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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 14 MAY 2019 VOL 45 NO 49

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 14th May, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

JOINT PUBLIC HEARINGS ON MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND ORDER BILL

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that in terms of our National Assembly Standing Order Number 22 and Senate Standing Order Number 21, the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services and the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security agreed to hold joint sittings on the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill [H. B. 3, 2019]. The first meeting of the two Committees was held on Monday, 13th May 2019. The Committees will proceed to conduct joint public hearings on the Bill from 3rd to 7th June, 2019.

          *HON. M. MLAMBO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on a point of privilege. We have a problem in our country because people are being evicted.  In Chipinge East, we have more than 400 people who were settled in 2000 but now they have been given seven days notice of eviction. So, it pains me to see people who were settled in 1999 or 2000 being evicted today. That is the problem we are facing in our country.

          I hereby request for a Ministerial Statement or an explanation on where this is coming from. When I asked the people involved, they told me it came from Parliament but Parliament cannot just evict people without relocating them. The law that we know says when people are evicted, they must be relocated somewhere.

On the other hand, Government workers are saying people must go back to where they came from. How can you go back to where you came from when you were settled in 1999? Is there still a place to go because you have been away for almost 20 years? So, I hereby request for a Ministerial Statement to clarify what is happening in this country. Our people are suffering in this country…       

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I would like to insist that it be directed tomorrow.

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege to sadly inform this House that around midnight, last night, one of our colleagues in Parliament, Hon. Tsvangirai Java was involved in a fatal accident which claimed two people’s lives and Hon. Java is in a stable condition. 

          Hon. Speaker, why I have raised this point of privilege is to remind the Hon. Chair of the statement that when are we activating the Road Traffic Accident Fund.  The accident that I am talking about happened about ten kilometres Kwekwe.  When we got the bills, we approached the Superintendent who told us that there is Police Road Fund.  Mr. Speaker, I am raising this issue so that if the fund is there we can inform our constituents so that they do not pay but the police pays.  Some people are failing to be hospitalised or cannot be discharged before paying those bills.  Coming to the House, what is the position, in your capacity as the Chair on road accident fund so that we can brief our constituents?

          An Hon. Member having stood up. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, you do not stand up before the Chair acknowledged or made a statement on the issue raised.

          First of all, we would like to send our condolences to the two who lost their lives and wish Hon. Tsvangirai Java a speedy recovery.  As to the fund, I am not about that. I do not know whether the Leader of Government Business or the Deputy Minister of Transport can answer that.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHASI):  I would like to extend my condolences to the departed in this accident and wish Hon. Tsvangirai Java a speedy recovery.

          I am not aware of the fund that has been referred to of ZRP.   Coming to my Ministry, the Bill draft has been presented to Cabinet for approval.  This is a proper legal framework to ensure that we have a statutory board that runs this fund.  This is a very important matter because people have been prejudiced. We have an area that we need to develop and clarify, to say, should it be a fault or no fault, based on the system.  Also, are our injured persons required by law to prove negligence on the part of the person who caused the accident?  If so, is the Government able to recover the monies from the person responsible for the accident?  Work is underway and that is the necessary.  The drafting has commenced and once the Bill is ready, it will be presented.

          *HON. NYATHI: I rise on a point of privilege.  On Sunday, 12th May, it was Mothers Day.  It is a very important day to every woman.  We recognise mothers and you should also do a special announcement that if there is an Hon. Member who lives with his wife when he has not finished paying lobola, they must do so.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nyathi for that observation and I thought you would extend it to the sons of Hon. Members who have also not paid their lobola, to pay up.

          *HON. PHUTI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Firstly, I would like to say how are you Mr. Speaker Sir?  Secondly, I stand here to make a comment on an issue that is being widely talked about in the media.  We saw pictures and news that the President fulfilled the promise he made to Harare residents in the capital, particularly in the high density suburb of Mbare about the good welfare of people since the Constitution of the country gives the right to shelter for everyone to have a place to stay.  So, we understand he fulfilled that by ordering that the flats be refurbished.  I kindly ask this august House to give him a round of applause. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -

          I would like to put a request to His Excellency to do the same to other parts of the country like Mutare, Bulawayo, Makokoba, Plumtree Dingumuzi.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my name is also Dingumuzi – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -  

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.

          HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Mr. Speaker Sir, thank you very much. I rise on a point of privilege.  Having noted the very successful elections held in South Africa recently, and the degree to which all the parties accepted the outcome of the results, I would like to urge us here in Zimbabwe to take a leaf out of South African people. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.  I think Hon. Member, your observation is straightforward.  It does not need any further comment.

SECOND READING

TRIPARTITE NEGOTIATING FORUM BILL [H. B. 5, 2018]

          First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill [H. B. 5, 2018].

          Question again proposed.

          HON. A. MPOFU: I would like to add my voice by first thanking the Minister for tabling the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill before this august House.  I would like to say that the Bill indeed is a pivotal step towards making a deepening democratisation of our consensus building effort in the country.  It is also important Mr. Speaker, to point out that this Bill has been tabled at a time when the President has consistently called for dialogue within the nation, bringing all stakeholders for the sake of advancing the economic and social development of the country. It is important to say that within this framework of dialogue, we do build as we move towards 2030 a situation where consensus building institutions relying on the Tripartite Negotiation Forum are indeed strengthened. The TNF will be an integral component of our policy, nation and decision making process.

However, my contribution today Hon. Speaker is to point out that what we mark as the importance of this negotiating Forum is the extent to which incapacitated and less organised stakeholders like rural communities, which I represent, will be impacted by the public that the Forum will be in charge of. It is pleasing to note that when the Chairperson of the relevant Portfolio Committee presented her report in this august House, she did point out that a concern was raised during the public consultation process that stakeholders were less organised; yet they constitute for instance constituencies like the youth, women, informal traders and rural communities and should find a way of being given a very important role, albeit it be observer or whatever.

It is also important Mr. Speaker Sir, that at this point, considering that the stakeholders involved, who will be participating in this Forum in addition to their daily duties in their various jobs obviously, and also considering the complexity of the social and economic issues that they will be dealing with, it is going to be very important that in order to be successful, the Forum will need to be capacitated and well funded so that its governance and thrust will have a positive impact going forward.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to end by saying once again that Zimbabwe is largely a rural society and as a representative of a rural constituency, whilst the negotiating forum has key stakeholders of labour, business and Government, a means should be found to strengthen the rural component that will put forward or champion the interests of the rural constituency.

It is also important to note that trade unions are indeed a very important component of our society but it is also important to note that at present, the majority of our population are not within the formal sector and therefore, do not fall within unionised labour. What this means is that it would be very important to find ways and means of making sure that those that are not unionised but are engaged in trade and are indeed self employed find an important voice in this Forum.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I am glad to say that this is a positive development for our country and that the Bill should pass. Thank you. 

HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Mr. Speaker, I rise to acknowledge the splendid work that has been put in the crafting of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill by the Minister responsible in creating as well as attending the Portfolio Committee. Having noted that, I also like to recommend that a lot of effort be put into capacitating the various trade unions so that their operations are synchronised with a vision that the President put across to us in his State of the Nation Address when he presented this Bill as one of the areas we need to focus on.

In the last few years Mr. Speaker Sir, there has been serious polarisation of trade unions and in the process marginalising those that they are supposed to represent. We have a new dawn by way of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum. This is an opportunity for trade unions to walk the talk in representing the employees. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker Sir, I note with concern that a number of national employment councils, through their collective bargaining agreements, are not aligned with the national Constitution. The TNF offers an opportunity for that alignment to be brought in place.

Lastly Mr. Speaker Sir, the Land Reform Programme brought about major changes in the way we do business in Zimbabwe. I would like to urge all of us, in crafting of legislative pieces, to align ourselves with the provision that the TNF is presenting before us. For example, the sugar industry is still operating under the 1964 Sugar Production and Control Act, which is totally misaligned with the changes brought about by the Land Reform Programme. Consequently, any negotiations that are entered into between employees and employers, with Government doing over sight in that particular industry, will not be aligned with provisions of the TNF if we as Parliament do not cast our eye on the need to align the various other pieces of legislation as a matter of urgency. I thank you.

HON. CHIKWINYA: Let me also take this opportunity to add my voice to this piece of legislation, which I am sure its objectives are to set up a platform where the key economic drivers of our country will be able to meet and map the way forward for the good of our nation. Hon. Speaker, I shall try to merge the views of those consulted as contained in the Portfolio Committee’s report presented to us by the Chairperson as well as the text in the Bill.

First of all Hon. Chair, I had the opportunity to interact with the  ...

THE HON. SPEAKER: We are not at Committee Stage and I am still Mr. Speaker, not the Chair.

HON. CHIKWINYA: My apologies Hon. Speaker, muchiri panyanga. I had the opportunity to interact with members of trade unions on 1st May, 2019 in Kwekwe and I would like to take this opportunity to just present their views in my representative role.

The first point of concern is on the Chairperson. I will obviously present in detail when we go to Committee Stage but the Bill seeks to interpret, at the interpretation level meaning the Minister responsible for labour or any other Minister to whom the function may be delegated by the President from time to time. So, therefore, the Bill actually places to find who the Minister would be and who the Chairperson will be.  If it is going to be the Minister of Labour,  this is a cause for concern from members who were consulted as reported by the Committee under Clause 3.4 where members in Mutare, Gweru, Gwanda and Bulawayo were opposed to the chairing of the TNF by a Government representative but preferred rotation of leadership amongst the three social partners.

          I would want to agree with the report as captured by the Committee and those who were present at the consultation meeting that for me it defeats the principle of equality when Government is going to chair the TNF.  Government has 14 representatives at the Table with other stakeholders having seven apiece.  Then Government again has the final say at Cabinet level because if we then follow through the principles of the Bill, after a decision by consensus, the Chairperson of the TNF, who is the Minister, will have to seek Cabinet approval and to me and certainly those whom I managed to consult, this is a cause for concern.  The proposal is that, which I second, can we establish a rotational chairpersonship amongst the three partners to the TNF Table so that at least the principle of equality is captured.

          The other issue which I have a problem with is on the setting up of the agenda.  The Bill does not give again the principle of equality in terms of setting up of the agenda.  The proposal from my Constituency is that can each partner to the TNF bring on board their issues on the agenda and they are deliberated in a tripartite manner rather than there be a secretariat which then sets up the agenda for the TNF meetings.  Why am I saying so Hon. Speaker Sir, this is a legislative framework which we are trying to come up with but the principle of TNF has always been there born about by the Kadoma Declaration.  If we are going to adopt what was agreed to in the Kadoma Declaration, we then put it in place as a legislative format where each of the constituencies then bring about their issues to the Table and they are deliberated. 

          As I speak Hon. Speaker Sir, last week on Tuesday, I heard it on 2.00 o’clock news as I was coming to Parliament that Labour had given Government 14 days notice to go on strike if they did not come to the Table and Government in its response through the Minister, Hon. Dr. Nzenza, said let us first of all come up with the legislative framework which will guide our negotiations.  So, as we debate this Bill, we must be alive that there is already an agitated constituency which has got issues coming from labour and there is already a Government which is supposed to respond to the same.  What we must be able to do as Parliament is to play our facilitatory role so that at least there is no part which says as you put up your legislative framework, you barred our issues to come on the agenda.

          Therefore, I propose and move that at the relevant time when we go to Committee Stage, we shall move that the agenda setting must be encompassing and it must come from all the three concerned parties. 

My other issue emanates again from issues of informal sector.  It is a fact that our economy is being driven by the informal sector.  In fact, what is before Government is how to formalise the informal sector. This is why there were attempts by the Minister of Finance to introduce the 2% tax to try and at least obtain something from the informal sector, which is actually trading within our economic sector but if we then tax the informal sector and if we do not recognise that our economy is being driven by the informal sector but then we deny them a voice at a table where they are supposed to be key economic drivers, I think we would have missed a point.  What we need to do in my view is how do we recognise the informal?  What mechanisms must we put in place? I am sure the wisdom of the policy makers around the early 80s when ZCTU was formed; there was a framework that labour, if you want to organise yourselves this is how we can recognise you as a Government and that was born again by borrowing principles, I think within ILO and other international standards.  Let us also have a framework as Government and I think I want to challenge Parliament that as we deliberate this Bill, how can we recognise that there are people who are vending vegetables who must be recognised by Government; there are artisanal miners; all those individuals or sectors of our economy which are being termed informal which we surely need to recognise; how do we bring them on board? I want to believe that these people are yearning for recognition.  They have already organised themselves.  It is only Government which has no policy framework where it recognises the same but they are there.  There are small scale miners’ federations and vendors’ unions but certainly whilst they are now existing in pods and there are many of them, I am sure a Government framework can make them to come together and make a leadership of their own which can sit at the TNF and their voice can be heard in their multiple sectors – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          Lastly, we must also be able to borrow from international standards.  Certainly, I believe from my consultation with my colleagues that the Hon. Minister of Labour will be taking – I want to believe it will now be an Act, if we do our work in time, it will now be an Act of Parliament to the ILO.  As soon as this Bill comes to Parliament, can she highlight issues of international best practice?  How are other nations keeping such foras to the extent that we do not want to be referred back to say Zimbabwe, go back and implement this and that because your Bill does not conform may be to ILO standards or something like that.  We need then not to rush.  I understand the issue of being able to satisfy the agitated constituencies like labour but at the same time, we also need to capture holistically everyone who matters when it comes to issues to do with labour.  We want to recognise that at the back of this Bill, there shall be decisions which will be binding to all of us.  At the implementation of this Act, there shall be decisions which will make this economy either grow or remain in retardation as it is now.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I wish to thank the Hon. Members for the robust debate, specifically the Portfolio Committee for the work that they did in terms of consultations.  I wish to start by stating that the report was well received; we got it when it was presented here in Parliament and I am going to respond to some of the issues raised which are important.

          On the issue of numbers of representatives from each constituency, Government agrees to levelling representation, hence we agree that Government representation can be reduced to seven.  Any other relevant Ministry can be co-opted on a needy basis while retaining the equal representation principle as was envisaged in the founding principles of the TNF – [ HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –   Mr. Speaker Sir, quarterly meetings of TNF. It should be noted Mr. Speaker Sir, that there was consensus among social partners that it is not desirable to prescribe in law the actual number of meetings that the forum has to undertake with a view to taking care of unforeseen eventualities.  Hence, the provision provides for at least two meetings, which means that there can be as many meetings as possible.  Your attention is also drawn to the fact that the same clause’s provision for extraordinary and special meetings which means eventually, the meetings will be more than two.  On the composition of the technical committee, it should be noted that the TNF is tripartite in nature, hence the technical committee should reflect that configuration in its composition.  It cannot therefore be composed of labour board alone.

Mr. Speaker Sir, on the issue of chairing clusters, it is our considered view that there is need for consistence and coordination of the TNF during the foundation stages as we strive to build a strong solid footing for the social dialogue.  There will be review in future based on lessons learnt.  I also want to turn to specific questions and want to thank Hon. Tarusenga for the question and state that the idea of having TNF decisions being recommended to Cabinet was informed by the idea of upholding the executive role of Cabinet in policymaking.  It should be noted that the significant numbers of Cabinet Ministers in the TNF is instructive of the weight of the TNF decision, given the fact that they will be part to the decisions. 

The idea of tripartism engenders the principle of placing social partners on an equal footing, hence our acceding to the proposal for equal representation.  Questions regarding the labour laws do not arise since the Bill essentially talks to social dialogue as the machinery of negotiating any policy or legislation such as the labour laws.  Labour laws therefore cannot be part of the Bill.  I wish to inform the Member that I will be presenting the Labour Amendment Bill in Parliament very soon.

On the questions raised by Hon. Madzimure on the issue of informal sector inclusion which Hon. Chikwinya also spoke about, Mr. Speaker Sir, it is common cause that the informal sector represents a significant proportion of the Zimbabwe labour sector.  It should however, be noted that the representation in the TNF is configured on a tripartite basis, hence workers in the informal economy are expected to be part of the labour constituency.  You may wish to know that some of the trade union federations who constitute organised labour have affiliate trade unions from the informal sector.  They accordingly, represent the workers in that sector. 

Government is also working on a formalisation strategy for the informal sector which among other objectives will lead to increased organisation of the sector.  Arrangements will therefore be made to ensure that the informal sector is represented in both the workers and business constituencies of the TNF in a manner that respects their autonomy.  That is without being legally prescriptive to their representation.  This is in line with the principle contained in Clause 21 of the Act. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, on the proposal for rotational chair for TNF which Hon. Chikwinya also alluded to,  I wish to inform Members that dialogue in the TNF is modelled along the practices that are undertaken at major engagements within the ILO, given the fact that the guiding instrument is the ILO Convention 144 on Tripartite Consultations, which the Government of Zimbabwe has ratified.  You may wish to know Mr. Speaker that at both the ILO conference and the governing board meetings, Government occupies the chairperson position while the workers and business representatives are assigned the deputy chair positions.  What this means is, they can be chairpersons in the absence of Government representative.  The ILO practice is therefore an international good practice that we have adopted – you were alluding to the fact that we need to copy international practices, this is an example of them.  There is no contention from the social partners regarding the issue of confining chairing of TNF among the tripartite parties.

I want to turn to questions raised by Hon. Chombo on gender parity.  Mr. Speaker Sir, on the issue of gender parity, it should be noted that gender balance is a constitutional prerogative and each party is obliged to comply.  It should noted that the Bill prescribes that chairpersons and vice chairpersons of both the clusters and the management committee should be of opposite gender with a view to taking care of equal gender representation. 

On the issue of arbitration Mr. Speaker Sir, it was agreed among the tripartite constituency that members will endeavour to reach decisions by consensus and resort to voting in the event of a deadlock, hence the need for arbitration in the event of a deadlock does not arise.  I also want to turn to questions raised by Hon. Banda.  Mr. Speaker Sir, on the issue of the Consumer Council, our understanding is that the board is responsible for consumer protection is the one with observers’ status, irrespective of whatever name it will be given from time to time.  It is not also our desire to involve arbitrators in the social dialogue process as explained earlier, given the elaborate decision-making process which include voting procedures in the event of deadlock.  We have no desire to engage foreign former presidents in our social dialogue process, as we believe that social partners in Zimbabwe are capable of shaping the socio-economic policies of Zimbabwe. 

Social dialogue Mr. Speaker Sir, entails nurturing mutual trust and developing a shared vision, hence emphasis on arbitration process does not foster relationships conducive for building mature social dialogue processes.  Hon. Matambanadzo also raised questions on issues of salaries.  These are issues dealt with during the collective bargaining process and they are comprehensively covered under the Labour Act and sectorial collective bargaining agreements.  They are better addressed within the precincts of the legislative instruments.

There are a few other outstanding issues as raised by the Committee, the reason for removal of members.  Members of the TNF are appointed on a representative capacity; hence, they serve at the pleasure of nominating constituency.  The powers for removal of a member are vested in the nominating constituency.  There is therefore consensus among the three constituencies that the prerogative for removal be retained by the nominating organisations, thus the law cannot prescribe the reasons.  On civic society – civic society is not excluded in terms of the definition of observer as provided for in the interpretation section of the Bill.  On definition of a stakeholder – stakeholder takes its ordinary meaning, cognisant of the fact that there is no exhaustive list of stakeholders.  On the issue of quorum, Clause 9 refers to 50 percent of all the members from the three constituencies. 

Removal of executive director – the removal naturally will occur after due process has been taken.  Remuneration of management committee – issues of remuneration which are administrative will be elaborated in ancillary regulations to be enacted after the Act.  On the issue raised by Hon. Chikwinya relating to the management committee, it is composed by representatives of the Ministry, organised labour, organised business as nominated by respective principals.  I want to thank Hon. Members once again for the debate and move that the Bill be now read a second time.  I thank you. 

Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a second time.

          Committee Stage: Wednesday, 16th May, 2019. – [Inaudible interjections.] -

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): With your indulgence Mr. Speaker Sir, there are certain amendments that we have agreed to that have to go on the Order Paper. So, if we are to do it now, it means we will not consider them.

SECOND READING

COMPANIES AND OTHER BUSINESS ENTITIES BILL [H. B. 8, 2018]

          Second Order read: Companies and Other Business Entities Bill [H. B. 8, 2018].

          Question again proposed.

          HON. RAIDZA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir. I want to add my voice to this Bill, the Companies and Other Business Entities. I have a number of issues that I want to address. The first issue is regarding the details that have to be on the correspondences on companies. What I want to add there is regarding the registration numbers of companies. I propose that it must always be incorporated in correspondences as to take away any doubt to whoever will be dealing with any company as to whether the company is registered or not. I understand that the Bill is saying the full names of the registered members must be there but I think if we add the companies’ station number on every correspondence or advertisement, it will give more assurance as well to whoever will be dealing with the company.

          The other issue which I want to thank the Hon. Minister for is the issue of doing away with the trading names. It is now under this new Bill. All trading names will be expected to be registered for companies because we have been seeing situations where people come out with some trading names and start doing business under those names. However, when issues start to arise, those companies will give the people that they will be dealing with difficulties to find because of this trading name. So this Bill seeks to have trading names registered, which I think is a good and noble idea that the trading names should be registered.

          The other issue that I also want to thank the Hon. Minister on this Bill is on the service business entity incorporation.  Under the business entity, service providers that seek to have this service -providers registered or in other way, they will need to be regulated as well as to avoid what is currently happening where unqualified people masquerade as people who are allowed to register businesses. In the process, they end up swindling people of their hard earned money. So, I support that this Bill must be passed as to allow registered people professionally and qualified individuals to be allowed to register businesses. Thank you Hon. Speaker.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Again I want to start by thanking the Portfolio Committee for a job well-done and the Hon. Members that debated. As I indicated in my Second Reading speech, this Bill is very technical and this has been buttressed by the number of people that have debated on the Bill. The Chairperson of the Committee Hon. Mataranyika, Hon. Nduna, Hon. Mushoriwa, Hon. Phulu, Hon. Madiwa, Hon. Sikhala, Hon. Matewu and Hon. Matambanadzo. We have a House of 270 Hon. Members and only less than ten debated.

          However, I want to add that the Bill went through extensive consultations including the Public Hearings and we believe that in our ease of doing business agenda, we came up with a document that represents what we want to do as a nation. I must add that what we are going to do is consistent with the practice that we have been doing lately. We have accepted some of the recommendations from the Portfolio Committee and we will make amendments to about five or six clauses during Committee Stage. Over and above that, I think the other issues that were debated have been taken care of and we will duly respond to those as we go through the Committee Stage of the Bill. By and large, I want to thank Hon. Members for well receiving the Bill, for debating it and I move that the Bill be now read the second time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a second time.

          Committee Stage: Wednesday, 15th May, 2019.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MNISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that Order of the Day, Nos 3, 4, and Order No. 5 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 6 has been disposed of. Thank you.

          Motion put and agreed to.  

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH:  DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

+HON. O. SIBANDA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to support the motion that was raised by Hon. Kwaramba seconded by Hon. Musabayana.

First of all, I would like to thank the President of this nation, Hon.  E. D. Mnangagwa for his State of the Nation Address that he brought into this House.  Everything that he said is a sign that we are progressing as a country.  I also want to congratulate him for winning the 2018 elections resoundingly.  It is an indication that he is loved by every citizen of this country. 

I would also want to congratulate the Speaker, Deputy President of the Senate and President of the Senate for being present during the election.  I would also want to congratulate all the Members of Parliament who won the elections without any challenges or without being contested especially those from my political party.

When the President was giving his State of the Nation Address, he highlighted on the things that he needs to see improved in the economy and that he needs the economy to run well.  It is important for us to work together as Members of Parliament and support the President.  We should honour the results of the elections and not go to courts to contest.  We should work progressively.

I want to thank the people of Vungu Constituency who voted for the President, Member of Parliament and Councillors.  Vungu people want to move forward. 

The state of roads in Vungu is bad.  The road from Gweru to Crossroads needs to be rehabilitated. This will attract tourists who travel visiting Masvingo and Victoria falls.  We need these roads to be rehabilitated urgently. 

In Lower Gweru, we used to have wetlands but we no longer have them, even the rivers that used to be there due to climate changes.  We also no longer have rivers.

On schools, we have schools in the farms, for example in Somabula area which has more satellite schools.  When children are writing exams, they have to be transported to schools that are registered with ZIMSEC and this causes low pass rates because of the education that they get.  ECD teachers are not eloquent in the children’s language.  The native language of the constituents is also important when they are in need of medication in hospitals. 

Zimbabwe is open for business and we hope that people from Vungu will benefit from that.

Lastly, I would like all of us who are coming from different political parties to work together as a team for the sake of the state of our economy.  We need to support our President so that it impacts on effects of him going to Davos.  Everyone must support the President since we are representing this country.

When challenges come, it does not mean that as Member of Parliament, you should always oppose all the contributions that are being brought into this House.  We should not politicise everything that is brought into this House, hence a need to move and support each other’s political ideas that are meaningful to economy.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th May, 2019.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 7 to 19 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 20 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 2018 ANNUAL SESSION OF THE PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE ON THE WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION

HON. PARADZA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the delegation to the 2018 Annual Session of the parliamentary conference on the World Trade Organisation held from 6th to 7th December, 2018.

     HON. KWARAMBA: I second.

     HON. PARADZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

INTRODUCTION

1. I rise to present a report on a delegation comprising of Hon Kindness Paradza (Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade), Hon Joshua Sacco (Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce) and Ms Macheza (Secretary to delegation) travelled to Geneva, Switzerland to attend the 2018 Annual Session of the Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organisation (WTO).  The WTO Annual Conference was held from the 6th to 7th of December 2018 at the WTO Headquarters, Geneva.

2.      BACKGROUND INFORMATION

2.1. WTO operates a global system of trade rules and acts as a forum for negotiating trade agreements between nations.  It settles trade disputes between its members and supports the needs of developing countries.  The multilateral trading system is an attempt by member states to make the business environment fair, stable and predictable.  With stability and predictability, investment is encouraged, jobs are created and consumers can fully enjoy benefits of competition, including wide range of choices as well as lower prices.

2.2. Currently, WTO is facing an assortment of challenges arising from trade tensions and protectionism.  Protectionism is an economic policy of protecting domestic industries against foreign competition by means of tariffs, subsidies, import quotas or other restrictions or handicaps placed on the imports of foreign competitors.  For example, United States of America-China trade tensions are currently negatively affecting global growth.  India has also dragged the USA to WTO over the imposition of duties on steel and aluminium.  Trade barriers being erected by major economies can jeopardise the global economic recovery.  The USA has been launching a series of tariffs to punish what they consider as unfair trade by allies and economic rivals such as India and China.

3.0    The Evolution of the Parliamentary Conference on WTO

3.1. The Parliamentary Conference on the WTO sessions are organised annually as well as on the occasion of the WTO Ministerial Conference.  The aim of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO is to strengthen democracy at the international level by bringing a parliamentary dimension to multilateral cooperation on trade issues.  The WTO seeks to promote free and fair trade, enhance development and reduce poverty.  The parliamentary conference was co-founded in 2003 by the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade which serves as co-chair of the conference’s steering committee.

3.2. Members of Parliament (MPs) play a critical role in the WTO through contribution to the international trading system which is facing huge challenges in terms of loss of confidence, globalisation and the belief that it caused the loss of employment.  MPs contribute to debate on the international trading system and on the approval and ratification of WTO agreements.  MPs are representatives of the people and this helps WTO to connect to a wider audience through them.

4.0    ISSUES DISCUSSED AT THE CONFERENCE

The following delivered presentations at the Conference: Ms Immaculada Rodriguez-Pinero Fermandez (European Union), Ms Dieh Mandiaye Ba, Member of Parliament (Senegal), Mr P. Rubig (European Parliament) and Senator Jean Bizet (France).

4.1. The WTO has played a critical role of strengthening multilateralism by establishing an inclusive world economic order and promoting an open, rule based and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system.  A fair and equitable international trading system ensures a global economic growth and sustainable economic development.  However, the rules based multilateral trading system has been facing a serious crisis since the formation of WTO.  WTO’s negotiating function is almost stalled, trade wars are increasing and new appointments to the appellate body (dispute settlement body) are being blocked.  The above mentioned crises are threatening the functions of the WTO in setting rules and structures for international trade.

4.2. Member states to WTO were urged to urgently come up with mechanisms for dispute settlement.  It was recommended to urgently proceed with the modernisation of the WTO and to review several of its functions with a view to increase its effectiveness and legitimacy. The need to ensure that WTO is ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century trade realities was emphasised.  Prominence was given to the need for the WTO to be modernised to address the challenges faced by the global trading system and to ensure that it remains vital, relevant and effective.  Members to WTO were urged to revisit both the rules and processes of the WTO to ensure that they address the challenges of the 21st century trade realities effectively.

4.3. It was explained that it is the WTO alone that can stimulate universal trade rules needed not only to regulate trade but also to ensure that trade becomes part and parcel of the issues that are fundamental to sustainable development, regulated competition, social progress and the environment.

4.4. It was further explained that technological development provides for new opportunities for international trade and can reduce the costs of transaction.  However, this can change the way member states trade and therefore, the need to ensure that sufficient investment in infrastructure for digitalisation and internet is provided for especially in developing countries.

4.5. Trade was said to play a major role in contributing to the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The fight against climate change was said to be essential for the survival of all the nations.  All countries that are signatories to the Paris Agreement were encouraged to turn their commitments into reality.

4.6. The impasse in the WTO’s negotiating function is on development and special and differential treatment.  Since the creation of the WTO, the rapid economic growth among developing countries has led to the emergence of significant differences in economic development.  Some countries were said to have developed to giant economies, for example China but still want to be considered as developing countries in order to enjoy some benefits.  Some re-consideration has to be undertaken to make sure that appropriate and targeted developing countries benefit.

4.7. The appellate body which is responsible for dispute settlement is under threat of collapse, a development which will make the negotiation arm of rulemaking lose its purpose.  This function of WTO is critical and urgent action is needed to strengthen the WTO’s effectiveness.

4.8    Summary of Challenges faced by WTO

·       There was no agreement either on the reform of State subsidies that distort competition, or on a public stockholding (food reserves) programme to ensure food security in developing countries.

·       There was no headway on proposals to have the WTO set up an agenda on e-commerce, investments and small and medium-sized enterprises due to India’s blockade as it seeks to catch up with China.

·       Failure on sustainable development.  It was not possible for member states to adopt an agreement on the elimination of subsidies on illegal fishing or on overfishing disciplines.

·       Multilateral trade rules have divided States into three major group as follows:-

·       There are those who believe that multilateral rules are not good because they hamper their development strategies.  India and South Africa are at the forefront of this battle.  These are followed by a group of developing countries from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) called the Group 90 who insists on very broad exceptions under the special and differential treatment provisions.

·       The second group are those who believe that multilateral rules are good and these include the United States and China.  The US wants to avoid those rules when they could be detrimental to them, for example in matters of de-localisation.  China while claiming to be committed to the rules, does not respect them.  China uses its classification as a developing country, which allows for special and differential treatment to buy time.

·       The final group are those who believe that the rules in themselves are good and that more are needed.

5.0    RESOLUTIONS/THE WAY FORWARD

5.2. A draft outcome document was provided to participants for adoption by the conference.  The draft was a product of amendments submitted by parliaments and the deadline for submissions of parliaments’ inputs was 15 November 2018. The following 2018 Annual Session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO resolutions were then adopted:-

·       The WTO has since its creation played a role in strengthening multilateralism, combating protectionism and unilateralism, establishing an inclusive world-order and promoting an open, rules-based and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system.  We remain convinced that the multilateral trading system, based on free and fair trade for the benefit of all, helps achieve sustainable economic growth and economic development, thus creating jobs and ensuring welfare.  We need to make sure that globalisation is for the benefit of all countries and citizens.

·       However, the rules-based multilateral trading system is facing its deepest crisis since the creation of the WTO, with its negotiation function almost stalled, trade tensions that may lead to trade wars and the appointment of new members of the appellate body being blocked.  This threatens the basic functions of the organisation in setting essential rules and a structure for international trade and in delivering the most effective and developed dispute settlement mechanism of any multilateral organisation.

·       We are concerned about the rise of nationalism, populism and protectionism, which lead to unilateral actions.  This tendency contradicts our collective efforts aimed at promoting inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.  To disseminate multilateralism and promote international cooperation between nations, we as parliamentarians, should educate people in our constituencies through forging international cooperation.

·       The crisis could deepen further in the coming months if more unilateral measures are threatened and imposed, and if the stalemate in the appellate body, which can only function in its current state until December 2019 remains.  We, therefore, urge all Members to fully respect the rules of the WTO, while urgently seeking a solution for the dispute settlement body, for example through proposing transitional rules for outgoing members of the appellate body or maximum times allowed before the publication of a report, guaranteeing its independence while ensuring that rules remain within the rights and obligations of the appellate body.  We call upon all Members of the WTO to urgently engage to address the impasse of the dispute settlement body as this could fundamentally undermine the multilateral trading system.

·       We further believe that it is a matter of urgency to proceed with discussing the ways and means of improving the WTO in the light of the latest developments and to review several aspects of the functioning of the WTO with a view to increasing both its effectiveness, transparency, and authority through the upholding of its core values and fundamental principles, and legitimacy.  These discussions should strive to find a way within the WTO umbrella to address the challenges facing the multilateral system.  We welcome the recent G20 Leaders’ Declaration that supports the necessary reform of the WTO in order to improve its functioning, recognising the importance of the multilateral trading system.

·       Technological development provides for new opportunities for international trade and has the potential to substantially reduce the costs of transactions, but it will also fundamentally change the way we trade.  We are still in the early phases of transformation where digitalisation, robots, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and 3D printing will revolutionise how we produce, work, move, and consume.  While this transformation provides new opportunities, it also poses significant infrastructural, regulatory and other challenges, particularly for the developing countries and LDCs, which will not benefit from the opportunities due to the large digital divide.  Thus, we need to make sure that the multilateral trading system responds to this reality and avoids asymmetries and disruption for the developing counties and LDCs.

·       In addressing the gender gap in the digital economy, the international community should guarantee women better and equal access to ICTs and improve their capacity to harness information and technology so that they can reap the benefits.

·       The lack of adequate infrastructure, technical and scientific capacity, investment and financing are the main challenges faced by developing countries and LDCs in reaping the countries. LDCs are equipped with adequate capacity building and policy space to actively participate in world trade and to be integrated into the global value chains in line with their human development objectives.

·       We fully believe that trade has an important role to play in contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which is crucial in the fight against climate change.  We remind WTO Members that the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round is an SDG in itself.  Beyond the negotiations on fisheries subsidies, the WTO must now define more concrete actions to achieve higher standards globally through coordinated efforts to address the basic issues of poverty, hunger and malnutrition in the developing countries and LDCs.

·       As expressed in SDG 5, there are established links between gender equality and inclusive development.  Women’s empowerment is key to the eradication of poverty and removing barriers to women’s participation in trade is critical for economic development.  Noting that official statistics show the reliability of micro-credit providers, governments should be encouraged to create an enabling regulatory environment so that lenders make micro credit instruments more accessible to women and young people.  We note the work of the WTO to mainstream the gender perspective into its policies and call upon the signatories to the 2017 Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment to deliver on their commitments.  However, we also stress the importance of ensuring that trade liberalisation and rules positively impact the position of women and girls.

·       We recognise that entrepreneurship is a pathway to decent work and sustainable enterprises for women and young people.  Therefore, we have to promote financial inclusion to help women and young people transform their creative ideas into successful business plans by removing barriers to entrepreneurship.

·       We call on WTO Members to ensure democratic legitimacy and transparency by strengthening the parliamentary dimension of the WTO and establishing a formal working relationship with the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO.  In this regard, we stress the need to ensure that parliamentarians have better access to deliberations and are involved in the shaping and implementation of WTO decisions, and that trade policies are properly scrutinised in the interests of their citizens, by monitoring the implementation of the decisions and commitments undertaken by States.

6.0    OBSERVATIONS

6.1. Mr. Speaker Sir, your delegation observed that the developed countries push for their own agendas, those that suit them most at the expense of developing countries.  We noticed that developed countries push for reforms beneficial to themselves without taking into account the needs of their developing counterparts.  Developing countries need assistance in terms of adequate technical and financial support, in advancing their information and communication technologies as a way of increasing productivity in industry, agriculture and other ancillary services.

6.2. During the conference, those of us from developing nations felt that the reforms being proposed will further disadvantage small economies and therefore, should be examined so as to address the needs of countries with weaker economies.

6.3. Some WTO group of member states, particularly from developed countries are already discussing proposals to come up with new WTO rules on e-commerce, while Zimbabwe and her developing counterparts from Africa and ACP groups have objected to these rules because of the digital gap between the developed countries and the developing countries.  It was observed that there was need for assistance in setting up internet connectivity in rural areas before any rule is introduced. This is largely because Internet connectivity in Africa is still very behind resulting in the continent failing to also benefit from such rules.

6.4. The nature of the rules is such that they will diminish the developing countries’ policy space to develop their own digital industries and platforms because of external competition as a result of market opening.  This will also result in loss of revenue from duties and taxes as online sales are bound to increase.

7.0    RECOMMENDATIONS

          Mr. Speaker Sir, your delegation therefore recommends that:-

7.1. Developed countries should assist developing nations in terms of adequate technical and financial support to level the playing field. 

7.2. Developing countries should also be assisted in advancing their information and communication technologies in order to increase productivity in industry, agriculture and other services as well as to catch up with the developed world.

7.3. The current challenges being faced by WTO should be addressed as a matter of urgency to enable the rule-based multilateral trading system to function effectively.

8.0    OTHER WTO RELATED ISSUES

8.1. The delegation was informed by the Zimbabwe Embassy in Geneva that Zimbabwe was participating as a third party in the tobacco plain packaging dispute which is now at the appellate body level.  On 12 October 2018, Geneva Embassy submitted to the appellate body Zimbabwe’s position and arguments against Australia’s measures on tobacco plain packaging.  Australia is pushing for plain packaging of tobacco.  This move will disadvantage countries like Zimbabwe which produce high quality tobacco.

8.2. The delegation was also informed that following Zimbabwe’s ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, Ambassador Mushayavanhu deposited the Instrument of Ratification to the Director General of the WTO on 17 October 2018.  This development triggered implementation of the agreement including submission of outstanding notifications.

8.3. Finally, the Geneva Embassy mentioned that Zimbabwe’s Third Multilateral Policy Review will be held in Geneva during the first quarter of 2020.  The process involves a review of Zimbabwe’s trade policies and practices in relation to its commitments to the multilateral trading system.  It was pointed out that the WTO secretariat had sent a formal request to the Geneva Embassy to initiate the process with national stakeholders.

9.0    CONCLUSION

9.1. In conclusion, WTO should be supported as it plays a critical role of providing its members with a fair method of resolving trade disputes.  The member states do not have to resort to violence or war and therefore, the importance of the rule-based multilateral trading system cannot be overestimated.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to applaud Hon. Paradza for presenting the report on WTO from Geneva, Switzerland.  I want to add my voice that, we have an Agenda 2030 which has been enunciated by His Excellency, the President Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa, which is the local agenda.  The agenda speaks to and about an upper middle income economy come 2030.  By design and coincidence, it is also in the year that the Sustainable Development Goals are also supposed to come to fruition.

          It is a good and rare coincidence.  However, these two issues speak about economic development, in particular, as it relates to the WTO Report that has been presented here.  Why do I touch on the Sustainable Development Goals coupled with Agenda 2030, which is our local agenda?  It is because gavi rinobva kumasvuuriro and we want to make sure, as enunciated in our local agenda which dovetails with the regional agenda 2015 which speaks to the industrialisation of SADC region. How does it then help the regional agenda and domestic agenda to incorporate itself into the Agenda 2063 for the Continental Agenda? It can only be held by Continental Free Trade Area which we debated recently for ratification.

          The WTO report does not stand in isolation. Every issue as has been alluded to by His Excellency that we need to discuss and debate in this country, they need to have a dollar sign behind them so that they can speak to and about economic development. The issue about politics is past and now we need to emancipate this nation economically, hence the Agenda 2030. I applaud this report that has been brought about by Hon. Paradza in that it has to be noted by this House so that as it relates to the WTO ethos, ethics, values and all that it embodies, we need to ratify it at the time when it has to be ratified in order that we embrace our local Agenda 2030, SADC Industrial Agenda, Continental Free Trade Area, 2063 Agenda which speaks about beneficiation, value addition of our resources so that we do not export only to the outside world but we trade amongst the other countries in our 52 nations Mr. Speaker Sir.

          As we relate in the global community, we are second to the largest global trading areas which is the EU bloc which has about 28 countries. If we have the Continental Free Trade Zone, we are trading amongst ourselves in Africa. The advantages are these; if we trade one amongst ourselves with Uganda for argument sake, we can trade in bottled water. We can give each other bottled water, which bottled water we cannot export to America. It is my thinking that we use the pedestal or platform of the Continental Free Trade Area to go into the World Trade Area. In so doing, let us not forget our ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth which we are endowed with in Zimbabwe. We use that as a tool to economically emancipate ourselves.

          By the way, Chegutu West Constituency has got more than 20 gold mines of which if we exploit all the minerals in there, we are a giant to reckon with nationally, internationally and continentally. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to effectively, efficiently, vociferously debate on the motion that has been brought here by Hon. K. Paradza.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 16th May 2019.

MOTION

ADJOURNMENT OF THE HOUSE

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): I now move that the House do adjourn.

HON. CHIKWINYA: Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of Section 107 (2) of the Constitution, Vice Presidents, Ministers and their Deputies are supposed to come to Parliament to answer questions. Hon. Prof. Ncube has not been coming to Parliament and we understand that he is a man with a busy office and we have accepted the apologies. Last week, having noted that the majority of Ministers were pointing to his office for their failure to deliver and in particular Hon. Dr. Gumbo, the Minister of Energy and Power Development said, ‘I have mobilised the fuel and it is in Mabvuku but the Minister of Finance has not yet paid’.

The following day, the RBZ Governor gave a statement to the press that they had issued out what they term Letters of Credit which I hope the Minister will be able to explain. I had been delighted to see him present because we are a Parliament which derives power from the people and therefore our people are anxious to know when the fuel will come from Mabvuku, not to the fuel stations but to their tanks. We cannot allow the House to adjourn when the Hon Minister is in the House. I beg leave Mr. Speaker that the Minister of Finance be able to brief this House when his Ministry is going to make available fuel from Mabvuku to the people’s tanks. I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Chikwinya, your point is noted very much but as you are aware, the Minister has just come in. I think it is only proper that we ask the Minister to come with a Ministerial Statement tomorrow.

HON. TSUNGA: On a point of order, we just need an assurance from the Minister since he is here that tomorrow he will be available. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  He will certainly do that.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          The House adjourned at Nine Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 14 MAY 2019 VOL 45 NO 49