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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 14 MARCH 2019 45-42

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 14th March, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

          HON. NDUNA:  I rise on a point of privilege Madam Speaker.  Yesterday we had a Ministerial Statement from the Hon. Minister of Mines and Mining Development on the issue at Battlefields and Cricket Mines.  I ask that this House, if it is possible, that the Minister of Health and Child Care comes to this House and gives a Ministerial Statement on the state of our health institutions. 

The Minister should touch on four key issues; the first one relates to the condition of our health delivery system.  The second one is to do with the AIDS Levy.  The third one is if at all the Ministry or the Executive is mulling on bringing the cancer levy into effect, aware that a lot of our population is bedeviled by this cancer epidemic. 

Madam Speaker, the fourth issue is if the Minister can also indulge Members of Parliament to proffer solutions on how to capacitate the health delivery system aside just from getting money from the fiscus and also other solutions to deal with our health delivery system. Madam Speaker, if the Minister can also confer with the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare in relation to the operation of Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo because it has been on the ropes for a very long time.  We request that the Minister favours this House with a Ministerial Statement on those key issues if it so pleases you Madam Speaker.  I thank you

          HON. MADZIMURE:  Thank you Madam Speaker, I just want to make a few additions to the Hon. Member’s point of privilege.  I commend Hon. Nduna for raising this pertinent issue but, there is also an issue that the senior doctors are actually on strike and their cry is that the hospitals are not equipped enough for them to conduct surgical operations, especially those who are responsible for looking after the children.  So, if that can also be included in the Minister’s Ministerial Statement - to clarify how he is going to deal with the issue of the striking senior doctors and also equipping our theatres. 

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Hon. Nduna certainly brings up a very important point which was buttressed by Hon. Madzimure.  I think everybody is aware of the video that has gone viral by Dr. Aza Mashumba.  I think it actually talks about the situation more specifically and we as parliamentarians need to also respond to that.  The Government must respond.  It is as if nothing has been happening from Parliament itself.  There is a Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare - it is important that it moves with speed to address what she was saying so that the aspect of oversight is done. 

          It is important that before the Minister even does come here that the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare also does its part, or else would be seen not to have done what it is supposed to do.  So, the aspect of oversight is critical, but what is critical is that Parliament for a long time has been talking about these issues in terms of question time and in terms of the Portfolio Committee. However, but, what has not come about are the responses from the Executive at the end of the day.  Now that the head of Government business is here Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi, it is only proper that he responds to the issue of health in terms of the current situation.  I that would help us in addressing that issue because the citizens of this country can no longer wait, they want to know what the end result is.  Thank you.

          THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Members.  I think all the issues which have been raised are pertinent.  I will ask the Minister of Health and Child Welfare to come and give a Ministerial Statement. 

FIRST READING

CONSUMER PROTECTION BILL [H. B. 10, 2018]

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO) presented the Consumer Protection Bill [H. B. 10, 2018]. 

Bill read the first time.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee. 

FIRST READING

EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 1, 2019]

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA) presented the Education Amendment Bill [H. B. 1, 2019].

Bill read the first time.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

FIRST READING

MICRO-FINANCE BILL [H. B. 11, 2018]

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE) presented the Micro-Finance Bill [H. B. 11, 2018]. 

Bill read the first time.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

MOTION

RATIFICATION OF THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON DEMOCRACY, ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Madam Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name:

          THAT WHEREAS, section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that “An international treaty which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority –

(a)  Does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament; and

(b)            Does not form part of the law of Zimbabwe unless it has been incorporated into the law through an Act of Parliament; 

(c)  An agreement which is not an international treaty but which is not an international treaty but which –

(d)            Has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organisations or entities; and

(e) Imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe; does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament”.

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance be approved for ratification-

Madam Speaker, I rise to present to Parliament the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance for ratification.  Madam Speaker, the Charter was adopted by the Eighth Ordinary Session of the Assembly held in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on the 30th January, 2007.  It came into effect on 15th February, 2012 after ratification by 15 member states.  The Charter was motivated by the need to enhance the quality of elections in Africa, promote human rights, strengthen the rule of law, improve political, economic and social governance and address the recurrent issues relating to unconstitutional changes of Government in the continent. 

Madam Speaker, the African Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance was signed by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa on the 21st of March, 2018 in Rwanda.  The signing was ahead of our harmonized elections which were held on the 31st of July, 2018.  The signing was so as to enhance the quality of our own elections, among other objectives.  Mindful of the provision of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution which provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament. The Charter was submitted to Parliament for ratification before.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, the Charter binds State parties to promote democracy, rule of law and human rights. It obligates State parties to take necessary measures to promote constitutional transfer of power. It also binds the State parties to guarantee rights of women, migrants, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and other vulnerable social groups.

          The Charter obligates State parties to establish and entrench a culture of democracy and peace through legislative measures by:

1.    Promoting good governance through transparent and accountable administration; 

2.    Strengthening political institutions to entrench a culture of democracy and peace;

3.    Creating conducive conditions for civil society organisations to exist and operate within the law;

4.    Integrating civic education in their educational curricula and developing appropriate programmes and activities.

To consolidate democracy and peace, the Charter binds State parties to ensure and maintain political and social dialogue. The Charter binds State parties to institutionalise constitutional civilian control over the armed forces and to ensure consolidation of democracy and constitutional order. State parties are also obligated to take legislative and regulatory measures to ensure that those who attempt to remove an elected Government are dealt with in accordance with the law.

The Charter binds State parties to establish public institutions that promote democracy and constitutional order. State parties are sanctioned by the Charter to commit to regular holding of transparent, free and fair elections in accordance with the union’s declaration on the principles governing democratic elections in Africa.

To this end, State parties shall establish and strengthen independent and impartial national electoral bodies responsible for the management of elections.

1.    Establish and strengthen national mechanisms that redress election related disputes in a timely manner.

2.    Ensure fair and equitable access by contesting parties and candidates to State controlled media during elections.

3.    Ensure there is a binding code of conduct governing legally recognised political stakeholders, Government and other political actors prior, during and after elections.

4.    The code shall include a commitment by political stakeholders to accept the results of the election or challenge them through legal channels.

The Charter obligates State parties to refrain from using illegal means of accessing or maintaining power. Unconstitutional change of government like a coup-de-tat, armed rebellion against a constitutional elected government, refusal to relinquish power to a winning party in free and fair elections shall draw appropriate sanctions by the union. In this case, the Peace and Security Council shall intervene in order to maintain the constitutional order.

The council may suspend a State party from participating in the activities of the union where diplomatic efforts have failed. The assembly shall have the power to impose sanctions including punitive economic sanctions.

State parties are obligated to advance political, economic and social governance, that is, through committing to strengthening capacity of Parliament and legally recognised political parties to perform their functions, partnerships with civil society organisations, reform of legal systems, combating corruption, and promoting freedom of expression among others.

The Charter binds the State parties to take measures to enhance participation of women in electoral processes and ensure gender parity in representation at all levels. The Charter provides that State parties shall promote the participation of youth and people with disabilities in the governance process.

State parties are bound by the Charter to institutionalise good economic and corporate governance. The Charter also obligates State parties to decentralise powers as provided in their national laws. The Charter obligates State parties to promote peace, security and stability in their respective countries, regions and in the continent by promoting participatory political systems.

State parties are bound by the Charter to provide and enable access to basic social services to people.

I now lay the Charter before Parliament for approval and I move that the debate to do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 19th March, 2019

MOTION

RATIFICATION OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the approval of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Question again proposed.

HON.  DR. MASHAKADA:  Thank you Madam Speaker, I rise to support the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area which was ascended to by African heads of States in Kigali in the year 2018.

Madam Speaker, perhaps I need to put a context around the African Continental Free Trade Area before I go to elaborate on the advantages of the African Continental Free Trade Area.  Africa has always been regarded as a dark continent.  Africa has been known as a continent of wars, civil wars, military coups, poverty, disease, hunger et cetera – that is a distorted view of Africa.  The founding fathers of Africa, Dr. Julius Nyerere and Kwame Nkrumah were very clear on the vision of Africa.  They were trying to sculpture an Africa that is development oriented, growth, prosperous, peaceful and stable. That was the vision of the founders of the OAU in 1963.

Since the OAU was founded in 1963, we have seen a shift by African leaders from political to economic development. That is why African heads of State through the African Union (AU) came up with Agenda 2063.  The Agenda 2063 identified development as a key priority for Africa and it is in the context of Agenda 2063 that I want to discuss the African Continental Free Trade Area.  On Agenda 2063, the AU and African leaders have come up with priority projects that must be pursued to bring development and progress to Africa. 

Some of the priority projects include introducing a high-speed train that will connect all African capitals as a move to integrate Africa to bring about economic integration and economic progress.  There will also be established an African virtual e-university to promote the study of academic and technical subjects by African citizens.  There is a formulation of a commodities strategy to try to make sure that Africa does not continue to export raw materials but export manufactured goods.  In the context of Agenda 2063, another fast track project is the establishment of an Annual African Forum where African leaders, the private sector and civil society will come together and discuss problems that affect Africa.  The other fast track issue is the introduction of an African passport and free movement of people across the African borders.  Another fast track project under Agenda 2016 is the Inga Dam, that has the capacity to light the African continent – not only light the African continent but to export power to other Continents.

Perhaps for today’s debate, one of the key issues of Agenda 2063 is the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area.  Madam Speaker, you know that, trade is an engine of growth, development, generates employment and creates value chains across all the sectors of the economy – so trade is every important. The problem is that Africa has not been trading among itself.  We have been trading more with Europe than among ourselves as African countries.  For example, if you compare intra-African trade, it is as low as 12% but if you look at trade among the Americas, it stands at 20%; trade amongst the Asian countries which are the East Asian and Pacific countries stands at 47%; trade within the EU itself stands at 68%.  So you will find that there is a move towards intra-regional trade or internal trade among regional groupings. Africa is lagging behind at 12%.

The AU has come up with a programme called, Boosting Inter-African Trade (BIAT).  The African Continental Free Trade Area  seeks to push BIAT to boost inter-African trade so that African  countries are able to trade more amongst themselves rather than trade with Europe, China et cetera.  The Continental Free Trade Area is a very important instrument in the development of Africa and the enhancement of development among African States.  This is why African heads of State agreed as early back as 2015, to push this trade Agreement so that it would be operational by 2017.  However, the 2017 deadline was exceeded because of difficult negotiations.

I want to just simplify and demystify it and say that it is simply a trade agreement which lays down the trade rules that must be followed amongst African countries.  It is like the World Trade Organization (WTO) which is a trade agreement affecting all countries globally.  For your information, Madam Speaker, the African Continental Free Trade Area is the largest trading bloc on earth.  It brings together the whole of Africa with a GDP of 3.2 trillion and a whole market of 1.2 billion people.  So it is the largest trade bloc, followed by the WTO.

          So, Africa must seize the opportunity to embrace this trade agreement so that we can start promoting trade among African countries. African countries have got different comparative advantages. Some are good in chemicals, mining products, clothing and textiles and so on. If we harness the trade among ourselves, we will get plenty of advantages from intra-African trade. For your information Madam Speaker, 16 out of 55 African countries are landlocked. The Continental Free Trade Area will enable those landlocked countries to use the ports of those countries that have got coastal lines, to move their shipments, products and so forth across the African continent. This is a very important protocol which must be supported.

          As way back as 2015, it was agreed that the AFCFTA must be put into place and negotiations started taking place on the Continental Free Trade Area. Basically, it is structured in three parts. The first round of negotiations looked at goods and services, how to move goods and services freely across the African Continent and how to reduce tariffs among African countries. The agreement on goods was that Africa must lift tariffs on goods by 90%. So 90% of the goods traded, the duty must be reduced or removed totally. There is still this 10% for countries to adjust because some countries were saying they have infant or collapsed industries and so on. So, the margin of 10% was left for African countries to gradually comply with total free movement of goods and services. That is one element of the Continental Free Trade Area.

          The other element after goods and services is the intellectual property. African heads of states have agreed that intellectual property must move freely across the African continent. Here we are talking about skills that are trade related and consultancies and so on to promote intra-African trade. So, intellectual property is another dimension of the African Continental Free Trade Area. The third pillar is of course competition. The African Continental Free Trade Area envisages competition among African countries as they conduct trade.

Now, I come to the advantages of the African Continental Free Trade Area. The first advantage is the cost. Madam Speaker, if Africa begins to trade amongst itself, the cost of goods will be reduced because they will be a variety of products that will be circulating within the African continent, but if there are trade barriers, we are not able to enjoy other products produced by other countries because we put a tariff wall on those products. If the tariffs are reduced, we can be able to access these products at reasonable prices. So, from a cost point of view, I think the African Continental Free Trade Area will give choice to African citizens on the products that they can consume across the African Continent.

The second advantage is that through trade, there will be skills transfer among the African countries. There will be technology transfer among the African countries and most importantly, all barriers to trade will be eliminated. There are so many tariff and non-tariff barriers. One of the typical non-tariff barriers are roadblocks. If we go into a regime of intra-African trade, we should be able to agree to reduce all those roadblocks because they increase the cost of trade among African countries. There is a whole opportunity when it comes to the reduction of cost.

The other advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area is that trade related infrastructure will increase. As countries seek to trade, you will find that there will be connectivity through infrastructural development, roads, railway lines, ports and ICTs. Those trade related infrastructure will be promoted and thereby developing Africa. There will be trade institutions that will also be created, for example, trade finance banks, insurance companies to ensure goods will be in motion. There is a whole lot of advantage by creating this African Continental Free Trade Area.

It is thought that by year 2022, Africa will have doubled its trade among itself. Now it is at 12% and by 2022, trade will increase to about 25-30% through the impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area. So, regional and continental integration is now the way to go. This solemn mentality where countries think they can do it alone will not work. We need raw materials from other countries and they also need our raw materials. There is need to promote this African Continental Free Trade Area to boost inter-African trade and Zimbabwe will benefit by joining this African Continental Free Trade Area because we are a country which has potential. Look at our mining industries in terms of what we export. Look at what we export in terms of manufacturing but manufacturing is still not yet there but mining, agriculture, skills and others; we can export skills to support trade arrangements in Africa.

As far as I am concerned, this is a very good protocol and I want to congratulate the Minister for doing the right thing to bring protocols to Parliament so that we can ratify and domesticate them so that they can be implemented. However, at our back banner, we must realise that there is a lot we need to do as a country. We need to fix the currency issue. If we are now going to join the Continental Free Trade Area, we need to fix the currency so that there is stability and universality. People should be able to know that if I trade with Zimbabwe, how do I get my money or will I be paid for my products. So, we have to sort our currency regime to make sure that we exploit the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

We must address our borders. We have a One-Stop Border Post at Chirundu. Fair and fine but Beitbridge is a nightmare. How are we going to trade because Beitbridge is the largest internal port in Africa but traders will take days and weeks to move products across Beitbridge? We must be caught ready to embrace the African Continental Free Trade Area. Our road networks have to be revitalised. Why are we taking ages to improve or work on the Beitbridge - Chirundu highway? We are taking ages and yet it is part of the South-North corridor to move products from South Africa via Zimbabwe, Zambia, Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and so on. We control a strategic part of the South-North corridor in so far as trade road transport is concerned. We need to up our game on infrastructure, ICTs and our own trade related institutions to make sure that we take advantage of the bigger market of 1,2 billion people in Africa and a GDP of $3,4 trillion to improve our act.

I want to lend my support and say that this is a good protocol which Africa must support and which this Parliament must ratify for the benefit of our people to eradicate poverty, create employment and also growth of the Zimbabwean economy. I thank you.

HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The African Continental Free Trade Area is an achievement of the African Union. The forefathers of our struggle, Kwame Nkrumah and Amilcar Cabral are celebrating what we are debating today because this is their desire to see Africa trade as a continent.  So, I lend my support to the Hon. Minister, I say job well done.  This should have been brought, maybe last year so that we can increase trade but what areas of trade do we want to increase?  This is a very vital point.  Like what Hon. Mashakada said, what are we doing as a country; yes Zimbabwe can compete but how do we compete as Zimbabwe on African markets under the current situation? 

          Our banks do not make money from selling money.  They make money from bank charges, which actually puts you at a disadvantage.  If you are a Zimbabwean industrialist, your bank charges alone then destroy you, you would not compete with other countries.  There is also another element which we must deal with.  There is a colonial mindset in many African countries, those who have been colonised by the British, try to behave as if they are better than anyone else and those who were colonised by France, they only want to trade with France, their colonial master.  That mindset must be removed from Africans because colonialism is colonialism; it is a crime against humanity.  We must fight it but if we fail to fight colonialism in our trading then we remain servants and puppets of imperialism.  Imperialism is something that attacks somebody, it is like death, you would not know that you are dead and there are always agents of imperialism that will live until we explain to them that they are – I cannot use that word.

          The other thing is we have got – yes, tariffs are going to go down but for example in my own case, I got a contract to supply certain drugs to South Africa. South Africa then said you can bring them but we do not want them to come by road they must be by flown by air.  Once it is like that you fly those drugs to South Africa but you will not compete with South African companies.  So, these are some of the situations which we find ourselves in, and these are some of the things that have to be dealt with in a practical example. 

          I am involved in the cutting and polishing of black granite. People come from Mozambique or Malawi; they go to South Africa to buy tombstones because they cannot buy them from Zimbabwe.  In Zimbabwe if you want to export a tombstone, you need to have a tombstone export permit that costs $500, more than the tombstone itself.  These are some of the things that we must remove because we are just disadvantaging ourselves.  Further to that, besides this export permit, you need to have a CD 1 but all these things can be done overnight through computerisation.  This African Continental Free Trade Area must incorporate ICT.  We must be able to see what is happening everywhere in Africa.  We must take advantage of technology; we must not be scared of technology.  It is unfortunate  that some Hon. Members are ‘BBC’, born before computers, they do not understand what I am saying; just heckling every time.

          Another important thing also is how do we cooperate at regional level first and then go to continental level?  Why I am saying so is, if you go to Road Port today; people coming from South Africa, they are buying goods produced in China.  We need to have a situation- we must encourage our industrialists to produce certain consumer goods.  You must look at yourself in the morning when you wake up, what type of tea are you drinking?  You are drinking Rooibos tea which is imported.  What type of coffee are you drinking; what type of chocolate are you eating; it is made in Switzerland.  We must have this African mindset including in the august House.  We must always see – my jacket is made in Chitungwiza.  We need to start at home; charity begins at home; this whole idea of garments made in Dubai and everything; we will not get there.  Let us buy Africa; we must buy Africa.  This is very important.

          Madam Speaker, the Minister has introduced this agreement at the right time.  Zimbabwe is now proposing to grow medicinal cannabis and Africa – there is no other continent in the whole world that can beat Africa.  All the soil textures, soil pH, whether, everything that is required when you want to grow medicinal cannabis; this is what we must take advantage of as the whole continent so that anyone who comes here must know that different quantities; different qualities are available.

          Hon. Sikhala having heckled Hon. Mudarikwa. – [HON. MUDARIKWA: Iwe uri night school lawyer iwe enda kwauri kuenda.]

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mudarikwa address the Chair.  You can go ahead Hon. Mudarikwa.

          HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  What we are discussing today is for the future generations of Africa and future generations of Zimbabwe.  If people do not understand economics; if people do not understand the value of trading, they must just keep quiet or they must just sleep.  I saw some people are sleeping.  It is better to be sleeping and quiet than trying to make unnecessary noise when you do not know what we are discussing about.  This is a noble idea, this country will move forward and develop as Zimbabwe.  This is the wish of the people of Zimbabwe that we produce more goods for our people.

          Madam Speaker, look at food production, the production of food is critical in African because when you look at other situations when we have a drought, we see food coming from other continents and yet Africa has all the resources.  Water is there and human capital is there.  I stand here Madam Speaker to move that the Parliament of Zimbabwe must support the African Continental Free Trade Area.  I thank you.

          HON. A. MPOFU: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I also stand as the Hon. Members before me have done, to support that this House approves the ratification of this protocol.  Global trade agreements are proliferating across the whole world but what has been noted is that a lot of these global trade agreements that have not been done within the continent have not necessarily been to the benefit of Africa basically because Africa is heavily under represented and under capacitated in all trade negotiations.  Therefore, it is imperative that this august House supports this necessary and timely initiative that comes from Africa.

Madam Speaker, Africa enjoys less than 2% of global trade.  As one of the Hon. Members has already noted, this concurs very unfavourably when we look at the intercontinental trade in other continents. What is clear is that the work that has already been done by regional organisations like our own SADC, the East African Community, COMESA and ECOWAS is indeed a cause for optimism and is going to give us a lot of lessons as Zimbabwe ratifies this Africa Continental Free Trade Protocol.

Without regional integration Madam Speaker, we do not have a lot of hope of how we can grow our industries and how we can expand job creation in our economies.  What is also important to welcome in this agreement, Madam Speaker, is that it is an opportunity for innovation.  Indeed, being part of this free trade agreement does pose a challenge, but it does give an opportunity.  Zimbabwean industries have to innovate and they have to diversify because without innovation, economies simply cannot prosper.  We do in this context therefore welcome the relationship that is already established. 

As we approve this protocol we note with fervour the initiatives that are coming from our Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development which has put so much emphasis on innovation and the creation of innovation hubs.  This therefore makes it quite an opportunity and a timely opportunity for that matter, for this august House to give a thumps up to the Minister for bringing this protocol before the august House.

Madam Speaker, it is important to say that the challenge that rises and the challenge we definitely have to embrace is that this gives us an opportunity to develop our rural communities.  It is time therefore that with this free trade opportunity we ask ourselves how we can maximise the mobilisation of resources that exist, particularly in rural areas. 

I am not ashamed to say that in the constituency that I come from we have a resource called Mupfura.  Travelling in one or two countries I have seen products being exported which are made from this wonderful tree.  Apart from the fact that of course it gives our communities a time for leisurely relaxation and pleasure but without focusing on innovating around those resources then our rural communities will remain deprived even when we do have such a wonderful opportunity of trade.

Madam Speaker, we have a challenge here and the challenge is that as we welcome this protocol we should also sharpen our tools of trade.  At a practical level it means we have to capacitate and refocus the way we deploy even our trade representatives across the globe.  It also means maybe we have to resuscitate or to reinvigorate our organisations like the Zimbabwe export council.  It is necessary, Madam Speaker, because we have to be competitive within this free trade area.

We do welcome, in this context Madam Speaker, the efforts that are being made by our Government.  We notice with pleasure and with fervour the efforts that are being put to construct and upgrade the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway.  This is necessary infrastructure that comes at the right time and we are happy to say Zimbabwe can compete and will compete and therefore I will support that this august House approves the protocol.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I think it is important when you are talking about the African Continental Trade Agreement one must equally dress African.  I think for a very long time the aspect of identity is critical.  You have seen that over the past few weeks I have decided to liberate myself.  I spoke to a number of my colleagues who are African who questioned me that in Zimbabwe you are free but the way you dress you are not free as men.  You are always wearing a tie and jacket.  Already you have imprisoned yourselves.  We are still with a colonial mentality of going for the Giorgio Armani Armani and Gucci suits, yet when you wear them you are not free. 

What I am wearing now allows me to stretch to express myself, to ventilation.  To be protected by this shirt from the heat, it is so scientific for oneto be protected from the heat but inside there is an air conditioner so you are constantly alive.

HON. MACHINGURA:  On a point of order, Madam Speaker.  Are we still talking about the Preferential Trade Area?  We are not talking about individual Hon. Member’s dressing here.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Madam Speaker, it is those comments that make Africa not what it is because some are very Eurocentric.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Stick to the debate Hon. Member.

HON. T. MLISWA:  I am talking about the African wear which is a textile made in Africa.  The cotton which Zimbabwe produced made shirts from so many other countries.  You talk about Van Heusen shirts – today people are asking where it is.  It was a product of Africa, but a product of Zimbabwe.  I am talking about the money that can be made through the textile industry in Africa.  Today you see that the suits which are made in Europe, the cotton comes from Africa. Why can Africa not make its own suits and export to Europe.  These are some of the fundamental issues which this agreement will address but we cannot talk about free trade without people also moving the trade being free.  The goods are moving but the people who are moving the goods are not free; there are restrictions on the borders. This is where you come with one passport, an African passport which allows people to trade. 

The EU is a good example, they have a free movement of the people through the EU passports that they have. Not only that, there is the aspect of the currency which is critical.  As, Africans, We must also have our own country currency which we are able to trade amongst ourselves.  Without currency, it means nothing at the end of the day. This is the reason why for Zimbabwe to be part of this, it must equally have its own currency.  You cannot be trading with RTGs when it is not a currency – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – when you have other countries with their own currency.  We must have pride in our own currency and that is critical in terms of the money needed for the aspect of transactions. 

You have a situation of the infrastructure, the railways.  Hon. Mashakada spoke about the ports which are in Africa where most of the countries in Africa are land locked but this will also talk about the infrastructure.  Do we have the rail to be able to put the goods from the port to come into Zimbabwe?  We are struggling as it is in getting goods from Beira into Zimbabwe.  The borders are busy.  The truckers are there, they are sleeping there.  As a result, even the aspect of HIV increases because one is at the border for so many days and you cannot allow a man to go for so long without the necessary gifts that God would have presented. To me, the aspect of AIDS again is also spread as a result of that.  So, the aspect of time is important.  There must be a timeframe.  How many times have we waited for goods to arrive from Beira yet it compromises and prejudices the business which is supposed to be thriving at the end of the day.

The reason why we have the pipeline from Beira to Zimbabwe (Msasa) is indicative of the need to ensure that even your own fuel, you are able to control through the pipeline at the end of the day. 

There are issues of security. If you are having these goods being moved, there must be a situation where they are secure and there are strategic goods which are for security reasons.  For example arms, you cannot just have them being put in 30 tonne trucks and so forth.  The security equally must be involved to ensure that this happens.

Hon. Mpofu spoke well on issues of deploying the people with an economic sense – the new dispensation talks about economics, economics and economics.  His Excellency, Cde E.D. Mnangagwa has been saying that it is no longer about politics but economics but you cannot be deploying ambassadors who are political when you are talking about economics.  We now need to have a review of the people who are deployed in these embassies.  How economically capacitated are they?  This is the new dispensation that we are talking about.  This talks in line with what His Excellency is pushing for. 

We now need to have young people.  Look at Rwanda today.  Look at the young people in Government in Rwanda today. They can never sell their country out but they remain nationalistic and patriotic to the calls of Rwanda.  They have gone to Harvard and have come back.  How many Zimbabweans today have been to Oxford, Harvard or Yale who are more than happy to come back and work for their country?  There is a time in your life where you do not work for yourself but you work for your country. 

You could see even that medical doctor, Azza Mashumba; she is passionate about her country.  She can go anywhere....

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  You are left with five minutes.

HON. T. MLISWA:  She can go anywhere and get a job as a doctor but she believes that her country comes first and it is important that we have those coming through.  We also must position ourselves as Zimbabwe. There is no point for this agreement being signed when Zimbabwe is not positioned to also take advantage of it.  For a very long time we have been seen wanting.  What are we doing to prepare ourselves for this?  We want to be reactionary.  It is important for us to start asking ourselves to get the necessary pillars or sectors of the State to prepare for them for this is coming at the end of the day. 

If we look at the EU trade, they have got one customs union where if you are not part of the EU, you pay.  To us again, once we have an African Customs Union, if you are not part of it, you will pay.  These are the issues that make Africa become the sleeping giant.  For a long time people have talked about Africa being the sleeping giant but the resources that Africa has have never seen the light of the day because of being manipulated or exploited by the western world.

If you see the hunger that the western world has for Africa, it is not for the people; it is for the resources in Africa.  These talks about the need for Africa, for that sleeping giant to wake up and be able to detect its future through an economic emancipation route – this agreement presents itself to be such an agreement that will see the GDP of Zimbabwe or Africa increasing.  We talk about the GDP of Africa per capita, what is it sitting on?  I was in the Seychelles, the GDP of the Seychelles per capita is 33 000.  In Zimbabwe, we talk about 1500;  US$36 000, Zimbabwe is US$1 500.  What is the GDP of Africa? When we talk about an economic transformation through this, it must talk about the GDP because that reflects the improvement of the welfare of the people economically at the end of the day.

It is critical Madam Speaker Ma’am that this agreement is supported at the same time.  The Bi-National Commission which we just saw in Zimbabwe aligns itself to this agreement.  It is a start of this agreement and Zimbabwe is fortunate that you have the SADC region which is united.  We are strategically positioned as a country in the SADC region to be able to benefit immensely from this.

Being land locked is also a blessing because every traffic that goes to DRC or Zambia passes through Zimbabwe and that is all money coming through to Zimbabwe.  It is important that this agreement is endorsed and implementation of this is critical.  We cannot suffer from inertia like what the Hon. Mr. Speaker always says, that the Government suffers from inertia at the end of day. May that disease of inertia cease to exist and may we be implementers.  I must commend before I sit down, that this has been a very mature debate with a very good crowd in Parliament which does not heckle but across the board, we are speaking the same language. May this spirit prevail.  I thank you.

HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to share my views on the African continental free trade area.  What do we hope to achieve as Africa?  We have seen that Africa has been trying to benefit from integration and this is one of the ways it is going to realise its goals of integration.  There are going to be more benefits from this arrangement than any other benefit from any other trading arrangement that has been done within the region outside the continent if this is well implemented.

There have been so many agreements afforded to Africa like the preferential market access to high income markets for many decades now.  However, most of the countries on this continent have not benefited much; they are still dependent on import and have excess amounts of unprocessed commodities on export.  We have seen that in Africa, we have a large trade deficit which slows down the pace of economic growth and development. 

We really need a new approach to tackle these problems. The Africa free continental trade area is the way to go – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We have a population of about 1.2 billion with a combined GDP of about $2.2 trillion and this is a huge market.  As Zimbabwe, we have more to benefit in having this arrangement approved for ratification.  I thank you.

*HON. MUCHENJE: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I also want to add my voice on this motion which the Minister was talking about.  If we are talking about free trade areas, it touches on women mostly and it is something we must be well-versed on.  Looking at the issue at stake, I have realised that if we are talking of free trade in Africa we should look at our transporting systems and observe whether it facilitates selling and buying from other countries.  We should look at all the transport sectors like air, road and railway.  If we look at our railway, we will realise that we are down including our road infrastructure where our roads are not in a good state.  We may say things are alright but if we do not look at the state of our road network infrastructure and ensure that it is good, it will not be well. 

Further, we need to look at the things that we want to buy and sell.  What do we produce as a nation?  For us to say that we are trading with other countries when we are not producing anything means that we are not benefitting on trade – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  At the moment, we are only importing and not exporting anything.  So, we should first look at our economy and take note of what we are producing as a nation which we can sell to other countries.  We also need to look at what we do not have so that we can import from other countries.  If we do not do that, it means that there is nothing that we can implement in terms of free trade.  We also need to look at whether our people are free to move around in terms of travel documents.  At times, one may need to go and sell in Namibia and they are given only four days within which one might not have finished selling their products.  So, we are saying that when we are in Africa, we should put in place measures that ensure freedom to travel in those countries.  These are the things that I wanted to contribute in terms of the motion before us.  I thank you.

HON. MADIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I think this has been the best motion this month of March, which is the women’s month.  As I am looking at the debate on the Continental Free Trade Area, it favours SMEs.  SMEs are responsible for more than 80 percent of Africa’s employment and more than 50 percent of GDP.  I rise to support this motion.  I think our Government is well-prepared for this kind of protocol given its current policies.  We are talking of increasing exports and it means we are already prepared to get into the free trade area.

There are a lot of advantages that will be enjoyed in the free trade area as has been alluded to by other Hon. Members.  In Zimbabwe, most of the people involved in trade and SMEs are women…

Hon. Dr. Mashakada having been conversing with another Hon. Member.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Mashakada!

HON. MADIWA: This kind of free trade will create a conducive environment for SMEs, especially women to do their businesses and contribute to our economy – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]  We are also looking at increasing competitiveness when we engage in free trade.  There is also an advantage of access to cheap means of production because there is a wide area in which anyone can choose where to get means of production.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker ma’am.  I also want to contribute in support of the Continental Free Trade Area.  It is also important as we consider the adoption of African free trade area, how other trade agreements are faring.  For example COMESA, how are we benefitting as Zimbabwe?  As we support this motion, it is not just to assume that we are going to benefit but there are other challenges that we need to deal with. 

I would like to quote what one of the forefathers of continental unity, Kwame Nkrumah said when he was talking about the post-colonial African State.  He said that, “The issue of development of post-colonial African State should be treated as a matter of emergency.  The post-colonial African State is like a land infested with land mines left behind by a vanquished army.”  So, we need to look into those land-mines and remove them so that what we are talking about is going to be a reality.  So, it is important to see where we are lacking as Zimbabwe. 

I would like to support the other Hon. Member who spoke about SMEs.  We also need to look at the capacity of SMEs in Zimbabwe; are they going to benefit because they will be competing with other giant companies?  How then is Zimbabwe going to benefit?  Those who are dominating the manufacturing industry in Africa, are probably international companies and our governments are going to benefit through taxes.  How are we prepared to promote the indigenous companies to benefit from this free trade area?  Is it not going to be just a free trade area for international companies without really benefitting our SMEs?  When we look at SMEs, it is sad to note that in Zimbabwe we have SMEs, in Mbare SMEs, in Glen View and they have the capacity to produce high quality products.  If you look at those SMEs, they are not being supported.  If you look at our budget, how much was allocated to SMEs? It is not enough to equip them to be able to compete at continental level.  So I would suggest that Zimbabwe, we have a daunting task to ensure that we promote home industry so that they will be able to compete with other companies at continental level.  We also need to improve on our economic diplomacy. 

          I would want to support Hon. Mliswa who talked about the issue that in the new dispensation, the main talk is about economics but then are we prepared enough to deal with economic diplomacy?  If you also look even on the expertise that is needed now when you are talking of international trade, probably we have limited international trade lawyers.  So it means even on the human capital development, we also need to project what kind of human capital will be needed if we are going to promote continental free trade agreement.  So, there is also need to involve the business sector.  In most cases, politicians will come here and sign agreements, the business sector that would actually be involved in promoting this or are benefiting from these trade agreements will not be involved.  So, it is also important Madam Speaker, that as Parliament, we also conduct public awareness and workshops with the business community.  We have the Chamber of Commerce, they also need to come in, promote and understand how they can benefit from the continental free trade area. 

          Also the involvement of civil society, of course when we hear about civil society, we just think that they are involved in human rights and other things but we have a number of civil society organisations that are also trying to help governments on how they can benefit from international trade agreements.  It is important that as we support this continental free trade area, we also involve the civil society. 

          Madam Speaker, I would want to say it is important to involve all the relevant stakeholders so that at the end of the day, we are supporting something that will really bring tangible benefits to the majority of people in Zimbabwe.  We also need to be alive to other issues such as the politics of free trade.  There is a lot of politics that would actually happen.  We also need to look deeper into those countries that are actually the movers of this free trade area.  Probably they will benefit more than Zimbabwe, so we also need to unpack the issues of politics and we also heard in the past decade or so, the resurgence of the politics of nationalism. Even in America, it is happening, the Brexit, it is another example and are we not going to have probably another ZIM Exit from that free trade area.  Where are we in terms of this politics of nationalism?

          We have seen governments now going back to defend the indigenous economies. So these are some of the issues that we also need to look into and also issues of xenophobia, for example in South Africa.  It is not about South Africa alone. So it means there are other issues again that we need to dig deeper into so that when we support these agreements, we are aware of the challenges that we are likely to face. 

Lastly, Madam Speaker, I would like to urge African governments to say as we support this, we also need to improve issues of trade facilitation. When we talk of one-stop border posts, it is not enough, we need to improve the infrastructure.  We also need to take into consideration that when we have borders, some of the borders can actually be developed into trading cities.  When you look at Mussina and compare with our Beitbridge, they are totally different.  Our people go to Mussina to buy goods and they come back but there is nothing that is happening in terms of economic sense at the Beitbridge border.   The same happens with Chirundu. If you now go to Zambia, Zambia has actually upgraded Chirundu into a town. They are developing it but Zimbabwe is doing nothing.   So, we need to improve on trade facilitation measures because without trade facilitation, this Free Trade Agreement will not benefit Zimbabweans – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          HON. MUSABAYANA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that you have given me.  I will start by saying I think the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a step in the right direction. Why I say so Madam Speaker, is because if you are looking at globalisation and the proliferation of ICT, nations have become borderless or the borders that we have are now blured.   Nations are becoming seamless in the way they conduct business.  So borders no longer really matter. If you are also looking at the cosmos, you see convergence of taste.  A few years ago, the Chinese did not eat McDonalds but now if you go to China, you will find that they now enjoy McDonalds and they also wear American jeans.  You also see convergence of culture, meaning that the compartments that existed before because of our traditional borders no longer really matter.  So, if we move towards issues to do with free trade areas or organisations that will support free trade area, it means we are now moving in speed with globalisation.

          Madam Speaker, if we are to achieve the objectives of agenda 2063 of raising the income per capita for African nations, then this Agreement should pass through Parliament with ease.  I think it is one of those agreements which were supposed to be passed within the 20 minutes that someone alluded to a day before yesterday.

Madam Speaker, I want to start with the African perspective as alluded to by Hon. Mashakada and say the challenge of Africa is poverty, the challenge of Africa is unemployment, the challenge of Africa is trade deficit.  In 2012, Africa was operating on a trade surplus as a continent.  Unfortunately, it was around US$24bn. Unfortunately that was reversed by 2014 and in 2016 Africa’s trade deficit was at US$155bn.  That shows that we have a challenge in Africa where we want to import more than we export.  Why is it so?  Why is this reversal in the trade deficit?  It is because of the structure of industries that we still want to maintain.  If we go back to our economists of the 17th and 18th century, they spoke of free trade as the only most efficient way of allocating resources within an economy, within a region or in the world.

          So, free trade areas create an opportunity for specialisation like Adam Smith said in 1776, when you specialise you focus and concentrate on what you are good at. I hear a lot of Hon. Members are talking about whether we are ready to go into free trade area because we are not good at that and we have not done this border. If you are going free trade area, those borders are no longer relevant. It means we have to refocus, to reset the buttons of Strategic Development and say do we really have to concentrate on trying to fix certain borders because they will not be useful anymore if you are in a free trade area. The other good thing about these free trade areas is that we are looking at how other continents have done.

          If you look at EU, they started it as an economic bloc but they have also transformed it into a political bloc after realising that free trade area is the way to go. EU has been very successful and it is the most successful free trade area or bloc in the world because it has a huge market, highest income per capita, their GMP is around plus or minus 9 trillion pounds. That goes to show that it is important that we remove these borders or these tariffs or restrictions to trade in any form.

          The important thing about these trading blocs is that you are looking at the market. The new way of doing business is that you start from the end, you start from a market orientation perspective. So, what you need is a big market and if you look at EU, their main economic engine is the single market that they have because they have plus or minus 400 million citizens that are stoking the economic fires for the EU market. That is very important if you are looking at economic development.

          So, Africa Uniting or Africa removing barriers will make sure that we will create a big market for more than 1.2 billion people which will be able to support the advantage of economies of scale. Africa is lagging behind in terms of not being able to value add or to manufacture or to industrialise is because there is no critical market and critical demand to be able to sustain certain industries and production. Once we unite as an economic bloc, it means we will be able to manufacture at lower cost. With economies of scale, it means prices will go down because when cost of production goes down, there will be a lot of competition and that competition will also increase incomes.

          When incomes increase, you find that disposable incomes also increase, which will have a multiply effect on the overall demand on Africa. Some gurus in economics have proposed that economy will grow by more than 52% if this agreement is implemented. Madam Speaker, on these economic blocs, if you look at EU like I was talking about, there are also successful stories about NAFTA which is USA, Canada and Mexico. This is another economic bloc that has proved to be very strong with also more than 400 million citizens. There is also NECOSA in South America where those nations  in that region of South America, like Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile have come together and formed a formidable economic bloc. So, I think this is the way to go.

          However, when we look at the issue of free trade area, it comes with a lot of advantages but there are certain issues that you also have to consider, because they are also disadvantages that can come with the issue of free trade area. The challenge with free trade area is that it will destabilise the existing industrial structures in an economy. It also means it is going to destabilise or to temper with the employment of people in those countries. We also need to prepare for that challenge because what it means is that there is a tendency for organisations or multi-national companies to focus their industries on those countries that had cheaper labour or where they think there are resources that will give them comparative advantage.

          So, for certain nations, they might be few but some of those nations, it can be a serious issue which can have political ramifications if it is not taken – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.]- Madam Speaker, if you can protect me. When the Hon. Member was speaking, I did not heckle him – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order.

          HON. MUSABAYANA: Madam Speaker, if we were to look at this issue, it means as a nation, we need to be prepared for it because there are also those protestors who are anti-global. You see that like our nation, we have a lot of people who are good at protesting, who also have anti-globalisation Protestants. They might actually try to bloc this Free Trade Agreement from passing through. So, we need to make sure that there is standardisation in terms of labour laws, like minimum wages and bank set ups to protect certain nations.

          Madam Speaker, free trade does not come for free because when you go into free trade area, nations specialise on what they are good at but  what it also means is you become so dependent or over-dependent on other nations. When you get over-dependent on other nations, it also means you get compromised in terms of your sovereignty as a nation. The other thing is when one nation sinks in the bloc, it can affect the whole bloc. We have seen that Mexico, the parcel was crushing and the USA was forced to try and bail it out in 1994 or there about. They had to bail out Mexico when it was crushing because it was going to affect the whole bloc. 

          So these are the other issues that we also need to consider. Having said that, I would say the African Continental Free Trade Area is the way to go because it is in sync with the New Dispensation or the 2nd Republic which is saying Zimbabwe is ready to engage with the rest of the world, with other African states and with all partners who are willing to come on board. The 2nd Republic is also talking about ‘Zimbabwe being open for business’. If you are open for business, it means we are opening up to the rest of the world. This is in sync and in speed with what our President is talking about when he talks about economics. I thank you.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me the opportunity and I want to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing this protocol for ratification, the Continental Free Trade Area. I just want to touch on just a few issues as a lot of issues have been ventilated already. In the top five countries of the world that are rich or are endowed with ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth is two countries in Africa and that is South Africa at US$2.5 trillion and there is Guinea on number three after Russia at US$222 billion.  Armed with so much wealth, it is only key and prudent to go the route of integrating our economies in terms of availing the course of the free trade area.  However, Madam Speaker, as other Hon. Members have touched on, this is premised on the pedestal or the platform of technology advancement.  We need to embrace technology as Africa in terms of capacitating our free trade area. 

I will touch on key issue that we need to touch on, the issue of open skies policy that is the Yamoussopukro Declaration that speaks to and about the open skies policy so that we can go from one country to another.  We can transport our cargo from one country to another in our continent.  It is also key Madam Speaker, to use the drones that is the UAV that unmanned aircraft vehicle in terms of policing our infrastructure and of delivery of the key payloads and products amongst the nations that are in Africa.  Madam Speaker, the issue of whether there can be impediments in terms of ratification in Africa on this key Protocol, the key Free Trade Zone is unfounded.  We have more than 52 countries in the African continent.  In the first ratification, there were more than 22 African countries and it is my fervent view and hope that we can have more than 40 countries that are going to ratify this.  It is requirement Madam Speaker, for it to be ratified by 21 African countries.  So the issue is far fetched when we say it might be impeded upon by lack of quorum in the ratification. 

Madam Speaker, the build up to the free trade area touches first and foremost on the agenda of the nations of the continent.  An example is our agenda, it grows into the SADC industrialisation agenda of 2015 and ultimately to the continental agenda of Africa 2063.  That speaks, amongst other things, the beneficiation and value addition of our product.  What does our local agenda speak to?  It touches on the issue of special economic zones which are a panacea or an antidote to deindustrialisation.  Our domestic agenda can also help the SADC agenda and the continental agenda that speaks to, amongst other things, the free trade area that we hear about.  Technology is embraced first and foremost in our special economic zones.  As I have said, the special economic zones – yours truly moved a motion to establish special economic zones in Zimbabwe and they speak to having global brands made in Zimbabwe.  They give the investors an opportunity to repatriate 100% of their investment, plus profit.  These are conditions of a geographical location that have been created in our domestic agenda, even before we talk of the SADC agenda, the regional agenda and the continental agenda. 

It is my fervent view and clarion call that if we can bolster our domestic agenda so that when we go to the continental agenda we are empowered in embracing technology that I have spoken about.  Computerisation is one other area, we have a young population as a continent and we can capitalise on the mindset of our young generation in terms of embracing technology and computerising our systems before we go into the free trade area.  Madam Speaker, we are endowed with ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth in Zimbabwe of which we have 60 and 20 only have been exploited.  The issue of resource extraction, we can take advantage of exporting the knowledge that our artisanal miners have shown to us.  They can be engaged in brown bed exploration and they can exploit minerals under very harsh conditions.  This is a take home for other nations in the continent.  It is said that experience is the best teacher.  As we have seamless borders, we can take an opportunity to formalise other nations informal sector by exporting to them our artisanal miners knowledge which have been proved beyond reasonable doubt that it can make a nation what it is.  It can economically emancipate a nation aware that they have delivered to Fidelity more than 23 tonnes of gold against a backdrop of the large-scale miners who have only delivered about 11 to 12 tonnes of gold. 

Madam Speaker, as I conclude, I want to say, in Africa the worst thing that we need to overcome is the issue of hatred and the issue of putting politics ahead of economic development.  Endorsing this continental agenda and free trade area should also make us embrace each other as Zimbabwe, as Africa, as brothers and make us have brotherly love and advance economic issues than polical issues.  Madam Speaker, we have been so acrimonious in terms of our engagement one with another from across the political divide, including our own political affiliations.  You will find that out of anger, out of differences and out of hatred, what is born out of there is extremism, insurgency and xenophobia attacks.  They are born out of hatred and witchcraft, we have a lot of that in Africa.  We need to eradicate that and annihilate that concept by embracing free trade area and economically embrace the issues as opposed to dealing with anger and political issues ahead of economic emancipation.  Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to ventilate most profoundly and effectively the issue of embracing the continental free trade area.  I thank you.

HON. CHINYANGANYA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this debate.  My name is Muchineripi Chinyanganya, I represent Kadoma Central Constituency.  Madam Speaker, let me start by thanking God Almighty for giving me the grace to serve the people of Kadoma in this august House and the nation at large.  I also want to thank the people of Kadoma for voting me into office and I promise to faithfully, selflessly and tirelessly work hard for their course.  Congratulations are in order Madam Speaker Ma’am on your election as the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.  Kadoma Central Constituency is located in Mashonaland West Province and is the only city in the Province.  Sadly Madam Speaker Ma’am, it is the only city in Zimbabwe without a tertiary institution and this results ...

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Chinyanganya, stick to the motion. 

HON. CHINYANGANYA: Yes, that is where I am going Madam Speaker.

          HON. NDUNA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I ask that he be guided accordingly so that he can come in and debate his maiden speech on the Presidential Address in future because today is Continental Free Trade Area.  I ask Madam Speaker not out of anger and not out of hatred for you to allow him to sit down.

          HON. CHINYANGANYA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, It is my maiden speech and I will incorporate the debate as I go along.  Thank you.

          Sadly Madam Speaker Ma’am, it is the only city in Zimbabwe without a tertiary institution and this is resulting in the city losing out in the investment opportunities that come.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  If the Hon. Member can stick to the Continental Free Trade Area, I am very happy for us to debate about the condition of Kadoma and what we need to do but, if we can confine ourselves to issues to do with the ratification of the Free Trade Area Continental Protocol.  But, if he has a speech that he wants to debate about the conditions of Kadoma or whatever issue, we can do that at another time.  I will be very happy to listen to that.  I thank you.  

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Chinyanganya, stick to the motion.

          HON. CHINYANGANYA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  In that vein, I will not continue.  May I withdraw my speech Madam Speaker Ma’am so that I will be given ample opportunity to make my maiden speech.  Thank you. 

          HON. BITI:  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I rise to support the ratification of the Continental Free Trade Protocol that is Order No. 1 on today’s Order Paper.

          It is my respectful contention that the Free Trade Area and the vision of Africa as a Free Trade Area was a vision that was shared by the founding fathers of African nationalism as they met in Accra, in 1963 and formed the Organisation of African Unity which is the forerunner to the African Union as we call it today.  It is common cause that Africa is seriously underdeveloped.  We suffer from a dual enclave economy in respect of which, more than 70% of our populations live in the rural areas.  We suffer from a situation of serious underdevelopment.  The majority of Africans live in grass thatched houses.  The majority of Africans have no access to electricity; the majority of Africans have no access to covered water; the majority of Africans as high as 69%, have no access to covered ablutions or toilets.  

That being the case Madam Speaker Ma’am, the issue of African trade becomes so important and so critical.  It is so critical when you consider certain facts.  The first fact that I want to put before this hon. House is the fact that we receive in Africa more than $3 billion worth of aid every year but in the same period, more than US$5 billion exits Africa in the form of illicit financial flows.  So if Africa were to shut down the borders, and plug the leakages, we would actually not require oversees development assistance or foreign aid, but we could actually be looking after each other. 

Madam Speaker, inter-Africa trade, in other words the trade between African State to African State is very limited.  Our own share of world trade is a mere 2% but the bulk of that 2% is with external countries.  In other words, countries that are external to Africa.  We trade with the United Kingdom, we trade with the Americas, we trade with China but intra-Africa trade is very minimal; yet Madam Speaker Ma’am, we have massive economies that we ought to build on if we were to trade amongst each other. 

The population of Africa is over 1.2 billion and that is more or less the same size of China yet China is the world’s second largest economy.  It has been able to build on its own population.  Africa has not been able to leverage on its own population because thanks to the Berlin Conference of 1874 – we have little scattered countries and some of which have no business to call themselves countries, are existing, that are fragile and that are vulnerable and that are not connected to other countries. 

So, the vision of African trade is so critical.  We can raise our GDPs and we can raise our growth rate through African trade.  It is sad and regrettable that we have a multitude of RECs regional economic bloc on the African continent that have no synergies.  Here in Southern Africa, we have the Southern African Development Community (SADC); we have COMESA, another regional economic bloc then in East Africa, they have their own East African Trade bloc.  Then, you have the West African Trade Bloc; then you have the Arab Bloc (NEMA) of Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and all these are not connected.  You can imagine that the collective GDP of Africa is over $3 trillion, but we are not collectively getting the benefit of that because we do not have this trade zone.

I want to say two things Madam Speaker that are very key.  The first one is that, it is not sufficient to have a free trade area without a monetary union.  In other words, trade on its own will not be enough if we do not have a monetary union.  To complete the vision of regional integration, we need both a free trade area and a monetary union.  The advantages of a monetary union Madam Speaker Ma’am is that, we will be able to use one currency and our economies will be so totally integrated.

Speaker after speaker that I have listened to, spoke of the advantages or the benefits that are coming from the European Union.  The European Union is succeeding not because it is a free trade area but because it is also a monetary union.  So that is very key that we have a monetary union. 

In the case of Southern Africa, a monetary union is almost in place, given that the majority of the member states are actually members of SACCO and when the monetary union comes, all Southern African countries will adopt the Rand by another name, I do not know what we are going to call it, and in the context of Zimbabwe this debate is so key because we are having the debate of what currency which Zimbabwe must adopt. There is a huge lobby that is calling for introduction of the Zimbabwean dollar which some of us think is wrong. There is another lobby that is calling for the adoption of the Rand. The Rand would make sense because in the long term this continent will be integrated and the Rand will be a major currency that the African Union will have to consider, by another name of course just like the Euro is the Deutsche Mark by another name.

     Of course Madam Speaker, it is one thing signing on to an agreement as the Heads of State did in March of last year but it is another thing actualising it. The problem in Africa is that we suffer from no shortage of good ideas. If good ideas moved our continent, our continent would be more developed than any other country in the world. The problem is implementation. When you look at the OAU founding minutes of 1963, the issue of a FTA was there, the issue of monetary union was there but there was no implementation. The OAU is gone. Now, we have the AU and the AU has to implement this.

     In 1998, SADC agreed that by 2010 not only will the SADC region have a FTA but would also have a monetary union. 2010 is gone and there is no monetary union. SADC has now commissioned studies upon studies to debate the merits and demerits of regional integration. What I am submitting is that there must be an implementation mechanism with timelines and guidelines, otherwise this idea will just be another idea that will just come and go without implementation.

     I want to make a third thing Madam Speaker, that it is not enough to talk about economics in the context of a FTA, in the context of a monetary union without also political convergence, which is why if you notice the Order Paper, item Number 2 is the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. In other words, where there is economic convergence, where there are FTA, where there are monetary unions there must also be political convergence. We must stop as African countries from stealing elections. We must stop as African countries from inflicting violence on our people. Political convergence must be met with economic convergence.

     Lastly, I want to commend the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for bringing this ratification. I chair the Public Accounts Committee; there are very few Government Ministers that are respecting Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Loans are being borrowed, agreements are being reached without respect to Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Section 327 says that any agreement, debt contracted, must come to Parliament for approval before implementation. Section 327 is very clear, it says that if Parliament does not approve then that agreement is null and void. There are massive levels of non compliance in Government.

I want to thank the Hon. Minister for being compliant. I thank you very much Madam Speaker. Zikomo kwambili.

     HON. K. PARADZA: I must say that on behalf of my Committee of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, we are impressed that the Minister has brought this treaty with so much speed. The Head of State signed this last year in March and already we are ratifying it today. I might as well tell you that we have 36 outstanding treaties or protocols. Some of them are 20 years old and they have not been ratified. I am sure that with the speed they have they are going to bring those here.

     One of those treaties which is very critical is the PAP Protocol. They must bring it as soon as possible so that we can ratify it to enable PAP to push some of the issues we are dealing with today. The other issue has to do with SADC PF. I might as well tell the House that Zimbabwe has given a position paper to transform SADC PF into a fully fledged regional Parliament. Zimbabwe has agreed to that and it is being discussed in Windhoek as we speak right now. We are glad that this regional Parliament will formulate model laws for us to domesticate as national Parliaments.

     I must also say that we are dealing with ratification of this FTA policy but Zimbabwe does not have a trade policy right now. The policy which we had expired in 2016 and up to now we do not have a trade policy. We have ZIMTRADE which is the vehicle for marketing our exports but it is still operating as a club and we would rather have it as a statutory body. Right now, it is just a club. I am sure that the Minister and his colleagues will look into that.

     I just thought I should say that our ratification today of this protocol will bring the number to ten. So far there are nine countries that have ratified this and Zimbabwe is going to be the tenth. I must commend you Hon. Minister for bringing this treaty.

     THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I want to commend Hon. Members and I know several of them want to contribute to the debate on the ratification of the Continental Free Trade Area. I want to commend everyone who has contributed. I want to start by Hon. Dr. Mashakada and thank him for a well prepared presentation on the need for us to ratify the Continental Free Trade Area particularly when he explained that as Africa we have our vision 2063 and some of the critical issues that are in that vision will be realised by us ratifying this agreement. I agree with him that we also need to have the necessary infrastructure, particularly roads and the railway system. As you may know, a road or a railway line is an economy. Once we have these developed roads and railway lines our economies will improve. I cannot agree with him better than that even the idea of building a dam in Africa is one of those areas that will be covered once this agreement comes into effect. I want to thank him very much for that.

     Hon. Mudarikwa indeed raised a critical point we discussed at the Bi National Commission meeting, where our pharmaceutical products were required to be flown there by air freight yet South African pharmaceuticals can be allowed to come by road via Beitbridge. It is one of those areas that we agreed to look at so that there is free movement of goods consistent with what we want to do in terms of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.

     Hon. Allum Mpofu supported it. Hon T. Mliswa was very passionate about African dressing and he spoke about us not having a currency. We now have a currency that we are using; the RTGS currency has been gazetted if you did not see it. It is a currency actually. Hon. Chombo supported it. Hon Muchenje, I cannot agree more that we need to develop our transport infrastructure, our roads and railways system are an economy once we have those good roads - our economies will improve.

          Hon. Nduna supported it and I thank him very much.  Hon. Hamauswa, Hon. Musabayana and all those who contributed; and again Hon. Biti raised critical points that I think are also important as we move towards realising the agenda that was started by our fore fathers when they formed the OAU.  I must say that I want to thank them.

          Lastly, Hon. Paradza raised very important points that we need to ratify this agreement and maintain particularly PAP and SADC PF.  I want to also thank him and say that we will bring those agreements to Parliament for ratification.  It is important that we abide by the Constitution that we have – that is the second republic that we want to ensure that we enhance democracy, abide by our Constitution and other fundamental human rights.  I thank you for that and as regards the trade protocol, we are going to bring the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency Bill (ZIDA) which will take care of all those issues.  Some of the issues that you have been raising will be addressed once that ZIDA Bill comes into place.  You will realise that ZIMTRADE, whatever you were talking about that is being run as a club will be regularised.       

          I want to thank Hon. Members for the debate.  I was pleased today in that everyone was so patriotic that we need to ensure that we ratify the Continental Free Trade Area which is what we want as a nation to show this kind of unity that was displayed today.  In that regard, I now move Madam Speaker, that this House resolves that the African Continental Free Trade Area Protocol be approved for ratification.  I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          Motion put and agreed to.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Twenty Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 19th March, 2019.     

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 14 MARCH 2019 45-42