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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 15 MAY 2019 VOL 45 NO 50

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 15th May, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

PETITION RECEIVED

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on 3rd April, 2019 Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) beseeching Parliament to review the electoral law and enact electoral reform laws. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

LAUNCH OF THE EIGHTH PARLIAMENT ZWPC PHOTOBOOK

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I also wish to advise the House that the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) will be launching a photobook of the Eighth Parliament (ZWPC). Gender and Media Connect supported by Swedish SIDA will be funding the launch. The event will take place tomorrow, Thursday 16th May, 2019 in Parliament Courtyard from 0900 hours to 1100 hours. I shall be officiating and all Members of Parliament are invited to attend accordingly.

          HON. SARUWAKA: I rise on a point of privilege to say you might have been aware that on Saturday 11th May 2019, there was a by-election in Mutasa Central, Ward 10. Preceding that by-election, there was a lot of coverage on ZBC-TV but on Sunday, up to today, I have been trying to look in the public media – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – the results have not been publicised. 

        THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order, can you sit down.  Hon. Member, respectfully, today is Wednesday, Question Time, that should be directed to the Minister of Information accordingly.

        HON. T. MLISWA:  A very good afternoon to you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise on a point of privilege, Standing Order No. 68 (d).  I would like to express a number of issues which are in consistent with the Standing Order rules which I am having here. As Parliament, we are guided by this, no matter what position you have, be it from any party, these rules are the ones that guide us.  I stand specifically as somebody who is not represented in the Standing Rules and Orders Committee. 

        Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to bring to your attention that there were Members of Parliament – I was then Chairperson of the Mines and Mining Development Committee who travelled to South Africa.  In travelling to South Africa, they violated Section 23 (1 and 2) of the Standing Order Rules, equally, they violated 47 (1 and 2), I do not know if I should read that out to you.

        THE HON. SPEAKER:  I am aware of them. 

        HON. T. MLISWA:  Certainly, there was no authority from you as Speaker to give them that go ahead, neither did they seek leave in that regard.  That is in violation of these rules. Furthermore there were a number of them who - I must say it was actually more tribal than parliamentary.  Out of the Members that travelled eight were Karanga – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

        THE HON. SPEAKER:  Is it Karanga or Kalanga?

        HON. T. MLISWA:  No, I want to talk about the region as Karanga as Masvingo-Midlands.  They were mainly from Masvingo and Midlands areas.  What I am trying to bring to your attention is that this Parliament cannot be tribal.  It is permeating through various ways.  We have a Chief Whip who is also Karanga.  We have many other positions in this Parliament which are taken over by the Karanga people, I am a Karanga myself – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – I say so with shame because it then affects the office of the President himself who is Karanga - but we are an institution where we govern ourselves. So, out of all those Members who travelled, eight were Karangas and two were not.

        The Committee on Standing Orders Rules then made a decision; first of all who funded that trip to South Africa?  There must be proof if the Hon. Members paid for the trip themselves – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]  -

        THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order, can the Hon. Member be heard in silence. 

        HON. T. MLISWA:  First of all, the Members of Parliament were funded by Hon. Mkaratigwa who is now the Chairperson of the Mines and Mining Development Committee – [AN HON. MEMBER:  Une evidence here?] – He bought them tickets and at the same time the Standing Rules and Orders Committee then endorses him to be the Chairperson.  I am equally informed that even the Chief Whip was also given some money for him to have that position.  We have to look into the aspect of accountability and corruption itself in this House.  As a result I move Mr. Speaker that a Privileges Committee be set up to investigate the violation of Standing Orders 23 (1 and 2) and 47 – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We cannot have a situation where Members of this Committee who belong to the ruling party come to you and say sorry; I have no one representing me, I cannot say sorry. 

So, let the rules of this Parliament govern this Parliament.  Mr. Speaker, Sir, I seconded you as a Speaker because I believe you stand by the rules.  Thank you very much Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have taken note of Hon. Mliswa’s argument and motion.  I will need time to go through it and make a ruling in due course.  Thank you.

HON. GONESE:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker.  In terms of our Standing Orders, those Hon. Ministers, Hon. Deputy Ministers and Vice Presidents who are not in Parliament today are supposed to seek leave of absence.  I am simply asking the Chair to inform the House of the Hon. Ministers and Vice Presidents whom we have never seen. As a matter of fact, if the Hon. Chair can inform the House of those Hon. Ministers, Hon. Deputy Ministers and the Vice Presidents who have sought a leave of absence. 

In particular Mr. Speaker Sir, I also note with concern that the Hon. Vice Presidents have not been attending on most occasions.  I have also noted Mr. Speaker Sir that generally speaking, the Hon. Vice Presidents are never in attendance and when the Chair read out the names of those who have sought leave of absence, their names are conspicuous by their absence from the list and also they are conspicuous by their absence from the Chamber.  I think it is a matter which the Chair should really follow because the rules equally bind the Hon. Vice Presidents but my main point is to have the names of those who have sought leave of absence so that we are informed accordingly – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]

THE HON. SPEAKER:  The Hon. Member is correct.  I have yet to receive some names seeking leave of absence.  I will ask the Clerk to check with Papers Office immediately and give me the apologies.  I only have two at the moment.  The Minister of Local Government , Public Works and National Housing, Hon. J. Moyo and the Deputy Minister of Local Government , Public Works,  and National Housing Hon. J. Mhlanga.  I request the Clerk of Parliament to check with Papers Office and give me an updated list.

HON. MUTSEYAMI: We want to seek clarity on two or three people including the Minister of Foreign Affairs….

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, take your seat. Why do you not ask for the process that I have asked the Clerk of Parliament to do – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Order, order. 

          HON. MASANGO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. What is the Government’s policy on doctors who spend most of their time at their surgeries and charging exorbitant consultation fees while neglecting their duties at the hospitals where they are supposed to be working? 

          THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to complement the question posed by the Hon. Member.  I think it is a very pertinent question.  We all want to see service being delivered at the institutions where people work and that has been my main thrust of late to make sure that people work.  Therefore, it is very relevant that we ensure that people attend to work and we are changing that culture.  We are in the process and it is a culture which has been in existence; we want to make sure that people change accordingly and be able to give assistance at their places of work.  So, it is something which we are continuously looking at. We want to make sure that we get our patients to access the maximum service.  Thank you. 

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  The import of the question was, is it allowed for a Government doctor to be able to practice in his private business charging exorbitant consultation fees as well as attending to patients at a Government hospital.  So, is it legal or not legal?  I hear that you are saying you are going to improve and as things stand, are they correct or not.  I think that is the import of the question.

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you for the request for further information by the Hon. Member.  Definitely, there are contracts which people have to adhere to and if contracts are not followed, naturally it would be improper conduct.  It would not be the correct conduct.  Therefore, we have a policy and it is standard in the statutes that people must be at work at the stipulated times. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Can the Hon. Minister be heard in silence please and Hon. Minister, if you could raise your voice so that people at the back can hear you.  We are in a small rally. 

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Yes, there are contractual obligations which have to be met by all employees including doctors.  There are contracts and specified times at which people in the civil service should be at work.  However, in some occasions, these may vary and there might be local arrangements with the individual institutions on the cover.  You can imagine that a doctor might work for a period of over 36 hours on a continuous basis and they would need also to have time off.  So, this will vary on a day to day basis and on an institutional basis but the reality is that whoever is contracted should follow the contracts as stipulated by Government or their employers. 

          HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Hon. Minister, do doctors clock when they come in and out.  I am saying this because it seems that there are no controls in as far as their attendance is concerned.  Do you actually do that?  Constantly, people are asked to wait for a doctor who will be coming from his or her own surgery for more than an hour.  Do they clock as they come to work? 

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  There is no direct clocking by doctors when they arrive at work.  However, they have to advise their superiors that they are there when they arrive.  So, you will find that the senior consultants will always make sure that their team is at work.  They work in firms and these firms have to be monitored. You find that hospital administrations are there to monitor and make sure that each and every firm which is on duty or cover are available all the time.

          HON. T. MOYO: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. To what extent has the Government put in place policies and interventions to mitigate the effects of climate change with particular reference to the El Nino phenomenon?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you say ‘policies’?

          HON. T. MOYO: I can replace ‘policy’ with ‘measures’.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Did you say ‘policies’ or not?

          HON. T. MOYO: I said ‘policies and interventions’.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. You ask on one policy, not policies because – [HON. SIKHALA: Yes! Not, policies.] – Order - the Hon. Minister cannot start enumerating policies on one particular subject, in this case climate change. Please, rephrase your question.

          HON. T. MOYO: Mr. Speaker, it is ‘policy on climate change’.

          HON. SIKHALA: On a point of order! Mr. Speaker, the question asked by the Hon. Member is within the Order Paper. Order of the Day, Number 10 specifically disposes the question the Hon. Member has asked.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Sorry, that is a motion and a question can be asked.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Mr. Speaker Sir, Government is very much alive to the existence of the current drought situation and quite a number of measures have been put in place to mitigate the effects of the severity of the drought. First and foremost Mr. Speaker Sir, Government is aware that the water situation in the country is so serious such that both humans and livestock are suffering. We are going to drill some boreholes throughout the country in all the constituencies. Each Member of Parliament is going to have some – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – there is a fund that has been set aside for that purpose to drill boreholes for all the Hon. Members who are even laughing at my response. We are going to start with Matebeleland which is the driest region and then we are going to move to other areas. As we speak right now, we have deployed all our drilling rigs to Manicaland where there was Cyclone Idai – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, please ignore. Address me.

HON. KARORO: Thank you Mr. Speaker for your rescue. I said, according to our plan, we are going to start with Matebeleland but because there was an emergency situation in Manicaland, we had to divert from the plan. If you think that was wrong, then I do not know how to describe this. The other issue is also to develop our dams.

HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Speaker, the Minister makes reference that there is a fund that has been set aside to drill boreholes across the country. Can the Minister clarify how the fund has been set given the fact that in the Blue Book under the Ministry, there is no provision for such a fund and we want to find out where the funds are coming from? Are they virementing, and if so, from which source?

HON. KARORO: The fund is there within the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. There is a fund where we have different players contributing to the fund. If the Hon. Member needs to understand further in terms of the funding levels, I can bring the details during the next Question Time.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mushoriwa, the Hon. Deputy Minister will provide the details next week.

HON. T. MLISWA: I want some clarity on the Hon. Minister’s remarks that we are actually drill boreholes...

THE HON. SPEAKER: No, no let the Hon. Minister bring his report and then you will question him from there.

HON. GONESE: My supplementary question to the Hon. Deputy Minister is, is he aware that in the last Parliament, the Eighth Parliament to be precise, the Ministry asked all Hon. Members to identify four sites where boreholes were going to be drilled by the Ministry in respect of all those constituencies and nothing has been done.

          HON. KARORO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  We have drilled these boreholes.  I know we have other areas where work is still in progress.  It is unfortunate that we have some Members of Parliament who are not even aware of what is happening in their own constituencies – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order!  Hon. Mliswa, order!  I think to assist the situation, Hon. Deputy Minister, when you make your presentation next week, can you indicate the boreholes which have been done – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          HON. KARORO: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I will do that with pleasure.  It will be my pleasure to inform some of the Members of Parliament who are always absent from their constituencies for them to know what is happening in their constituencies. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order!

          +HON. R. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare.  Hon. Minister, what is Government policy on street kids whose number is increasing every day.  Is there a way that the Government is assisting them?  Some of them are disabled, others  are orphans whilst others have parents.  What is the Government doing towards assisting them so that we do not see an increase in the number of street kids?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My understanding is this question has been asked over and over again and the Minister had responded to it on the Government policy in terms of social assistance to street kids and the disabled. We have a clear policy on it.  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The question Hon. Leader of Government Business is what policy is there for Government to curtail the increase of street kids everywhere in the country?  I do not recall that question being asked.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The Government respects the institution of a family and should a family institution breakdown, the Government always endeavours to ensure that we promote the existence of families so that we do not have street kids but once we have those socially disadvantaged in the streets, then the Government will ensure that the social services structure will come into play to help them but the best way to do is to ensure that the integrity of the family is maintained.  Thank you.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My supplementary question speaks to the issue of registration of these street kids.  What measures are being put in place by Government in order to register these street kids, otherwise they become internally displaced persons as long as they are not quantified; they are not registered; they do not have birth certificates and it will end up going and spreading further to our rural areas.  Currently, it is only embedded in the urban centres. What measures are there to document to make sure they have got identification for these street kids that are dotted around the urban centres.  I thank you.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My understanding is these are two separate questions; the question of documentation of street kids and the original question on measures Government is taking to ensure that we do not have an increase of street kids.  The issue of documentation, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs is here, he can answer that if you rule that it is still a supplementary question.  I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MADIRO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  With regards to personal documents or registration, the Ministry facilitates those who come forward to get personal registration documents.  We do not have a practice or policy of going out to register street kids per se.  As far as facilitation is concerned, if the relevant Ministry maybe Social Welfare, they come forward for a special programme that may be considered but otherwise as Government, we respond to those who come forward requiring those personal documents.  I thank you.

          HON. C. MAHLANGU: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  Deposits of United States Dollar in Nostro accounts are being given various conditions upon withdrawal.  Is it Government to put such conditions and if so, can you outline what are the conditions as approved by Government?  As of now, the conditions vary from bank to bank.  Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (PROF.  M. NCUBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking such a pertinent question. Let me begin by saying that I am going to give a State of the Economy Report later and then I will address a broad range of issues. The Government does not vary policy from bank to bank, absolutely.  The first condition is that for you to withdraw your money is that there must be money in the account in the first place.  Perhaps what the Member is being confronted with is just a different bank practice.  Maybe that is what is going on.  I do not know who they bank with.  If it is not a good bank, they should move to the next bank so that they are treated accordingly, but we do not have a variation of policy on this issue.  As long as there is a deposit in your nostro account, you should be able to withdraw your monies upon demand, unless your specific bank has specific regulations to which you have consented to, as a customer.  Otherwise, you should not be staying with that bank, you should move on to the next bank.  Thank you very much.

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  First point, the Minister qualifies banks - some as good or bad, if he may tell us the characteristics of a good bank and a bad bank, because we all know that his Ministry licenses them.  My second issue is what is the recourse for clients in the event that the common condition is that we must have money in our banks for us to be able to withdraw and that is a given.  What is the recourse if a bank then gives me conditions outside that which the Minister has said? 

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I thank the Hon. Member for that question.  I did not categorise the banks.  I merely mentioned that the services from bank to bank may vary and it is normal for services to vary from service provider to service provider within the same industry.  They confront that every day and he is aware of that differential across our service providers.  On the issue of recourse, of course, we have a regulator that regulates the banks in the form of the Central Bank, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.  You have the ability to approach them.  You are also to approach the Minister as well, if you do not receive enough or adequate relief on this issue so that we level the playing field, so that you are not treated unfairly and banks give the services that they ought to give.  There is no issue about differential banks in terms of good or bad.  It is only quality of service, that is what they do and I urge Members to make sure that they continue to bank with those who give them a good service.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. GONESE:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. 

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I hope it is a real point of order.

HON. GONESE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  The Hon. Minister has not done justice to the second part of the question.  The second part was what recourse does the client have when they have sought to withdraw their money and the bank has failed to do so.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, with all due respect, please, sit down.  The Hon. Minister said, first recourse is the Reserve Bank.  If you are not satisfied, approach him.  It was very clear.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I think what is important to understand is that the issue of banks and cash is true and my question to the Hon. Minister is simple.  Now that there is no money in the banks in Zimbabwe, what are you doing about that?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Please sit down.  That is a new question my friend.

HON. T. MLISWA:  I think the point here Mr. Speaker, we are trying to get to the ....

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I thought it was a supplementary.  You can ask that question later.  Please sit down.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Through you Mr. Speaker, I just want some clarity...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Please sit down.  No, I cannot allow that.  That is a different question.   You can sit down and ask the question later.

HON. MARKHAM:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to know from the Minister on the nostro account if there are any new restrictions on how a person can spend his money.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Hon. Member for that question.  There is no restriction on how anyone spends their money.  I thank you.

HON. SIKHALA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I am Hon. Sikhala not Skala.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  What did you say about your name?

HON. SIKHALA:  I am Hon. Sikhala.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Corrected, thank you. 

HON. SIKHALA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  It is in terms of Section 210 of our Constitution that asks this House to pass a legislation for an effective and independent complain mechanisms to investigate complaints from the members of the public about misconduct on the part of the members of the security services and remedies thereof that the public can obtain.  Now it is six years after the promulgation of the new Constitution, when is this Bill going to be brought to this House for deliberation? You understand this provision is one of the urgent provisions in the Constitution that a law must be brought to this House where members can complain against the behaviour of security services.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  It is indeed true about the provisions of the Constitution.  The principles have been drafted, they are now ready to be presented to Cabinet so that we can bring the Bill to Parliament.  However, what I cannot do is to speak about the past regime.  What I can do is speak about what we are doing – [HON. T. MLISWA:  But the Hon. Minister was the Deputy Minister of the past regime.] – What I can assure the Hon. Members is the President is committed to constitutionalism and he has directed that we comply with all the provisions of the Constitution and the principles of the Bill have been drafted.  Very soon, it will be presented.  I thank you.

HON. SIKHALA:  Mr Speaker Sir, of recent, we have noticed how much the complaints against security services have eaten into the national fiscus through the commissions that have been instituted to investigate the misconduct of the security services.  What we want the Minister to do is: can he tell us the time frame because this law should be brought in this Parliament. There are many citizens of this country, including civic society organisations who have taken these matters to court and also the courts have ruled that Parliament must expeditiously put this law in place. Can you give us the timeframe on when this law is going to be brought to this Parliament? I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I have indicated that the process to ensure that the legislation is brought to Parliament has started. I cannot give specific timelines because of unforeseen events that may happen. What I can guarantee is that we endeavour to ensure that as soon as practically possible, the Bill will come to Parliament. I thank you.

          *HON. MATAMBANADZO: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. What is Government policy regarding the issue of salaries - looking at both the public and private organisation workers because they are all under the rules and laws of the State? When are we going to get the adjustment of salaries, because at the moment the salaries are pegged on US$? In the past, it was US$250.00 for general workers. Administrators, artisans and all the skilled workers were pegged at US$500.00 per month. You will notice that at the moment these salaries have not changed. The reason why I am asking is that Government changed money from US$ bond to RTGs.

          I am saying US$ bond because they were said to be equal. The US$ was equal to the US$ Bond. Therefore, my question is when this money migrated to the current system, we have noticed that there has been a rise of fuel prices. As of now, if you want to change your money in the banks, it is at a rate of 3.5% and that is if you want to move US$ from the bond. There has been an increase in the price of food and this was following the process which had been made of moving the money from bond to the US$ rates. What is Government policy regarding the adjustment of salaries so that they are in sync with the current situation?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I am sure the Minister understands the burning concept?

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker Sir, certainly I thank the Hon. Member for that question and for using rather colourful language in trying to put across his question. He has used language which is very colourful, usebenzise ilanguage ecolourful. So, I thank him for that question. The issue is like this. We have Government employees and private sector employees and that is largely the division of employees. What we have done as Government is basically to adjust the salaries of civil servants in response to changes in inflation. What we did in January to March - the first three months, we gave them a cushioning allowance to the value of $63 million.

          We continued to negotiate with the employees’ through the normal structures and we have awarded a lump sum of $400 million RTGs dollars to see them from 1st April to the end of the year. In addition to that, we have also included non-monetary benefits which are still being fine tuned by the Public Service Commission, working with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. So these non-monetary benefits will be availed to the employees of Government in due course. That is what we have done in terms of cushioning the civil servants against rising inflation.

          When it comes to the private sector employees, I am aware that companies are doing the same and they are making sure that they raise their salaries to cushion their employees against inflation. It is not that the employees are not pushing, they are pushing and the employers are responding through the normal bargaining process between employer and employee.

          Naturally, I will be presenting a mid-term review of the budget and I am aware that there is pressure to also look into issues such as threshold for taxation. I have received so many requests looking into that issue. We are looking into that issue and were we to agree on what to do, it may also benefit the employees of both Government and the private sector.

          On the issue of the comparison of salaries in US$ terms and then in RTGs$, we have made it clear that the accounting currency from the 20th February, 2019 is RTGs$. That is the accounting currency. So, I urge Members to use that as their accounting currency. Shall we go back to comparing our salaries to the pound that we used to use during UDI, shall we go back to comparing our salaries to other currencies that we have used in the past?

          Let us move on and we have a currency right now and let us use that as our accounting currency in our arguments. It will help our arguments and negotiations if our employees are able to argue their case on the bases of the current currency arrangement and as well as the current levels of inflation. What we have noticed Mr. Speaker Sir is that prices are beginning to come down. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- A few days ago, we learnt that companies such as Delta and others have begun to reduce the price of drinks.

          This really demonstrates the fact that the austerity measures that we have put in place have managed to curtail demand and the price increases that we have seen so far are totally unjustifiable. They are not justifiable because we continue to have surpluses. So, we are not increasing the growth of money supply and in fact, in the last two months the growth of money supply has been negative. There is no justification whatsoever to increase prices further in line with the exchange rate as if one of the components of the basket of consumption is currency. It is not. People consume goods and they do not consume US$. We should desist from linking our salaries or anybody’s salaries to the US$ exchange rate. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, just a second. Hon. Members, when Hon. Ministers are giving their responses and you are in disagreement or you want certain position to be explain, you must wait to pose your supplementary question. I think we need to be disciplined in that regard.

          *HON. MATAMBANADZO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the chance to make a follow-up on my initial question. The Hon. Minister of Finance has said measures have been taken to rectify the problems faced by workers in the form of US$. The Minister says they injected US$60 million so that the salaries could be increased. Now, taking into account that we are dealing with an intelligent man and he was elected by the President because he is the best Minister of Finance, when we look at the amount which was given to workers, I understand that the workers were given an allowance. According to the monies given, this was supposed to be the amount given and the calculations made are so clear.  The Minister stated categorically that the RTGs and the US$ were not equal, which means that salaries were supposed to be multiplied by 250%. 

I think we should not look down upon our intellect.  I know I am a grade two drop out but common sense tells me that there is something wrong with this arrangement.  As we speak – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.  Hon. Member, your question has been understood and there is no need for repeating.  Do not be emotional when you are asking your question. 

*HON. MATAMBANADZO:  Please allow me to make an addition.  The Minister also talked about the Delta issue.  He said he would want Delta to reduce the prices of drinks.  If we look at the price of drinks, they were sold at twenty cents and it is now a dollar.  He is saying the price should go down.  He is also saying that salaries were increased by 26cents.  The salaries should be according to the rate of the day so that people benefit on the value of what they would have contributed – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Once again, I thank the Hon. Member for his supplementary question including the entertaining parts of his question such as – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – reference to grade two education which obviously is entertaining indeed.

On the first aspect where he is seeking that we link salary increases to the US$ exchange rate, we cannot do that neither should we do that.  What we are trying to do is to link salary increases to price increases as measured by inflation.  There is a basket of consumption which is the basis on which inflation is measured.  When we negotiate wages, you would want to link those wages to increases in inflation and not increases in the exchange rate.   That is a wrong way to think about negotiating for salaries.  I hope I am getting through to the Hon. Member and to everyone else who thinks in the way he is trying to express this issue – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

On the issue of Delta, I was mainly using that as an example...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Hon. Members, can we exercise decorum before I ask one or two members to leave the House. 

An Hon. Member having risen to give a point of order.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  The Hon. Minister was holding the floor. Can you please sit down? 

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  On the point of the example of Delta that I used to explain the point of prices coming down, that was not an instruction or persuasion to the company.  I was using Delta as an example that companies are realising that demand is falling.  Our policies are working – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] - There is no justification for prices to increase because demand is falling and they have decided to reduce their prices to be able to meet the demand available to them within the market place. 

HON. T. MLISWA:  With all due respect Mr. Speaker, the Minister must be aware of the situation on the ground;  it is simple.  There is the interbank and bond rate on the market.  There is no way you can separate the two because the people who are buying those goods...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Address the Chair!

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The people who are buying those goods are using the current prevailing rates.  This means that they have no choice but to bring their prices up.  Those who are also buying foreign currency on the market to get the raw materials of the goods continue to do that.  The question that I have for the Minister which must be understood – there is no longer trust in the Ministry of Finance, neither the Government in terms of these monetary issues.

First of all, bond to US$ is one to one.  You change it, you steal people’s money openly as a Government and there is no more trust.  What can you say to the nation today so that we can at least trust this Government for what it says on the monetary issues – [HON. MEMBERS:  Resign, resign, resign!] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order, order – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Order.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I thank the Hon. Member for that spirited question once again.  First of all, he must trust us.  The nation must trust us, the reason being that we “walk the talk” on everything that we say.  We said that we will stabilise Government finances and institute fiscal discipline and we have done that.  We also said we are going to reform the monetary sector and system – we have done that.  We have also said that we will continue to fine tune the monetary sector – we are doing that. 

Let me begin from there to answer the question more directly. We introduced an interbank market on the 20th of February and the Governor has been very clear and I repeat his words as well that we are continuing to fine tune that market so that it works efficiently.  There is foreign currency in the nostro accounts.  There is about US$800 million and we need to make sure that we fine tune the market so that those monies can be released into the market and everyone can access the foreign currency through the interbank market. 

It is certainly true that business people are sourcing money from the parallel market, otherwise it would not be existing in the first place and they use this for pricing goods and so forth.  Our argument is, why do it when you have got an interbank market and there is no reason to have the parallel rate where the fundamentals do not support it either in the form of both money supply, the current account deficit nor the fiscal position do not support that high exchange rate and therefore, players must move back to the interbank market because we believe that is where the market ought to be– [AN HON. MEMBER: You are not quitting, ayaas zvakaoma.] - but we continue to fine tune the market in this multi-currency regime.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. SIKHALA: Mr. Speaker Sir.  I was carefully listening when all other Ministers were answering questions from Hon. Members of Parliament.  I take strong reservations over the way the Minister of Finance and Economic...

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

          HON. SIKHALA: The Hon. Minister of Finance, over the way he reacted to the question by Hon. Matambanadzo. He said, ‘I will answer the question’ though it was full of entertainment.  Mr. Speaker Sir, what the Hon. Ministers must understand is the principle of the separation of powers - the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature.  For them to be Ministers does not mean to say they are more superior than us – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We are also an arm of Government in terms of the separation of powers, so when we ask questions in this House we plead with our Ministers to respect us. If they do not respect us we will also do the same to them - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Sikhala.

HON. SIKHALA: Yes, Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, your point is noted and I am sure the Hon. Minister understood – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of clarity Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of clarity?

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, very clear the Minister did admit there is inflation when he was speaking, inflation has gone up. How then can he say the economy is doing well when inflation is going up?  It is then the only country in the world which says the economy is doing well when inflation is going up.  How does he respond to the inflation going up yet it should be going down. Inflation is a critical word and he said it is going up.  He said that inflation is going up and he said we are on track in dealing with the economy yet inflation is going up, it does not make sense. You have to tell us what sort of economy it is that when inflation is going up, the economy is doing well – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members. Hon. Minister, please clarify that issue raised by Hon. Mliswa.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Mr. Speaker Sir, let me clarify on the issue that Hon. Mliswa raised.  Inflation is high. The last time we reported on it, it stood at about 66% on an annual basis. So it is high and I will be on record to say that inflation will remain high until about October this year, that is our prognosis – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – After that, it is expected to fall right into early next year. 

Our reasons are as follows; the increase in inflation is also due to a technical factor in the sense that when the inflation picked up in October last year 2018 to about 16% just for that month alone, that shifted the index to a higher level and the way inflation is measured you always compare the level of index from the previous year to the current year.  If you take the index this time last year and you compare that to the index now you have that gap and that gap is the 66%.  If you work out the inflation on a month to month basis from January to February and March, that inflation level remains low and I would not be surprised if in effect it begins to decline and goes into negative – [HON. MEMBERS: With RTGs?] – While the year on year inflation is high, the month to month inflation is low and that is a technical explanation. I have been on record to say so and I put that on record - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

An Hon. Member having stood up.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Why are you standing up?  If you do not want to go outside, please take your seat. If you want to follow the debate on the issue, please come up with a motion - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order Hon. Members! I am advised that the Hon. Minister will make a statement on the issue, so we will proceed after his statement accordingly.

Hon. T. Mliswa having stood up.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, I think we reserve questions for the Ministerial Statement.

HON. T. MLISWA: No, it is a different question to a different Minister. 

THE HON. SPEAKER: Okay, go ahead. 

HON. T. MLISWA: Yes.

THE HON. SPEAKER: You do not say yes, you say thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. J. B. Matiza.  On the Transnet deal with DIDG which was commissioned by the President before elections with NRZ, we are reading that there is controversy again on it, it is not moving forward.  DIDG is a consortium of Zimbabweans in Diaspora, prominent people who are trying to see if they can invest in Zimbabwe, but again there seems to be hitches on it. Apparently, there is some contractual issues which have not...

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Ask the question.

          HON. T. MLISWA: The question to the Minister is that - Minister why are you not approving a contract which a Minister before you approved and the President commissioned again so that NRZ does function?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. ARCH. MATIZA): Thank you Hon. Speaker I would like to thank the Member of Parliament Hon. Mliswa for his question. I think I am happy to answer this question because I can clarify issues in this House about this issue.  As you are aware, part of the backbone of our economy crucial in the networking and connection of the North-South corridor and also for taking our goods to the ports or seas.  Not only that, it is an infrastructure that, when it is not working, our roads are exposed to destruction.  The issue is, the contractual issues that are involved in this programme are that, the DIDG Consortium was awarded a contract to refurbish the NRZ and run and were supposed to raise money to do that.  There was a framework agreement in which they were given 12 months to raise that money, negotiate and bring all the relevant information that would give confidence to the Government.

Within the 12 months, the Consortium could not provide the information required or proof of funding.  If those things are not there Mr. Speaker, we cannot expose ourselves to things that are not correct.  We cannot delay this very important infrastructure because we are dealing with our people.  We have many of our people who are either here or in the diaspora but the fundamental issue is that of proof of funding that did not come.  The final agreement within the 12 months expired. 

We had to give them an extension of another six months; we actually should not have done that.  We removed the exclusivity clause to allow other people; we could have had serious contractors who could have our rail ticking. We are not only looking at external, we are also inward looking as Government, coming up with a policy framework that we think will make sure that we sustain our transport system as far as the railway is concerned.  The issues that are at hand in this transaction are above board and are all meant to make sure that we have a proper rail system working.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I thank the Minister for such a great response.  Hon. Minister, if there is a contract and they fail to perform in 12 months, why would you want to extend it for another six months?  Why did you not then get rid of them immediately?  Why did you delay further for another six months -  you clearly say that they failed to meet the conditions of the contract in a year, so what was the motive of extending it to six months while this country suffers?

HON. ARCH. MATIZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I have said, the first agreement, the 12 months agreement had an exclusivity clause, that means nobody else would be allowed to get into that before the expiry of the 12 monts.  After that, we removed the exclusivity clause and we also wanted to give them that opportunity to do that and allow other competitors to come in.  So, it does not prejudice anybody.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. NDUNA: Inaudible interjection.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, you have no right to say what you said. 

HON. MADZIMURE: Hon. Minister, in the initial agreement, was there a clause that allowed you to extend the contract by six months…

Hon. Madzimure having been speaking to the gallery.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Madzimure, you are an experienced Hon. Member, you know how to address the question.

HON. MADZIMURE: I am sorry Mr. Speaker.  My question to the Hon. Minister is; was there a clause in the initial contract that allowed him to extend the contract by six months.  What due diligence had he carried out to first award the contract to this organisation?

HON. ARCH. MATIZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  On the issue of due diligence; it was done and that is how they managed to get the contract in the first place.  This is a negotiating process within the framework agreement.  The issue arose when the Transnet board came to Zimbabwe.  His Excellency, the Ambassador to Zimbabwe of South Africa came in with a delegation and pleaded with us that, ‘relook at this issue and give us six months, we will be able to produce the results.’  In give and take situations, we looked at the environment in which we were discussing these issues and we granted them the six months but without the exclusivity clause.  I thank you – [HON. SIKHALA: Inaudible interjections.] 

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Sikhala, order – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Sikhala, last time I did warn you to withdraw your pointing finger.

HON. SIKHALA: My apologies Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. MUTSEYAMI: My clarity to the attention of the Hon. Minister Mr. Speaker Sir; we have an Hon. Minister who is a Cabinet Minister.  There is a board, they sit down and do all the due diligence well above board and give a contract to a contractor well after the whole period, they fail to implement the contract.  After that, outside the norms of failing to attend to the due diligence which had been properly addressed, they give another six months to failures.  Outside that, they complement with locals to assist.  What would be the motivation? 

Mr. Speaker Sir, we have seen challenges in this country.  How would one give more room to a clear failure under the circumstances that we have in this country?  A whole Minister, giving an extension to a failure, how does that happen?  How do they qualify that?  When we have failed, you said alright, outside all the professionals in this world, we will give you another chance though you are a failure, then we complement.  Outside that, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, we see these other challenges of ZINARA, all these other things from the Hon. Minister in full view of the cameras that after all the failure, you extended by six months.

          HON. ARCH. MATIZA: Let me clarify. The clarification is here. The framework of agreement that was signed is not an agreement to implement the project. It is an agreement to bring information by DIDG Transnet to show that they have what it takes to get into contract with NRZ. This is not to implement the project. Implementation of the project was going to come after they have put all the information together and then we are satisfied that they can do the project.

          HON. NDUNA:  This agreement between Transnet and DIDG speaks to and about a certain number of wagons and engines during which time they were handed over to Zimbabwe Government for either leasing or rentals. My question therefore is to ask the Hon. Minister if the cancellation of this agreement or deal will not put in jeopardy the current surge in bulk goods transportation because of the wagons that were availed during the time of the agreement – [AN HON MEMBER: Hapana question apa.]

          THE HON SPEAKER: Hon. Mushoriwa you cannot say hapana question apa. You are not on the Chair. I am very serious about this. You are either punning on my chairmanship. Withdraw that.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: My apologies Mr. Speaker Sir. I withdraw.

          HON. ARCH. MATIZA: I want to reiterate the fact that now the whole process is open to everybody. That has to be understood. The issue of the wagons – they are on lease and the lease will continue even if this deal does not go through. I thank you.

          HON. SODA: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. What interventions has the Government put in place to mitigate the current electricity generation deficiencies which are affecting performance of the various industries especially agriculture at a time the nation is seized with resuscitating the economy?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. Indeed we have got electricity deficit. As you are aware, we did not have sufficient rains this year and water levels at Kariba are low. What we are doing is that we are going to have some load shedding happening so that we try to ensure that we have sufficient power as we go along. We are also trying to import power and we are in the process of negotiating with Mozambique.  Going forward, we want to build a power station at Cahora Bassa dam. While we undertake that project as a long term, we will institute load shedding and also import some electricity. I thank you.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order. My point of order arises from a ruling which you made with regards to the Minister of Finance that may the questions be shelved so that he is going to give a Ministerial Statement. I thought that ruling may actually affect us going forward. Certainly we do not know what is contained in the Ministerial Statement. May the Hon. Members be allowed to field questions? If the Hon. Minister knows that the question which has been fielded has an answer in the statement, he will simply say so and then we take note. Otherwise we might field a question whose answer is not captured in the Ministerial Statement and we have missed an opportunity. My concern arises from the fact that the Hon. Minister of Finance is a very rare Minister in this House. We were quite happy to see him today and may we be allowed to field questions. If our answers are as contained in his statement, he will simply say so and then if he forgets to do so, we will remind him. That is my point of order.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  In the absence of adequate electricity, our people resort to the use of generators.  I would want the Hon. Minister to explain why they are rejecting Jerrycans cans when people are trying to buy diesel to power their generator, yet we do not have adequate electricity in the country. 

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question which has been asked before but I will answer it all the same.  Mr. Speaker Sir, we have shortage of fuel and we have queues of fuel.  What unscrupulous people were doing is to go to service stations, connive with attendants and put fuel in their Jerrycans.  So, there are measures that had been put in place.  We deploy security forces and police at the service stations to ensure that those people who what to abuse the system and hoard fuel for resale are arrested.  So, there is no blanket ban for those that genuinely need to use fuel at homes but what we are trying to do is to contain the situation and avoid those that want to abuse the situation.  I thank you.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  It would be helpful if the Hon. Ministers can explain how they are going to distinguish those who are genuine and those who are not. 

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I have indicated that we are deploying police officers who are well trained at ensuring that they carry out their work appropriately and I believe that they are doing it well. Thank you. 

          HON. MOLOKELA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  It is a supplementary question.  In the even that the load shedding programme starts, we should anticipate that people will try to have alternative sources of heating, energy and so on.  One of the obvious things across Africa is that, there will be a rise in terms of use of generators.  Is there any plan around that in terms of pricing, importing and so on on production of generators in this country and other alternative sources of energy.

          Also, there is concern around fires.  Is there any plan around that?  Are the fire brigade services prepared for such eventualities?  I thank you. 

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for such a good question.  Indeed, we are looking at alternative sources of energy and one such alternative source that we are encouraging is solar energy.  We believe that if we can use solar energy, it is a better way of conserving our environment and it is user friendly.  So, efforts will be done through the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to ensure that even the tariff of importing the solar components are reduced.  I thank you.

          HON. NGWENYA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  In terms of Section 77 of the Constitution, it provides for a human right to safe and clean water.  What is the Government policy on the issue of purification of salty borehole water that is affecting the generality of our members of the public, especially in rural areas whereby due to these salty waters, people’s teeth are being discoloured or turning brown in colour. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS):  Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank you to the Hon. Member for the question.  Our Ministry’s responsibility is to supply raw water.  The Ministry’s responsibility is to supply raw water.  The Ministry that is in charge of supplying clean drinking water, the responsibility falls under the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  So, I believe that the question that was asked is better referred to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.

          *HON. M. M. MLAMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  We are saying, what is the Government policy is regarding people who were resettled in 2000?  But as of now, these people are being evicted from their areas in Chipinge, Gokwe and Shangani.  We notice that these people are being given seven days to vacate the places which they occupied since 2000.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): I thank you Mr. Speaker.  I am also grateful to the Hon. Member who brought up this question.  Government policy especially when you look at resettled people is that people should be officially and legally settled but what has been obtaining at the Ministry of Agriculture is, we have had illegal settlers who were settled in areas which were not supposed to be settled by people, especially in the farms.  Some are near dams, some of them live near dams. Some of them are in places which are for pastures and these are illegal places, and they do not even have the documents which allow them to settle in those areas. We are saying the time in which we are now is for us to increase production and production will be disturbed by these illegal settlements.

*HON. MLAMBO: Yesterday you promised that you were going to give me more time so that I get responses to my questions and I believe that the time is today.

*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you asked your question and you were responded to. Are we talking about a supplementary question? You are only going to ask one question.

*HON. MLAMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. We have people who were settled in the year 2000 at Horas farm. These people were illegally settled but after these 20 years, they are now being evicted and they are suffering in that they are being evicted, given seven days notice. So, what is Government policy regarding the settlement of such people – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members. If you do not want to listen I will ask the Hon. Minister to sit down. You cannot have your cake and eat it.

*HON. KARORO: Mr. Speaker, I did outline the policy whereby I said people were given legal documents for those settlements and what the Hon. Member is now asking, he has to put down specific cases so that we can give the proper response. I promise in this august House that we are going to look into the issue and I notice constituency specific obtaining in his constituency. I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mlambo, the Hon. Minister has been gracious enough to ask you to communicate with him and the details will be given to you thereafter – [AN HON. MEMBER: Ndanga ndichida kuti vazive kuti zviri kuitika nyika yese.] – [HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] ­– Ehe kana mangwana endai munovaona – [AN HON. MEMBER: Tese?] -

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

UPGRADING OF GWERU PROVINCIAL HOSPITAL

3.   HON. B. DUBE asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to

inform the House when the funds for the upgrade of Gweru Provincial Hospital to a referral hospital that meets the standards required to complement the medical school requirements at Midlands State University can be expected to be availed.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

LEAVE OF ABSENCE BY HON. MINISTERS

          THE HON. SPEAKER: The only list that I have got for Ministers who have sought leave of absence; Hon. Mupfumira, Hon. Muchinguri, Hon. Matuke, Hon. S. B. Moyo, Hon. Shiri, Hon. Coventry, Hon. J.G. Moyo, Hon. VP Chiwenga and Hon. V.P Mohadi. I have had a tet-a-tet with the Leader of Government Business that the leave of absence be given to the Clerk of Parliament at least at 12 o’clock, two hours before we start so that the announcement is made immediately before we take business after Prayers.

          THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for their question.  Gweru Provincial Hospital cannot be upgraded to a central hospital but can only be upgraded to a standard provincial hospital.  It is within the Ministry’s development to upgrade Gweru Hospital to a standard provincial hospital required to complement the newly established medical school.

          This year Treasury allocated $1 million against a bid of $5 million to start the upgrading process which is to be done in phases.  However, we also urge the local political leadership to take a lead and mobilise resources for this noble cause.  I thank you.

          HON. B. DUBE: Could the Minister furnish with reasons to the answer that ‘it cannot be upgraded to a central hospital’ because he gives an impression that it is an impossibility. I just want a specification on that aspect so that we really know that it cannot be upgraded; may be it is because it is in Midlands or what.  I understand that the requirements for that are not so complicated to any answer that he says it cannot.

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I said at this stage, which means there is room for improvement.  As a matter of fact if I may give further information, we had a meeting with the Medical Superintendent, the Member can go and confirm.  We said that if they make the improvement that warrant them to become a central hospital it can be upgraded, but at this stage it cannot be upgraded because it has not got all the qualities.  I thank you.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to know from the Minister whether it is the issue of policy in terms of upgrading of district hospitals to become either provincial hospitals or something better.  I say this because we have a district hospital in Chegutu where it is supposed to cater for 20 000 patients but now it is catering for 80 000 patients. May he favour this House with the knowledge whether it is policy that after such a time that hospital can be upgraded to become bigger?  It is supposed to look like Mpilo Hospital but it is small as it is.  What is Government policy relating to upgrading these district hospitals to become bigger than what they are currently?

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Naturally, we would like to see all our facilities which cater for larger numbers than they were previously constructed for to be improved and if we have facilities which eventually our aim position is to cater for those patients, that population, naturally they have to be upgraded.  So, the key issue is the infrastructure and the availability of personnel at that particular institution rather than the general population around.  It might be a huge population but as long as the infrastructure remains small that categorises it to that particular level, if it is district, rural health care centre or provincial and so on. I thank you.

          HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  The Hon. Minister indicated that Gweru Central Hospital was allocated $1 million against $5 million which it had bided for.  Now that the $1 million has been devalued, is the Ministry going to ask the Minister of Finance to increase the budget accordingly so that service delivery is achieved?

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Hon. Member for that question which is very timely especially in the presence of the Hon. Minister of Finance.  I will have to consult him and hear what he has to say.  I thank you.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Yesterday at the beginning of the session, I rose on a point of privilege highlighting that there had been a fatal accident in Kwekwe which involved one of the Members of Parliament who is Hon. Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java.  Some of the patients who were injured in that accident were referred to Gweru General Hospital.  Information that we are receiving is that those patients are requested to bring on board every basic utensil which is expected to be provided for at a referral hospital.  There are no gloves, no spirit, virtually nothing and the Hon. Minister is taking comfort in having a million dollars to upgrade to suit provisions to accommodate a medical school. Are we not missing the fundamentals here Hon. Minister that we are intending to upgrade a hospital whose infrastructure is there when we do not have even basic utensils for it to be able to carry out its basic mandate?

          My question is - what are you doing in all these referral hospitals in all the provinces and indeed all the districts because I believe such an accident could have been treated at Kwekwe General Hospital but even then they had to refer to Gweru.  What measures are you putting in place for these hospitals to have basic utensils to take care of emergency situations and any other innuendos so that patients can be treated? I thank you.

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I have been asked to give a statement with regards to the state of medicines in our hospitals and I hope that I would have given that first, but unfortunately I was not given the opportunity.  This would have covered some of these issues which are being asked here.  I have the statement but at this stage I was not asked to present it.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  According to Section 68 of the Standing Rules and Orders and it also arises after his intervention, the Hon. Minister of Health.  We have been waiting for this Ministerial Statement for the past two weeks.  It is my clarion call Mr. Speaker, if you can indulge the Minister and us by extension to have this Ministerial Statement favoured to us so that we can interrogate it to the fullest.  Some of the issues and questions might be answered by that Ministerial Statement so that we do not continue to chase our tail.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna, I am reliably informed that the Minister of Finance and Minister of Health are supposed to be delivering their Ministerial Statements today. 

RESUSCITATION OF THE RETICULATION SYSTEM IN TSHOLOTSHO DISTRICT

          4.   HON. Z. SIBANDA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain Government’s plans to resuscitate the reticulation system of Tsholotsho District Hospital which has not been working for more than seven years.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO) Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The question relating to the Tsholotsho District Hospital is something which the provincial medical directors have been given instruction to go and review and this is ongoing.  We had a meeting with the provincial medical directors two weeks ago and we are expecting to receive information from them.  I would also urge the Member to get in touch with our provincial medical directorate so that they can be able to work together.  I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS:  Supplementary.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  How can you ask for a supplementary while the Hon. Minister is saying that the document is still being looked at by the provincial medical authority? 

HON. Z. SIBANDA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I think I have done all that Mr. Speaker Sir and that is why I am coming to the Minister now.  Since 2015, I have been doing the same thing.

HON. DR. O. MOYO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am glad to hear that the Hon. Member has been in touch with our provincial medical director.  It is now up to us to call the provincial medical director to give us the report and we can be able to meet with the Hon. Member. 

HON. CHINYANGANYA:  On a point of clarification.  The Hon. Member asked on the reticulation and the Minister is giving a response.  We want clarification, what reticulation is it because they may end up giving us bogus responses here.

HON. DR. O. MOYO:  We are talking of the sewerage reticulation system Mr. Speaker Sir. 

HON. PHULU:  On a point of clarification.  My worry is that the Hon. Minister is suggesting converging in privacy while it is a matter of national interest.  If it goes out of this House, we will not know what they are talking about.  This is a matter of national interest.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, I think the Minister answered properly on the second supplementary question from the originator of the question.  He said after he had been informed that he has already done what the Minister had requested the Hon. Member to do and he responded. 

HON. DR. O. MOYO:  Mr. Speaker Sir, we can make the information available to the august House. 

STATE OF ST. MICHAELS MISSION HOSPITAL

6.  HON. MUNETSI asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to state when St. Michaels Mission Hospital in Makoni North Constituency will be operational and when a resident doctor will be deployed.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO):  Mr. Speaker Sir, the question submitted by the Hon. Member is a very useful question.  Our response is that St. Michael Hospital being a rural hospital, we have plans for 2019 to capacitate the facility.  We want to be able to start by that facility being able to offer services like caesarean sections so that they are carried out at that facility.  So far, there was an assessment that was done in April on equipment and this equipment will be supported by the Family Health International and we are in the process.  We are also looking for a resident doctor who will be able to pass through St. Michaels Hospital.  We cannot have someone who is totally resident there but he will be a circulating doctor who will pass through St. Michaels and other institutions in the area.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

AVAILABILITY OF CRITICAL MEDICINES

8.  HON. DINAR asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to state measures being taken to ensure the availability of critical medicines in the country.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  That is another question which I could answer when I read my statement.  It is relating to state of medicines in the country.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

HON. MADZIMURE:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker.  The questions the Minister is being asked to answer have been on the Order Paper since November.  If it is in his report when he should have simply prepared the answer because we do not know what will be in the report. Even supplementary questions will not be allowed when we ask. So, can the Minister answer the questions and if they are in the report, he will simply leave them out. He skips those items and these have been on the Order Paper and the Member is asking on behalf of the constituents that sent him to this House.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Madzimure, I think this has been agreed earlier on that if there are questions that are on this Order Paper which are going to be covered in the Ministerial Statement, that means the Minister should just have to say that it is covered under the Ministerial Statement. There is no point of him repeating.

          HON. MADZIMURE: The Speaker ruled the opposite.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am here.

          HON. S. KHUMALO: On question 9, please note Mr. Speaker that question No. 4 answers Question No. 9. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

ALLOCATION OF CT SCANS TO GWERU GENERAL HOSPITAL

          11.   HON. B. DUBE asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain why Gweru General Hospital was not considered in the allocation of CT scans which were allocated to other hospitals such as Masvingo, Chinhoyi and Mutare hospitals.

          THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The answer is that at the time of allocation, there were no adequate CT scans to cover all the provincial hospitals and it was not just Gweru. Marondera, Bindura, Gwanda and Chitungwiza did not get and plans are in place to equip these hospitals with the same type of equipment. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

          *HON. S. DUBE: Mr. Speaker Sir, the response that the Minister is giving is not honest. I am not satisfied with what he is saying and why is it that Gweru did not get and what criteria did they use to say they are giving Chinhoyi, Masvingo and Mutare? I want an answer that will satisfy me. Was it given on tribal grounds or regionalism? I want to understand the criteria that they used. The attendance and number of people who come to the hospital, it is surprisingly that people from Kadoma who are supposed to be attended at Chinhoyi as the Provincial Hospital will be coming to Kadoma. I want to understand what policy was used to give Chinhoyi before Gweru whilst Gweru is the third largest city? If the reason is regional or tribal, we will know the criteria that was used.

          Hon. Member S. Dube having kept on talking after he had sat down.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You have asked the question and therefore give the Minister the chance to respond to the supplementary question.

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The allocation of this equipment was done when I was not in office but as I explained, we are scrutinising whatever happened. When we looked at that question, we knew that it was essential that Gweru as a Central General Hospital should be given that CT scan because it is a teaching hospital and the students should benefit from those CT scans because it scans the inside of the body and help in the diagnosis. Therefore, let us be patient.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Hon. Speaker, the Government is not constituted by individuals; individuals that are accountable but the Government is accountable as a collective. We cannot accept as Parliament to say things that happened under the leadership of the then President Mugabe, Government is not accountable. Unless if you are telling us that you have nothing to do with what happened during the time of Mugabe and therefore we have our way of doing things. I thought the Government is collectively accountable and that accountability stretches since 1980 or even beyond. So, can the Hon. Ministers, when they are answering, they must take collective responsibility and give us a way forward.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you very much for that point. It is well noted.

MANUFACTURING OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES BY NATPHARM

          12.   HON. B. MOYO asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain why NatPharm was not delivering on its mandate of manufacturing supplies leaving the public at the mercy of private pharmacies that are currently demanding cash payments in US$.

          THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. NatPharm does not have manufacturing capacity and its mandate is to procure, store and distribute medicines mainly to the public sector. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, my supplementary borders on capacity both of NatPharm and some Government institutions in terms of supplying medical equipment and medicines to Government hospitals and institutions. We have the Joint Venture Act of 2016 that speaks to and above the issue of harmonising the PPPs. Is there a time line that Hon. Minister can put or has put for those PPPs to be imbedded with Government in order to alleviate the plight of those people. There should be medical attention in Government Medical Institutions   because where there is triple ‘Ps’, there is no Government capital outlay and those partners who are in the private sector are able to bring in the medicines....

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Nduna....

          HON. NDUNA:  And capital so that these issues can be a thing of the past in terms of deficiencies of medical and medicines in those institutions. Is there a timeline to get involved with the private players in order that he improves the capacity of NatPharm and other institutions?

HON. DR. O. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, although the question sounded completely new, I will still answer it for the benefit of the House.

          Yes the Hon. Member has got a very sharp and critical volume. His question is very valid.  We need to identify those of our partners who are able to come into bed with us on a public-private partnership basis.  That is exactly what we are currently working on.  The framework has been worked out and in line with the Joint Venture Partnership Act, most of our institutions have got into it and they are currently flighting their tenders. They are able to invite private investors, most likely the ones who have got foreign currency as well.  This is something which is ongoing and I just want to say that it will happen within the next three months because it is a process.  We will have to go through the Memorandum of Understanding and then eventually seek to see the capability and due diligence of the individual companies and then come up with the memorandum of agreements.  It is in the pipeline and that is the way to go for us to be able to replenish our facilities on a continuous basis.

It will guarantee us to get technology which is current.  It will enable us to be able to get our people trained accordingly in line with the current and modern medicine and also be able to give us the opportunity to  be able to come up with equipment which is of high class, most current and very sophisticated.  This will make us avoid the situation of people going out of Zimbabwe for specialist treatment. 

This is a very pertinent question and we want to move in that direction – create five star facilities in our own public institutions while we also create the super-specialist facilities.  There will not be any segregation.  The socially disadvantaged will benefit because they will be attended in a facility that is upgraded to five stars.  There will be a choice as you enter the health institution.

I hope I have managed to expound what the Hon. Member wanted.

HON. CHIKWINYA: With regards to the National Pharmaceutical Company, would the Hon. Minister explain to the House what role individuals outside Government structures have in the operation of Natpharm seeing to it that recently, we saw the first lady directing operations at Natpharm to the extent that she called the Minister to the State House on a Sunday together with his board to direct them and to explain why there were shortages of drugs.  Do private individuals have the capacity to simply go into Natpharm and direct operations?

HON. DR. O. MOYO:  Mr. Speaker Sir, the First Lady’s work is philanthropic.  She is the ambassador for health and child care.  She was always the ambassador for maternal and child care.  She has done tremendous amount of work for the country – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -   Without any doubt, the First Lady has managed to acquire on behalf of the Ministry and on behalf of all of us.  She has managed to acquire equipment which we could have never been able to acquire.  She has worked right through.  She is a hard worker who cannot be stopped – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  In actual fact, as the Minister of Health and Child Care, I do encourage her to continue assisting us as much as possible.

There is no foreign currency but she manages through her foundation to gather equipment for us from America, Europe and Japan.  What more do you want?  She is there for us as a mother who is looking after the whole family and making sure that the health of Zimbabweans is well looked after in a much better position.  There is no need to condemn the first lady for her good works. 

HON. MADZIMURE:  The shortage of drugs and other medical utensils at Natpharm are affecting hospitals with health workers threatening to go on strike in the next 14 days.  What is Government doing to ensure that hospitals are fully equipped and that hospital staff will not go on strike as promised? 

The shortage of utensils is causing medical doctors to be uncomfortable.  What are you doing to make sure that the threat to go on strike is avoided? Going forward, what are you going to do to make sure that supplies are always there?

HON. DR. O. MOYO:  The question is quite pertinent but it will be covered in my statement.

STATE OF MORTUARIES AT MPILO AND UNITED BULAWAYO HOSPITALS

          21.  HON. P. MASUKU asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain measures being taken to improve the state of mortuaries at Mpilo and the United Bulawayo Hospitals which currently are experiencing refrigeration problems.

          THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): Mr. Speaker I thank the Hon. Member for the question.  True the Ministry has been experiencing constant break downs of mechanical equipment due to old age and lack of maintenance.  However, for mortuaries the Ministry’s aim is to bid for funds for the repairs and replacement of the mortuaries.  The two institutions are going to benefit from these funds to rectify the problems which are being encountered.

          HON. PHULU: Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to ask the Hon. Minister if in replacing the mortuaries they are going to look at the issue of actually proving for bigger capacity and simply not replace the same size because there is also the capacity issue that arises.

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the member for that very useful question, a very good observation and in actual fact that is the instruction which has gone out to the institutions that we must be able to increase the capacity.  I visited the two institutions and they showed me the mortuaries there and they are coming up with a bigger mortuary at UBH as well, so that is in order and I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. HOUGHTON: Mr. Speaker Sir, my issue on mortuaries is with the power cuts, what does the Minister intend to do about all the mortuaries as generators 90% to 95% of them are backup generators and are not working.  What is the Minister going to do about that because powers cuts have started already?

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, yes we have measures which are taken at each and every health institution, especially with mortuaries.  We are making sure that the generators fire on a continuous basis and also that is something which we always say is an emergency.  There has to be generation of power at health institutions, otherwise we will be in big trouble.  One of the areas we always consider as being a priority is the mortuary.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The new dispensation is known for fake promises. Can the Hon. Minister highlight in terms of time frame – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [HON. NDUNA: Arikutuka uyu.] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Nduna I have not recognized you. You did not raise a point of order. Sit down. Hon. Member, can you come again what are you saying?

          HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I said the new dispensation is known for fake promises – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member can you please withdraw that statement.

          HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I withdraw that the new dispensation is failing.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please sit down.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir, earlier on Hon. Sikhala stood up and said let us respect each other, the Executive and Hon. Member.  I believe that is unbecoming behaviour and I believe if we agree on something, it is not right to grandstand and appear to be an Hon. Member and make those utterances.

          Hon. Madzimure having stood up to make a point of order.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: There is no point of order Hon. Madzimure sit down.

          HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I think the issue of mortuaries is very serious. It is not just about the refrigerators not working in most hospitals I can give you an example the Mashonaland East provincial hospital.  If you go there after hours there is no technical staff and there is just security. Sometimes when people bring bodies to the mortuary they are asked to put them by themselves.  My question is what is he going to do to ensure that our mortuaries are capacitated and making sure that they are working appropriately and also making sure if there is no electricity, there are working generators because people cannot be putting bodies in trays by themselves.

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think the only new aspect is that of capacitation.  I have already talked about the need for continuous generation to keep our bodies intact so that they do not decompose.  The issue of capacitation, there are specially trained people who work in the mortuaries called the morticians and they end up having to work long hours and it is not recommended to have mortuaries open after 4.30 p.m.  We have had cases where bodies have disappeared and we do not want that to happen.  Secondly, what we have encouraged is that the Casualty Departments are the ones with the Matron in charge and on duty who is capacitated to go and open the mortuary.  We have to respect our dear deceased and we have to make sure that they are safe.  People will come in and do all sorts of funny things, rituals and things like that.  We want to avoid that by all means.

          Therefore, the capacitation during after-hours is done through the Casualty or the accident and Emergency Departments.  All the particular health institutions, matrons in charge, the night superintendants as they call them are the ones who are empowered at that time.  I think we should all have that respect.  What we have to do is to encourage and ensure that the night superintendants carry out their duties, which is very relevant.  There is a responsibility which is already given to the night superintendants and if they do not carry out their duties, I want to go and ensure that this is going to be done.  If the Hon. Member says Marondera has a problem, I am going to personally get in touch with Marondera and ensure that this is carried out.  However, this will be a countrywide circular to make sure that other places are not left wanting.  So, I think I would have done justice to everyone.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, I would like to know what level of priority the Minister gets from the Minister of Finance in terms of allocation of resources for the repair of mortuaries.  I say this because our mortuary has been in disuse for a very long time.  However, the other issue is the limited space in the mortuaries.  You will find that there are bodies which are waiting to be claimed where there are no relatives and awaiting pauper burials and have been there in Chegutu in particular until all the flesh is decomposed and gone and only bones are left.  When will these bodies be disposed of or what time is allocated to them before they can be removed from the mortuaries to make space for other bodies that might need space. 

          HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. When Hon. Nduna stands to speak, you give him an hour to talk.  If any other Hon. Member does the same thing, you immediately call the Member to order, can you treat us equally.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Madzimure, I do not think you are seeing the way I am actually trying to control him.  Point noted.

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order in the House Hon. Members.

          HON. DR. O. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I think the Hon. Member’s question is also very valid and we take cognisance of it and we shall do further investigations to ensure that his area is well covered.

          WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

PATIENT TO DOCTOR RATIO IN PROVINCES

1.                HON. MBONDIAH asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to state:

a.     The patient to doctor ratio in Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands, Matabelelend North; Matabeleleland South, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central: and

b.    The patient to nurse ration in the above provinces.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON.

DR. O. MOYO): The Human Resources for Health Country Profile 2013 to 2018 is being finalised. The patient to doctor and nurse to patient ratios will be shared by June 2019.

DETENTION OF WOMEN FOR FAILURE TO PAY MATERNITY FEES

2.   HON. MBONDIAH asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain why women are detained in hospitals in Masvingo and other provinces for failure to pay $50.00 maternity user fees.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON.

DR. O. MOYO): Maternity services are free at all rural health centres, district hospitals, provincial hospitals and central hospitals. No one should then be asked to pay, and certainly no one should be detained for any reason. My Ministry will follow up on the issue to all provinces and re-emphasise this point and direct them to stop this inhuman behaviour. I will be asking the Hon. Member for further details so that appropriate corrective action is taken against the institutions and officers.

COST OF DRUGS FOR MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS

 

5.   HON. BANDA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain why drugs for mental health patients are more expensive at Parirenyatwa Hospital  when compared to private pharmacies and to state whether there are plans to provide free medical treatment and drugs for mental health at public hospitals.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): The price of medicines at the hospital is based on the cost at which it purchases the item from the supplier.  The prices for all items at Parirenyatwa were reviewed in line with the interbank rate for hospitals to replenish supplies.  This resulted in some products being more expensive than the private sector.  The hospital has noted this anomaly and is in the process of reverting to old prices where this has been noted and this is the case with psychiatric medicines (after consultation with Parirenyatwa Hospital).

Currently psychiatric conditions are not free except if the patient falls into the category that is not required to pay.

OPERATIONALISATION OF CHIRAMBA CLINIC IN CHIMANIMANI WEST CONSTITUENCY

13.   HON. KARENYI asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain measures being taken to ensure that the Chiramba Clinic in Ward 4 in Chimanimani West Constituency which was built using funds from the Constituency Development Fund is operationalised as people are walking long distances to the nearest clinic.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): The clinic is complete; we are left with electrification of staff houses but will start working on the process to make it operational.  Staff bids and equipment will be included in the Cyclone Idai response plan.  The clinic needs official handover to either the Ministry of Health and Child Care or to the Rural District Council for its operation.

PURCHASE OF EQUIPMENT FOR THE GOVERNMENT ANALYST DEPARTMENT

14.    HON. P. MOYO asked the Minister of Health and Child Care whether in view of the delays experienced in conducting post-mortems, the Ministry could consider purchasing the following vital equipment for the Government Analyst Department.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): The Government Analyst has not been performing as is mandated.  It requires quite some equipment to be able to perform its functions.  The mentioned equipment is indeed required and has been on the budget request on equipment for the Ministry for a number of years now.  As soon as we are funded, we will procure them.  We also need support from other Ministries as all of us use Government Analysts that is Ministry of Home Affairs, Justice and Agriculture.

a)    Gas Chromatography Mass Detector – US$80 000

b)   Gas Chromatography Nitrogen Phosphorous Detector – US$80 000

c)    Gas Chromatography Electron Capture Detector – US$80 000

d)   High Pressure Liquid Chromatography photo Diode Detector - $110 000

e)    Atomic Absorption (Hydride or Vapor Generator) Emission – US$120 000

f)     Inductive Coupled Plasma Mass Detector – US$250 000

g)    Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer – US$250 000

h)   Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometer – US$500 – Drugs/afflatoxins.

Gas Chromatography Nitrogen Phosphorus Detector and Gas Chromatography are for screening purposes only for pesticides and will need only Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer and Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometer for actual pesticides values.

CURBING OF CHOLERA OUTBREAKS

15.  HON. CHIKUDO asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to state lasting measures being put in place to curb cholera outbreaks which have unnecessarily resulted in loss of life during the past years.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): To have a lasting solution, my Ministry is working with other Government departments and Ministries as well as partners to make sure that we have clean and safe environment where water is readily available, where burst   pipes are attended to on time and repaired, dilapidated pipes need to be replaced, we need clean cities and clean communities so that we have safe water.

These are huge developmental projects that need the whole of Government approach.  Again His Excellency has availed funding through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for the repair and replacement of sewer pipes and this is ongoing.  We also need to have planned cities, planned peri-urban settlements to avoid people settling without proper planning.  This is a whole of Government approach.  When an outbreak is declared, my Ministry always mobilises resources for timely responses using well trained staff. 

We mobilise resources from Government and partners for timely response.  Health education, distribution of water treatment chemicals and community mobilisation is done to control the outbreaks.  Prevention of outbreaks is key and very important and that needs to be emphasized.

RESIDENT DOCTOR FOR MARYMOUNT HOSPITAL

16. HON. NYABANI asked the Minister of Health and Child Care when the Ministry will deploy a Resident Medical Doctor at Mary Mount Hospitals in Rushinga since it has been operating without a Resident Doctor for the past three years.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): Mary Mount Mission Hospital is a remote hospital in Rushinga District.  It is therefore generally difficult to attract doctors.   The Mission’s contracts at times complicate issues.  The current challenge is availability of doctors.  Even Chimhanda the District Hospital for Rushinga does not have a doctor.  The next batch of doctors will be out in June.  Normally the doctors do not stay long in this area.

SHELTERS FOR EXPECTING MOTHERS AT HEALTH CARE CENTRES

17.   HON. MKARATIGWA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to inform the House when the Ministry will ensure that all health care centres have shelters for expecting mothers in Shurugwi South Constituency particularly Health Centres in Mazivisa Ward 24 and Gwanza in Ward 23.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): The rural district council has put a resolution that the funder can build the clinic.  The council advises that the funder for the structure intends to build a hospital in the ward and a clinic at Batanai.  The green light has been given to construct the health facilities.

Mkandapi: - Ward 8: This area is a shopping service centre; it is 2km from Mazibisa Clinic.  Towards Mhandamahwe, there is Banga clinic.  The chief Executive officer advised that the community has not yet presented a request for a clinic at this site as they are using Mazivisa Clinic which is 2 km away.

Makandire Clinic:-in ward 11, the clinic is being built by Community Share Ownership Trust.  It is at roofing level.

Hwida Council: - has put a resolution that community will mould bricks.  The bricks were molded and carried to the construction site with the assistance of the community.

Gwanza Clinic: - Expecting mothers waiting homes; the Chief Executive Officer for Shurugwi Council advised the community to help in the construction of the clinic by molding bricks.  The bricks are being molded.

Mazivisa Clinic: - Expecting Mother’s waiting homes; community is molding bricks for the construction of the mothers’ waiting homes.

CONSTRUCTION OF CLINICS IN SHURUGWI SOUTH CONSTITUENCY

18.   HON. MKARATIGWA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to state when the Ministry would consider construction of clinics in Banga in ward 9, Nyagari in ward 2, Makandire in ward 11 and Hwida in ward 23 which are all areas in Shurugwi South Constituency.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): Banga Clinic is operational and it is only the buildings which require rehabilitation.  Tongogara Rural District Council through Community Ownership Trust has included the refurbishment of Banga clinic in 2019.

In Nyagari there is a well wisher from the same community who intends to construct a hospital and has raised funds.  They are currently in the process of identifying a site to construct the hospital.  Proposed Makandire Rural Health Centre is now at roof level and works are on going and expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.  Proposed Hwida Rural Health has been included in Tongogara Rural District capital budget.  Site has already been identified.

OPENING OF CLINIC IN BATANAI AREA

19.   HON. MKARATIGWA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to state when the newly built clinic in Batanai area in Shurugwi South Constituency will be opened.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): Batanai Clinic; the clinic block is complete and one house and two blare toilets.  Equipment tenders can build the clinic.  The funder is in United Kingdom.  The council is facing challenges financially as prices quoted are high.  Borehole drilling and plumbing is being done

CONSTRUCTION OF TOILETS IN SHURUGWI SOUTH CONSTITUENCY

20.   HON. MKARATIGWA asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain measures being taken to construct more toilets and ensure clean and safe water at clinics in Shurugwi South Constituency in view of the cholera outbreak in the country.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): The council is drilling boreholes in every ward in Shurugwi South this year.  The community in each ward is to decide on places to site boreholes. 

Toilets – the council is constructing toilets at Gamwa, Batanai and Joblinko clinics

STATE OF MORTUARIES AT MPILO AND UNITED BULAWAYO HOSPITALS

21.   HON. MASUKU asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain measures being taken to improve the state of mortuaries at Mpilo and United Bulawayo Hospitals which currently are experiencing refrigeration problems.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. O. MOYO): True the Ministry has been experiencing constant break downs of mechanical equipment due to old age and lack of maintenance.  However for mortuaries, the Ministry managed to bid for funds for the repairs and replacement of mortuaries.  The two institutions are going to benefit from these funds to rectify the problems being encountered.

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

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Having consulted the Chief Whips, I seek leave of the House that I present the Second Reading speech of the Consumer Protection Bill because of the urgency that is there –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- I have already concluded with the Chief Whips – [HON. MEMBERS: Mthuli, Mthuli, Mthuli]-

          Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I will allow the Minister of Health and Child Care to give his Ministerial Statement and then we proceed – [HON. MEMBERS: Mthuli, Mthuli, Mthuli]-

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order Hon. Gonese? We want to hear what the Hon. Member is saying.

          HON. GONESE: Yes, I have a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. Today is a Wednesday and on a Wednesday, the Standing Orders are very clear especially relating to Standing Order Number 62, in terms of the Order of Business. However, today during Question Time we were given an assurance by the Minister of Finance that he was going to make a Ministerial Statement. Over and above that, if you read today’s press there is actually on the billboards for newspapers a headline, “State of the Economy” by the Hon. Minister of Finance. So, the nation is actually expecting that.

          A Ministerial Statement can interrupt order of business, we accept that. Due to the assurance we were given and even Hon. Members who wanted to pose questions were informed that if they were going to be covered by the Ministerial Statement then that would be deferred. I believe we should not conduct our business in this manner. The Minister of Justice had intended to present the Second Reading of the Consumer Protection Bill – fortunately he has withdrawn that.  As Hon. Members, as representatives of the people who were duly elected to represent the interest of the people of Zimbabwe, at this point in time the critical issue is about the state of the economy. People at this point in time are failing to make ends meet.

We have got an issue relating to inflation, people are not able to access their money in the banks, we have what is being talked about as the inter-bank rate but at the present moment if you want to access money you cannot do it, you have to go to the “World Bank” also known as Roadport. We need to have answers to these questions. We are being asked in our constituencies Mr. Speaker and we need to have answers.  We cannot have a Ministerial Statement from the Minister of Health and Child Welfare which was not adverted to.  He can come any other day and if he is not available, he can delegate another Minister but for us, the only game in town is the state of the economy.  We will not accept his deferment. 

The Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development is here and I can see that he has his file of papers and we must also be cognisant of the time that if we are going to have a Ministerial Statement by Hon. Minister Moyo and asking questions, we will run out of time because the automatic adjournment of the House is at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. and the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as leader of the House has not sought the leave of this House to suspend the Standing Orders.  So we will not accept and for those reasons, we insist that we want Hon. M. Ncube to present. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.  The logic behind calling for the Minister of Health and Child Care first is because the Minister of Health and Child Care was supposed to have issued his Ministerial Statement long ago - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -           

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have made a ruling that the Hon. Minister of Health and Child Care will make his Ministerial State – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Order, order in the House.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

STATE OF THE ECONOMY IN ZIMBABWE

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you Mr. Speaker for the invitation to present the state of the economy. As a preamble, Hon Members would be aware that at the advent of the new dispensation the Government’s approach is to prioritise the economy with focus on implementing deeper reforms that promote stabilisation and economic growth.  On this basis, the adoption of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme marked the first major step towards this goal.

          Before giving details on economic developments of our country, allow me to contextualise the current environment in the global context.  The global economy depicted signs of cooling down during the first quarter of 2019 on account of a confluence of different factors.  Trade tensions between the United States and China which were showing signs of thawing are actually flaring up again, posing larger disruptions in the global trade and supply chains.  Uncertainty about the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union termed (Brexit) remain heightened, posing a number of risks to the Euro Zone and the rest of the global economy.

          These developments represent a drag on global trade in general and are also reflected in lower commodity prices in general.  In addition, tightening of financial conditions in response to the significant financial vulnerabilities associated with large private and public sector debt in a number of developed, emerging and also developing economies restrain global expansion.  Global growth is therefore projected at 3.3% for 2019 down from 3.6% in 2018.  Similarly, regional growth prospects of Sub-Sarahan Africa remain restricted at levels well below the required 6% to deal with poverty, notwithstanding relative macro-stability in these countries through persistent fiscal consolidation reforms, the debt ratios are worsening, reaching an average of 45% by end of 2017 with more countries recording ratios above 60% of GDP.  Moreso, more Sub-Saharan African countries’ borrowing is increasingly non-concessional; it is commercial against declining exports and hence this poses a debt trap and exchange rate risks.

          Sub-Saharan African economies are therefore projected to grow by about 3.5% of GDP in 2019 and I speak to our 2018 and 2019 growth profiles in the tax below. 

Let me now turn to the Zimbabwe economy.  Beginning 2019, Government in earnest started implementing the TSP from October 2018 to December 2020 through the 2019 National Budget with sharp focus on fiscal, monetary and structural policy reforms for stabilisation and stimulation growth.  These initial interventions were therefore confronted by an environment with severe economic shocks which started in the last quarter of 2018.

          The situation was further heightened by the drought conditions in terms of the Elnino and impact of Cyclone Idai, which all imposed serious threats to economic growth which was initially projected at 3.1% in 2019.  However the deep reforms introduced under the TSP are cushioning the economy from much higher deterioration and in some instances have started yielding dividends. In particular, the styles to tackle head-on the twin deficit challenges has been a reality and we are making progress on that.  By twin deficit I mean the budget deficit and the current account deficit both of which have declined substantially in the last few months in the positive direction.

          On a positive note, there is marked improved performance on Central Government finances with revenues at RTGs 1.9 billion outperforming the target of RTGs 1.8 billion throughout the first quarter of 2019 to give an overall positive variance of RTGs$ 146 million.  On the other hand, expenditures were contained at $1.5 billion against a target of $1.7 billion to give savings of $218.9 million RTGs.  This, as a result, gave a budget surplus during this period of $443.1 million RTGs.  With regards to prices, fiscal consolidation measures, reinforced with a tight monetary policy together with liberalisation of the exchange rate, are containing inflationary pressures, which although still very high on a year to year basis, are beginning to come under control and dampen on a month and month basis. 

Widespread indiscipline in the foreign exchange market is also a major source for parallel exchange market premiums which are feeding into inflation.

Let me now turn to the projection of the gross domestic product.  Madam Speaker, Hon. Members will recall that during the presentation of the 2019 National Budget, I emphasised on the necessity of well coordinated Fiscal Monetary Policies which reinforce each other for addressing the current macro-economic vulnerabilities. 

Consequently, on the 28th February the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe presented a Monetary Policy Statement aimed at supporting the various macro fiscal and structural austerity measures announced in the 2019 Budget.  The Monetary Policy Statement also removed various distortions which prevented efficient functioning of the foreign exchange market, with implications on the rest of the economy.  Such distortions also promote the parallel market and fed into multiple pricing of goods and services, and the Monetary Policy Statement is seeking to deal with these distortions. 

Specifically, the Monetary Policy Statement introduced a new currency called the RTGs dollar which includes electronic balances in banks and mobile platforms, bond notes and coins.  It liberalises the foreign currency market and discarded the fixed exchange rate of 1:1 against US dollar which was at the centre of various foreign exchange price distortions.    It will also establish an interbank foreign currency market which comprises banks and bureau de changes that were providing a broad based formal platform for an efficient foreign currency trading within the economy. 

Therefore, the RTGs dollar, through the Statutory Instrument 33 in essence became a new reference currency for accounting and transaction purposes domestically.  This effectively created an exchange rate between the US dollar and the RTGs dollar being facilitated through the interbank foreign exchange market.  The introduction of the RTGs dollar and the subsequent emergence of the exchange rate between the US dollar and the RTGs dollar have necessitated recalibration starting with the base indicator in the form of the nominal gross domestic product (GDP) to reflect the appropriate RTGs dollar value. 

Ultimately, the recalibration, of the nominal GDP facilitates adjustment to the 2019 National Budget framework approved by Parliament on 22 November 2018 and subsequently assented to by Senate late January 2019 and other macroeconomic and fiscal indicators.

In tandem with this process, ZIMSTAT is also undertaking an appropriate adjustment of nominal GDP in RTGs for historical years between 2009 and 2017.  Such historical series of RTGs dollar values are important for consistency, continuity and comparison purposes.  Let me now turn to the calibrated 2018-2019 nominal GDP.  Hon. Members should know that the recalibration exercise is another step further to refining our GDP while the rebasing of the National Accounts Series exercise was in line with international norms which require replacing the old base year, taking cognisance of changes in the structure of the economy.  The current recalibration exercise however, seeks to reflect the appropriate GDP value in the new domestic currency, the RTGs dollar.  The change of base and recalibration now are different but complement each other. 

The initial steps have involved recalibration of the current estimated 2018 and 2019 nominal GDP projections into RTGs dollar using standard methodologies, which take account of annual average market exchange rates to those subsectors which transactions took place in US dollars, together with appropriate adjustments by the GDP deflator/ inflation developments and updated DGP growth rates.   The calibration technical exercise culminated into projected nominal GDP of RTGS$42.8 billion for 2018.  Let me pause here and explain in two minutes.

Members will recall when we recalibrated our GDP because of the change in the structure of the economy, our GDP figure came out at about an average of US$25 billion for 2018.  Because now we are recalibrating using the domestic currency, we have gone back to adjust that and the adjustment result leaves us with a GDP of $42.8 billion as GDP for 2018 in RTGs dollars.  Our projection for GDP in 2019 in RTGs dollars is $70.3 billion RTGs dollars.  I have a table here which Members cannot see but I think I have adequately summarised the numbers.  There is one number that I wish to share with you which is our real GDP growth for 2018 which we have revised upwards.  What happened Madam Speaker is that in the last quarter of 2018, there was a flurry of economic activity.  You will recall shelves going empty at some point, but all of that flurry and panic buying activity was creating demand and economic growth.  What then happened was, our projected figure which was about 4 percent was outdone by the real performance.  The GDP growth has now been revised upwards to 6.2 percent in real terms for the year 2018. 

However, in 2019 Madam Speaker, GDP is expected to be way down by the impact of the El-Nino induced drought, the devastating destruction of Cyclone Idai, foreign currency shortages and constrained spending being imposed by fiscal reforms.  We have seen that the impact of the drought is already impacting power production and I think we are beginning to see some of the outages being caused by the low water levels on Kariba impacting our hydropower Madam Speaker. 

Let me now turn to a very important issue which is the fiscal framework for 2019 in view of the calibration.  The recalibrated nominal GDP facilitated the development of updated 2019 fiscal framework with total expenditures of $12.2 billion RTGs dollars against anticipated revenue collections of $9.3 billion RTGs dollars. 

Let me further explain Madam Speaker.  Members of the House will recall that we had projected revenues of $6.199 billion in the 2019 Budget Statement.  This is being revised because of inflation and movement in price naturally, this is being revised to revenue collections of $9.367 billion.  I have a table Madam Speaker with all the calculations.  You will not see it.  I wish I had a screen to have projected it for example, the direct tax revenues we had projected $6.037 billion in the National Budget, it will now be $8.598 billion and income tax for example, was projected to be $971 million and now turn out to be $1.068 billion – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members.  For now, for progress sake, we cannot entertain any point of orders.  Let the Minister be heard in silence – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. MADZIMURE:  If you can hear me!  The purpose of this Ministerial Statement is for us to understand and the Minister...

 THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Madzimure!  Order in the House.  Order, we are going to be furnished with copies of the Ministerial Statement.

          HON. MADZIMURE: Is it going to be put into our pigeon holes?

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): Yes, Hon. Clerk, I am sure we are going to finish that. Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF.  M.  NCUBE): Thank you Madam Speaker...

          Hon. Mutseyami having stood up.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Minister. Hon. Mutseyami I think we have been clear about that. For now we need to hear the ministerial statement and then we proceed. Thank you Hon. Mutseyami.

          HON. MUTSEYAMI: Madam Speaker. Is it not that the Hon. Minister is giving a Ministerial Statement –[Inaudible interjections]- Madam Speaker, with all due respect to this House and for the appreciation of Members, facilities are here for the Hon. Minister to utilise for the good of Members and for the good of the journalists and everyone else as we deliberate and as he does the presentation. So, with the guidance of the Clerk, probably there is need to address that in the future because the Hon. Minister is a new Minister. The Hon. Leader of the House has to help the Hon. Minister so that we make progress in some of these things. Technology is here.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Precedence has always taken its course and what we understand is even in the budget we have always had tables and they are provided in the Hansard. So, Hon. Members, let us be clear that we are going to receive the tables. These tables are just like what we always receive - the same as we receive in the budget.

          HON. GONESE: Through you Madam Speaker. I just wanted to clarify that we must distinguish between the Budget Statement and a Ministerial Statement because a Ministerial Statement is just presented today and we seek clarifications today and that is the end of it, whereas with the Budget Statement, we have got more than a week or two weeks to debate. So, for the future, we just want it on record that there is a distinction between the presentation of the two so that in future we can be able to follow with presentation on the screen. It is not like a Budget Statement where we can then debate afterwards. I stand to make the point Madam.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: That is now a future plan that you are proposing. So, in future like what you were suggesting, I am sure the administration is going to take note of that.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENT AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I indulge the Chief Whips so that we could have a good presentation and we could all ask questions but the Hon. Members insisted that we proceed. I acknowledged and the chief whips acknowledge that this was a matter of importance and you refused. The Minister was prepared to bring all those technological issues and you refused. So, I had indulged the Chief Whips.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Thank you Hon. Leader of the House. For future like what the Hon. Leader of the House has said, he is going to make sure that that is going to be availed. Since this was done because you requested for it, I am sure, let us let the Hon. Minister be able to proceed.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. Let me proceed. I had explained about the changes to revenues. Let me explain changes to expenditure net lending where in the budget we had a figure of $7.7.65 billion. It will now be $12.271 billion. Within that in terms of just current expenditure, that figure for that item will change from 5.228 billion to $8.073 billion. When we look at capital and net landing, the figure is expected to increase from $2.037 billion to 4.198 billion.

          All this implies basically a primary balance when you compare expenditures to the revenues that we are collecting. The primary balance is negative and we are expecting a minus $1.215 billion. It will now be minus $2.005 billion. This new figure amounts to just below 5% of GDP. So we are still on target in terms of our target way show of GDP of 5% and below as pronounced or as expected in the Budget Statement for 2019.

          Let me now turn to sector performance beginning with agriculture having now dealt with the fiscal framework and so forth. The first quarter marks the end of the 2018/2019 agricultural season. This year’s second half of 2018/2019 season was characterised by a dry spell, especially on the southern parts of the country. Generally, in most parts of the country crops were showing signs of moisture stress with condition ranging from poor to good, depending on the amount of rainfall received in respective areas.

          In addition Cyclone Idai brought some floods in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces which destroyed crops and livestock and thus worsening the already severe situation. In terms of the first round crop and livestock report, this is what has come out as an assessment for the performance of the agricultural sector. The first round crop and livestock report indicated a general increase in area planted for major crops, except for some grains and few other small crops which recorded a decline.

          However, most crops succumbed to dry the spell, with significant area planted expected to be written off, especially in the southern parts of the country. In other parts of the country any planted crop stood a chance to be harvested while the late planted crop is most likely to be written off. The set of numbers that are coming out through this first round assessment report is a drop in the hectorage of maize planted to the tune of minus 7% but we expect an increase in the area of sorghum of plus 7% on pearl millet down at minus 4%. This is just an example of some of the areas which have been impacted.

          Also ground nuts we expect a drop in output at least as exemplified in the areas under cultivation of minus 30%. Cow peas, minus 26% and sweet potatoes for example at minus 57%. So, these are some of the crops that have been impacted by the dry spell and this has impacted overall economic growth, while the full impact of the drought and the recent cyclone Idai on crop and livestock production is not yet clear and finalised. Agriculture production for 2018/2019 season is expected to decline. The final outturn for agriculture production is expected to be indicated in the ongoing second round crop and livestock survey and the date for that will become available in the not too distant future.

          Let me turn to grain stocks. Grain stocks and GMB stood at 876 tons at the end of March, 2019 compared to 776 tons of maize and 100 tons of small grains. I have got a table trying to show that breakdown which summarizes those numbers that I have just mentioned. The stocks are adequate for human consumption for the next seven months.

          However, in view of the current drought, importation is inevitable before the next harvest. Turning to the winter wheat, planting is in progress with about 2 7 00 hectares having been planted as at 5th May, 2019 out of 77 000 targeted hectares. The recommended winter wheat planting deadline is 31 May, 2019. Of the planted hectorage being private sector initiative.

          Turning to tobacco, the tobacco auction floors opened on the 20th of March 2019 with only 3 888 kilogrammes being delivered to the floors on the day compared to 165 000 delivered on the same day last year.  Average buying price on opening was 17% lower at US$1.83 per kilogrammme compared to US$2.22 paid for the same day last year 2018.  As at March 2019, about 538 000 kilogrammes had been sold through the auction floors at an average price of US$1.67 per kilogramme.  This falls short of the 6.8 million kilogrammes delivered for the same period last year at the average price of US$2.78.

          However, by the 5th of May 2019, more deliveries were received to reach 59.8 million kilogrammes cumulatively valued at US$106.3 million although average prices remain depressed and below US$2 per kilogramme. 

I must hasten to add that in terms of deliveries, tobacco from private farmers is about 10.9 million kilogrammes in terms of tobacco sold and those from the weightful of tobacco contract farming is about 49 million kilogrammes.  The total is 59.9 million kilogrammes.  In terms of value from the private farmers, it is 7.9 million while that from contract farmers is 88.4 million.  The total is US$106.3 million.  The average price from private farmers is US$1.63 per kilogramme whilst from contract tobacco is US$1.81 per kilogramme.  So it is higher.  The average for the season is US$1.78 per kilogramme compared to an average last year 2018 of US$2.87 per kilogramme.  You can see that there is a drop in the average price by 38%.

Let me say something about the progress on 99 year leases while we are talking about agriculture.  Government and the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe agreed on a revised 99 year lease agreement in 2017.  The revision enables the transferability of land in the event of default which was a major requirement by financial institutions.  In this regard, it is Government’s expectation that farmers issued with the new lease agreements are able to borrow using the revised 99 year lease agreements as collateral.  Any concerns from banks regarding the new 99 year leases are being addressed as and when they arise and in some instances, on a case by case basis.

Let me move on to farmer compensation.  As outlined in the TSP, Government is committed to finalise compensation for all former farmers affected by the Land Reform Programme in accordance with the country’s Constitution and Zimbabwe’s obligations under bilateral agreements.  The process also involves evaluation of assets to ascertain the extent of Government’s obligation to former commercial farmers owing to the huge magnitude of resource requirements for this issue.  Government is also engaging development partners and other bilateral countries with a view to mobilising the requisite resources.

Meanwhile, since 2009 to date, a total of US$60.4 million was paid to 93 former commercial farm owners as compensation for immovable improvements. 

In 2018 alone, US$12 million was paid towards the same to 29 farmers. In the 2019 National Budget, we set aside US$53 million for the same purpose, targeting the old and the distressed form of commercial farmers. Government representatives of former farm owners have been working together in identifying qualifying beneficiaries and the process is now complete.  Currently, Government is in the process of vetting the identified members as a verification exercise to trigger disbursements.

Government would once again want to reiterate that compensating the affected farmers is a noble idea and is in keeping with our constitutional dispensation.

On the land audit, in 2018, His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered an expeditious completion of the land audit which is expected to rationalise ownership and farm sizes.  Consequently, the Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) undertook the first phase of the National Agricultural Land Audit which was conducted in ten districts across the country’s ten provinces between October and November last year.  This only constituted 6% of the targeted land covering more than 18 000 farmers. 

The audit indicated gross underfunding of the agricultural sector and recommended the establishment of a Land and Agricultural Bank to facilitate funding for resettlement farmers.  It further recommended an integrated Land Information Management System (LIMS) to address shortcomings related to fraudulent land allocations, rampant illegal leasing of land parcels and gross under utilisation which is materially affecting agricultural output.

Preparations for the second phase would be rolled out at the end of May in all the remaining districts across the country’s ten provinces.  The land audit will help inform Government’s agricultural policies and development of strategies for increasing productivity and also promote social equity and environmental sustainability.

Madam Speaker maam, let me turn to the mining sector.  Government is seized with addressing challenges facing the mining sector and this mainly relates to foreign currency shortages. The objective is to reverse output losses experienced during the first quarter where all minerals except for chrome were subdued compared to the similar quarter of 2018.  All minerals were down in the first quarter except for chrome.  For example in terms of gold, I will put all the percentages looking downwards. The same applies to nickel and coal.  Chrome is up, palladium is down and diamond in terms of carats also is down in terms of output.

Looking ahead, 2019 overall projected output targets are achievable with most target minerals such as gold, nickel, chrome and platinum first quarter contributions constituting more than 20% of total expected output for the year. 

Let me turn to the international mineral prices.  Average gold prices for the first quarter of 2019 improved by 6% to an average of US$1 304 per ounce from US$1 228 per ounce in the last quarter of 2018.  At the same time, platinum prices were relatively flat with an average of US$822 per ounce.  Palladium prices increased to US$1 435 in the first quarter of 2019 from US$1 157 per ounce recorded in the last quarter of 2018.

Let me turn to the manufacturing sector.  Performance of the manufacturing sector continues to be restrained by challenges related to financing, utilities, inputs supply and foreign currency availability.  The sector is therefore expected to record marginal growth of only 0.1% in 2019.

Out drivers for this marginal growth include, obviously food stuffs and non-metallic mineral products with the rest of the other sectors remaining constrained.  So, there are constraints everywhere right through the manufacturing sector which then results in this marginal increase in growth of 0.1%.  In the outlook, the performance of the sector is expected to benefit from improved investment following the latest round of ease of doing business reforms and the enactment of the ZIDA Bill which is now before Parliament. 

          In addition, the local content policy and also support the industrialisation policy being finalised by the Minister of Industry and Commerce will support domestic firms and increase production through utilisation of local factors of production.  It remains critical, that as Government we explore private sector financing facilities required for supporting industry recovery, production as well as export growth.

          Let me turn to the area of energy Madam Speaker and speak to the issue of electricity.  Electricity generation during the first quarter of 2019, although higher than the target was relatively lower compared to the last quarter of 2018.  Reduced production trend is attributable to lower water allocation at Kariba Hydro Power Station following erratic rainfall over the Zambezi catchment area.  In addition, generation instability at thermal power stations has been worsened by inconsistent coal supply.  Higher demand particularly during the just started winter season against reduced supply has given rise to load shedding. 

          In the outlook, electricity generation is expected to remain constrained during the larger part of the year before the new rain season commences.  Given the situation, Government is working on increasing imports from the region among other interventions. In the area of fuel, the country is facing erratic fuel supplies which negatively impact on industry operations as well as transportation.  Key factors that explain this challenge include growth demand owing to increase in number of automobiles, economic activities by economic players and limited financial capacity to import being exemplified by the shortage of foreign currency. 

          It has also been observed that owing to pricing distortions, fuel leakages are being experienced driven by arbitrage activities as the fuel locally is far too cheaper relative to other countries within the region.  In order to curb arbitrage leakages in the fuel sector, Government in January 2019 adjusted the prices of diesel and petrol by 150%.  Since then, fuel prices except for gas and paraffin have generally remained stable.  Similarly, the usage of diesel and petrol in the country has slowed down.  Diesel valued at US$138.7m was imported during the first two months of the year compared to US$224m imported in the last two months of 2018.  On the other hand, petrol worth US$74.3m was imported over the same period compared to US$105m of the last two months in 2018.  Government is making all arrangements to ameliorate the fuel supply situation by the provision of additional lines of credit to make sure that fuel supply is increased and is less erratic. 

Let me turn to inflation developments.  Inflationary pressures despite remaining relatively high slowed down compared to the previous quarter.  This reflects a positive impact of fiscal consolidation in the liberalisation of the exchange rate and tight monetary policy measures.  Indeed, annual broad money supply has significantly slowed down from 45% in July 2018 to current levels of around 25% and this is year on year. However, on a month to month basis, money supply growth is zero to negative.  This declining trend is expected to continue during 2019 in a way that is consistent with the TSP targets.

          Declining money supply growth is a key factor to containing inflation in the long run. To be precise, month on month inflation during the quarter average 5.6% against 11.5% in the last quarter of 2018.  Due to the elevated base annual inflation recorded 57.6%, 59.5% and 67.8% in January, February and March of 2019 respectively.

          The parallel exchange rate market premiums have remained the major source of inflation driving up prices particularly prices of tradable goods.  During the quarter, food and non-alcoholic beverages, restaurants, furniture, clothing experienced major price hikes reflecting unethical behaviour by most businesses by way of indexing prices to the parallel market exchange rate.  In the outlook, inflation is anticipated to gradually subside as impact of fiscal consolidation and tight monetary policy measures restrain demand.   Similarly, the gap between the interbank market and the parallel exchange rate is anticipated to narrow down. 

          Let me turn to the market for equities, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.  Mixed trading characterised the equities market in the first quarter of 2019.  While the market started at the year with positive gains in January, some losses were suffered during the month of February and March 2019. 

The industrial index gained 38.77 points or 8% in the month of January 2019 before incurring losses in February and March 2019.  Subsequently, the industrials lost 81.77 points or 16.7% in the first quarter and closed March 2019 weaker at 405.57 points.  The mining index started the year at a low note of 227.71 by end of January.  The index lost 15.58 points which is (-6.4%), before further losing more ground in February and March 2019. Resultantly, the resources index had accumulative losses of 33.73 points or minus (-14.8%), during the first quarter and closed the month of March 2019 softer at 193.98 points.

          The top ten index declined by 30.41 points or (21%) during the period under review, closing first quarter of 2019 at 114.61 points.  The ZSE top ten index measures the performance of the listed top ten heavy weight counters and represents 65 to 80 percent of the full market value. 

The all share index, which tracks the changing average value of share prices of all companies on the market lost 24.58 points or (-16.8%). 

Overall, the market capitalisation of the ZSE decreased by (-17.2%) from 19.3 billion at the beginning of the year to 16.8 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2019.

          Let me turn to fiscal performance. Madam Speaker, fiscal consolidation and stabilisation measures in the TSP and the 2019 National Budget are paying dividends with revenue collections for the first quarter of 2019, performing above target by US146m, while expenditures were contained below the target of US$218.9m. 

As a result, the budget surplus of US$443.1m was realised during the quarter, creating additional space for financing capital and social development programmes and unforeseen exigencies related to drought in the impact of Cyclone Idai.  Cumulative tax and non tax revenue collection for the first quarter of the year out-performed targets by 8.2% to a record US$1.9billion against a target of US$18 billion resulting in a positive $146 million or 8.2%.  This performance represents a 64.1% increase from the collections of $1.2 billion recorded during the same period in 2018 and a 13.9% increase compared to the $1.7billion collected in the fourth quarter of 2018.

          Among other measures, improved tax revenues during the first quarter of 2019 was attributable to the strengthening of ZIMRA collection systems, plugging of tax loopholes as well as the review of the excess duty from $0.45 to $2.31 per litre of petrol and from $0.4 to $2.05 per litre for diesel, which generated additional revenues of RTGS$146 million during the month of February. 

          The performance also benefited from the 2% tax, the IMTT tax, which generated monthly average revenues of RTGS$95 million against a target of RTGS$50 million.  Compared to the previous year, the first quarter performance represents a 64.1% increase from the 2018 collections of $1.2 billion.

          Proportionally, tax revenue continues to account for the greater percentage of total revenues at 97.4% of total revenues, while non-tax revenues, $49.2 million, which basically is a contribution of 2.6% only.  The positive performance in revenues continued into April, 2019, with the revenues of RTGS$846.8 million being realised against a target of RTGS$731.9 million.  In the outlook, revenues are projected at RTGS$9.3 billion by the end of 2019.

          Let me turn to expenditure issues Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Between January and March, expenditures were managed and remained at $1.5 billion against a planned spending of $1.7 billion, to give savings of $218.9 million from reduced outlays towards operations and maintenance as well as delayed expenditures on capital programmes.

          Major expenditures were on employment costs at about $1billion.  Operations and maintenance were at $185.6 million and interest payments at $93.3 million and capital projects at $174.8 million. 

          Looking at employment costs, they were at 64.4% of total expenditures and they continue to dominate expenditures.  However, the increase in employment costs to total expenditure in 2019 is largely due to the cushioning allowance, pension reviews and filling of critical posts in the education and health sectors as well as the effect of the introduction of the new exchange rate, which then impacted salaries as well as foreign missions salaries as from February, 2019.

          Turning to capital and Net Lending, Capital Expenditure and Net Lending constituted 11.7% of total expenditure during the first quarter of 2019.  The 2% IMTT tax which was ring-fenced has gone a long way in supporting the social sector in terms of the health sector and education and meeting the demands for the devolution budget of $310 million as well as meeting the demands for the impact, rather the damages caused by Cyclone Idai, drought and some infrastructure costs.

          Let me turn out to devolution.  In 2019, the National Budget allocated $310 million for the devolution programme, under which resources are to be distributed to provincial and local tiers in line with the constitutional provision under Chapter 14 on devolution.

          HON. GONESE: On a point of order Hon. Speaker.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA): What is your point of order.

          HON. GONESE: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My point of order is in terms of Standing Order No. 204.  Madam Speaker, cognisant of the fact that automatic adjournment of the House is at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock and in terms of Standing Order No. 204, there is a provision which allows for the suspension of Standing Orders.  I have looked at the Standing Order in question; I am looking at the presentation by the Hon. Minister and the pages he still has, it is evident that he will not be through with his presentation before 7 o’clock and afford us time to seek clarifications as we are entitled to do in terms of standing orders.

          I then seek your indulgence as the Speaker because in terms of Standing Order 204, this motion normally requires notice.  However, there is a proviso which gives you the discretion.  Today, you have got a very important role Madam Speaker Ma’am.  It says that; ‘provided that in cases of urgent necessity of which the Speaker must be the Judge, any such orders may, with the Leave of the House, be suspended upon motion, moved without notice.  So, it entitles me to move this motion without notice in terms of the proviso to Standing Order 204, which opportunity I am using Madam Speaker. 

So, I am now appealing to you, in view of the importance of this Ministerial Statement, it would be an injustice Madam Speaker Ma’am, for the presentation to be interrupted by the automatic adjournment of the House.  It would be a grave injustice, not just to the Hon. Members in this august House but to the people of Zimbabwe to have a situation where, firstly, the statement is not completed, the presentation is not completed.  So, we have this opportunity Madam Speaker Ma’am, firstly, we seek the exercise of your discretion, which you have.  So, you have got that power in your hands to allow us to move this motion – [HON. MEMBERS – Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order in the House – [HON. NDUNA: Madam Speaker Ma’am.] – Hon. Nduna, you do not stand when we have got another point of order that has been given. Thank you very much Hon. Gonese for that note, but according to what we had already previously said, we had said to you that there was no urgency on this issue and since there was no urgency on this issue and you knew very well according to Standing Order Number 51 that we needed to adjourn at five minutes to seven o’clock. So, there is no urgency on this issue – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

It being Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MAVETERA), interrupted the business under consideration in terms of Standing Order Number 51 (1) (a).

 

 

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 15 MAY 2019 VOL 45 NO 50