason for the delays in the completion of the same?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): It did cost Government US$15, 8 million to construct the Airport road up to the stage of commissioning.  The completion of the remaining works has been delayed because of the delays in the supply of construction material.  Efforts will continue to improve progress and completion is expected by the end of May, 2016.  I thank you.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE BULAWAYO-NKAYI-GOKWE ROAD

  1. HON. B. SIBANDA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to: (a) explain why it has taken over 20 years to construct the Bulawayo-Nkayi-Gokwe Road. (b) state whether the construction of the said road is a priority project or not?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Mr. Speaker Sir, it has taken 20 years because of the unavailability of funding.  The above project is a priority because it links Nkayi and Gokwe which are active cattle producing and cotton growing.  You will recall that some work was actually done on one of the bridges, Mbembezi, in 2015. I thank you.

UTILISATION OF BITUMEN TAR DRUMS AND QUARRY STONES AT MAITENGWE BORDER POST

  1. HON. NLEYA asked the Minister of Transport and

Infrastructural Development to explain whether there are any plans in place to utilise the bitumen tar drums and quarry stones left at Maitengwe Border Post.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. J. GUMBO): The stone aggregate and drums of bitumen at Maitengwe Border Post are for the surfacing of the Maitengwe road leading to the border post.  Government ran out of funds to complete the project.  These materials will be utilised when funding to develop this road is availed.

REHABILITATION OF ROADS IN BULILIMA DISTRICT

  1. HON. NLEYA asked the Minister of Transport and

Infrastructural Development to state  when the roads in Bulilima District will be rehabilitated in view of the damage that has been caused by the recent heavy rains to the roads.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. J. GUMBO): The roads in Bulilima District are in a fair condition as compared to other districts.  They however, require light grading to make them very good in terms of trafficability.  I want to assure the Hon. Member that the roads will be attended to as equipment becomes available.  I thank you.

SURFACING OF RUSHINGA-CHIMHANDA ROAD

  1. HON. MASHANGE asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to state when the 4.5 km portion of the Rushinga and Chimhanda Road would be surfaced?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Mr. Speaker Sir, Rushinga- Chimhanda Road is 16 kilometres long with 11 kilometres of this road surfaced during the period 1995 to 2009.  Five kilometers of the road is still gravel.  My Ministry, through the Department of Roads, keeps grading the gravel section to make it trafficable and it was last graded in March, 2015. 

          Given the current budgetary constraints, the Ministry has no immediate plans to surface the remaining 5 kilometres.  However, when funding levels improve, the road section will be upgraded to surfaced standards.  I thank you.

ESTABLISHMENT OF SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHER TRAINING COLLEGES IN MATABELELAND SOUTH AND NORTH

  1. HON. D. TSHUMA asked the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development to explain whether there are plans to establish secondary school teacher training colleges in Matabeleland South and North Provinces, in view of the fact that the whole of Matabeleland region has one teacher training college situated in Bulawayo.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GANDAWA): I wish to thank Hon. Tshuma for his question and to acknowledge his interest in higher and tertiary education, science and technology development in general, and particularly his interest in the distribution of teachers’ colleges in the country.

          Mr. Speaker, there are 15 tertiary institutions specialising in teacher training in the country.  These are Madziwa, Masvingo Teachers’College , Mogenster, Morgen Zintec, Mary Mount, Nyadire, Mkoba, Seke, United College of Education, Joshua Nkomo, Gweru Polytechnique, Bondolfi, Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College, Hillside and Mutare Teachers’ College.  Out of these, Madziwa, Masvingo, Mogenster, Morgen Zintec, Mary Mount, Nyadire, Mkoba, Seke, United College of Education, Joshua Nkomo and Bondolfi Teachers’ college specialise in training teachers for primary education  while Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College, Hillside, Mutare and Gweru Polytechnic specialise in producing teachers for secondary education.

          Manpower Planning and Development Act (Chapter 28:02) provides that a teachers’ college should be established when it becomes necessary.  In this connection, the Ministry agrees with the input of Hon. Tshuma’s question that there is a need to review the capacity of our tertiary institutions, especially with reference to teachers’ colleges.

          Against this backdrop, and from the point of national policy, the position is that each province should house, not have, but at least house one State university, one teachers college and one polytechnic.

          Mr. Speaker, I have distinguished housing from having because higher and tertiary education institution, such teachers colleges, are not provincial but national assets.  State universities, polytechnics and teachers colleges are, by definition and purpose, national institutions.

          The colleges are national colleges with no provincial boundaries as regards catchment areas for recruiting student teachers.  They are also specialist colleges, hence they recruit according to their areas of specialisation.  For example, Belvedere Technical Teachers College and Gweru Polytechnic, train technical and vocational secondary school teachers.  Mutare and Hillside train teachers for languages and sciences.  So, it is more of what the prospective teacher want to train in, that determines the college to enroll with than the location of the college.

          As Hon. Tshuma may be aware that at independence Government sought to increase access to education at primary level, this subsequently increased the demand for secondary education, resulting in the establishment of Belvedere Technical Teachers College, Chinhoyi Technical Teachers College and the transformation of Mutare Teachers’ College from a primary teachers’ college to a secondary teachers’ college.  Chinhoyi was later transformed into a university and was replaced with Gweru Polytechnic which is now a polytechnic with a teacher education division.

          Given the foregoing, I am happy to advise Hon. Tshuma that the Ministry is reviewing the state and capacity of the country’s tertiary institutions to ensure that each province houses at least one State university, one polytechnic and one teachers college.  I thank you.

COMMUNICATION TO PARLIAMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE DECLARING A STATE OF NATIONAL DISASTER DUE TO EL NINO

  1. HON. CHIRISA asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to explain why he has not communicated to Parliament about the President of Zimbabwe, Cde R.G, Mugabe’s declaration of the state of national disaster due to El Nino phenomenon - induced drought which he made on the 2nd of February 2016 as espoused in Section 28 of the Civil Protection Act [Chapter 10:06]

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, it is true that the President of Zimbabwe, Cde R. G. Mugabe declared a state of national disaster due to the El Nino induced drought which he made on 2nd February, 2016 as espoused in Section 28 of the Civil Protection Act (Chapter 10:06).

          Given the magnitude of the El Nino phenomenon induced drought, the issue has since been escalated to the level of the Vice President, Cde. R. D. Mnangagwa who is deputised by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation.  With your indulgence Mr. Speaker Sir, I kindly request that the issue be referred to the Leader of the House.

LAND FOR EXPANSION OF CHITUNGWIZA CENTRAL HOSPITAL

  1. HON. TARUSENGA asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to explain to the House;

          (a)  why part of the land that was reserved for the expansion of Chitungwiza Central Hospital was turned into residential stands for Chitungwiza Municipality Administration staff;

(b)  the measures that the Ministry would take in view of the fact

that Chitungwiza Central Hospital has run out of land for expansion.

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking the question.  However –

  • The operative layout of Chitungwiza Hospital never had land reserved for Chitungwiza General Hospital besides the existing hospital stand.
  • The adjacent land to the south of the hospital was reserved for primary and secondary schools, being stands 12082 and 12084 respectively.
  • After noticing the inadequacy of land at the General Hospital and after a request from the Hospital Council offered Chitungwiza Hospital, the two school sites without changing their use as per procedure.
  • For unknown reasons, Council and without informing Chitungwiza General Hospital, created 124 low density stands measuring 1 000 square meters each on the whole of stand 12084 and part of 12082 on 9th June, 2010 without again changing use of the school stands to residential.
  • From a total of about nine hectares, only three hectares were left.
  • On 22nd February, 2012 the then Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development appointed a special Investigation Committee within the Resuscitation Team of Chitungwiza to look into the allocations, change of use, subdivision and repossession of stands within the whole of Chitungwiza, which report identified the illegal change of use of stands 12084 and 12082, Zengeza 4; amongst other issues.
  • The Special Committee recommended that the lay-outs of the created stands be formalised under Section 40 (3) of the Regional Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12 (1996)) considering that the stands had been fully developed.

(b) Mr. Speaker Sir, the following are the measures:-

  • The three hectares left after the creation of 124 residential stands has since been occupied and fenced off by Chitungwiza General Hospital as part of its expansion area.
  • There is no other developable vacant land adjacent to Chitungwiza General Hospital, meaning they have to make do with what is now available.
  • It would be prudent for them to start thinking of developing upwards especially for uses that can be accommodated upwards e.g. walk-up flats for students and staff.
  • Land that can be made available is amongst the six farms in Nyatsime but this land is way too far from Chitungwiza General Hospital, making any suggestions to their allocations too costly for their day to day running.

SUBSTANTIVE TOWN CLERK FOR BULAWAYO CITY COUNCIL

  1. HON. MASUKU asked the Minister of Local Government,

Public Works and National Housing to state when Bulawayo City Council is expected to have a substantive Town Clerk.

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE):  Mr. Speaker Sir, Bulawayo City Council is in the process of recruiting and an advert for the post will be flighted as per the Ministry’s directive.

STANDS FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE RESIDENTS OF BULAWAYO

  1. HON. MASUKU asked the Minster of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to state the Ministry’s efforts to avail affordable stands to the poor and vulnerable residents of Bulawayo, in view of the fact that the cheapest residential stands measuring 200m2 cost US$5000 and are purchased by the same people using different names.

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for posing the question and affording me latitude to respond.

          The Ministry, through the National Housing Delivery Programme, set the provincial targets to be attained by all stakeholders nationwide, Public and Private Partnerships in housing delivery included.  The Ministry acts as facilitator in meeting the targets and as for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, a target of 15 000 is earmarked by December 2018.

          Local authorities as stakeholders are the decentralised local planning and housing authorities in their areas of jurisdiction and have their own housing policies, which of course are premised on the National Housing Policy for sustainable housing development.

          The price of stands and houses depends on the prevailing market forces (supply and demand) as well as the cost of delivering the product, among other considerations.  Bulawayo City Council maintains its own housing waiting list as enshrined in the National Housing Policy and it is our expectation that the waiting list is constantly updated and that Council adheres to the waiting list at all times for allocations.  However, the Ministry has no direct control on how they utilise that list.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMEN (HON. MINISTER CHINAMASA):  With the leave of the House Madam Speaker, I move that the rest of the Orders of the Day, be stood over until Orders of the Day, Numbers 44 and 45  of the Day, have been disposed of. 

Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES BILL [H.B. 15, 2015]

Forty Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Special Economic Zones Bill, (H.B. 15, 2015).

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA:  Madam Speaker, I rise to respond to the contributions made by Hon. Members during the Second Reading of the Special Economic Zones Bill, 2016.  I feel humbled by the overwhelming support that all those who contributed gave to the Bill.  Now, I want to take the opportunity to respond to the contributions. 

          I wish to thank Hon. Members for the opportunity to respond to various issues they raised, which I found very valuable and enriching.  I will respond firstly to the issues raised by the Chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development.  I am grateful to the Chairman and his Committee for the tremendous work they put in preparing their report. 

          With respect to paragraph 3.1 of their report on new authority, the Committee is proposing that the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) be responsible for overseeing the Special Economic Zones as opposed to setting up a new authority, which would lead to avoidable costs being incurred by the Government.  My response Madam Speaker is that, Section 7 of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act, does indeed allow ZIA to handle investment promotion strategies.  The issue of Special Economic Zones is quite specialized and in order to get optimal value out of this policy, there is need to be focused in our approach towards Special Economic Zones.  For that reason, I would like to have a dedicated body dealing with Special Economic Zones and therefore would like to return the institution structure in the Bill.

          With respect to paragraph 3.2 of the report, to do with the recommendation that regional representation be adhered to as provided in Section 18 of the Constitution.  I thank the Committee for this suggestion which I am very much alive to, and it will be taken into account when composing the Board of Directors of the Authority. 

          With respect to paragraph 3.3 to do with appointments of members with criminal record, the Committee recommends that such people with criminal record should not be eligible for appointment to the board.  Madam Speaker, one needs to give consideration to the fact that if this is left open ended, even people who have previous convictions for what we consider as politically motivated convictions before independence, would be ineligible.  In addition, a key principle of our criminal law is that persons who commit offences should be rehabilitated to the extent possible.  Equally, a person whose criminal record may extend beyond five years could well not have reformed so that the period of five years serves as a guide to the appointing authority in determining persons suitable for appointment.

          With respect to paragraph 3.4, to do with consultations amongst stakeholders prior to establishment of zones, the Committee is proposing that stakeholder views be obtained prior to the establishment of respective Special Economic Zones. 

Madam Speaker, necessary consultations with stakeholders will be made with respect to paragraph 3.5 to do with validity of decisions and acts of board.  The Committee takes the view that a decision taken by a meeting without a quorum should not be implemented and this will be in line with good corporate governance.  My response is that, the rationale of this provision is to protect the investing public whose matters would have been decided by a board and to avoid rendering decisions affecting the investing public from becoming a legal nullity unnecessarily.  For this reason, I would like to propose that this clause be retained. 

With respect to paragraph 3.6, reports of the authority, the Committee recommends that it be mandatory for the Minister to lay before Parliament, reports made to him by the authority.  My response is that I am agreeable to this proposal and I am going to submit an amendment so that I am able to lay an annual report of the authority in line with common practice, and not necessarily every single report that the authority may present before the Minister. 

With respect to paragraph 3.7, application for investment licences and developers’ permit, the Committee is recommending decentralisation of the licencing processes to places outside Harare and additionally, the use of electronic means such as a website to facilitate for easy and cheap access to documents and services associated with processing of licencing and permits.  Madam Speaker, this is a good comment.  Whilst the authority might not be able to afford setting up administrative structures across the country, I am agreeable to the use of electronic means to make for easy and cheap access to relevant documents and other services associated with processing of licences and permits.

Madam Speaker, with respect to paragraph 3.8 of the Committee’s report, dealing with consideration of applications for investment licences, the Committee is recommending that applications for investment licences to manufacture on the basis of import substitution should be included under Section 25 of the Bill.  This matter is already provided for in Clause 25(b).

With respect to paragraph 3.9 of the report, to do with register of licences, the Committee is recommending that inspections of the register be free and the information regarding the same be made available online.  This recommendation is acceptable.

With respect to paragraph 3.10 of the report, appeals to Minister, the Committee is recommending that the period within which to lodge an appeal with the Minister be reduced to five working days from the current 60 days.  Madam Speaker, this provision seeks to allow aggrieved parties reasonable time within which they may lodge an appeal in line with the right to administrative justice as enshrined in our Constitution.  Five working days may be insufficient for a party and its lawyers to properly construct and lodge their appeal.  Nothing in that provision bars any aggrieved party from lodging their appeal earlier if they so wish, but for the law to fail to accord reasonable time within which a party could appeal, would run contrary to the requirements of administrative justice. 

Madam Speaker, with respect to paragraph 3.11 to do with preservation of secrecy, the Committee has inquired into the rationale behind Section 54 of the Bill which deals with preservation of secrecy.  The response is that the authority will be dealing with matters of commercial interest and matters of a proprietary nature, for instance, including reviewing business plans of competitors and it would be undesirable for such matters to be disclosed and to be in the public domain.  This would deter investors from disclosing information to the authority. 

With respect to paragraph 3.12 of the report, dealing with Chapter 28:01 and 14:03 as to whether they would apply, the Committee makes the observation that this provision is in line with the practice of Special Economic Zones throughout the world and contends that this provision should stand.  I agree with this position.  This clause will remain as part of the Bill.

Finally, with respect to the report of the Committee, on clauses on Clauses 57 to do with regulations and 58 dealing with special grants, Madam Speaker, the Committee rightly urges the speedy promulgation of regulations to the Act and that the incentive package be prescribed in the early stages.

I now turn to questions raised by various Hon. Members concerning provisions of the Bill. Hon. Dr. Shumba, I want to thank you for your question on whether     investors will be treated fairly should they decide to carry on business in Zimbabwe. The answer is fair treatment of foreign companies operating in our country does more to attract and retain investment in a country than even fiscal incentives. Equitable treatment of investors is a key tenent of the operating environment in Zimbabwe and Government is committed to maintaining that, going forward. Hon. Members will be aware that most investors, depending on which country they hail from are protected under Bilateral Agreements on protection of investments between their country and Zimbabwe. Hon. Eddie Cross, I wish to thank you for your comment. You also point out to the need to expedite the process of bringing in the incentive package and I share that sentiment with you, and I can confirm that is this is in line with the plan of operationalising the Special Economic Zones. You also as did Hon. Maridadi and Hon. Nduna in part, also spoke about the issue of infrastructural shortcomings that could be an impediment to business and industrial activities in the designated zones, which is a concern that we all share.

The bottom line Madam Speaker, is we have to start somewhere and begin to develop our country one initiative at a time, one step at a time. We believe that Government and the private sector should work together towards this common objective. Hon. Maradidi mentioned two problems. The first to do with bureaucracy and the second, corruption. These will be addressed in turn. With respect to instutionalised structure proposed under the Bill, this is designed to respond to investor applications and related requests expeditiously. The goal is to create a central authority where all questions that have to do with investments in Special Economic Zones will be dealt with. The second issue concerning corruption which issue was also raised by the Hon. Chakona, Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, as pointed out by Hon. Mudarikwa, there is absolutely no space for corruption in this country. This problem needs to be addressed in the most decisive way possible by all of us. It is not one individual’s responsibility to clean up our country of corruption but it is all our collective responsibility to do so.

However, we cannot stop improving our policies and investment climate because of concern over corruption. These are issue that we have to tackle simultaneously. Complacency will be a greater sin than corruption. Hon. Khupe raised two points concerning the application of the Labour Act and the Devolution of Powers to benefit local authorities. On the issue of non-application of the Labour Act, it is the Hon. Member’s view that workers will be victimized, harassed, beaten, hired and fired at any time, work for long hours and subjected to so many things without any form of protection.

Hon. Mupariwa also suggests that this provision will have the effect of violating workers rights. Madam Speaker, Clause 56 (52) makes it clear that rules will be put in place for conditions of service, termination, dismissal from service and disciplinary proceedings, which rules will be set in consultation with the Minister responsible for the administration of the Labour Act. So, there will be regulation, but we have to give special treatment to Special Economic Zones for the reasons that we all know.

Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga raised the point that the Bill should provide for regional representation on the board. That is consistent with the Constitution and I have already dealt with that matter when I responded to the report of the Committee. Hon. Chakona proposes that ICT be prioritised and policies be put in place  to encourage its growth across the country.

Madam Speaker, ICT is a critical driver of economic growth as the Hon. Member points out. I agree that policies targeted at enhancing our ICT infrastructure should be put in place. ICT lessens the cost of doing business and improves the convenience with which it is carried out. Hon. Misihairabwi-Mshonga again took the view that the ten year period of validity of licence as provided in Section 27 of the Bill is too long. Making an investment in a foreign country is oftentimes not as straightforward as it would seem. Serious investors take a long term view of their investments, not short term. They want certainty, we need to treat businesses well as we are competing with many other investment destinations. There is no real benefit to an investor sitting on a licence. They stand to lose out on market opportunities. We should desist from any forms of unnecessary compulsion and should not be fostering an environment that encourages investors to take short term opportunistic views on the country because of our policies.

The Hon. Member also raises the issue of compulsory acquisition of land, as provided for in Clause 35 of the Bill which makes cross reference to section 71 of the Constitution.  Section 71 of the Constitution protects property and provides that no acquisition of property is permitted in Zimbabwe unless acquisition is in the public interest and adequate compensation is paid upfront by the acquiring authority.

This is not a provision peculiar to this country. From a policy perspective, Zimbabwe has no precedent of acquiring property from anyone, other than rural agricultural land. We have no intention of acquiring any person’s property in the future. With that response, I now move that the Special Economic Zones Bill, 2016 be now read a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I propose to make amendments arising from the debate and also amendments which I had. So, if the matter could be deffered to tomorrow. I therefore, move that the debate do now adjourn.

Committee Stage, Thursday, 12th May, 2016.

SECOND READING

PUBLIC FINANCE MANAGEMENT AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 14, 2015]

Forty fifth Order read: Second Reading: Public Finance Management Amendment Bill, (H. B. 14, 2015)

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I stand to introduce the Second Reading: Public Finance Management Amendment Bill, (H. B. 14, 2015). Madam Speaker, one of the key objectives of the Government as enunciated in the the new national Constitution, is to ensure transparency and accountability in all financial matters. Hon. Members will be aware of recent reports by the Auditor General highlighting concerns with respect to the management and accountability for public resources. Hon. Members have also highlighted at different for a, their frustration over their apparent lack of response by Government to these important issues raised in their Auditor General’s reports.

          Madam Speaker, the Public Finance Management Act, Chapter 22:19 confer on the Treasury the responsibility to exercise general direction and control over public resources. To enable my Ministry to effectively discharge this mandate, it is necessary to develop and implement systems that ensure the effective use of and proper accountability for public resources. In this respect, strengthening the governing statute is critical to provide the necessary anchor for such systems.

          Madam Speaker, in pursuance of the above objective, my Ministry is proposing the review of the Public Finance Management Act to further enhance the financial management provisions through the Bill that is before this august House for Hon. Members’ consideration. The Bill seeks to address concerns over public entity’s management of public resources by strengthening the sector Ministries and Treasury’s financial oversight of those entities. The amendment seeks to enhance the governance arrangements over public entities and statutory funds.

The proposed amendments Madam Speaker, pursuant to that objective, it is proposed that Section 10 be amended to clarify the powers and responsibilities of accounting officers with respect to public entities and statutory funds under their Ministry’s purview as follows: 

  • Responsibility to ensure that every public entity or statutory fund under each Ministry’s purview has systems in place for planning, allocating, budgeting and reporting on the use of public resources and that public resources are safeguarded against loss;
  • The requirement for accounting officers to review the recurrent and capital budgets of every public entity/fund and make recommendations to the appropriate Minister and the Minister responsible for Finance on the approval of such budget proposals;
  • The mandate to order investigation into the affairs of a public entity or a statutory fund under the accounting officers Ministry;
  • The power to call upon an accounting authority to provide explanations on issues affecting the public entity or statutory fund;
  • The authority to give direction which the accounting officer deems

necessary for the efficient running of the public entity of statutory funds.

(b)     Section 46 Madam Speaker, is to be amended to require all public entities to submit annually, corporate and financial plans to the accounting officer and the Accountant-General before the start of the financial year. The information will facilitate effective monitoring of public entity operations by the supervising Ministry and the Treasury.

          Section 47 Madam Speaker, is to be amended to make it mandatory for public entities to submit their budgets to the appropriate Minister for approval not less than three months before the start of the financial year. The proposed provisions further compel the supervising Ministry to check for and ensure consistency of the annual corporate plans and budgets of public entities with the financial policies set by Government. These provisions will ensure that the deployment of resources by public entities is in line with Government policy and targets their co-mandates.

          Madam Speaker, with respect to Section 49, this section is to be amended to incorporate a provision requiring public entities to submit quarterly financial statements no later than 21 days after the end of the respective quarter. The introduction of the quarterly reporting requirement will substantially enhance the monitoring of their functions.

A new Section 51(a) is to be inserted to clarify the separation of roles between the supervising Ministries and public entities consistent with good corporate governance principles. The clause further provides for offences and penalties for contravention of its provisions. Section 82 is to be amended to include provisions that compel public entities to implement audit recommendations within timeframes agreed with the Auditor General.

In conclusion Madam Speaker, as I indicated earlier on, the proposals we are making in this Bill are critical to allow for the effective discharge of the mandate vested in my Ministry to manage public resources. I therefore urge members of this august House to support these proposals to enhance the effective management of/and accountability for public resources for the good of the nation.

I, therefore, move that the Public Finance Management Amendment Bill 2015, (H. B. 14, 2015) be now read a second time. I thank you.

HON. CROSS: Madam Speaker, the Committee responsible for Finance and Economic Development has considered this draft Amendment Bill and conducted public hearings in 6 centres in Zimbabwe. This Bill was examined by the general public and we received questions and points of view on it. I want to report to this House that the Committee as a consequence, has no objections to the Bill in its present form and we are extremely satisfied with its contents. We wish to recommend to the House its adoption without amendment. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Let me applaud the Minister in bringing this Bill to the House because many a times Hon. Speaker, you would find that most of the reports from the Public Accounts Committee that I chair, have several points that the Minister is trying to pay attention to. I would want to believe that with such kind of a Bill and reaction from the Executive, it is the kind of attitude that we expect from the Executive. I want to thank Hon. Minister Chinamasa for bringing such a Bill and I want to believe that in future, let us work together, let us tour the line.

However, I did not hear the factor in terms of the composition of the boards. This is because boards are overstaying without any changes. For example the GMB Board, you would find that board members are not declaring interests in terms of the requisite of the Public Finance Management Act. I would want to believe that in his wisdom, the Hon. Minister would be able to supervise and monitor on whether the composition of boards and the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act are adhered to. I would also urge him to go back to the reports of the Public Accounts Committee in terms of recommendations that we have made several times and also that we have got a pending motion Hon. Minister, in terms of  the performance of parastatals and State enterprises that is already on the Order Paper.  If so, then the recommendations can also be implemented.  It will actually improve the functions of Government and safeguard the resources that are so much needed in the nation.  Thank you Hon. Minister.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I just have additions to make.  Firstly, I would like to applaud the Minister for bringing up these amendments.  Madam Speaker, I want to give this suggestion, that the accounting officers who are being spoken about should not be in acting capacities.  If you are in an acting capacity – usually, an accounting officer is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of that department.  The parastatals that I heard of, a lot of the CEOs have been in acting capacity.  However, of late, I have seen that they are now in substantive positions.

It is my fervent view that in the very instant that the accounting officer becomes acting, for that period the provisions of the Act are suspended because they might take it upon themselves to weed the department of those people they might perceive as competitors to his position.  So, the issue of acting positions in accounting officers should also be dealt with in this regard.

In Section 82 that you alluded to, I applaud you Minister because more often than not, the Auditor-General’s reports are just a mere talk-show and we have never seen any teeth as an outcome of the Auditor-General’s report. 

Going forward, you have also alluded to the fact that there are going to be sanctions of some sort in some sections.  So, I really applaud you for bringing up this Bill and I say, this might be a beginning of the future.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I want to thank Hon. Members for their unqualified support for the Bill.  I want to assure them that naturally, we cannot achieve what we want to do over night.  However, we have started taking concrete steps to make sure that we give serious attention to reports of the Public Accounts Committee and the Auditor-General so that we can address any shortcomings.  This is how we are able to improve our systems.  As we receive this, we are told about these shortcomings, we must take corrective action. 

I want to assure Hon. Members that my Ministry is very much dedicated to that task.  You will recall Hon. Members that, in my 2016 Budget Statement, I said that we are going to create and we have already created dedicated units under the Accountant-General’s Office.  Two units, one is basically to peruse the reports from the Public Accounts Committee and the Auditor-General and recommend to the Minister what corrective action to be taken.  There is also need to recommend to the Minister that, in some cases, these reports are not necessarily correct, the conclusions may have been reached on the basis of incomplete information.  However, we should be able to come to this House and say; yes there was this recommendation, but on our further investigation, there is practically nothing to the matter.

The other unit is basically – accounts are produced by State enterprises, so far no one has ever bothered to read, analyse and see them; on the face of the accounts themselves, a story should be told and we now have that unit which is basically going to be reading all those reports and highlighting issues that need to be followed up.

Madam Speaker, I am happy to say that this morning, we did a ground-breaking event where Post Office Savings Bank, which comes under my Ministry insisted that they should have an Annual General Meeting that is open to the press.  We had some two and a half hours today where they were making a presentation of their accounts.  As a representative of the shareholder, I was posing questions and asking.  These are some of the steps that if we have transparency, all the issues that Hon. Maridadi worries about on corruption will be minimised.

Corruption always thrives in secrecy, where everything is hiding in the curves and so on.  However, where everything is open and is being interrogated, there will be less.  I am happy that, I think the board members and even the management of POSB were very pleased with the exercise because it puts them on their toes.  In the process, it also brings job satisfaction because no one really wants to come to work to be corrupt.  If you put systems that prevent them from corruption, I think they will be happier with their families.  There will be no fear of being arrested or being exposed and so on.  I would very much want to thank Hon .Cross, Hon. Mpariwa and Hon. Nduna for their support.  It is a process and we are going to work very closely with accounting officers of line ministries. 

The fear you raised Hon. Nduna, about accounting officers in an acting capacity, clearly in any structure, at some stages you cannot avoid some people having to work in acting capacities.  Resignations and deaths occur, so there will be, at one point or another, a person working in an acting capacity.  That, you cannot avoid.  Madam Speaker, with those remarks, I move that the Public Finance Management Amendment Bill (H.B. 15, 2015) be now read a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee Stage: Thursday, 12th May, 2016

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

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 11 MAY 2016 VOL 47 NO 57