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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 15 JULY 2009 VOL. 35 NO. 35

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 15th July, 2009

The House of Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o'clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE ACTINGSPEAKER in the Chair)

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

MR. CHIMANIKIRE: My question is directed to the Leader of the House, where are the Ministers?

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (MR. MUTAMBARA): Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question that requires a very good answer and I will try to do that. We have communicated to our colleagues in Cabinet the importance of coming to this particular session of Parliament because that is when members have an opportunity to ask questions in person because Parliament is a public institution where any statement is public matter, hence ministers have to address the questions. We hope that by the later part of this occasion we would have a good number of our ministers in this House. If the ministers cannot come, they have to give authority to have their responses ready on their behalf. We will try to do better in future.

MR. MADAMOMBE: My question is directed to the Minister of Water Resources and Infrastructural Development. When are the residents of Mabvuku and Tafara constituency going to get water?

THE MINISTER OF WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT (MR. S.S. NKOMO): We have had challenges in terms of water delivery in Harare. As you might know, I think Mabvuku and Tafara has had no water for almost two to three years. What has happened is that the Minister of Finance has allocated some US$17 million for Harare. The city is busy now trying to organize the repairs to the various pipes that are dilapidated and pumps that are supposed to pump water to Mabvuku.

The other problem is that of leakages. If you go to other places, it is actually rivers flowing freely in various suburbs and townships of treated expensive water. Once you have got this kind of leakages you loose pressure of pumping out water and as a result you find that we are unable to reach those various places. We hope that once these repairs take place and we are trying to run fast enough so that when the rains come, we would have actually done a lot of work to avoid another outbreak of cholera which happened last year. I hope this is done as quickly as possible. We are mindful of this - Tafara Mabvuku are not the only ones, Greystone Park, Mt Pleasant, Borrowdale are also in the same situation and we are trying to make sure that this is done as soon as possible.

MR. MADAMOMBE: Then why are we being charged for the water which is not there?

ENG. MUTEZO: I do not believe that you can be charged for water that you have not used. I think you must be charged for water that you have used. If you are charged for water that you have not used then you should refuse to pay. So why do you pay? How do you pay for water that you have not used?

MS T. KHUMALO: My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education responsible for Universities. Currently in the universities, there is this so called cadetship and as at May, the National University of Science and Technology had 1 700 students who had applied for that but the irony of that is that these students were unable to write their examinations because they were not approved under cadetship and now apparently they have supplementary examinations.

My question is how many of these 1 700 students have been approved especially those that were not able to write their examinations and will they be able to write those examinations. We are talking of NUST alone but the same could also apply to the School of Mines and Hillside Teachers College because all these institutes of higher learning have been given cadetship but there has been no progress.

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION (DR. S. MUDENGE): I would like to thank the hon. member for asking that valuable question, it is a question which the students have already asked the Minister. So, the Minister is aware of the matter, there were some students at NUST University who were not allowed to sit for the end of semester examinations because their cadetship payment has not been made to the university. I was just whispering to the Minister of Finance that I wondered whether the question of cadetship is going to be asked? Indeed, it was asked, I was aware because there was a concern in this House and there is a concern out there in the country about the payment of the cadetship to the students - it is a genuine concern.

The reason is because up to now the Ministry of Finance has not been able to release the support grant for the cadetship that the House has voted for. I have the Minister's assurance that indeed this is going to be done. Therefore, my Ministry will be in a position - during the coming semester - to pay for both the first and second semester cadetship students. I am grateful to the Minister of Finance for making that possible.

While that does not address the question that the hon. member has asked, what now happens to the students who did not write their examinations. I communicated to the authorities at NUST University, I took the opportunity of sending communication to all State Universities that any student who has completed a semester's work cannot be stopped from writing an examination because he/she has not paid. Consequently, since those students at NUST were not allowed to sit for examinations, I directed that another examination be set to allow these students to sit so that they can all return like those who sat the other examination. Those were the instructions I gave and those I hope are the instructions that are being followed so that no student is disadvantaged.

MR. MUTSEYAMI: My question is poised to the Minister of Home Affairs. I would like to know Hon. Minister the position with regard to your Ministry on the event that happened on the first All Stakeholders' Conference when we had people who disturbed the conference to the extent that we could see people taking plastic containers and urinating into them ....-[HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - can you explain to us as to what is the position, if any of the people have been arrested?

THE CO-MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR. G. MUTSEKWA): Let me also thank the hon. member for Musikavanhu Constituency for raising this important question. Mr. Speaker, I was at the Conference Centre when this incident took place and was amongst the last people to leave - so I personally witnessed what happened.

The Ministry has since called upon the Officer Commanding Harare Province to make full investigations and where possible because the information at hand is that this particular incident was caused by specific persons some of whom are honourable. - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

Mr. Speaker, I want to categorically state that this was an embarrassment to the State of Zimbabwe. That incident caused a lot of unnecessary debate. As Ministry of Home Affairs, who are responsible for internal security, we will not allow it to go unpunished. In answering the hon. member's question, yes we witnessed the incident, yes investigation is going to be done and indeed culprits will be facing the wrath of the law - that I guarantee.

MR. CHIKWINYA: My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education on the position regarding accommodation for lecturers in particular. Is there a circular which was issued by the Ministry to evict the occupying lecturers out of colleges?

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION (DR. MUDENGE): Mr. Speaker, my Ministry has no policy to evict lecturers from college houses. If the hon. member has the names and the colleges that have evicted any of the lecturers, I would be most grateful to get them from him.

MR. BHASIKITI: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs, I want the Hon. Minister to give us the government position regarding the issuing of tickets to bus operators that are operating in the height of difficult circumstances who are being given three tickets for one offence on one way trip from Masvingo to Harare at different road blocks thereby making it difficult for the operators to continue proving service - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - what I know is one ticket is suffice to indicate that one is guilt of a certain offence.

THE CO-MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR. MUTSEKWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker, let me thank Hon. Bhasikiti for asking that pertinent question. If I got you correctly, I think the hon. member wants an explanation from me as to why several offence tickets are issued on the same trip and also why they are so many road blocks in our highways and therefore disturbing? Am I correct hon. member?

MR BHASIKITI: It is three tickets given on one offence.

MR MUTSEKWA: The first part of the question is administrative. I am not so sure whether I will be able to answer it adequately at the moment because I would need to have incidences particularly referred to so that we make an investigation. But, on why we have so many road blocks on high ways, apparently the Executive has also asked the same question. Our investigations as a Ministry reveal to us that the mounting of road blocks on our highway is determined by particular officers commanding various areas in this country and they determine, depending on the security situation in that particular area. A responsible officer is then allowed to determine how many road-blocks there should be in a particular highway.

However I also want to admit that in some cases it completely inconveniences travelers especially visitors to this country. We have sent our complaint of not only Parliament but also the Executive to the Police Commissioner General. I want to re-emphasize that the person who determines to set road-blocks and how many in a particular area is the Member in Charge, depending on the security situation of that particular area. These are inconveniencing our own visitors and indeed the public. So where possible, I am sure the police will be able to look into it but we must remember the reason why these road-blocks are there, so that we improve the security of our travellers and also deter what would be robbers in the country. THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon Minister, his question the first part I think it has to do with whether it is possible for one offence to attract several tickets on one route?

MR MUTSEKWA: Thank you Mr Speaker Sir for clarifying the question. I thought I responded to that question because some of these are operational issues and if they are specific incidents can they be brought so that we can verify.

THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Bhasikiti you can verify and put it in writing.

MR BHASIKITI: Is the Minister taking measures to see that we do not have some of the unnecessary disturbances on road-blocks which are just meant to frustrate passengers and to create money for officers on the road because it is happening.

MR MUTSEKWA: I am not so sure whether I will be comfortable with the last part of the question where the hon. member indicated the roadblocks could be set to benefit the members of the Republic Police. However, I thought I dealt with the earlier part of your question where I indicated that it is not only just yourself as a Member of Parliament about the overwhelming number of roadblocks on our highways. I also indicated to you that the Executive itself is also concerned and it is to be solved. I have also told you that Home Affairs has directed the Commissioner General of Police to see if this can be rationalized.

MR C. C. SIBANDA: My question is directed to the Minister of Information, Communication Technology Hon. Chamisa. Could he explain why in Bhubi Constituency which is only 40km from Bulawayo, there is no communication network.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION AND TECHNOLOGY: I am sure it is a very pertinent question but I would just want to say if there is no network, the simple reason is that there is no coverage because there is no base station and infact we are trying to target those down trodden and peripheral areas for example areas in Chipinge, Chikombedzi, Nkayi, and Binga. Those are the areas we are tying to target and we will try and utilize the universal service funds to make sure that those areas are connected. We are conscious of the fact that we need to connect the unconnected and to make sure you have your cellphones and that they are working in those areas. That is our priority as a government. So I will not be able to give you specific details but we will try our best.

MR. MAVIMA: My question is again directed to the The Minister of Information Communication Technology. Has POTRAZ developed the policy where the three current network operators can use shared approach or base stations so that we have limited capital outlets and coverage.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (MR CHAMISA): I am sure you are hired by your constituency to ask that question. According to the Law, the Post and Telecommunications Act of 2000, infrastructure sharing is something that is supposed to be done. Base stations are supposed to be shared between the various players that are already operating but I would also be the first one to admit that POTRAZ has not enforced that infrastructure sharing. There has been resistance from other operators in terms of sharing their base stations but we are trying to enforce as government because infrastructure sharing is also going to help our customers to have network coverage in areas where certain providers are not.

Infact by modern practice in other countries where there is conversion, it is possible for one person to roam from Telecel to Econet to Netone in the same country. If you are from a particular area where there is no Netone, you are able to get network where there is a base-station.

Those are the things we are trying to work on. We are trying to rationalize but that should be in a matter of months. Infrastructure sharing is the future because it helps customers to benefit so that our operators are not participating and competing on infrastructure. They must be competing on the quality of services that are received by the customers. We are also trying to enforce that because the law does not stop that. We are trying to see that POTRAZ enforces that.

MR. F. M.SIBANDA: I would like to pose a question to the Leader of the House on how the press people contained the violence that took place at the Harare International Conference Centre. Why is it that ZBC and Herald are not stating things as they appear - why not naming and shaming the people that were involved in the violence because this was clear even to a seven-year old child?

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF . MUTAMBARA): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon member for that important question. What we were saying as the three Principals is that the issue of the Constitution is an issue for our country. It should not be derailed or undermined - this would be an attack on the GPA and the government. There will be no Inclusive Government without a Constitution because there is an attachment. We cannot have a GPA without a Constitution. More importantly, musakanganwa chazuro nehope. The reason why we have this Inclusive Government is because we did not have free and fair elections on June 27. The elections were a fuss and were nullified in the country. We need national healing in the country and for us to have free and fair elections we need a new Constitution so that the winner will be able to form their own Government.

Let us be very clear on what we are saying - as the three Principals, we are saying we should not play the blame game. We must work together as Zimbabweans - we should work on constitutionalism. We should work on the behaviour and culture of respecting the laws and Constitution. What happened at the HICC was damage to the image of this House. The information through the ZBC and Herald was not correct - we have to make sure that there is transformation at the ZBC so that information is conveyed as it should and not what they did in this event. Secondly, we should open up and bring in competition in the country through media reforms. That is why this august House must put together the SRC and the media - we cannot have a new Constitution without media reforms before we dream of a people driven Constitution.

MR. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. Would he please enlighten us as to when the University of Zimbabwe will be opened for the undergraduate students.

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION (DR. MUDENGE): Mr. Speaker, the question is a very important matter of concern and pre-occupation not only to this House but to the students and parents of the students who should be completing and starting examinations. The reason why we cannot bring undergraduates to the University of Zimbabwe at the moment is a simple word - water. However, I am relieved that the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education as well as a father, my daughter is also a student at the same University. She is always asking me questions regarding this issue. So I do have my last daughter at the University of Zimbabwe and this is a matter which is always pre-occupying me and I know how other parents are also feeling. I have approached UNICEF with the request to drill for us six boreholes as a temporal measure just to enable us to open the University. Both the Harare City Council and ZINWA have been unable to provide water for the University for the reasons that you know. Therefore, we had to look for other measures just to allow the University to open its doors to the Undergraduates. The Post Graduates are attending classes, UZ has been operational like any other University but for Undergraduates this has not been possible.

We were hoping that when the six boreholes have been drilled, we should open but alas the six boreholes which were drilled, three of them collapsed, one yielded no water two yielded poor supply of water and we could only fit them bush pumps. We pleaded with UNICEF to try and dig dipper. I am relieved to tell you that after drilling 13 boreholes, four are good yielding boreholes, three of them have been fitted with pumps. Trenches have been dug as I speak to you. I got a call this morning that the first borehole has been fitted this morning and its feeding water into the tank. The second one, we are hoping by the end of this day will also be feeding water into the tank. I am sure that the third one will be feeding into the tanks by Friday.

However, the fourth one, we have no resources to buy the pumps. I will be approaching again the Minister of Finance, this is a small amount of money compared to what UNICEF has done so that we complete the fourth one. This weekend they will be testing of boreholes that are working which will be connected to the reticulation at the University. If everything works well as the first one seems to have done, then there will be an exercise for two days of cleaning the blocked toilets and pipes. It is my hope and expectation as well as the Vice Chancellor's that on Monday the 20th of July he is going to announce and tell the nation the date at which the University will be thereby opened. We are all waiting for Monday to hear when the UZ should be opened because the water is now there. Five boreholes fitted with bush pumps are already working and pupils are collecting water from the bush pumps.

This is not a solution, this is an emergency address to the issue. Unless and until the City of Harare ensures that water comes to Mount Pleasant and UZ and unless and until ZINWA ensures that water comes, my Ministry cannot do it it is not my responsibility, only then are we certain that the University can actually function on a permanent basis. What we are doing now its first aid, it is just an emergency we need the support. I am grateful that the Ministry of Finance has given US$10 million to the Harare City Council. It is now essential that the City of Harare should attend to the Avondale station and make sure that it pumps the water to the University. It is also essential that the electricity line from Norton to Morton Jaffray be repaired which will cost about US$2 million so that there is enough electricity and water is pumped to the University. Only then could our oldest institution and University function normally.

MRS. MANGAMI: My question is directed to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. What is the position of the Ministry regarding the allowances which are given to the vulnerable groups, namely the disabled. Secondly, what is the position again on the better Education Assistance.

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (MS. MPARIWA): I want to thank the hon member for raising the question. The policy is very clear in terms of catering for vulnerable groups for their welfare. The vulnerable means the disabled, the child headed families, the female headed households and those who cannot help themselves. They are given a small grant that can carry them through. As we speak at the moment, the social protection is going to be beefed by some resources from the funds that will be given in this Hon. House by the Minister of Finance tomorrow.

The second question is to do with the education assistance module which is BEAM. This scheme has not taken off since January 2009 for the reasons that everybody else is aware of. I am glad that on the Budget that is to be presented by the Minister of Finance tomorrow, there are some resources that have been allocated towards BEAM which is also a component of the social protection programme through the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

MR. RARADZA: My question is directed to the Ministry of Finance. In regard to the payment of farmers who sent their maize to the GMB and they are going for months now without being paid.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (MR. BITI): Thank you Hon. Raradza for that question. The issue of financing agriculture is important. The issue of financing the crop for 2008 to 2009 which is being delivered now is very critical. At the present moment we have given US$2 million to the GMB. US$1million came from the Ministry of Finance and US$1million came from a commercial bank. We then gave the esteemed Ministry of Agriculture borrowing powers for the GMB in a further sum of US$2 million. We anticipated that deliveries would increase in the second half of the harvesting season, which is from end of July, August and September. There has been increase as of now and GMB now owes farmers a sum of US$1, 5 million for the delivered but unpaid for maize. We are going to make sure that in the next few days that we pay for that, we give GMB that money. The only thing why we cannot do it today is that we have to pay civil servants. You know it is month end and also without letting too many cats out of the bag there are some variations. What I want to advise right now is that we are going to issue for the first time, the government is going to issue paper for the support of the 2008/2009 agricultural season. We are going to issue grain bills in the sum of US$10 million in the next few days which will be at the rate of 7% that will ensure that the GMB is adequately funded to insure that the farmers are not prejudiced. You will also be the first one to know that the GMB is paying out US$265 per tonne which is more than what the market is paying. The market is paying anything between US$180 to US$250 per tonne. As a result most farmers are delivering their grains to the GMB when in our new liberalised matrix we intended to make the GMB the first and last resort. Now we are being put in a position where the GMB is the purchaser of the first resort and it effectively means that the bulk of 1.2 million tonnes we are effectively going to buy when it was our intention not to make GMB the buyer of first resort. So it means we have to fund a lot of money to the 1.2 tonnes.

MR. DONGO: Thank you very much Mr Speaker Sir, my question is directed towards the Minister of Finance. I am sure the Minister is aware of the fact that there are so many ghost workers who are being paid every month especially in the Ministry of Youth, where we have got almost four youth officers at each constituency that are being paid whilst they are doing nothing and the government continues to pay them. What measures are there in place to curb such payments to people who are doing nothing.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (MR BITI): The Cabinet in its meeting of Tuesday 7th April 2009 agreed to carry out an audit of the entire civil service. The entire civil service has got 236 000 workers, but there is a fear and a strong belief that these figures cannot be that high. One of the things that happened in February is that the government issued the vouchers . That vouchers system we abandoned it as a matter of urgency because it was amounting to the indirect printing of US dollars. When the vouchers were issued there were to be collected physically and there were so many vouchers that were not collected, but there were people who were registered and their names are in the books. So the long and short of it is that we had problems with the numbers that we are paying, that is 236 000 that we are seeing, which was why the government agreed on an audit. That audit is being run by the Minister of Public Service Prof. Elfas Mukonoweshuro. We are waiting the results of that audit; we need it because we have to rationalise our wage bill. Our wage bill at the present moment is 70% of the government expenditure which is not acceptable. We have to bring the wage bill to 30% of our revenues and to 8% of our gross domestic product.

At the present moment the wage bill is 40% of the GDP and 70% of our government revenues which is not acceptable at all. Mr Speaker the audit is coming and the audit is being done under the leadership and auspices of Prof. E. Mukonoweshuro.

MR DONGO: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance. It seems as though the Minister is paying those who are growing maize; what about those who are growing other crops like ground nuts and other small grains because some regions, their climate is not suitable for maize growing production.

MR BITI: It is actually grain that is being delivered to the GMB so the 1.5 million dollars that I said we are going to provide and the grain bills that we are going to issue cover all grains that are delivered to the GMB and it is not just maize grain. What I need to say Mr Speaker is that it is important that we bring as a matter of urgency the commodities market in Zimbabwe. It is important that the market establishes correct pricing. It is important that there is credibility in as far as prices are concerned. It is important that there is consistency in as far as the market is concerned. At the present moment there is arbitrage between the price that the GMB is offering and the price that the millers and other people are offering. There is also a difference between the price of importing including duties of importing grain in Zimbabwe. So we have to bring the commodities market whose result, like our stock market, will be published on a day to day process so that a farmer will know that a tonne of soya beans will cost this much and that I can deliver this week and so forth. So it is important to ensure that we send correct indicators to farmers and allow the farmers the knowledge that the market will reward him or her and the prices that the market is offering taking into consideration the inputs that go into farming. That is the cost of labour the cost of chemicals and the cost of transport.

*MR CHITANDO: [Speech not recorded due to technical fault]

THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (PROF. MUTAMBARA): Mr Speaker Sir this is a very critical question that the hon. member has asked. For those who remember we have raised these matter in this House. The national heroes that we celebrate in this country are national heroes about political affiliation. The National Heroes Acre is a National Heroes Acre, not a partisan shrine, not a party shrine. This government of which I am the Deputy Prime Minister is ceased with this matter and we do not agree that the determination of the heroism should be ascribed and given to one party. In fact it is undermining the heroism of Ackim Ndlovu for example. Ackim Ndlovu is a first Zipra Commander, he is a hero to all of us. To Zanu PF, MDC led by VaTsvangirai, MDC led by yours truly -[Laughter]- to Ndonga, to Mavambo, to Zembe and DP, when you declare that Ackim Ndlovu is a hero as ZANU PF you are denigrating his heroism, you are undermining his stature. We are saying this is a new government, we are revising that and discussing the challenges.

Patrick Kombayi who died in the same period as Ackim Ndlovu was not declared a hero but guess what go to Chitepo, go to Tongogara, talk to Mugabe in history, Kombayi played a major role in terms of facilitating and empowering freedom fighters. Kombayi is a national hero whether Zanu wants it or not. We want to create a new dispensation in this country as a new government such that in future we have Kombayi declared a national hero by a select committee of Cabinet, we have Ackim Ndlovu declared a national hero by a select committee of Cabinet but all this is work in progress. We are seized with the matter and we share the concerns but however people of Zimbabwe hear me out, these are small little differences that we have. There are more things that we agree upon. Where there are differences let us iron them out and solve the matter in the national interest. However we must address these issues in the national interest. We are saying as Zimbabweans it will be proper and prudent to have a select committee of Cabinet to determine who is a hero and who is not.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the ACTING SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 34.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

CLOSURE OF REDWING MINE

6. MR KAGURABADZA asked the Minister of Finance whether the Ministry:

i) is aware that Redwing Mine in Penhalonga, a gold mine operated by Metallon Gold of Zimbabwe, has closed down due to flooding as the water pumps at this mine are malfunctioning or cannot be repaired and new ones have not been bought because the RBZ is alleged to have withdrawn money from the mine's Foreign Currency Account (FCA) and did not reimburse it; and

ii) can advise when this money is going to be reimbursed to ensure that the Mine reopens.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (MR BITI) : What I can say about the question is that I will give a detailed written answer because I was not aware about the question but I am going to say that all the mines that are owned by Metallon Gold, two have now been opened and the remaining three will be opened as soon as possible . As you know Metallon Gold is the biggest gold producer in the country and we have had extensive discussions with the main shareholder Dr Mzee Khumalo and these mines are going to be opened.

On the issue of monies that were in FCAs of individuals including gold miners, this is the position of government: The RBZ - this is common cause, acquired various funds from various FCA accounts and as a result there is debt on its books that is about US$1bn and what government is going to do, is that it is going to come up with RBZ Restructuring of Debt Act in respect of which all the debts arising from these FCAs will be consolidated. Each of those various debts are going to be analysed and different solutions are going to be ascribed to various debts. For instance it is very easy and very foreseeable that in respect of debt pertaining to gold miners some executable and gold bonds maybe issued but that question and the manner in which each of the particular debts in this basket of RBZ will be dealt with, will be dealt with in the manner in which the machinery defined by Parliament will be brought before this august House.

OLD BANK NOTES

HON NYAMANDE asked the Minister of Finance to explain what people of Makoni Central should do with their old bank notes that have been made obsolete by the introduction of new bank notes as they feel that they have been prejudiced of their hard earned cash.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (MR. BITI) : I am going to address this issue in my statement tomorrow, so I urge the hon. member to be here tomorrow.

AUDIT OF THE RESERVE BANK OF ZIMBABWE

HON MADZIMURE asked the Minister of Finance to:-

i)inform this House whether an independent audit of the RBZ's activities vis a vis the distribution of farm mechanisation equipment and agricultural inputs will be carried out; and

ii) furnish this House with the names of the beneficiaries of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's farm mechanization and input distribution schemes.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (MR. BITI) : The position of the law is this, in the RBZ Act, an annual audit has to take place by an independent auditing firm. The audit to 2008 is about to be concluded now. That process is carried out in terms of Section 36 of RBZ Act. That audit is being done now and it is a statutory audit. Again in terms of the law all the audits of public bodies and parastatals have to be tabled before this august House and I trust and guarantee you Mr Speaker Sir, that audit will also be tabled before this august House.

I also need to warn hon members that we will be bringing in the very near future, we will be gazetting fundamental amendments to the RBZ Act which are intended to make sure that we bring legitimacy, credibility, transparency, authenticity and trust to the RBZ. This august House will be dealing with those amendments. The normal audit done by outsiders as prescribed by the laws will be coming and it will be tabled before this august House.

ABUSE OF US$100 VOUCHERS

MR. F. M SIBANDA asked the Minister of Finance to to state:

i)the measures that were put in place to prevent abuse of the US$100 vouchers given to civil servants as allowances; and

ii) if any corrective measures have been take against RBZ employees who were given US$100 allowances since they are not civil servants.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (MR. BITI): On the issue of vouchers as you will know Mr Speaker we immediately prevented the printing and production of vouchers in February of 2009 for two good reasons. The first one was that it was going to be very dangerous in a multiple currency environment to print something that would stand in stead of hard currency. In reality that was similar to printing of hard currency and all the problems that have been associated with the printing of our money, the inflationary effect, the provision or creation of broad money supply M3 that exceeded 1000% to levels in classical economics was going to be replicated and reproduced with a currency that we could not print, so that is why we stopped the printing of the US$100 voucher . The second reason is that it was a measure that did not give and inspire confidence in anyone. If I had worked and earned US$100, nobody had a right to say to me that this voucher can only go to this particular shop. So we had to stop that as a matter of urgency and I am glad to say that even though we struggled to pay, particularly February salaries, we have managed to pay the salaries religiously and we have managed to stick to the cash budget.

The abuse of the US$100 did not take place as a result of activities by civil servants. The vouchers were issued on the basis of whether you were able to produce your employment number (EC No) and your ID. The abuse we feared was not civil servants laying their hands on these vouchers. Earlier on I explained that one of the things that arose was that we had piles of vouchers that were not claimed because of the strict regime that we employed.

The second situation was when long after February 2009 we still had people who were going to shops trying to redeem those vouchers, but it had been clearly spelt out that the cut off date was to be February 2009 and that showed the lack of authenticity on the part of those who tried to redeem after April 2009.

On the issue of the RBZ employees; some were being paid US$100 and there was no abuse at all. In fact you will recall Mr Speaker that there were employment disturbances in Bulawayo in respect of employees being paid US$100. However, if the question is whether they were RBZ or Fidelity Printing employees who laid their hands unlawfully on the vouchers, I am not aware of that but certainly piles and piles were not claimed and this is one of the reasons why an audit of the civil service was carried out.

MR KAGURABADZA: The Minister has partially answered the question but has not answered the second part.

MR. BITI: I have answered it and as I said before we are going to do it with this vehicle that we are creating. As I also said, tomorrow I will make an announcement on what we are going to do with the stock of Zimbabwean dollars people have in their pillows or in the banks.

VOTE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE

11. MR GWIYO asked the Minister of Finance to inform the House which vote of the 2009 budget caters for the Prime Minister's Office?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (MR. BITI): It is the Vote of the President and the Cabinet. You will recall that when the budget was brought out on the 29th January the inclusive government was not in existence and the Office of Prime Minister was not there. Tomorrow we will try to make it clear that the office of the Prime Minister exists and is recognised from the Constitution to the blue book as well.

MEASURES ON THE GOLD TRADING POLICIES

12. MR PEMHIWA asked the Minister of Finance to inform the House what measures have been put in place to ensure good business practice in light of amended Gold Trading Processes.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE (MR. BITI): Let me announce what we have done. We have made sure that the running, administration and marketing of gold is done strictly in terms of the Gold Trading Act. This act is administered by the Ministry of Finance, so we have made sure that, that law is respected and no other individual bank or corporation is administering the issue of gold. This is not a new policy but a version of the old policy.

Secondly we have also said in order to encourage the production of gold we have removed surrender requirements, but we have also allowed the Gold sector after processing and assaying at Fidelity to take it outside Zimbabwe. They have to complete and process the CD forms. In the short term, that is a good thing because it allows our gold sector to obtain international quality prices and that is very important. In the long term we have to make sure that Fidelity attains its status as a processor because at the present moment, the gold is going to the Rand Processing Mill in Johannesburg. To do that we have to produce at least 5 tonnes in a year. Our production last year as I will reveal tomorrow had shrunk to less than 30 kg, so Fidelity lost its capacity and status as a gold processor. We have issued very carefully, licenses to a few individuals that are allowed to import the gold outside the country. These are different licenses from the ones that are being issued by the Ministry of Mines in respect of the actual mine. These are marketing licenses. So we have given licenses to key indigenous players and to the traditional players which is the chamber of mines.

Tomorrow I will give you the quantity of gold that was delivered in the country and the reopening of the two mines by Metallon. It is quite clear that there will be an increase in gold production this year and I am very sure that by the end of the year we should be able to go to at least 800 kgs, but the fact of the matter is that it is an industry that is still limping and requires a lot of oxygen and a lot of nursing and we are going to put measures tomorrow that we will nurse the industry but also recognises that we have to put something in place of the surrendering requirements that we took away in February. When we announced that we are going to remove this surrendering requirement, we said that we are going to give some honeymooning period to the gold industry. The honeymoon is still on but not for very long.

IMPACT OF THE LIQUIDITY CRUNCH

13. MR. MADAMOMBE asked what plans the government has put in place to improve the growing liquidity crunch which is fast confronting the majority of the people both business and ordinary in rural and urban areas in the country.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR AGRICULTURAL MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (DR. MADE) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE: Hon. Sindi has raised a pertinent and contemporary challenge presently confronting the majority of the people, business and ordinary in our economy. The hon. member of Parliament will recall that the hyperinflation of the past year had adversely affected and indeed grounded economic activity.

The migration of foreign currency adopted by government early this year ended the hyperinflation immediately. However, the economy has been confronted with a different and yet equally severe challenge - foreign currency credit crunch. More specifically, this is a symptom of general foreign currency insufficiency.

The government instituted STERP to address a host of economic challenges confronting the economy, including generating more foreign currency for the economy. There is no silver bullet and certainly no quick fixes. The economy has to be re-build step by step, often slowly, yet steadily.

Availability of cash will thus improve as capacity utilization steadily increases, creating employment and wealth creation. Availability of cash will improve as small businesses are capacitated and formal sector take off increases in rural areas, growth points and provincial capitals.

Government is actively aware of the principal role of small businesses towards economic activity and employment creation and poverty reduction. Accordingly, of the secured lines of credit, a proportion will be set aside for supporting small scale farmers, small business units and enterprise development for economically wide sustained growth. As business units spread and thrive, cash will increasingly become more available across the economy.

There has, however, been a low take up of the lines by business. This is attributed to the high cost of borrowing and the short term nature of the facilities. The loans are attracting interest rates of about 6 to 14% per annum, with a tenor of 90 days.

Commercial Banks are also being encouraged to increase their credit to private sector. The loan to deposit ratio for banks has remained subdued due to the short term nature of deposits. This creates challenges for the banks to meet medium to long term financial requirements for individuals and business as these are not in line with their core deposits.

In addition, authorities are currently considering increasing salaries for civil servants. The levels will be determined by the available resources. The increased disposable incomes will permeate to the rural and urban areas as a result of increased aggregate demand from the civil servants working in different parts of the country.

ACCESS TO WATER AT OSBORNE DAM

18. MR MUCHAURAYA asked the Minister of Water Resources Development and Management when the people of Makoni South will eventually have access to the water at Osborne Dam since it is not benefiting the local community?

THE MINISTER OF WATER RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT (MR S. NKOMO): The Osborne Dam water will benefit the people of Makoni South through the proposed Odzi Canal which will be concrete lined and has capacity of 1.6 cubic metres and includes a 6 km siphon from a pump station at Mukahanana School to a small dam on Taaihoek. The project will assist the country achieve food security and self sufficiency by harnessing water for irrigation in several farms (originally eleven) on the upper right bank of the Odzi River.

For the people of Makoni South this will translate into poverty eradication. The project will in total allow for the irrigation of 1 600 hectares of land. The targeted farms are mostly suitable for the production of most crops including wheat, maize and tobacco which would boost the country's food security and foreign currency earnings. The project is awaiting funding to deliver the expected benefits to the communities.

COMPLETION OF TOKWE-MUKORSI DAM

19. MR. A BALOYI asked when the Ministry plans to complete Tokwe-Mukorsi dam in Masvingo Province and whether government allocated funds for the project in the current fiscal year.

THE MINISTER OF WATER RESOURCES, DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT (MR. S. NKOMO): Tokwe-Mukorsi dam construction has been on suspension since 29 April 1999 due to non-payment of foreign currency arrears. The contract specifically requires that 75% of the contract value be paid in EURO and the remaining 25% in local currency. The nation has in the past been unable to raise the required funding in forex. The current cost estimate for outstanding works is US$150 million and once this is availed, the Tokwe-Mukorsi dam should be completed within 3 years.

Once completed, the dam will have an 89.2m high embankment and hold

1 800 million cubic metres of water to irrigate 25 000 hectares of land in the lowveld of Zimbabwe.

Due to economic challenges currently facing the country, Tokwe Mukorsi along with other on-going dam projects has not been allocated funds in the current fiscal year. Funds amounting to US$3.7 million have been allocated for dam construction and these are targeted at Bubi/Lupane in Matabeleland North and Mutange dam in Midlands. Efforts to secure funding for Tokwe Mukorsi Dam for private players are also underway.

PROGRESS ON THE HANDOVER TAKEOVER

OF WATER MANAGEMENT

20. MR. MADAMOMBE asked the Minister of Water of resources, Development and Management to inform the House on what progress has been made regarding the handover takeover of water management from ZINWA to the Local Authorities and to state financial and material support that has been given to local authorities by the government for the management of the water reticulation system.

THE MINISTER OF WATER RESOURCES, DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT (MR. S. NKOMO): Thank you Mr. Speaker, I thought I had answered this question before and I think perhaps by some administrative confusion this question has come back. Let me just state again that the transfer of management of water from ZINWA to local authorities is now complete. I did state then that the transfer was indeed complete and the transfer was smooth. Quite recently a week or two weeks ago, the Ministry of Finance availed US$17 million to help on the refurbishment of pumps, pipes and the whole water system in Harare including the sewage treatment works. This is where government has availed funds to assist in the reticulation of water in the urban areas. Government will also avail about a million dollars for Beitbridge for that purpose as well.

Mr. Speaker, I think this is the second time I am answering that question and I am hoping that it has been adequately answered.

ARDA ESTATES

22. MR. GONESE asked the Minister Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to: i) confirm whether ARDA Chirundu, ARDA Katiyo, ARDA, Middle Sabi, ARDA Chisumbanje, ARDA Nandi and ARDA Mkwasine have been or are in the process of being availed to private individuals outside the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP); ii) confirm if it is true that one individual, namely Mr. Billy Rautenbach has illegally occupied ARDA Middle Sabi (5000 ha), ARDA Chisumbanje (40 000 ha) and ARDA Nuanetsi (150 000 ha) under different companies owned by the same individual, and whether it is true that his contribution to the proposed joint venture is in the form of loans which will have to be repaid before ARDA realizes any value, and in the case of ARDA Nuanetsi there is no realizable value to ARDA for all the Authority's investment to date; iii) explain how one individual can be in possession of over 300 000 ha of land and how much ARDA has realized from these transactions since it is alleged that these assets are being grated with no financial rewards for the equity acquired by the individuals to ARDA, and if that is the case, how can ARDA be turned around it if it is being stripped of all its investments for the benefit of private individuals; and iv) whether it is true that the Acting Chairperson of ARDA now has Executive powers to make decisions outside the Board and Management structures, thus frustrating and depolarizing both the Management and workers of ARDA.

THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (DR. MADE): Thank you Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for asking this question. I) hon. member, ARDA Estates are not being availed to individuals outside STERP except where such efforts and discussions had started long before STEROP. Any innovation which might be more noble will synchronized with STERP bearing in mind that STERP is a short term strategy. The medium to long term strategy is being considered and prepared. ii) I cannot confirm that one individual namely Mr. Billy Rautebach has illegally occupied ARDA Middle Sabi (5 000 ha), ARDA Chisumbanje (40 000 ha) and ARDA Nuanetsi (150 000 ha) under different company names.

I wish to correct the hon. member that Nuanetsi is owned by the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ). iii) I am not aware of any individual who is in possession of over 300 000 ha. iv) The ARDA Chairperson's functions and decisions are guided by the ARDA Act. However, each individual Chairperson's management style is not prescribed in any way.

DECLINE IN THE OUTPUT PRODUCTION

7. MR. CROSS asked the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to state: - i) the number of many hectares of wheat and barley that have been planted this winter and the estimated output and whether it will meet the target set in the 100 day programme; and ii) the estimated tobacco hactrage for the 2009 - 2010 planting season, the number of growers and to give reasons for any anticipated decline in the output production given the fact that in the past ten years there has been a steady decline in the output.

THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (DR. MADE): Hon. Member, as at 10 July 2009, 18 201 ha of wheat have been planted and germinated and more than 20 000 ha prepared. That means of the land prepared 18 201 had been germinated. As for the estimated output, I cannot tell at this point in time as an assessment will have to be done. I just want to emphasize here that the challenges besetting the winter wheat crop is electricity. As we are talking, there are areas where we have load shedding and a good part of that crop needs top dressing. As you know at top dressing you require water as winter wheat is fully irrigated and is not a crop that is assisted like the summer crop with the natural rain.

Regarding barley, National Breweries indicated that 7 000 ha were contracted. The company is in the process of establishing the area planted - I am sure in due course they will also be giving their figures that will be available at the Ministry if you keep track of this. ii) tobacco production for the 2009/10 season is estimated at 130 million kilograms from 75 000 ha. I want to emphasize that this is a planned figure that will have to be monitored as we look at planning particularly in the seedbed preparation. Relating to the seed sales at the auction floors, we keep track of the seed that is sold to farmers. The number of growers is 57 000 but this is mainly small holder farmers - the communal A1 farmers. My Ministry is not anticipating any decline in output in the forthcoming season given the favourable macroeconomic environment and the availability of inputs. And also the fact that this year in terms of the auction floors the sales relating to the farmers receiving their payment in foreign currency and also that the problems that beset us in the past in terms of the exchange rate - the farmers are getting their payment in full. This has assisted this particular sector

MUTARAZI CATCHMENT WATER PROJECT

iii) MR. CHIMHINI asked the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to inform the House when the Honde Valley Mupotedzi community women Mutarazi catchment water project which was started in 2004, will have a transformer installed and be commissioned.

THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (DR. MADE): Hon. member, my Ministry through the Department of Irrigation Development, is going to locate and install the transformer.

REVIVAL OF THE COLD STARAGE COMPANY

25. MR GARADHI asked the Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals to inform the House whether the Ministry has any plans to revive parastatals paying Cold Storage Company (C.S.C), Dairy Marketing Board (D.M.B) and the Cotton Marketing Board (C.M.B.)

THE MINISTER OF STATE ENTERPRISES AND PARAASTATALS (MR. GABBUZA): This question enables me to explain to the House how our Ministry operates given that the State Enterprises that well beyond 80 housed in the various Ministries. We as a Ministry through STERP and the 100 day plan have chosen to concentrate on those issues that are common and cross cutting on all the State Enterprises such as Corporate Governance, restructuring and issues of performance management. Hon. Garadhi's question falls well in line with one of our Ministry's performance targets i.e restructuring plans.

Mr. Speaker, government has plans to revive the Cold Storage Company Ltd. In line with the Short Term Economic Recovery Programme, government has tasked my Ministry to identify parastatals that are potential candidates for commercialization and privatization. Currently, my Ministry is in consultation with line Ministries and other stakeholders and is still discussing the possibility of C.S.C Ltd along with a few others as possible candidates for restructuring. Proposals will be submitted to the inter-ministerial Committee on Commercialization and Privatization of parastatals for consideration before presentation to Cabinet. Let me indicate that since this question was asked, the CSC is being considered for restructuring because of the current challenges bedeviling the company which include lack of working capital, low throughput from its ranches and cattle farmers, state of the art infrastructural which has been heavily underutilized over the past years and brain drain.

In light of the above, capacity utilization has fallen to levels as low as 8% as a result of the operational challenges that the company is facing.

The proposed turnover strategies include the following:

iv)Considering the restructuring of the CSCL and a few other Parastatals by engaging strategic partners.

v) The strategic role of livestock rehabilitate should be separated from the CSCL and be spearheaded by the livestock Development Trust in the Ministry of Agriculture.

vi)In the interim, the company may also consider leasing excess capacity to generate immediate resources for working capital requirements for the company.

The other two companies, referred to by the hon Member, that is, Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (COTTCO) and Dairiboard Zimbabwe Limited (DZL) were successfully privatized and are now profit making listed companies. The government completed its divestiture from these two entities in 2001.

ARDA KATIYO ESTATE

MR CHIMINHI asked the Minister of State Enterprises ans Parastatals to explain if he is aware that Arda Katiyo Estate is broke and has not been paying its workers since January 2009 and explain; to the House what steps are being taken to alleviate the suffering of the workers and assist Arda Katiyo estate to recapitalizes.

THE MINISTER OF STATE ENTERPRISES AND PARASTATALS (MR GABBUZA): Mr Speaker Sir, The Estate is facing challenges in terms of capitalization and cash flows resulting in low capacity utilization. To address these challenges, the Aughority's Management has since applied for working capital to Kingdom Bank that is being processed and the Estate management has put in place a payment plan toclear the outstanding wages commencing April 2009. Arrears on wages have been cleared up to March 2009.

For capitalization, current efforts are towards joint ventures, partnerships and other forms of management agreements with the private sector. 193Ha of the 553 ha of tea are now under contract management with Eastern Highlands Plantations Limited (EHPL) for the next 12 years, the remainder is under discussion with both EHPL) for the next 12 years, the remainder is under discussion with both EHPL) and Tanganda Tea Company as investment partners.

KATIYO LABOUR DISPUTE

MR CHIMHINI asked the Minister of Labour and social Welfare to state whether the Ministry has plans to assist in the resolution of the Katiyo Labour dispute of 2000, since the workers are worried at the failure by the Labour Court to give a final determination.(Case Ref. Labour Relations 
Tribunal 1rt/mc/16/2000-arda vs P. Thompson and 149 others.)

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MS MPARIWA): I wish to inform the hon member that the Labour Court did give a final determination to this matter but parties did not comply. Three orders were given.

Firstly the Employer was ORDERED reinstate the affected employees. However, the employer was given an option to reinstate the employees who were affected. This order was further reviewed to allow the employer to pay damages to the employees instead of reinstating them. In the event of a dispute arising out of the amount of damages to be paid out to the employees, it was agreed that the Tribunal would make a final determination. All parties agreed to this position.

Secondly, legal practitioners of the employees were then ORDERED by the same court to file affidavits of each of the 19 deceased Employees whose names appeared on the list. This would satisfy the Court that indeed the lawyers were given authority to represent the deceased employees by the Executors. The said affidavits were supposed to be filed within 30 days from the date of this order, failure of which the 19 deceased would automatically be excluded from these proceedings. The lawyers representing the deceased workers did not file the required affidavits hence the exclusion.

Thirdly, the same ORDER was made that the lawyers representing the 131 employees of Arda file affidavits in Court, of each employee as confirmation that the said employees were still pursuing the matter. This was to be done within 30 days from the date of the order. Again the lawyers failed to act upon this order, so the Labour Court took it that the 131 employees had abandoned their claims in this matter.

DISRUPTION OF ACTIVITIES AT

INOGO RANCH

MR CHEBUNDO asked the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement to:

8. ) clarify why farming activities continue to be disrupted at the Inogo Ranch (formally Igogo Farm) in Kwekwe, whose resettlement status was concluded in May 2002 when 1200 hectares of the 1700 hectares of the farm were allocated to A1 settlers and the former owner was allocated the remaining 500 hectares;

9. ) state whether the Minister has reallocated the farm to Mr Martin Makonese who is currently responsible for disrupting economic farming activities; and

10. ) to inform the House what action the Ministry intends to take in order to prevent the continuous loss of income as a result of such disruptions.

THE MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (MR MURERWA): I would like to thank the Hon. Chebundo for the question posed. The fact of the matter is that the farm was gazetted on the 12th of April 2002 and is now state land as per schedule 7 of the Constitution Amendment Number 17 Act.

The farm was replanned into A1 and A2 land units and, Messrs Makonese and Murwisa were given offer letters for the A2 land units.

The former farm owner was served with eviction papers on the 16th January 2007 and was given up to 30th July 2007 (cut-off dates) to wind up business on the farm. He should have vacated by 5th of February 2007 as per the provisions of the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act (Chapter 20:28).

Eviction proceedings were instituted against the former farm owner and the matter is still being considered by the courts.

MR. CHEBUNDO: I would like to know who the legal owner of this land is since the matter is still in courts.

THE MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (DR. MURERWA): It is Mr. Makonese who should be facilitated to get on to the farm by the Local Authorities.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT , the House adjourned at Twenty Minutes past Four o'clock p.m.

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National Assembly Hansard Vol. 35 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 15 JULY 2009 VOL. 35 NO. 35