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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 18 DECEMBER 2018 VOL 45 NO 25

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 18th December, 2018

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

ERROR ON THE ORDER PAPER

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, can you please refer to page 321 of the Order Paper? An eagle’s eye will indicate to you that today is not Thursday but Tuesday 18th December, 2018. You correct accordingly.

CIRCULATION OF DRAFT ISP DOCUMENT

THE HON. SPEAKER: Following the workshop on the formulation of the 2019 to 2023 Institutional Strategic Plan (ISP), which was held at the Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo from 3 to 4 November, 2018, the draft document has been circulated to all Committee Chairpersons and Members to the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders for their consideration and validation.  Hon. Members are requested to submit their input to the Clerk’s Office by lunch time on Wednesday, 19th December 2018.  The Draft document incorporating all the inputs will be tabled to the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders for validation or otherwise at its third meeting scheduled for Thursday 20th December, 2018.

    CHANGES TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House of the following changes to Committee Memberships…

An Hon. Member having passed without making a proper obeisance to the Chair.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, you make obeisance to the Chair – [HON. MEMBERS: He did.] – No it was a small one – [Laughter.] – Here are the changes;

(a)             Hon. Dutiro will serve on the Committee on Public Accounts;

(b)            Hon. E. Masuku has been moved from the Portfolio Committee on Transport  and Infrastractural Development to the Committee on Public Accounts;

(c)             Hon. Soda will serve on the  Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development;

(d)            Hon. Zivhu will serve on the Portfolio Committees on Primary and Secondary Education and Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development;

(e)             Hon. Musanhi will serve on the Portfolio Committees on Mines and Mining Development and Transport and Infrastructural Development;

(f)              Hon. Ndiweni has been moved  from the Portfolio Committee On Foreign Affairs and International Trade to the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care;

(g)            Hon. Samson will serve on the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade; and

(h)            Hon. T. Moyo will serve in the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education.

PETITIONS RECEIVED

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I wish to advise the House that on the 10th of December, 2018, Parliament of Zimbabwe received the following petitions:

1.    Petition from Tag A Life International (TALI), beseeching Parliament to protect the right of every citizen to basic education; to call on the Government of Zimbabwe to enact a policy in line with the Constitution that instructs all school authorities to allow children whose parents cannot afford fees to be accepted in schools and to inquire into measures taken to avail resources to achieve the progressive realisation of basic state funded education as enshrined in Section 75 (1) of the Constitution.

The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education.

2.   Petition from Mr. Wellington Mahohoma, Women’s Institute for Leadership Development beseeching Parliament to enact a law that makes it compulsory for Government to provide free sanitary wear and related facilities in public schools and calling on the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to provide mechanisms for free sanitary wear.

The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education.

3.  Petition from Community Youth Development Trust, a civil society organisation based in Gwanda beseeching Parliament to take measures to ensure the protection of the right to primary documents and to assess and oversee the adequacy and effectiveness of policies and practices of the Registrar-General in implementing its birth and national registration activities in frontier provinces particularly Matabeleland South in so far as this determines the right to primary documents and the right to education and social services is concerned and to recommend that the Registrar-General’s office adopts practices that address peculiarities of border areas thereby ensuring that the rights and interests of children are protected and to adopt measures to address current problems.

The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -   Order. Order. Order my friend there, you shall remain unnamed. 

PROMOTION OF WORLD AIDS DAY THEME

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I wish to inform Hon. Members that the National Aids Council (NAC) and its strategic partners are planning a public testing day for Parliamentarians, public personalities and public figures to promote the World Aids Day theme – “Know your status, my status, my health, my life”  – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

Order, order, order!  The announcement goes further to say, there will be availing of free health services for Parliamentarians and the public on this day including HIV testing, TB testing, TB screening, cancer screening, diabetes testing, blood pressure checking, sugar testing services and other non communicable diseases testing and screening services – [Laughter.] –

HON. DR. LABODE:  What about prostate cancer?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  I hear my Hon. Dr. Labode there.  Indeed it must include prostate cancer - [AN HON. MEMBER:  What about pregnancy tests?]-    There are no pregnant Hon. Members here – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

The objective of this event is for Parliamentarians to lead their constituencies in accessing these services and demystify the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV and AIDS.  The event will be held on the 19th of December, 2018 at Africa Unity Square from 1000 hours to 1600 hours. 

The First Lady of Zimbabwe will be the guest of honour and will lead the public testing.  Hon. Members are kindly requested to attend. 

          HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Welcome back Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  And you too, welcome back.

HON. MUTSEYAMI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I would like on behalf of Hon. Members of Parliament to congratulate Hon. Gift Banda for being voted the ZIFA Vice President of this country.

Then Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like on behalf of...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Hon. Members are representatives of all people nationally.  So, you are out of order when you start congratulating a Vice President and you do not congratulate the President.  That is unacceptable. – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] Order, order.

Hon. Mutseyami says he had not finished but I have finished because you do not start with the tail but you start with the head.  Do you want to correct the order of precedence Hon. Mutseyami?

HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for the correction.  I would like to point clearly that I would like to congratulate the President Felton Kamambo for being voted the President of ZIFA.  Then I would like to as well congratulate one of our own as Members of Parliament, Hon. Gift Banda for being voted the Deputy President of ZIFA. 

Then last but not least, I would like to wish well, Hon. Chiyangwa and Hon. Omega a very good farewell to live a better life without the presidency of ZIFA and the deputy presidency.  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  In future, I shall not allow such points of order because they are not points of privilege.  However, I have indulged Hon. Mutseyami and also for accepting the correction but in the end, I hope he did not speak with a tongue on his cheek with regard the outgoing executive.

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE FOR SUSPENSION OF PROVISIONS OF STANDING ORDER NUMBERS 32 (5), 51, 62 (2), 64 (5) AND 139.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I seek leave of the House to move that provisions of Standing Order Numbers 32 (5), 51, 62 (2), 64 (5) and 139 regarding the reporting period of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, the automatic adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock  p.m. and at Twenty-five Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a Friday, private Members’ motions taking precedence on Wednesdays after Question Time and that Question Time shall be on Wednesdays and Stages of Bills respectively be suspended until business relating to the budget has been disposed of.  I thank you.

HON. CHIKWINYA: I object Mr. Speaker.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I stand here to respect the budget policy pronouncement by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development as the Government’s biggest policy running our country.  But, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development himself did not take the budget itself seriously to the extent that he did not report to Parliament soon after presenting his budget the whole of last week, leaving Committee Chairpersons to report in his absence. 

Therefore, all the input by the Parliamentary Committees where they had consulted stakeholders is not going to be taken into account by the Hon. Minister.  He cannot therefore force us to be working overtime simply because he now has found time whilst we also have other issues to do.  Therefore, that is my reason to object.  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:   Thank you.  Your objection is not carried.  The Hon. Minister was physically absent with an apology but there was an Acting Minister, Hon. Minister Nyoni supporting – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order.  And the senior staff, led by the Permanent Secretary were in attendance. – [HON.  MEMBERS:  No, no.] – You do not stand up when the Chair is speaking but you wait. You will be out of order again.

So, the officials from the Ministry were present and all that was debated was captured in the Hansard.  So nothing was lost.  Even if he was there, he was not going to answer.  He was simply going to listen as he is going to listen until the debate is over.  So nothing has been lost and accordingly, I plead with Hon. Chikwinya that the objection does stand aside after my explanation.  Thank you.

HON. CHIKWINYA:  I want to agree with you – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order!

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Hon. Chair, I want to agree with you and I do not want to go against your ruling.  However, I want to advise you that you have been misled on the point that – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – You have been misled on two points.  Firstly, Hon. Sithembiso Nyoni did not attend Parliament to listen.  She was not there.  Secondly, senior staff members of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development were not here and the ruling by the Acting Speaker was that it was raining and therefore they could not make it to Parliament.  That was the ruling on that particular day when that point of order was raised by Hon. Biti – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, I am advised that your observation Hon. Chikwinya, is partially correct.  They came later.  However, the fundamental issue is, all that was debated was captured under Hansard, so it is not lost.

MOTION

SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER NOS. 32 (5), 51, 62 (2), 64 (5) AND 139

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. Speaker, I move that provisions of Standing Order Numbers 32 (5), 51, 62 (2), 64 (5) and 139 regarding the reporting period of the Parliamentary Legal Committee and the automatic adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven O’clock p.m. and at Twenty Five Minutes past One O’clock p.m. on Friday, Private Members Motions taking precedence on Wednesdays after question time and that question time shall be on Wednesdays and stages of Bills respectively be suspended until business relating to the budget has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the notice on presentation of Bill and Order of the Day, Number 1 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 2 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FINANCE BILL:  BUDGET DEBATE

Second Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion that leave be granted to bring in a Finance Bill.

Question again proposed.

          Hon. Biti having stood up to debate – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I know that there is no rule that Hon. Biti cannot debate as Chairperson of the Public Accounts, but I was going to appeal to the Hon. Member to allow the Chairpersons to table their reports. 

          HON. BITI: Chairpersons have tabled their reports – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Speaker, in the case of Public Accounts Committee Report, it was delivered by Hon. Mpariwa.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: There are others who have not tabled their reports.  We still have nine more I think.  

          HON. MPOFU: On behalf of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs…

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

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Chikwinya, we want to make progress.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Certainly, it is a critical one Hon. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [AN HON. MEMBER: Iwe!] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.  I think this is the second time when I hear some Hon. Members saying iwe! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order! All Hon. Members must be addressed as Hon. Members and if we hear further pronouncement of iwe!; we will have to expel the Hon. Member from this House.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  On the last day of debate, when this debate was tabled before the House, there was a question which needed clarification by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  Now that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is around, we may first of all get that clarification before we proceed with our debates.  The question was; we have received two sets of the Blue Book, which one is correct and why is there a difference?

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Is that the case?

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Yes Hon. Speaker.

          The Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development was asked to approach the Chair.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order.  First of all, I am so happy to see that Hon. Members of Parliament have got some microscopic eyes – [AN HON. MEMBER: This side only.] – I said Hon. Members; I did not say which side.  This is the correct position; you should refer to the Blue Book, if you look at the bottom there, you will see Cmd.R.Z.2 of 2018, that is the one you should use.  Ignore the first one with Z1.  Thank you for the correction.  Therefore, the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development will now accordingly officially withdraw Z1 and indicate that Z2 is the correct label.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. M. NCUBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I formally withdraw the Blue Book Number CMDR Z1 of 2018.  I withdraw that and table CMDRZ2 of 2018.  I thank you – [AN HON. MEMBER: Give us the reasons why you are changing it? Convince us, why are you withdrawing it?] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, there is a typographical error and is corrected – [Laughter.] – there is no debate in as much as – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]  -

          An Hon. Member having stood up.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you do not take the floor when the Chair is still speaking – [AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, rule number 1.] – Just as I corrected the Order Paper this afternoon when it was Thursday instead of Tuesday, my dear Hon. Biti there is no question of covering, there is nothing to cover.  We are simply being procedural so that we focus on the correct Blue Book – [Laughter.] –

          HON. A. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise to present the post budget analysis report of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on behalf of the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee Hon. Paradza.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have some observation so what is going to happen now is that Z1 will be withdrawn and staff will put in your pigeon holes Z2, the correct Blue Book – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          HON. A. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.    

INTRODUCTION

The Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has an oversight responsibility over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is mandated to promote, protect and safeguard national interests, image and influence of Zimbabwe in the regional, continental and international arena and to protect the interests of Zimbabweans abroad. In the new dispensation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been expanded to include International Trade Department which previously was under the then Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

This additional responsibility means that our Ambassadors have become Zimbabwe’s chief trade promotion officers. Today, within the context of greater and more complex economic integration between states at regional, continental and international levels, our Ambassadors must therefore apply the tools of diplomacy to help bring about specific commercial and economic gains through promoting Zimbabwe’s exports, attracting inward investment and preserving outward investment opportunities, and even encouraging the benefits of technology transfer. 

MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS DURING 2018

These include the following:

§  Facilitation and coordination of several visits by His Excellency, President of Zimbabwe outside the country when he:

o   Paid courtesy calls on his counterparts in the region

o   Participated at the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland (a proud and pivotal moment in the history of our foreign and trade policy achievements).

§  On reengagement and rapprochement with Western Countries, the Ministry held several meetings with foreign Ambassadors based in Zimbabwe and also organised several meetings for the Ambassadors with various government officials

§  The Ministry received several delegations from France, Sweden, Turkey, Norway, Ireland the United Kingdom (UK), Germany and the United States of America (USA)

§  Engaged Senior Government Officials from the USA, the UK, Belgium, and the Commonwealth Secretariat and the European Union (EU), to brief them on the developments in Zimbabwe and Investment and Trade opportunities.

§  Dispatched special envoys to several Western and Asian countries in our quest to re-engage and consolidate bilateral relations with various countries.  

          KEY PRIORITY AREAS FOR THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN 2019

The key priority areas identified by the Ministry have been refined and streamlined within the flagship mantra so clearly and relentlessly articulated by the country’s eminent Foreign and Trade policy champion, the Head of State and Government himself, His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, that: Zimbabwe Is Open For Business.

The key priority areas for Ministry for 2019 and beyond therefore include the following:

·       Strengthening and consolidating the political socio-economic cooperation, trade, investment and tourism between Zimbabwe and the rest of the world.

·       Building a positive image to the outside world and deepening mutual beneficial relations with our neighbours in SADC, AU, BRICS and other friendly countries

·       Deepening re-engagement with the West and other groups of countries.

·       Actively facilitating the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap with the view to enhancing Zimbabwe’s economic competitiveness within the region and internationally.

ANALYSIS OF THE 2019 BUDGET ALLOCATION.

            Overview of the Ministry Budget

In the fiscal year 2019, a total of $56. 09 million has been allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade under Vote 12, which represents about 0.7% of the total national budget.

The 2019 Ministry’s nominal budget allocation increased by 12.9% from the $49.667 million allocated in 2018. However, when price changes are taken account of, the 2019 allocation does not represent an increase. This provision is well below the optimistic financing scenario of $81. 877 million as outlined in the Ministry’s bid and leaves a shortfall of 31%.

Furthermore, despite the Ministry getting a higher budget allocation in 2019 than the 2018 allocation, the Committee is concerned that the expanded mandate of the Ministry and the new thrust to rebrand the country would require more resources than are provided for in the current budget.

The ministry’s budget is split between Head Office and Diplomatic Missions. The 2019 allocations are as follows:

§  Sub Vote I $10 768 000 is for Administration and General representing 19.2% of the total budget (Head Office)

§  Sub Vote II $45 322 000 is for Diplomatic missions which is 81% of the total budget.

 COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS

SUB VOTE II: DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS

Employment Costs

The Committee observed that employment costs allocation for Diplomatic Missions was reduced from an expenditure ceiling of $16.322 million to $13.322 million. This could be attributed to the rationalisation of Foreign Missions to be undertaken in 2019. This is a welcome move as it will result in efficient use of resources.

Goods and Services

Diplomatic Missions were allocated $19 million against a bid of $26.035 million. The major cost driver for provision of goods and services are contractual in nature, for example, rentals and utilities. The situation is worsened by the fact that in several countries where we have Diplomatic Missions, we do not own properties and the Missions depend on rental payments for services. Consultations with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade revealed that Zimbabwe does not own any single property in about 20 countries.

Acquisition of capital assets

The Committee has heard of the despicable and unacceptable state of disrepair that some of the country’s Chanceries and Residences abroad are in. Indeed, in some cases, it has been said, Diplomats have had to abandon some of the houses because they had become a health hazard. In this regard, the Ministry had hoped that Treasury was going to allocate US$21.432 million towards repair of Government-owned properties abroad but only a paltry US$12 million was given. This is of great concern of the Committee

Arrears

The Committee observed a perennial challenge that the Ministry continues to face – arrears. These have accumulated over the years because of inadequate budget allocation over the years, lack of liquidity provision by Treasury and sporadic funding of the ministry’s commercial bank nostro account by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. As a Committee, we implore Treasury to look into this and have a plan in place to clear these arrears. Right now, the Ministry has over $5 million that awaits nostro funding and this money is badly needed at our Foreign Missions.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

The Committee makes the following recommendations:

·       The Office of the President and Cabinet should finalise as soon as possible the transfer of the Department of International Trade from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade including the budget.

§  The Committee welcomes the proposal by Treasury to reduce the number of Foreign Missions from 46 to 38. However, the Committee recommends that a comprehensive cost–benefit analysis should be carried out to assist in identifying those missions which can be closed or clustered. The Committee also calls for speedy conclusion on this to avoid continued accumulation of debts in missions where the business opportunities are very low.

§  To solve the problems of the continued accumulation of debts related to rentals at most of our Foreign Missions, Treasury should allocate funding each year towards the purchase or construction of buildings in countries where we currently do not own any properties. Priorities should be given to missions in countries where rental costs are relatively high.

§  All funds allocated to the Ministry have to be released timeously to facilitate proper planning and achievement of policy targets. In light of this, Treasury should ensure that the ministry’s commercial bank nostro account is adequately funded as a matter of urgency.

§  The Ministry should vigorously pursue re-engagements considering the new thrust of economic diplomacy. The re-engagement effort should put special focus on Zimbabwe re-joining the Commonwealth and ensure that Zimbabwe is readmitted before the end of 2019. 

§   Ambassadors and staff should be given performance linked contracts in order for the Ministry to cultivate and buttress the spirit and culture of hard work at our Foreign Missions.

§  Our Ambassadors and their staff should get their salaries in time and in foreign currency.

§  Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade should finalise and adopt a comprehensive Diaspora Policy considering input from all stakeholders.

§  Embassies in selected countries should be equipped to enable them to process and issue identity documents to our nationals working or living abroad at a fee, a part of which should be retained for use by the embassy. 

§  Efforts should be made to clear all outstanding debt at our Diplomatic Missions not only to avoid tarnishing the image of the country but, as we can all imagine, reduce the stress of our Diplomats working under such conditions.

CONCLUSION

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is ready to play its part in the realisation of Vision 2030. The Ministry willingly accepts its frontline position, leading the re-invigorated and confident Team Zimbabwe as it plays on the highly competitive regional and global stage. What the Ministry is asking is adequate, secure, assured and timeous funding so it can play competitively. The Ministry has the will but the toolkit falls short. What the Ministry requires to beef up the toolkit is not much.

However, what the Ministry is asking for is important if we are to create a prosperous upper middle-income society that is fully integrated into the community of nations by 2030.

The Committee would want to end with a quote from Elon Musk who said;

When something is important enough you do it even if the odds are not in your favour’.

HON. KASHIRI:   1.1 OVERVIEW OF THE MINISTRY

Following the coming in of the Second Republic after the July 2018 elections, the Government decided to have a lean cabinet, which was achieved by merging some Ministries. As a result, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Change was disbanded, with the Water and Climate Change functions being merged with the then Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement to constitute what is now known as the Ministry Of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. The Environment functions were merged with the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry. What this implies is that the Ministry is now overseeing an increased portfolio which also has implications on the adequacy of the budgetary allocations, especially when compared to 2018.

The new Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement is responsible for ensuring food security in the country and also ensuring that there is agriculture produce for the manufacturing sector. This implies facilitating a sustainable and viable agriculture sector which would provide raw materials for the rest of the economy. Being responsible for land and rural resettlement, the Ministry also has to promote equitable distribution of land and provision of security of tenure. The new roles of the Ministry include ensuring that there is provision of weather and climate forecasts and advancement of warnings on weather conditions likely to endanger life and property. The Ministry also provides administrative, technical, advisory, research and regulatory services to the agriculture sector.

The additional responsibilities imply that the programme areas of the Ministry have been expanded from seven (7) to 10 as follows:

i)      Policy and Administration which creates an enabling environment for sustainable and viable agriculture sector;

ii)   Agriculture education which focuses on producing competent agriculture graduates with analytical and entrepreneurial skills;

iii)                        Crops and Livestock Research and Technology which focuses on developing, adapting and disseminating innovative research technologies to improve crop and livestock productivity;

iv)Crops Production, Extension and Advisory Services which promotes sustainable, competitive and viable agricultural production through provision of technical, extension, advisory and coordination services;

v)   Agricultural Engineering and Farm Infrastructure Advisory Development which promotes agriculture mechanization, farm structures and irrigation technologies;

vi)Animal production, health, extension and advisory services which prevents entry, establishment and spread of transboundary animal diseases within Zimbabwe and controls specifies animal diseases and pests; and

vii)                     Lands, Resettlement and Security of Tenure, which is responsible for provision of security of tenure, management of land information, valuation and compensation of all acquired farms and land acquisition & distribution in general;

viii)Land Survey & Mapping, which is responsible for commissioning and maintenance of international boundaries;

ix)Integrated Water resources management, which is responsible for construction of dams, completion of rural and urban water supply projects; and

x)   Weather, climate and seismology services, which focuses on climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions, cloud seeding, compliance to Minamata Convention and seismology.

This report is being prepared by the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement within the context of these programme areas. The Committee will now analyse the 2019 National Budget Statement in terms of adequacy of resource allocation and interventions.

1.2. BUDGETARY ALLOCATION FOR THE MINISTRY OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT

          1.2.1 Budgetary allocation and trends:  In analysing allocations towards any particular vote, The Committee takes note of the following:

·       Budget allocations are made largely from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. This is the Fund funded predominantly by the revenue measures which are relatively more predictable and more certain and also within the control of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. In 2019, the total available budget from the Consolidated Revenue Fund is about $10, 315,698,000

·       In addition to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, there are also some resources that come through Retention Funds. Retention Funds are mainly fees, fines, levies and rentals which Government Departments collect from economic agents. Since fines are not predictable and are based on whether economic agents will be well behaved or not, the revenues will not be predictable. The same also applies to levies which could be transaction based. However, for budgetary purposes, Retention Funds have to be taken into account. In 2019, the total national resource envelope after including retention funds is estimated at about $10, 722, 626,000.

The Consolidated Revenue Fund and the Retention Fund generally constitute the resources that are appropriated by the Minister of Finance to the different Votes. This therefore means that the analysis for a Vote can be based on either the Consolidated Revenue Fund allocation or the Total Appropriated amount or both. This analysis is going to use both.

 

In the 2019 National Budget, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement got an allocation of $989,298,000 from the Consolidated Fund and a further $31,254,000 is expected from the Retention Fund, which brings the total available resources appropriated to the Ministry at $1,020,552,000.  The Committee notes that this resource allocation has two main implications which include the following:

·       The 2019 budgetary allocation from the Consolidated Revenue Fund is an increase of about 69% compared to the allocation given in 2018. This increase of 69% takes into account the changes brought about by the restructuring, meaning that the resource envelope in absolute amount has been increased.

·       The total allocation to the Ministry from the Consolidated Fund constitutes about 9.6% of the total available from the Consolidated Revenue Fund budget and 9.5% of the Total Appropriated Budget.

The Committee also notes that in 2019, the Ministry is expected to receive a total of about $40,574,120 from fees, levies, leases and other statutory funds proceeds. This is broken down as follows:

 

Table 1: Total revenue to be raised by Ministry through Retention Funds

 

Amount expected in 2018

2019 Estimate

Percentage increase

Agriculture Revolving Fund

19,169,000

25,004,000

30.4

Lands and Resettlement Fund

3,164,000

3,164,000

0.0

Lands Compensation Fund

6,836,000

6,836,000

0.0

Water Fund

4,600,000

3,414,000

-25.8

Meteorological Services Fund

484,000

2,156,120

345.5

 

34,253,000

40,574,120

18.5

 

However, only about 77% of this amount has been appropriated in the Ministry Budget, as only $31,254,000 has been allocated. This implies that some of the proceeds could have been appropriated to other Ministries. The Committee recommends that all the proceeds from the Funds that are affiliated to the Ministry should be ploughed back to beef up the Ministry’s Budget.

Compared to other Ministries, the amount allocated to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement is second after the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (Table 2). In 2018, the Ministry was also ranked 2nd. The Committee appreciates that this is consistent with the Government’s desire to position agriculture as an economic anchor.

Table 2: 2018 Top 10 Budgetary allocations for Ministries

 

Consolidated Revenue Fund

Retention Fund

Total Appropriated

Rank

Primary and Secondary Education

1,132,322,000

30,359,000

1,162,681,000

1

Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement

989,298,000

31,254,000

1,020,552,000

2

Health and Child care

694,476,000

61,361,000

755,837,000

3

Defence and War Veterans

546,939,000

-

546,939,000

4

Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage

517,822,000

35,339,000

553,161,000

5

Transport and Infrastructural Development

399,182,000

37,967,000

437,149,000

6

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development

380,842,000

43,738,000

424,580,000

7

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

331,601,000

185,000

331,786,000

8

Finance and Economic Development

318,550,000

2,447,000

320,997,000

9

Office of President and Cabinet

294,700,000

-

294,700,000

10

 

1.2.2 Assessment of adequacy

1.2.2.1 Assessment of overall budget

At the Second Ordinary Assembly of the African Union in July 2003 in Maputo, African Heads of State and Government came up with the “Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”, where the signatories agreed that 10% of public expenditure should be spent on agriculture in an effort to increase agricultural productivity. This decision was later upheld at the “Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity” in 2014. One of the concerns raised by the Committee concerning the 2018budgetary allocation was that it fell short of this requirement, as it constitutedat 7% of the total available resources. As already mentioned, the allocation to the Ministry still constitutes about 9.5% and 9.6% of the Total Appropriated Budget and Total Consolidated Revenue Fund respectively. Given that both figures will be equivalent to 10% if rounded off, then the allocation can be argued to meet the Maputo Declaration.

However, the Committee notes that the Ministry of Agriculture is now very broad as it is now also responsible for Water and Climate issues which used to be under the purview of the now defunct Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Change. For example, if funding for two programme areas, namely Integrated Water Resources Management and Weather, Climate and Seismology Services is removed, then the total budget allocation for agriculture would fall to 8%.Thus, while the Committee appreciates that resources to the Ministry are significant, they fall short if activities that used to be performed by separate Ministries are not included.

The budget allocation for acquisition of fixed capital assets and maintenance has been increased substantially from about $61.9 million in 2018 to $131.2 million in 2019. Employment costs have only increased by about 11% in 2019 compared to 2018. The Committee therefore appreciates that Government has made an effort to put more resources towards capital compared to current expenditure.

The overall adequacy of the budget can also be assessed based on the extent to which it was able to meet expectations by the Ministry. In 2019, the Ministry had made a bid of about $1,109,798,349 to Treasury. The total allocation from the Consolidated Revenue Fund constitutes about 89% of what the Ministry had bid. However, the Total Appropriation for the Ministry (taking into account Retention Funds) constitute about 92% of the Ministry’s bid. The Committee therefore appreciates that given the limited resource envelope, government went out of its way to meet the needs and expectations of the Ministry, as the resource envelop only falls short by an average of about 9% from what the Ministry had considered ideal.

1.2.2.2 Assessment of adequacy of Programme Budgets

Relative to 2018, all the programme areas received substantially high increases in allocations compared to 2018 (Table 3). Lands, Resettlement and Security of Tenure programme area received the highest percentage increase of more than 281%. Although it received the highest increase, it only received just over 5% of the total allocation among all the programme areas, generally showing that the highest increase is mainly due to the low base of 2018. The increase is mainly due to the $30 million that was allocated for compensation of former farm owners.

The Policy and Administration programme received the highest allocation compared to all the other programmes. The programme area takes up over 59% of total resources allocated to the Ministry. It also happens to be among the programme areas receiving high increases in allocation compared to 2018, largely because it also has an allocation of about $120 million which is designed as an Agriculture Input Support Guarantee Scheme for the Command Agriculture, which is expected to be financed largely by the private sector.

The Committee therefore appreciates that generally, the 2019 Budget allocation is higher for all the 10 programme areas, especially with only two registering an increase that is significantly lower than the inflation rate of 20.9% recorded end of October 2018.

 

Table 3: 2019 budgetary allocations for programme areas compared to 2018

 

2018

2019 Consolidated Fund

% increase

% of total 2018

% of total 2019

Policy and Administration

346,107,000

584,443,000

68.9

59.1

59.1

Agriculture Education

4,945,000

5,914,000

19.6

0.8

0.6

Crop and Livestock Research and technology Development

16,969,000

32,365,000

90.7

2.9

3.3

Crop and Livestock Production, Extension and Advisory Services

40,262,000

43,089,000

7.0

6.9

4.4

Agricultural Engineering and Farm Infrastructure Advisory Development

43,065,000

48,977,000

13.7

7.4

5.0

Animal Production, Health, Extension and Services

31,753,000

46,977,000

47.9

5.4

4.7

Lands, Resettlement and Security of Tenure

14,512,000

55,373,000

281.6

2.5

5.6

Land Survey and Mapping

5,096,000

8,271,000

62.3

0.9

0.8

Integrated Water Resources Management

77,853,000

153,860,000

97.6

13.3

15.6

Weather, Climate and Seismology Services

4,824,000

10,029,000

107.9

0.8

1.0

 

The Committee also assesses the adequacy of the programme funding relative to the variance between what the Ministry had bid for and what they actually received. The Committee also bears in mind that while the Consolidated Revenue Allocation was used by the Ministry in its presentation, there is also some resource envelope coming from Retention Funds that needs to be taken into account. Figure 1compares the total amount that the Ministry received as a percentage of what it had put in their bid. The results show that for four Programme Areas, namely           Lands, Resettlement and Security of Tenure; Land Survey & Mapping; Integrated Water Resources Management; and Weather, Climate and Seismology Services, the Ministry actually got allocated more or equal to what they had bid for. This is true with respect to both the Consolidated Revenue Allocation and the Total Appropriated Allocation. The Committee also notes that while Programme Areas such as the Agriculture Education and the Crop and Livestock Research and Technology Development have been considered underfunded in line with what was bid by the Ministry, the Total Appropriation Allocation for the Ministry is adequate to match the bid.

Figure 1: Budgetary Allocation received for programmes as a percentage of what the Ministry bid

 

The Committee therefore confirms that three Programme Areas, namelyAnimal Production, Health, Extension and Services; Agricultural Engineering and Farm Infrastructure Advisory Development; Crop and Livestock Production Extension and Advisory Services have been indeed been underfunded as they got below what they had bid for.

The Committee is therefore concerned that the Animal Production, Health, Extension and Services is underfunded at this particular point in time. While agriculture is the backbone of the economy, livestock are the backbone of the agriculture sector. Underfunding the department responsible for animal production and health has grave consequences for the economy. The Committee also notes that this underfunding is coming at a time when about 50,000 cattle died due to different animal diseases, including tick-borne diseases between December 2017 and November 2018. Because dip chemicals need to be imported, the firms that won the tender to supply dip chemicals have not been able to get the requisite allocation from the RBZ. Thus, the Ministry’s bid had tried to factor this into account so that cattle could dip.

The Committee is worried that cattle are not dipping at a time when Government also owes Botswana Vaccine Institute, the only vaccine supplier for foot and mouth disease, about $6 million. This means that unless Government increases allocation for this programme area, more cattle will be lost in 2019 due to livestock diseases. Although the Budget has allocated about $2.4 million towards the rehabilitation of at least 50 dip tanks in each province, the Committee fears that cattle may still not dip due to lack of chemicals, as the reason for not dipping had nothing to do with the number or state of dip tanks but dipping chemicals.

The Committee is concerned about the underfunding of the Crop and Livestock Production Extension and Advisory Services. Extension services are crucial, especially at this time when the focus should shift towards ensuring that farmers who benefited from land become productive and increase yield per hectare. However, vehicles and motor bikes required as well as the amount required for maintenance has been underfunded. This therefore implies that land asset utilization is going to be negatively affected by the reduced expert support to new farmers.

The Committee is also equally concerned that the Agricultural Engineering and Farm Infrastructure Advisory Development has been underfunded. Farm mechanization is important in increasing yield. Land productivity is going to be negatively affected by the reduced usage of equipment in agriculture.  Irrigation, which would have been important as a drought mitigation strategy will also be affected by this underfunding.

1.3. COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE MINISTRY’S ALLOCATION

The Committee greatly appreciating the efforts that treasury has made to increase the capacity of the Agriculture sector to perform roles expected role under the 2019 Budget Statement. This happens at a time when the Budget was presented under a theme “Austerity for Prosperity”. However, the Committee would be grateful of the following issues are addressed:

1)   The Ministry of Finance needs to adjust its resource allocation model to try as much as possible to match the allocated amount to the bid received. While specific programmes such as compensation of former farmers can understandably result in some programme areas receiving more than what they had bid for, there is no need for critical programme areas such as Animal Production, Health, Extension and Services; Agricultural Engineering and Farm Infrastructure Advisory Development; Crop and Livestock Production Extension and Advisory Services to be adequately funded. The Committee therefore recommends that resources for these programme areas be increased, with possibilities of taking from other programme areas which received well much more than what they had bid for.

2)   The Committee notes that about $235 million has been set aside for the Strategic Grain Reserve of GMB to procure about 500,000 tonnes of maize in the 2019 season. However, currently there are more than adequate maize stocks to perform the Strategic Grain Reserve Function. These are some resources which can be moved to more deserving programmes, especially those that have not been adequately funded;

3)   The Committee is also concerned about the number of irrigation schemes which are funded simultaneously with resources being spread too thinly on the ground. The allocation per irrigation scheme is too low for quick progress. For example, 114 irrigation projects are earmarked for funding in 2019 from a total of $30.8 million. Resources need to be availed in a well-coordinated manner so that a lot of capital does not remain tied up in work-in-progress projects.

4)   The Committee notes that the Budget provides resources for about $136 million for nine (9) dams, with largely none of the dams being funded to completion. The Committee is therefore concerned that Government spreads resources thinly on the ground, resulting in some dams being on the cards for a long time without being completed. For example, the Minister is funding for the commencement works at Bindura Dam, Tuli-Manyange Dam, Dande Dam, Silverton Dam, Chivhu Dam when ongoing works at Gwayi-Shangani, Causeway and Marovanyati Dams are still not funded to completion. The Committee recommends an approach where Dam projects are commenced and funded using the little resources available before other new Dam projects are initiated.

5)   The amount allocated for Agriculture Education, which is only 0.6% of the total budget, is not suitable for an economy that needs to capacitate officials and ensure that they are up to date with new developments. The infrastructure in agriculture colleges is in a bad shape, while materials for students are in short supply. The Committee therefore recommends that more resources be channelled towards agriculture education

6)   The Committee is worried that while the allocations show a commitment by Government, the allocated amounts are rarely disbursed in full or in time. For example, the Agriculture Education programme area had got only 13% of the budgeted amount by September 2018. The Committee therefore recommends that budgeted for allocations should be disbursed to enhance credibility in future.

2.  ZIMBABWE LAND COMMISSION

2.1 OVERVIEW OF THE ZIMBABWE LANDS COMMISSION

The Zimbabwe Lands Commission was created under Section 296 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (Amendment Number 20) Act, 2013.  In terms of Section 297, the functions of the Commission include ensuring fairness, transparency and accountability in the administration and management of agriculture land, conduct periodic agriculture land audits, investigate and determine disputes regarding agriculture land and make recommendations to Government on land administration. It has mainly three focus areas:

i)      Land audit

ii)   Land inspections;

iii)            Resolution of disputes arising from land administration; and

iv)Institutional Capacity Building.

The Budget Statement was presented at a time when the Zimbabwe Lands Commission had already identified priority areas, which the budgetary allocation should be helping to attain. Policy priorities for the Zimbabwe Lands Commission for 2019-2021 include the following:

a)    Increase the number of A2 farms inspected for the issuance of 99 year leases from 1800 to 4300 by 31 December 2021. This would imply that on average, 99-year lease issuance of about 833 would be needed in 2019. However, the Commission expects to inspect only 500 A2 farms in 2019 for the purpose of 99 year lease issuance, after factoring in the budget that has been availed;

b)   Increase the number of farms comprehensively inspected from zero to 8,000 by 31 December 2021. This would require an average of about 2,667 farms to be inspected in 2019. However, the Commission has set an ambitious target of inspecting 6,400 farms in 2019;

c)    Increase the number of security of tenure systems reviewed from 0 to 4 by 31 December 2021, implying that at least one system review should be done in 2019;

d)   Increase farms audited from 0 to 300,000 by 31 December 2021, which would imply that in 2019, about 100,000 farms would need to be audited. However, the Commission has set a target of 60,000 farms being audited in 2019, due to resource constraints.

These generally form the activities under which the 2019 National Budget Statement is being assessed by the Committee with respect to Zimbabwe Lands Commission.

2.2   BUDGETARY ALLOCATIONS FOR THE ZIMBABWE LAND COMMISSION

The Committee notes that the Zimbabwe Land Commission received an allocation of $10,490,000 in the 2019 Budget, which is wholly funded from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The allocation for 2019 is an increase of about 64% compared to the allocation of $6,412,000 received in 2018. The Committee appreciates this gesture by Treasury. A budget of about $5 million is earmarked for programmes, representing an increase of more than 100% compared to a budget of $2.2 million allocated in 2018. This significant jump in programmes budget should facilitate the Commission to embark on their ambitious programme of farm inspection and farm audits, which would also result in issuance of 99 year leases.

Capital expenditure is expected in the form of acquisition of fixed assets, where a budget of $1.5 million has been provided for. This capital budget for 2019 is not significantly different from a budget of about $1.48 given in 2018, as there was only a small increase of 1.4% (Table 4). Employment costs for 2019 are expected to decrease slightly by about 2% compared to 2018, which the Committee believes might not be achievable, unless some staff are laid off. The high inflation is likely to impose pressure on salary or allowance adjustment, which would make it difficult to reduce the costs. The Committee is therefore not happy about this downward reduction in employment cost budget.

 

Table 4: 2018 Budgetary Allocations for the Zimbabwe Land Commission

 

2018 Revised estimate

2019 Appropriation

Increase (%)

Employment costs

1,722,000

1,690,000

-1.9

Goods and services

734,000

1,843,000

151.1

Maintenance

276,000

457,000

65.6

Programmes

2,200,000

5,000,000

127.3

Acquisition of fixed assets

1,480,000

1,500,000

1.4

Total

6,412,000

10,490,000

63.6

 

Looking at the composition of the budgetary allocation for 2018 and 2019 to the Commission, the Committee is happy that relative to the total budget, the share of programmes in the total budget has increased from about 34% in 2018 to about 48% while the share for acquisition of goods and services has also increased from 11% to 18%. In addition, the share of employment costs has decreased from 27% to 16%, generally showing that the budget is more progress oriented than 2018. However, the share of capital expenditure has decreased from 23% to about 14%. The Committee is worried, given that the Commission is still requesting for capital expenditure items in 2019. 

Figure 2: Share of budgetary allocations towards programmes for the Zimbabwe Land Commission

 

 

The Committee notes that although the Zimbabwe Lands Commission got an allocation of about $10.5 million, the amount is only about 43% of what the institution had bid for 2019 (Table 5). This implies that the Commission got less than half of what it had bid for. The largest variance between what the Commission had bid for and what it received is with the Land Audit programme, which is arguably the most critical function of the Commission. The Commission received only about a third of what they had bid for with respect to the Land Audit programme. This is a concern to the Committee. Also grossly underfunded is the good and services programme area, with only just about a third of what the Commission had bid for being allocated. The Committee is worried that the procurement of goods and services is underfunded at a time when the Commission does not have tools of trade such as desktop computers and data tablets which are critical for the effective discharge of their roles.

Table 5: Allocations to the Zimbabwe Land Commission per priority area

 

2019 Bid

2019 Appropriation

% of bid obtained

Employment costs

2,000,082

1,690,000

84.50

Goods and services

5,309,190

1,843,000

34.71

Maintenance

990,810

457,000

46.12

Programmes

14,875,450

5,000,000

33.61

Acquisition of fixed assets

1,464,155

1,500,000

102.45

Total

24,639,687

10,490,000

42.57

 

 

2.3 The Committee’s Recommendations on the Zimbabwe Lands Commission Allocation

The Committee has some two main concerns with the allocation to the Zimbabwe Land Commission as follows:

i)      The Land Audit programme should not be underfunded as it is the most critical. A lot of government programmes aimed at supporting farmers are not taking off due to failure to bring the land reform exercise to completion. The issuance of 99 year leases is also preventing the ease at which farmers can unlock financing of the farming activities. The Committee is therefore recommending that resources for the Land Audit programme be increased;

ii)   Although the allocation for fixed capital asset of $1.5 million exceeds the initial bid, the Committee is concerned that in 2018, allocations which had been budgeted for were not disbursed to cater for high clearance vehicles, heavy duty printers, servers and other capital equipment necessary for the Commission to exercise its mandate. As a result, the 2019 Budget Allocation is earmarked for the same items which were supposed to be covered by the 2018 allocation. The Committee therefore recommends that budgeted allocations be disbursed timeously so that issues are brought to a close rather than remaining on the pipeline for a long time.  I thank you. 

          ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER

COLLECTION OF BLUE BOOKS FROM THE JOURNALS OFFICE

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  All Hon. Members who did not receive the correct Blue Book are advised to collect from the Journals Office.

May I also advise Hon. Members who are going to contribute to summarise and give the Minister the reports.

          HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I am giving this presentation on behalf of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education.  Mr. Speaker Sir, before I read what is here, we were seriously concerned when we had our post budget analysis, we failed to get the relevant Ministry being represented by the Minister or the Directors.  It was actually said that they were having another function and we had no representatives.  However, we managed to get information that we had during the pre-budget period and we are here to give our analysis in terms of what we got from that period. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me on behalf of the Committee to express our appreciation to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for heeding our call to suspend customs duty and also exempt from VAT – sanitary wear products for a period of 12 months.  This will go a long way in reducing the cost and improve accessibility by the millions of young girls and women in our beloved country. 

HON. CHIKWINYA:  On a point of order Hon. Speaker.  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  The Hon. Chairperson has raised a very critical point.  The reason why the Speaker actually ruled that the Chairpersons must be given precedence over every other Member is that the reports of the Chairpersons are so critical in that they merge the view of the Committee and the chief stakeholder, which is the Ministry. 

Now, this Committee did not have an opportunity of interacting with the Minister for them to be able to give their input to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, who is then supposed to give the response.  So, I propose that the Hon. Committee goes back and engage the key stakeholder before they come to Parliament. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order please.  I thought that the Hon. Chairperson had information for analysis.  If you have Hon. Chair, can you continue please.

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Secondly, allow me to thank the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development for acknowledging in his budget speech on page 55 that human capital development is at the centre of economic transformation.  In our analysis of the budget as a Committee, we assessed whether the allocation supports this.  Unfortunately, the answer is no.  The allocation is only 14.6% of the total budget against the 20% that was required. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, we want to acknowledge the increased allocation in the Primary and Secondary Education budget from $905,6 million to $1,132 billion, a nominal increase however of 25%.   In real terms, the budget increased by 16% to $993,3 million. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, we acknowledge the increased budgetary allocation to the education sector which saw an increase in both non-wage allocation from $56,8 million in 2018 to $83, 9 million in 2019  and employment costs from $848,8 million to $1,048 billion. Against this background, the share of employment costs decreased from 94% to 93% in 2019 whilst capital allocation increased from 3% to 4% with other recurrent costs remaining unchanged at 4%.  Whilst noting this Mr. Speaker, there is an increased wage share of the budget.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Member, may I repeat again.  May Hon. Chairpersons give us recommendations? Any other information, the Minister is going to read your report.

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE:  In our way forward which are our recommendations, we have got some major questions over the Primary and Secondary Education budget.  For example, infant education, with no additional resources for new teachers, the cake in infant education will continue to widen. Infant education allocation remains low yet this is the foundation of education, hence the need to prioritise it.

          On BEAM, BEAM coverage is still 10% of the need. Ninety five percent arrears will up in imparting negatively on school operations. There are no additional children which will be absorbed next year. Support remains at $415 900. The burden of school remains on parents, most of who are struggling to raise school fees. School drop outs are likely to increase on account of rising inflation and which economic growth prospects. Without school grants, many remote and disadvantaged schools will not be functional hence the need to reactivate the school per capita grant. ICT is a fact of life, rural broad band majority of schools are in rural areas and need to be prioritised. Let us push for the universal services fund to investment in the broad band for rural schools.      

          Teacher quality investments: Operational budgets should prioritise support for teacher capacity development on an ongoing basis in line with the market dictates. This should also include the setting up of a Teachers’ Professional Council. Non-formal education leaves no child behind. Those not in informal school set up needs to be prioritised. Current budget increase is mainly on monitoring rather than incentives for teachers and learning materials for non-formal candidates.

          Free education is the way to go for Zimbabwe. We are the only country in SADC who are not offering free education. Those are our recommendations. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. CHINANZVAVANA: I rise to present the Report on the Portfolio Committee on Environment and Tourism on the 2019 Post Budget Analysis for the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.  

          On our introduction Mr. Speaker Sir, your Committee acknowledges that tourism has been identified as a key sector for economic recovery in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development proved that by making a substantial budgetary allocation towards the sector which had never been done in the past several years. This move is in sync with most developing countries that are diversifying their economies by developing the service sector with tourism leading. The Committee believes tourism can contribute to economic stabilisation by bringing in foreign currency and socio-economic development to the nation through employment creation.

          Analysis of current expenditures

          Goods and services

          The Ministry was allocated $1,297,000 against a targeted expenditure of $1,246,100. The amount allocated surpassed both the revised budget estimates and third quarter expenditure for 2018 by 117.3% and 127.7% respectively. The Committee noted that this budget item has been equitably funded and anticipates minimum challenges from the Ministry regarding goods and services. 

          Maintenance

          The Committee noted that the amount allocated on maintenance was equal to the target expenditure of $663,000. The Committee expects the Ministry to maintain targeted vehicles if macro-economic outlook does not change significantly.

          Programmes

          The 2019 budget allocation for this item surpassed the targeted expenditure of $2,210,000 by 133.4%.  The implication is that the Ministry will accelerate the management and promotion of sustainable use of natural resources and facilitate tourism development and promotion better than was obtaining in 2018.

          The Committee noted that the Ministry was allocated more than the targeted expenditure on operations and maintenance by $4,944,207. The Ministry, therefore, is likely to achieve its policy objectives and promotional programmes.  The Committee noted that fixed capital assets acquisition was allocated the targeted expenditure of $80,000 for 2019. Thus, most programmes of the Ministry would proceed as intended and are likely to be intensive.

          The Government stopped budgetary support to most grant aided institutions in line with expenditure streaming policy. However, the Committee observed that given the strategic roles of parastatals within the Ministry on economic stabilisation, as identified in the Transition Stabilisation Programme, the Government resuscitated budgetary support to institutions within the Ministry for 2019.  The Committee also observed the redirection of statutory revenue for instance, tobacco levy to Forestry Commission and carbon tax to Environmental Management Agency.

          Current transfers

          A total amount of $7,180,000 was allocated for current transfers. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) received $5,000,000, Forestry Commission received $2,000,000 and subscription to various organisations was allocated $180,000.  The Committee observed that even though the allocation increased by $4.5 million compared to the previous fiscal year, it is far less than the expenditure overrun of $9,628,913 that was incurred as at the end of the third quarter of 2018.

          Capital Transfers

          Capital expenditure to grant aided institutions increased from $2,912,000 to $22,080,000 for 2019. The Committee noted that the amount was more than the targeted expenditure of $5,500,000 for 2019. Mosi-Oa-Tunya Development Company received $2,000,000, Environmental Management Agency received $14,500,000, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority received $5,000,000, ZTA received $500,000, while Forestry Commission received no allocation. Mosi-Oa-Tunya Development Company is a special investment vehicle of the Ministry and its 2019 objective is to spearhead strategic tourism infrastructure development. The company was fully allocated the target expenditure of $2,000,000.  Thus, the Committee expects that most of the planned programmes will proceed in 2019. 

          Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA)

          The main objective of this authority is destination marketing in order to increase tourist arrivals by 5% for 2019. In order to achieve this objective, the authority had a target expenditure of $2,500,000 even though actual expenditure was $6,106,266 as at end of third quarter 2018. ZTA was allocated $5,000,000. The Committee expects ZTA to attend some of the Must Attend travel shows and scale down its programmes in 2019. The authority’s flagship domestic marketing programme, Sanganani/Hlanganani Travel Expo will not be hosted as this requires more than $5,000,000. The business activities associated with this programme will be foregone as was the case in 2018. 

          The Committee noted that tourism promotion was allocated $5 million which is slightly in excess of end of third quarter expenditure of $6,106, 266 for 2018. The Committee has also observed that the authority would need to scale down on travel shows from the intended 30 to less than 20.

           It further noted that promotions will be intensified on one market segment instead of the usual three markets segments (UK, USA and Nordic countries).  More so, digital marketing will not commence in 2019 as intended and further disadvantage the authority in this era of technology advancement and diffusion. Thus, the objective of increasing tourism arrivals by 5% per annum will be negatively affected.

          The authority was allocated $500,000 to rehabilitate its lifts for the Tourism House. The Committee expects that the intended rehabilitation works are likely to commence as the amount is equal to the targeted expenditure.

          Forestry commission

          The Committee observed that the major objective of the Commission for 2019 is to accelerate re-aforestation in order to reverse the loss of more than 330,000 hectares of land every year. It noted that over the years, problems of under-capitalisation and budgetary constraints crippled efforts to reduce the rate of deforestation.

          The Commission was allocated $2,000,000 budgetary support and a further allocation of 50% of tobacco levy.  The Committee noted that there was no allocation for capital expenditure for the Commission. The Committee also observed that the Commission had inadequate vehicles and would severely affect mobility and subsequently the fight against deforestation.

          It is the Committee’s observation that the Commission would share the tobacco levy on a 50-50 basis with TIMB. However, the EXACT AMOUNT of the existing tobacco levy was not disclosed in the budget presentation. Nevertheless, its operations and maintenance costs were fairy funded. The Committee expects that the reaforestation programmes would be resuscitated as intended. The Committee regrets the continued accumulation of the Commission indebtedness which had amounted to $5 million including salary arrears as at September 2018.

          The Committee noted that the expenditure line item was allocated an amount equal to the target expenditure of $180,000.  It therefore, expects the authority to honour its subscription obligations to the organisations.

          Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority

          The authority hosts most of the tourist facilities and conserves natural resources through National and Recreational Parks.  The main objectives for 2019 were to increase tourist arrivals in national parks and improve wildlife protection by 10% from the 2018 target. To achieve these objectives, the authority intended to invest in capital projects and was allocated $5,000,000 against a target expenditure of $3,000,000. The Committee expects that the amount would enable the authority to refurbish lodging facilities in pursuit of its goal to attain a 3 star status. The Committee noted that 80% of tourist rooms are in Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority designated areas.

          The authority intends to acquire 30 vehicles for law enforcement and game translocations, and 1 helicopter for aerial surveillance and translocations. These would help to combat poaching activities in National Parks.

          The Committee observed that $11 million was ring-fenced for road network development, maintenance and upgrade. The amount would be accessed through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. The Committee expects that with such capital projects, ZIMPARKS would effectively execute its mandate on non-commercialised activities such as anti-poaching.  The Committee noted again that the allocation on capital expenditure is in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.

          The Committee expects the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to refurbish the 20 to 30 year old lodging facilities and embark on infrastructural development necessary for domestic tourism development.

          Environmental Management Agency

          The Committee has noted that the agency was allocated $14,500,000 which is statutory revenue. The Committee expects the agency to accelerate the completion of capital projects on environmental restoration, in particular domestic municipal landfill, hazardous substance landfill, environment community projects, equipment and the construction of head office. 

          Other Fiscal Interventions for Private Sector

          The Committee noted and appreciated the private sector interventions from the budget. It noted the extension of rebates on the Safari Tour Operators and the suspension of duty on 75 new buses on Safari Tour operators. The Committee expects improved connectivity to tourism facilities and that the intervention would assist tour operators to acquire modern buses that match international standards.

          The Committee noted that Government made a commitment to capitalise the tourism revolving fund.  This fund would be a window for helping private players to invest more on tourism infrastructure. However, the Tourism Revolving Fund was not allocated funds as anticipated by tourism players. The intention to roll out the fund would, thus, be delayed to the next fiscal year.

          Recommendations

          The Committee recommends the following:

  1. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority should attend some of the Must Attend travel shows and scale down its programmes in 2019.
  2. Domestic marketing programme like Sanganani \ Hlanganani Travel Expo should be hosted to promote domestic tourism. The Committee expects other countries to visit our nation instead of us only visiting other countries.
  3.  More funding should also be allocated to international marketing and increase target segments accessibility from one to three.
  4. In order to cut destination marketing expenses, digital marketing, as an international best practice must be prioritised and funded in the budget. Digital marketing has an advantage of reaching a wider audience.
  5. For the avoidance of any doubt and accountability purposes, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development must disclose the existing exact amount of the tobacco levy to be shared between TIMB and Forestry Commission.
  6. The Commission should allocate some of the tobacco levy on capital expenditure.
  7. Treasury must clear, once and for all, the accumulated indebtedness of the Commission amounting to $5 million including salary arrears as at September 2018.
  8. Treasury must honour its commitment to capitalise the tourism revolving fund.
  9. Government provides policy frameworks and without private sector most benefits may not be realised. Thus, the support and promotion of the private sector participation through seeding capital and operationalisation of the Tourism Revolving Fund may motivate private sector participation.

 

  1.   Treasury must prioritise the tourism sector in the allocation of foreign currency in 2019 as it generates foreign currency and contribute significantly to economic growth.
  2.  Tourism players should be allowed to retain a certain percentage of foreign currency to safeguard the normal importation of key raw materials.

Conclusion

          Environment, Tourism and Hospitality industry plays a key role in the economic stabilisation and development agenda. During periods of austerity, sectors on the frontier of stabilisation should be fairly funded in order to accelerate the rate of economic recovery.  The 2019 budget has fairly allocated funds on most tourism infrastructural development as evidenced by the allocations made to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

          However, the budget allocation for tourism promotion especially for ZTA falls short of the target expenditure by 50%.   The goal of tourism development should be parallel with tourism promotion.  Tourism is nature based, therefore, natural resources conservation and restoration programmes necessitate the sustainability of tourism. These activities should continuously be prioritised in the National Budget.  Thus, tangible benefits of tourism should not be traded-off with other goals that require huge capital outlays.

HON. MLISWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief.  I will not go into the full report of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, we will just go to the other fiscal and non-fiscal measures which I think are important. 

·       Government is finalising mineral value addition and beneficiation policy. 

The Committee observed that the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should come up with a clear timeline on when the policy is expected.  It is one thing to have a policy and it is another to ensure that it is implemented.  This calls for political will on both the Executive and the Legislators.

·       Offer fiscal incentives to Zimplats to ensure setting up of a national refinery for base metal and precious stones. 

The Minister of Mines and Mining Development together with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should come up with financial implications of the fiscal incentives and the projected value of the refinery in order to evaluate the benefits of extending value addition and beneficiation to a private company.  The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee should be availed with information regarding the terms of contract between the Government of Zimbabwe and Zimplats.  This is important for ensuring transparency and accountability in the mining sector which is currently marred in secrecy.

·       Support African Chrome Fields in its Alumino Themic Chrome Processing Plant in Kwekwe.  The Committee should be involved in developing the terms and extent of support before a decision is taken by the Government.

·       Diamond policy before year end with specific provisions for unbundling ZCDC. 

It is important, Mr. Speaker Sir, to understand that ZCDC, in terms of the recommendations of the Portfolio Committee, was supposed to be disbanded.  It continues to operate and yet there is a diamond policy which is coming on the backdrop of ZCDC.  So it is important that the Ministry implements the resolution of the Committee in disbanding ZCDC and reverting to the 2016 October position where the diamond mining companies which were there are put back because it is about rule of law and Zimbabwe being open for business must be seen to also be complying with the aspect of rule of law.  There is going to be corrective measures done and not behave as if we are in the old dispensation yet it is the second republic.

·       Setting up of a diamond industrial park in Mutare for diamond polishing and cutting. 

The Committee should lead the process of understanding the cost implications and benefits associated with this policy decision.  Such an evaluation would help the Government in setting up priorities and making decisions that benefit the country, not individuals.

·       RBZ has reviewed the forex retention threshold from 30% to 50% to ease importation of essential equipment.  This should be a temporary measure pending normalisation of the micro economic situation in the country.  Therefore, the policy mentioned should have a definite time frame. 

·       Review of the Mines and Minerals Act to explore exploration in mining, revoke unutilised claims for speculative purposes, harmonise mining taxation laws and recognition of small scale miners. 

This Act is long overdue as it provides hope for the sector.  Exploitation of resources under the current Act of 1961 is unsustainable hence the need to expedite the process.  The small scale miners who contribute the bulk of gold deliveries are considered illegal.  The policy will be welcome as it will help the social, economic and environmental issues associated with artisanal and small scale mining.

·       Mining Cadastre. 

This is now global trend in modernising the mining sector to avoid overlaps and managing the holding of licences for speculative purposes.  Considering that the Ministry has a high employment budget, the Ministry should make use of the available manpower from technical department in order to contain employment costs. 

·       The Ministry should developa framework with clear timelines showing how the Ministry will depart from a manual system to a cadastral system without losing data.

·       Resuscitation of closed mines targeting Shabani, Mashava, Evington Jena Gold mines and other ZMDC mines.

·       The Ministry should furnish the Committee with a detailed report on the reasons for closure.  The outcome of the report will help in prioritising the mines apart from the mineral value amongst other viable.

This is important Mr. Speaker Sir because it will generate income for the country.  We have all agreed that the companies that are not doing well must be privatised so that that can create capital for the country. 

Municipality Taxes

          The new tax regime for the mining sector should not compromise returns that are due to mining communities.  In essence, the returns to mining communities should be reviewed upwards.  In view of the Indigenisation law being sketchy, I think it is important that the local communities benefit constantly and this will get them to benefit. 

Mining Transparency

          EIT – Disclosure of information along the value chain from extraction to revenue realisation.  These are critical initiatives in ensuring transparency and accountability in the mining sector, Government, private sector and state owned mines.  This will be helpful in providing timely data, hence, disclosure of information  for the Committee strengthens the governance of the sector as well as fighting corruption.

          The initiatives should be inclusive with civil society, Government, private sector and special interest groups such as women and youths and people with disability.  The Ministry should come up with a clear framework with time frames for the implementation of these programmes.  Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important to emphasise the issue of time frames.  I think without us giving anything to time and knowning very well that the mining sector is expected to contribute at least 14% to the GDP, more than agriculture for the first time, saves a lot in terms of where the direction is going.  As a result, everybody is waiting for the mining sector to be productive so that it can contribute to the GDP.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. MACHINGURA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.   I am presenting a report on the analysis of the Ministry of Information, Communication Technology and Courtier Services.

The standard of living of citizens in a country is a good indicator of economic performance of that country. This is typically measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. All nations seek to increase GDP per capita for the betterment of the lives of their citizenry. In the 2018 World Development Report, the World Bank stressed that accelerated economic growth can be achieved through improved labour productivity (output per worker). For sustainable long-term economic growth, improvements in labour productivity can be realised through technological progress, research and development as well as innovation. In that regard, information communication technologies (ICTs) play a very critical role in advancing the development agenda of a country. Turner (2015) estimated that a 20 percent increase in ICT investment will result in GDP growth of 1 percent. The attainment of middle-income status by 2030 can only be achieved if the role of ICTs in economic development is taken seriously.

The Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services has a mandate to provide an efficient national ICT delivery framework in order to transform Zimbabwe into a knowledge based society with ubiquitous connectivity so as to improve the country’s competitiveness for attainment of sustainable economic growth. It has oversight over NetOne, POTRAZ, TelOne, ZARNet and Zimpost.Some of the ministerial objectives for the period 2019 includes:

·       Formulation of ICT sector policies.

·       Maintenance of National Systems.

·       Establishment of an E-government System.

·       Establishment of Community Information Centres.

·       Establishment of a National Information Data Centre.

·       ICT literacy and capacity building for civil servants and citizens.

·       Setting up ICT laboratories in schools.

In the 2018 fiscal year, some of the major achievements of the Ministry include:

·       Finalisation of 2 MOUs with India and Zambia on ICT cooperation.

·       Maintained uptime of the Public Finance Management System (PFMS) at 98 percent.

·       Established ICT laboratories in 5 schools (Chawatama High, Fatima High, Njelele High, Shonganiso Primary and Zengeza 2 High.

·       Established 5 Community Information Centres at Headlands, Juru, Mpopoma and Nyazura Post Offices.

·       Completed 95 percent of the National Data Centre renovations.

·       Maintained 8 flagship E-Government projects.

·       Provided consultancy services to various Ministries and Agencies.

INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AND COURIER SERVICES VOTE ANALYSIS

Overall Ministry Analysis

The Ministry placed a bid of $29,945,000 and Treasury appropriated $29,912,000. This translates to Treasury honouring 99.99 percent of the submitted bid. This was well received by the Ministry as they play a critical role in economic transformation. However, the revised budget allocation from the Consolidated Revenue Fund became $17,912,000 after $12 million, which had been allocated for the National Data Centre ($4 million) and VOIP project ($8 million), was moved to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC). These two national projects can be summarised as follows:

·       VOIP Project: the voice over internet protocol project will be implemented in partnership with TelOne. The goal is to provide intranet for Government as well as a communication platform which will drastically reduce the cost of communication between ministries and Government agencies. The project was said to be 70 percent complete.

·       National Data Centre (NDC):  the NDC will allow Government to centralise information storage, management as well as protection. Currently, a lot of information is scattered across Government ministries and departments such that no one has ready access to the information that they require. Once data is centralised, it becomes easier for users, be it ministries or citizens, to readily access the required data. Citizens will be able to access the data from any part of the country via Community Information Centres. In terms of progress, the NDC would require about 3 months for full installation as equipment is already in the country.

These two key national projects, which were being handled by the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services, will henceforth be administered from OPC. The Ministry of ICT and Courier Services was involved in the groundwork of these major projects and strongly feel that they ought to see through the projects to completion. The moving of these projects to OPC was deemed to be unnecessary as the Ministry strongly felt that it should be the driver of all ICT projects within Government. In the 2018 fiscal year, the Ministry registered displeasure with the seemingly reluctance in disbursement of funds by Treasury. Table 1 shows the disbursement rate by sub-vote.

Table 1: Disbursement to Ministry as at 30 September 2018

Table 1 shows that the overall disbursement rate, as at 30 September 2018 is a worrying 36.8 percent. Only Employment Costs were up to date as this constitutes an obligatory payment. Current Expenditure had a disbursement rate of 42.9 percent whilst Capital Expenditure had a rate of 31.5 percent. This low disbursement rate posed serious operational challenges to the Ministry. For example, the Ministry is struggling to meet its monthly rental obligations thus affecting maintenance of the premises, on the part of the landlord. Currently, the elevator is out of order thus posing operational challenges. In addition, the Ministry has cumulative debts of about $8 million for Maintenance. In light of Acquisition of Fixed Capital Assets, all hope on the balance being disbursed is lost as procurement procedures take a minimum of 90 days to execute as they have to go through tender. The Ministry hopes that disbursement of financial resources will improve in the 2019 fiscal year for them to meet their set targets. Table 2 shows the bottom 15 vote appropriations from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Table 2: Bottom 15 Vote Appropriations in 2019 Budget

From Table 2, the Ministry’s rank was 22nd with a vote appropriation of 0.28 percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The ranking might be suggestive of low priority being given to this important Ministry. The top 3 vote appropriations are Primary and Secondary Education; Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement; and Health and Child Care. Government priority is targeted at maintaining high literacy rates; improve food security as well as maintaining a healthy population. In light of structural transformation where labour productivity improvements take the country from the primary sector to the tertiary sector via the secondary sector, ICT plays an important role in lubricating the process thus facilitating the attainment of Vision 2030. Services like E-Agriculture, E-learning and E-Health can massively transform the landscape of the country by improving labour productivity and thus releasing surplus labour into more productive sectors like manufacturing.

Improvements in manufacturing will help in employment creation, downstream industry linkages as well as lessening the trade deficit currently haunting the country. The 0.28 percent budget allocation may need to be revised in order to meet the objective of Vision 2030. Whilst there is no global benchmark for the ICT budget allocation, as is the case with sectors like Health (Abuja Declaration) and Education (Dakar Framework), the Ministry pleaded for at least 1 percent of the total budget.  This would allow for speedy implementation of E-Government as well as Computer lab per school among other objectives. Analysis of the percentage change in the major components of the budget allocation to the Ministry is shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Percentage Change in Budgetary Allocations from 2018 to 2019

From Table 3, there is a marked increase in the overall vote appropriation of 70.14 percent from $10,528,000 in 2018 to $17,412,000 in 2019. The allocation for Current Expenditure increase by 22.7 percent while that of Capital Expenditure increased by 152.9 percent.  The massive 152.9 percent in the allocation towards Capital Expenditure shows the seriousness being accorded to the ICT Ministry as provided for in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP). In light of the encouraging developments in the budget, it was noted that the combined total for Goods and Services and Maintenance amounts to $7 million will not be adequate to pay off outstanding bills in excess of $8 million. The accumulated $8 million mainly comprises of $6 million owed to TelOne for Public Finance Management System (PFMS) data leased lines. The PFMS is the platform upon which the entire Government’s accounting system is housed. In addition, challenges being faced to meet rental obligations are manifesting themselves in deterioration of rented premises as the landlord is failing to service and maintain the premises. The non-repair of elevators is seriously affecting the day-to-day operations within the Ministry.

The Ministry also highlighted that Treasury was allocating resources to various Ministries for their ICT requirements. This state of affairs leads to inefficient use of resources as they are thinly spread across the varying ministries and Government Departments. An ideal scenario is having resources channeled through the Ministry of ICT. Firstly, the Ministry has the expertise and know-how when it comes to dealing with ICT issues. Secondly, mass procurement will ensure realisation of economies of scale such that it becomes less costly. Added to this, once there is standardisation in terms of the equipment to be purchased, it will also become cheaper to maintain the equipment. The Ministry also highlighted the need to have more resources towards the E-Government project.

PARASTATALS AND STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES

TelOne is said to be performing well above expectations. Revenue increased from $114 million in 2016 to $117 million in 2017. Correspondingly, profit increased from $14 million to $20 million (TelOne Annual Report).In light of this, the plan by Government for partial privatisation of this entity is expected to bring new opportunities for growth. There is, thus, anticipation for a positive outlook in terms of revenue, profit as well as debt management. All these buoyed by broadband and over the top (OTT) services.

NetOne was said to be facing operational challenges and has declared a loss of $57 million in the 2017 financial year. As for the 2018 financial year, the entity expects to make profit. As at 31 October 2018, NetOne reported a profit of $14.9 million after cost containment strategies were put in place. Whilst voice revenue is declining, it is the data revenue which will be the drive of these profits. In addition, future performance is expected to markedly improve due to the pending privatisation of NetOne. Once privatised, the appointment of the Board will now be merit-based and a prerogative of the shareholders whose goal is profit maximisation unlike the case of parastatals where Boards are selected using the Ministers preference, which may have associated biases.

Zimpost facilities are being targeted for purposes of housing Community Information Centres which are meant to assist citizens all over the country to access ICTs. With a network of about 230 Post Offices countrywide, CICs will go a long way in reviving the service of Post Offices, albeit in modern format. A fully fledged CIC consists of an internet café, reprographic unit, bindery as well as a gaming section. Currently, the Ministry has been able to roll out 145 CIC across the country and its target is to have CICs in all the 230 Post Offices.

ZARNet is the first national research network on the continent. It is still facing operational challenges hence the support from fiscus through capital and current transfers. However, the future is bright as ZARNet is expected to be positively transformed in the next 12-16 months such that it will be weaned off Government financial assistance. This will be necessitated by their partnership with UbuntuNet which will provide assistance in the form of equipment and bandwidth.In addition, ZARNet is set to be partially privatised and will benefit from the capital injection as well as more profit oriented operational objectives that are driven by investors.

POTRAZ is doing well and is working hand in glove with the Ministry in the establishment of the Community Information Centres in Post Offices as well as village containerised CICs.

Telecel: This issue pertaining to the acquisition of Telecel by Government remains unresolved.

In light of Government’s objective to privatise NetOne and Telecel as well as partially privatise TelOne and ZARNet, it is in the hope of having these entities to be run more profitably will less strain on the fiscus. Many a time, some of the poor performing parastatals resort to Government for bailout packages thus diverting resources from areas that are potentially more revenue generating. A study carried out, between 1990 and 2000, in India on partial privatisation of State owned enterprises found that a 10 percent decrease in state ownership increases annual revenue and profits by 13 percent and 10 percent respectively. This was primarily influenced by Government involvement in appointment of Boards using criteria riddled with biases. In addition, improved performance of partially privatiesed SOEs in India was attributed to reduced Government interference in the running of the enterprises.

CHALLENGES AND OBSERVATIONS

·       The Ministry raised four key challenges to their operations namely;

·       Slow rate of disbursement of financial resources.

·       Poor presence in terms of manpower manning the PFMS with one officer each in Bulawayo, Gweru, Manicaland and Masvingo.

·       Failure by Government to fully recognise the role of the ICT Ministry especially in overseeing all Government ICT projects.

·       $8 million debt burden that is stifling the operations of the Ministry.

·       The Committee noted that there is duplication of roles between the Ministry and OPC on the National Data Centre and VOIP project.

·       The Committee also noted that the finalisation of the financial transaction involving the acquisition of Telecel was not explicitly dealt with in the 2019 budget.

RECOMMENDATIONS

After careful consideration of submissions by the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services, the Committee recommends the following;

·       Treasury must timeously disburse financial resources to the Ministry for smooth running of its operations.

·       That there should be role clarity on the running of major national projects such as the National Data Centre and the VOIP project.

·       To arrest the issue of the phone bills among Ministries and Government departments, 100 percent funding of the VOIP project will seriously reduce the communications bill.

·       Partial privatisation as well as privatisation of the targeted entities must be done within the set time.

·       That the Telecel issue be brought to finality.

HON. E. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. This report pertains to the vote allocations made to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; and the Public Service Commission.  The mandate of the Ministry is to promote fair labour practices, enhanced labour productivity and access to decent jobs, as well as a social protection system that promotes a decent standard of living and promotion of efficient, effective and accountable operations of the public service.

Analysis of the 2019 Budget Vote for the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

·       The total bid for the Ministry was $251 866 449 which was informed by the arrears which have accumulated on the Ministry’s programmes.

·       Treasury allocated to the Ministry a sum of $81 201 000 in the 2019 National Budget. This is approximately 30 percent of the ideal budget for the Ministry.

·       This amount was a significant improvement from the 2018 vote allocation of $53 156 000. The increase translated to 53% from the previous year, which is significant.

Budget Comparison 2018 and 2019

 

2018

2019

Change

% Change

 

Amount US$

Amount US$

Amount US$

%

Programmes

 

 

 

 

Policy and Administration

2 340 000

3 604 000

1 264 000

54%

Labour Administration

3 691 000

5 014 000

1 323 000

36%

Social Welfare

47 125 000

72 583 000

25 458 000

54%

Total

53 156 000

81 201 000

28 045 000

53%

 

       ·            The increased allocation catered across all core areas that is. Policy and Administration, Labour Administration and Social Welfare with 54 percent, 36 percent and 53percent increases respectively.

       ·            It is encouraging to note that the increases in all core areas of the Ministry were above the inflation rates (20.85%)

       ·            Notwithstanding this, it is important that the Government puts in place measures to ensure inflation rates remain low such that the allocations are not depleted.

       ·            The multi-tier pricing system prevailing in the economy is a matter of concern since it makes most goods unaffordable especially for the poor and the vulnerable groups. This phenomenon, if unabated will affect programmes such as the cash transfer system and programmes for the disabled et cetera.

       ·            The introduction of a Biometric Registration System of employees is a welcome development as it will go a long way in resolving the ghost worker challenges which has haunted the Government for some time.

Identified shortfalls or Weaknesses

The major concerns are the financial resource shortfalls in the social safety net programmes and arrears which are accumulating without requisite resources being made available to extinguish the arrears. This is further compromised by reduced allocations against the bids that were put forward by the Ministry.

       ·            The budget failed to allocate resources towards clearance of arrears of the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) Programme. The total arrears stand at $95 000 500, an amount greater than the total allocation to the Ministry for the 2019 calendar year ($81 201 000). The implication of the arrears is that some students might be forced to drop out of school, exposing them to higher risk of violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect. On the other hand, schools which are owed school fees will not be able to buy consumables for students hence compromising effective education.

       ·            The total amount earmarked for Children in Difficult Circumstances was far less than requested by the Ministry. Only $1 million was availed against a bid of $30 million. These resources are mainly meant for orphans, vulnerable children, children in sexual exploitation, among others. Given the demographics of the country where children are a greater proportion of the population, the allocated resources will have less impact in resolving challenges of children in difficult situations.

       ·            The learner welfare programme remains compromised with the huge amount of arrears and allocations that are less than those amounts requested under the programme. Of most concern is the unavailability of funds to acquire assistive devices for those in need as well as to cater for the school feeding programme.

       ·            The Committee applauds the Government for removing duty on sanitary ware which will make it cheaper. However, it is a fact that prices are “sticky” downward in this country hence this reduction will not benefit girls in school for instance, as the products will remain unaffordable to them. To this end, the Government should provide sanitary ware to all girls in school.

       ·            The Health Assistance Programme is currently in arrears of $2.5 million and no resources were allocated towards their clearance. The total amount that was allocated to this cause was less than required ($ 1 million against $4.1 million). The main challenge is that the majority of hospitals are declining to offer services under this programme as a result of non-payment.

       ·            The failure by Government to meet their part of the bargain on agreements with Development Partners is also a major concern which is driving out assistance. One of the programmes that have been affected is the Harmonised Social Cash Transfers Programme. In light of the pending withdrawal of the partner supporting this programme in February 2019, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare will not be able to maintain the 23 out of 65 districts currently covered by the programme. There is need to put in place sustainability mechanisms for such programmes to ensure they continue even without development partners.

       ·            In a country with high unemployment levels like ours, setting up a Labour Management Information System is a noble idea since it will enable job seekers to apply online. This is in line with the e-Government Programme. Such initiatives are important as they help reduce corruption, hence the need to be adequately funded. An allocation greater than the $34 000 would have been ideal for such a programme.

       ·            The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is operating with a depleted vehicle fleet. This is compromising the ability of officers to travel across the country to monitor programmes. There is need to provide additional resources for the purchase of new vehicles.

       ·            The National Productivity Centre (NPC) remains incapacitated as a result of limited resources, hence it is failing to meet its targeted number of trainings. This is affecting its effectiveness and hence its impact remains very low. The successful implementation of its mandate (NPC) is premised on availability of resources. There is need to fast-track the finalisation of the Bill setting up the NPC in order to activate the centre.

Analysis of the 2019 Budget Vote for Public Service Commission

       ·            The ideal budget estimates for the Public Services Commission was pegged at $242 309 450 against an appropriation of $291 302 000. The total vote allocation was 20.22 percent more than the total bids by the Commission.

       ·            The major budget items of employment costs and programmes were the major beneficiaries which were allocated amounts more than the bids with a variance of 44.52 percent and 75.89 percent respectively. Other line items of Goods and Services, Maintenance and Acquisition of Fixed Assets received less than the bids submitted by the Commission.

       ·            Of major concern is the smaller allocation for Goods and Services less than the bids. The inflationary pressure, if not controlled, will result in the wiping of the budget before year end with the repercussion of affecting programming within the Public Services Commission.

       ·            The failure by Treasury to allocate funds towards the discharge of the legacy debt of the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration (ZIPAM) is worrisome given that a court order has been issued to the effect that former employees should be paid their dues. Failure to honor court orders by Government institutions does not reflect well on the whole Government. There is need for the Treasury to allocate an additional sum of $ 2 500 000 to settle the debt.

       ·            The Public Service Commission is saddled with Pension Arrears of $101 000 000 which is disturbing given that all pensioners should receive their benefits as and when they become due. The accumulation of arrears is tantamount to depriving a living to former workers who dedicated their lives to serving the Government. Payment of pensions, like salaries is more contractual hence should be honored. In the current budget, the amount set aside for pensions is less than the pension bill which will further increase the arrears.

Committee Recommendations

       ·            The budget must allocate resources towards clearance of the arrears on the BEAM programme as well as increasing the total allocation towards BEAM from the current US$ 25 Million for the year 2019 in order to avoid situations where children drop out of school.  In addition, there is need for training of Community Selection Committees which are responsible for selecting beneficiaries of the BEAM Programme so that they select appropriate candidates. It is high time the Government follows other countries in instituting Universal Free Primary Education which should be financed from ring fenced taxes.

       ·            Whilst the Government is planning to increase the number of schools, the country is currently facing teacher shortages of around 20 000.The construction of more schools will further increase the demand for teachers. The Committee recommends that the Government hires sufficient qualified teachers to fill all vacancies so that schools are manned by properly trained personnel to enhance effective education.

       ·            The Government must reduce non-essential expenditures through streamlining the head office staff at the Ministry of Education and other Ministries, cut on newspaper costs and decentralise teacher recruitment to district level. Chefs are encouraged to read online newspapers. The savings from such activities should be ploughed to the schools which do not have learning materials and teachers.

       ·            The pulling out of Development Partners who are supporting the Harmonised Social Cash Transfers Programme in February 2019 will create a funding gap which requires Government intervention to facilitate continuity of the programme. It is important for the Government to honor its part of the bargain in funding programmes where it is supposed to complement development partners.

       ·            The Government must increase the total amount earmarked for Children in Difficult Circumstances to $30 Million as requested by the Ministry. The financial resources are used to provide decent amenities for children who are moved from the streets so that they do not return back to the streets. These children require rehabilitation and where necessary probation centres should be provided.

       ·            The Government must provide free sanitary wear to all girls in school. The budget must allocate funds for this cause. This measure should complement the current Government move to remove duty on the importation of sanitary wear.

       ·            The Government must complement the removal of duty on assistive devices for the disabled by providing for those who cannot afford them. Most disabled persons have no capacity to import these assistive devices.

       ·            In anticipation of the forecasted drought this farming season, a significant amount of financial resources must be set aside for the Drought Relief Programme cognisance of the child headed families, disabled people as well as the aged. The food for work programme for the able bodied persons must also be allocated adequate resources since it is a proven effective social safety net. These programmes should be adequately monitored from the selection of participants to the distribution of resources. On the same note, transportation costs of all food aid must be provided for through the National Budget rather than expecting beneficiaries to contribute.

       ·            There is continuous abuse of workers who are infected with HIV/AIDS which is tantamount to unfair labour practice hence the need to allocate more resources towards training of employers so as to reduce ignorance on the issue.

       ·            Treasury should allocate funds towards settlement of the legacy Debt of ZIPAM so as to honor the court order which was issued against the institution. There is need for Treasury to allocate an additional sum of $ 2 500 000 to settle the debt or work towards progressively discharging it.

       ·            The Pensions Office must be adequately resourced so that it clears all pension payment arrears as a matter of urgency. The budget must therefore allocate additional resources to match the current pension bill. In addition, the Government must develop a clear timeline for the payment of pensions. Failure to honor the timelines is a cause of concern and reflects negligence on the part of the Government.

       ·            On the broader macro-economic front, the Government should work towards reducing inflation so as to preserve the values that were allocated. If inflation is not checked, it will affect all the programmes as funds will become inadequate, which will leave the poor and other vulnerable groups the worst affected. I thank you.

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

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. N. KHUMALO): What is your point of order?

          HON. MLISWA: I want to warn the Chief Whips to whip their members before I evoke certain rules of the Standing Orders which can bring this House to a stop.  I do not want to be accused of being retrogressive, all of us are here listening to what is going on but we have other members from both political parties outside, what are they doing?  So, if they are not whipped, I will evoke a certain measure that can disturb the whole process.

HON. DINAR: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to present the Post Budget Analysis report for the Portfolio Committee of Health and Child Care.  

1.0           Introduction

1.1    The Ministry of Health and Child Care’s mandate is to provide the highest standards of health care services to all Zimbabweans. Critical challenges in the Health sector to be addressed under the 2018- 2020 Transitional Stabilisation Programme to which this budget is relevant are outlined hereunder:

·       Sub-standard quality of maternal health services, such as ante-natal care, delivery, and post-natal care, including prevention of mother-to-child transmission of Human Immune Virus (HIV), and sexually transmitted infections.

·       Medicine shortages, as well as family planning, and other essential drugs.

·       Inadequacy of emergency transport and communication systems, which have a bearing on mortality rates.

·       A growing burden of non-communicable diseases, due to sub-optimal dietary habits, lifestyle, and poor health services.

·       Inadequate mitigation of environmental pollution, poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure, nutrition and food security issues, which continue to affect the health status of citizens. Poor WASH infrastructure partly explains frequent outbreak of water borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid around the country.

·       Strengthening of the Health and Management Information System at the facility level.

·       Critical human resources gap

2.0 Methodology

2.1    Following the presentation of the 2019 National Budget by the Minister of Finance, the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care engaged the Ministry of Health and Child Care and stakeholders to gather their views.  The Committee consolidated the views and came up with its own analysis of the budget.

3.0 Health and Child Care Budget Analysis

3.1    The Ministry of Health and Child Care was allocated a total of US$755.84 million, a 59.2% increase to what was allocated in the previous budget. This reflects that Government has increased the level of priority it assigns to the health sector in 2019 compared to 2018. The nominal increase in budgetary allocation to the health sector however, needs to be looked at cautionary in light of the prevailing macro-economic environment characterised by rising inflation. The allocation represents a 7.05% share of the National Budget up from 5.84% achieved in 2018.  This fell significantly short of the country’s commitment to the Abuja Declaration where15 % of the National Budget should be allocated to health. It also fell below the sub Saharan Africa average of 11.3%. Table 1 illustrates experiences in other countries in terms of budget allocation to the health sector. It shows that Zimbabwe generally lags behind Rwanda, South Africa and eSwatini although the available figures were for 2018 budget. Its budget allocation was however, 3% ahead of Kenya.

Table 5: Experiences in other countries

Country

Allocation to the Health sector

Rwanda

9.2%  in the 2017/18 national budget

South Africa

13.5% in the2017/18 national budget

eSwatini

9.1% in the 2017/18 national budget

Kenya

4% 2018/19 national budget

            Source: www.unicef.org

3.2    Health budget as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product[1] stood at 2.4% slightly lower than the sub Saharan average of 3%. This share did not vary much from the 2.51% of 2018. Per capita health expenditure according to the 2019 budget stands at US$46.37 and this is US$12 higher than World Health Organisation(WHO)’s minimal threshold of US$34 but is however, far below the new per capita allocation of US$60 which takes into account HIV, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Non communicable Diseases (NCDs) and capitalization issues. Further, allocation to the health sector is only 31% of the Southern African Development Community average of US$146.29. Lower levels of per capita health expenditure indicate that health expenditure in the country is insufficient to guarantee adequate access and quality of healthcare. Per capita health spending is US$650 in South Africa, US$90 in Zambia and US$200 in Angola.

Ministry Budget Trend

3.3    To contextualize the budget allocation to the health sector, an analysis of the top ten vote allocations was made (see Figure 1).

Figure 3: Top ten vote allocations for 2019

 

3.4     Allocation to the Ministry of Health was ranked third after Ministries of Primary &Secondary Education as well as that of Ministry of Lands and Agriculture.  This was a rank higher than that of 2018 National Budget. Figure 2 illustrates a general decline in health share of total budget from a high of 8.6% in 2012 to 5.84% in 2018 before slightly recovering to 7.05% in 2019.

Figure 4: Ministry of Health Budget Allocations and Share to total budget between 2010 and 2019

 

The Government commitment towards health financing has been on a gradual increase in nominal terms rising from US$287 million in 2014 to US$755.837 in 2019 (see Figure 3). Donor funding has been consistent over this period ranging between US$346 million and US$475 million.

Figure 5: Domestic vs Partner funding trends

 

Source: Ministry of Health and Child Care

Budget Analysis by Programme

3.6    Of the US$755.837million allocated to the Health Ministry for the year 2019, US$700.9 million or 93% of the total health sector budget went towards Primary Health Care and Hospital Care (see Figure 4).Public Health programme received US$34.8 million or 4% of the total budget to the Ministry of Health while Policy and Administration received a budgetary allocation of US$20.3 million or 3% of the total budget to the health sector.

          Figure 6:Programmes Allocation

 

3.7    Attempts were indeed made to increase funding towards Public Health (44.8% increase) as well as Primary Health Care & Hospital Care Programmes(64.7% increase) implying these two received greater attention in 2019 compared to 2018.A notable decrease of 20.4% was however, recorded in the Public and Administration programme.

3.8    The Committee is of the view that the 4% allocated towards Public Health is grossly inadequate to deal with the scourge of the communicable and non-communicable disease burden haunting the health sector.

 

3.9    Of the Ministry of Health’s 2019 total allocation of US$755.837 million, US$672.974million was allocated for current expenditure against the US$426.441 million allocated in 2018 under the same expenditure item. Current expenditure constitutes 89.03% of the Ministry’s total budget whilst capital expenditure takes 10.97%. The low allocation of the budget to capital projects does not match the demand for sound health infrastructure required in most hospitals around the country. About 58% of the Ministry’s budgetary allocation went towards operations; maintenance and capital expenditure leaving only 42% for employment costs (see Table 1). This was somewhat progressive towards the international best practice of 30% budgetary allocation to employment costs as compared to the 2018 allocation of 45%.

Table 6: Economic Classification

 

2019

2018

 

Budget Allocation (US$m)

% of Allocation

Budget Allocation (US$m)

% of Allocation

CURRENT EXPENDITURE

672,974,000

 

426,441,000

 

Employment Costs

319,677,000

42.29

212,831,000

44.82

Goods and Services

177,047,000

23.42

   103,920,000

21.88

Maintenance

480,000

0.06

89,929,000    

18.94

Current Transfers

175,770,000

23.26

11,501,000    

2.42

Targeted Initiatives

 

-

8,260,000     

 

1.74

CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

48,455,000

 

82,863,000

 

Acquisition of Fixed Capital Assets

75,163,000

9.95

32,355,000

 

6.81

Capital Transfers

7,700,000.00

1.02

16,100,000     

 

3.39

TOTAL

755,837,000

100

474,896,000

100

 

3.10  Thus the overall picture of the Ministry’s total allocation vis a vis its requirements are summarised here under. The Ministry total allocation is US$755,837m (US$694.4m plus the retention fund of US$61.37m) leaving a total funding gap of US$556,729million. Of this, US$188.608million is coming from employment costs leaving an operational funding gap of US$368.121million. While partner funding has not yet been confirmed for 2019, partners are expected to absorb part of this US$368.121m.

3.1    For the year 2019, Treasury allocated the Ministry including Grant Aided institutions {Health Service Board (HSB), Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals (PGH), Missions and Councils as well as Voluntary organisations} a cap on employment costs of US$463,125,000 (of which Ministry accounts for US$325,010,000 and Grant Aided institutions US$138,115,000). The cumulative wage bill as at October 2018 was US$441,165,202.30.  Based on the October 2018 wage bill a total of US$33, 559,973.08 the Ministry’s projected wage bill for 2019 is US$508,285,148.  This means that the 2019 wage bill will exceed the cap on employment costs by an estimated US$188,608,148. This wage funding gap relates to the employees currently on the payroll only. It does not include the funding needs for the unfreezing of posts and creation of new ones for the Ministry to effectively respond to the existing and emerging health challenges. This emphasizes how inadequate the current allocation towards the health payroll is.

2019 Public sector infrastructure projects for the health sector

3.12  The sector received a total of US$71.7 million towards public sector infrastructure projects representing a marginal increase of US$190,000 from the proposed funds. This is only 6.9% of the Ministry’s 5year Public sector infrastructure projects from 2019 to 2023 implying limited priority towards capital projects such as health infrastructure development. Under these, central hospitals were allocated US$20 million while provincial and district hospitals were allocated US$15m and US$22 million respectively.  These projects will include construction of new hospitals and refurbishment of existing ones among other infrastructure development activities. Rural health centres have been allocated US$8.2 million.

Medicines and sundry

3.13  The health sector requires US$284.1 million towards procurement of medicines and sundry at the health sector’s fullest requirement.  However, only US$109.94 is the available commitment (from Government of Zimbabwe, Health Levy and the Development Partners in the following respective proportions: 48%; 26% and 26%) leaving a gap of US$174,15 million. In other words, the available commitment can only meet 38.7% of the budgetary needs for medicines and drugs excluding the almost fully funded programmes that look at specific diseases such HIV, TB and Malaria.

4.0           Committee Observations, Issues and Concerns

4.1           Whilst there was a 59.2% increase of the budget allocation to the health sector, there is a general decline in the share of what the sector received to the total national budget since 2013, generally reflecting a fall in the extent to which the government prioritises the health sector.

4.2            Although the sectoral share moved a notch higher to be the 3rd highest on vote appropriations, the deplorable situation in the sector requires more resources.

4.3           On the face of it, the health budget allocation has increased in comparison to prior years. However, the current economic environment characterized by high inflation and acute foreign currency shortages will quickly erode these resources. The official year on year inflation for October 2018 was estimated at 20.85% up from 5.39% in September 2018.

4.4           Health inflation alone hit 17.08% in October 2018 up from 4.77% in September 2018. This was mainly driven by pharmaceutical products and outpatient services. The implication is that the poor will not afford health care if drug shortage; procurement thereof and the charging of drugs in forex is not addressed. Further, they will continue going without proper medical care if the macroeconomic environment is not addressed to harness the rising inflation.

4.5           With a funding gap of US$556. 729 million, the Ministry is faced with huge challenges of ensuring a healthy human capital that will take the country into an upper middle income class by 2030.

4.6           Donor funding to the health sector is still significant. The high dependency on external compromises sustainability of health care should external funding be withdrawn. More so, donor funding is selective and disease specific. This poses a risk to the health sector in case of funds drying up or if donors shift priorities.

4.7           Public health institutions have run out of drugs and medicines supplies thereby forcing patience to resort to private pharmacies for their prescribed supplies. It is disturbing to note that pharmacies are charging exorbitant prices mostly quoted in US dollars thereby denying access to healthcare to the majority of Zimbabweans.  This situation has seen chronic-diseased patients like those on hypertension medication suffering more. The major challenge for the health sector is the delayed procurement of medicines owing to scarcity of foreign currency. Further, the use of instruments such as letter of credit in the procurement process is hampered by low credit worthiness of the country and individual banks involved.  Zimbabwe currently imports over 80% of its drugs. This overreliance of medical drug imports is worsened by the fact that the local pharmaceutical sector is not receiving enough policy support in form of incentives and working capital required to boost their production capacity.

4.8           There is no source of funding for the wage gap as alluded to above. This has serious implications on several interventions that the Ministry of Health had prioritised for 2019 in line with its mandate of sound health delivery to all the Zimbabweans. The Ministry had proposed the unfreezing of critical vacant posts and a framework that allows posts to be filled soon after termination in order to ensure continuity in service provision at all levels.  In addition, the Ministry had also proposed the creation of posts for new health facilities. These include:

ü Creation of District Health Executive posts for four new districts Mbire, Mashonaland Central; Mangwe, Matabeleland South; Mhondoro, Ngezi and Sanyati, Mashonaland West  - These districts are currently operating with staff from other health facilities to the disadvantage of the communities.

ü Creation of Nurse Aides and General Hands for 183 new clinics – Posts were not created for the Nurse Aides and General Hands, making it difficult for the nurses to clean the clinics as well as maintain the grounds over and above their mandate of caring for patients.

ü Creation of posts for the first phase of Lupane - Provincial Hospital Resources were allocated for the construction of Lupane Provincial Hospital in Matabeleland North, noting that it is the only province without a provincial hospital. The first phase will be Out Patient Department (OPD). Posts to be created for OPD, Hospital Executive, Pharmacy, Lab, Radiography, Admin, Finance and Human Resources.

4.9           The funding gap on health will make the creation of posts in response to the workload unachievable. The Ministry of Health had requested the unfreezing of critical posts and creation of new ones to build a critical human resource required to match the health challenges. Figure 4 illustrates the trends in vacant posts for Doctors and nurses between 2007 and 2014 just to highlight some of the human resource capacity gaps in the health sector.

Figure 7: Vacant health personnel posts in Zimbabwe (2007 – 2014)

 

4.10     Further, the Ministry will not be able to implement Cabinet decisions that recommended the Creation of Primary Care Nurse posts for Village Health posts at 10 health posts per district per province; and the review monthly allowances for Village Health Workers from US$15 to US$60.

4.11     The Ministry is facing a challenge of embezzlement of funds owing to the current weak human capacity being experienced by the Ministry. The funding gap implies that the Ministry will not be able to deal with financial leakages in the hospitals as it had proposed the need for creation of Accounts Clerk and Accounts Assistants posts to mitigate this.  More so, the Ministry will not be able to create posts for emerging needs in areas such as Information and Communication Technology, Procurement, Monitoring and Evaluation as well as and Risk Management in line with international best practice.

4.12     The Ministry still has an outstanding activity of professionalising its procurement systems since 2018.The initial assessment of how many members can be trained in procurement in the 2 years given by the Government is still pending and the initiative requires the creation of new posts.

Intermediated Monetary Transfer (IMT)Tax

4.13     The 2019 National budget exempts claims settlement made by Medical aid societies to medical service providers from being charged the 2% IMT tax. The Committee commends the Ministry of Finance for this but calls for the exemption to be extended throughout the supply chain including the medical aid contributions. This will enhance affordability of health care to the general populace.

Medical schemes to be regulated by Insurance and Pensions Commission

4.14     The Minister of Finance proposed to put all medical schemes under the supervision and regulation of Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC). The Committee concurs there is a regulatory gap in this sector but proposes that regulation by IPEC be  a provisional measure whilst efforts are being made to  create a specialised regulator with clear understanding on how the sector operates.

5.0 RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1    Given the deplorable state of the health system, there is need for timely disbursements of the allocated resources in full.

5.2    The funding gap in medicines and sundries could be addressed through increase the allocation of Health Levy from 5% to the full 10%. Thus the current 10% airtime levy from which the health levy is collected should all be converted to the health levy.

5.3              The gap could be also addressed by engaging development partners to consider supporting other conditions beside the main 3 diseases (HIV, TB and Malaria) without creating heavy dependence

5.4           The Government to implement policies that create a stable macroeconomic environment to ensure stabilization of prices and the broadening of the tax base that will increase government revenue much needed for efficient  public service delivery such as health.

5.5           Prioritise the strengthening of the health sector’s human capacity. The need for additional staff indicated by the Ministry of Health urgently requires financial backing to adequately respond to the health challenges the country is faced with. Further, strengthening the human capacity in the health sector will ease the overloaded staff who are emotionally traumatized by the current poor working conditions. It will also plug the leakages of the much needed financial resources currently being faced by the Ministry.

5.6           The Committee commends the move by the Minister of Finance to allocate resources towards the construction of incomplete hospital structures such as Lupane Provincial hospital that had been neglected for years considering that Matebeleland North is one of the most underdeveloped provinces in the country. The current budgetary allocation however, is inadequate to complete the construction of the hospital and the Committee calls for the Minister of Finance to review it upwards.

5.7              This budget must invest in a robust mobile clinics service especially in marginalised rural areas.

5.8           There is need for introduction of public health insurance in Zimbabwe to cater for health emergency situations.

5.9           The user fees policy is good, but the current situation requires that it be supported by a government subsidy to ensure adequate healthcare delivery. Further, the government needs to increase budgetary allocation towards the vulnerable groups that are entitled for free medical care as the service they are currently receiving can barely meet their medical needs. These groups include children under five years of age; the elderly who are over 65 years old and the pregnant women.

5.10        There is need for increased funding towards research and development on local medicines at tertiary educational institutions and in private sector to ensure the country produces its own medicines. 

 

5.11        The government could ride on Global fund vehicle recently set up for HIV called Wamambo.com. The platform could be opened for procurement of drugs for other diseases.

5.12     NATPHARM recapitalization as pronounced in the Budget Statement to be expedited in the short term whilst working towards rebuilding of a vibrant pharmaceutical sector in the medium to long term. The country could ride on opportunities that come with a sound pharmaceutical sector including trade in health services.

5.13        Empower NATPHARM to take full responsibility of drug procurement.

5.14     If Zimbabwe is to have less than 140 per 100,000 live birth by 2030 then prioritisation of the health sector’s budget needs to be further considered.

5.15     The high dependency of unpredictable donor funding for public health sector needs to be reversed whist exploring for more practical options for domestic resource mobilization for health financing.  I thank you.

HON. MOLEKELA-TSIYE:

1.                Introduction

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development  is responsible for oversight, formulation and implementation of policies related to planning, training and development of human capital and the promotion of science, technology and innovation. The key deliverables of the ministry are human capital development and science and technology development. The ministry also facilitates these key deliverables at local, regional and international levels in line with the Transitional Development Plan and Vision 2030. A high quality higher and tertiary education is the engine of economic growth and modernisation.  The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development provides an oversight responsibility over this Ministry.

2.                 Major Achievements in 2018

2.1          Human capital Development

i)                  Review and update 66 curricular for HEXCO and ZISTACs examinations.

ii)           Ratification of 88 qualifications, training skills proficiency modules, HEXCO course regulations and CBET course content.

iii)            Appointed and put in place 2 councils and 2 boards to enhance corporate governance at state institutions.

iv)               Graduated students in both colleges and universities as planned.

v)                Construction of hostels, office space and learning space which are at various stages of completion.

vi)                Developed and launched  the Zimbabwe National  Qualifications Framework (ZNQF).

2.2           Science and technology development

i)                  Established and started construction of 6 innovation hubs at State Universities which are at various stages of completion.

ii)               HPC phase 2 building construction started and completed.

3.                 Priorities of the Ministry in 2019

3.1  Human capital development

i)                  Develop an inclusive higher and tertiary education system.

ii)               Capacitate science teachers.

iii)            Increase absorption rate of post ‘O’ and ‘A’-level students in Zimbabwe.

iv)               Infrastructure development at higher and tertiary institutions.

v)                Operationalise the Zimbabwe National Qualifications Framework (ZNQF).

3.2           Science and Technology Development

i)                  Roll out Geo-spacial, Aeronautical and Space Science Capability Programme.

ii)               Adoption and development of life technologies.

4.                 The ministry’s budget in relation to the total budget since 2011

The budget towards the ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development has been almost stagnant in relation to the total budget since 2011. The increase in the total national budget is not reflective enough of the change in the ministry’s budget. This also shows that as a proportion of the total budget, this ministry is allocated very small portions. Figure 1 shows the ministry’s budget in relation to the national budget from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Figure 1: Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development budget in relation to the total budget (millions of US$)-CRF

 

4.1           Priority status of the ministry’s budget

As a proportion of the total budget, the priority to the ministry only increased in 2011 after which it took a sharp decline confirming that the ministry became less and less prioritised. This partly explains why our higher and tertiary education system is fast deteriorating. Given the vision to attain the upper middle income economy by 2030, we need to accord higher and tertiary education as well as science and technology development a greater priority. Economies that enjoy upper middle income status are driven by knowledge generated from institutions of higher learning which are a catalyst for industrialisation and modernisation. Figure 2 shows the proportion of the ministry’s budget in the total national budget.

          Figure 2: Proportion of the Ministry’s budget in the total national budget.

4.2           Distribution of the HTE budget (Capital versus current expenditure)

The bulk of resources towards the ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development have been spent on current expenditures as compared to capital expenditures. A low capital budget implies that ministry will not be able to engage in construction works which includes students’ accommodation, lecture rooms and office space. The low capital budget is also a major blow to new universities such as Lupane, Gwanda, Manicaland and Marondera who are still infant and in need of massive infrastructure development. An ideal scenario is a budget that allocates at least 25% of the ministry’s budget towards capital expenses. Figure 3 shows the distribution of the ministry’s budget in terms of current and capital expenditure.

Figure 3: Distribution of the Ministry’s budget in terms of current and capital expenditure.

 

5.                 Programmes of the ministry

The Ministry’s budget is programme based. There are 3 programmes namely Policy and Management; Skills Training and Development and STEM for Industrialisation and Modernisation.

       i.            Policy and Administration

The Policy and Administration budget consists of sub-votes as follows; 1) Ministers and Permanent Secretary’s office responsible for initiating, guiding and coordinating policy, 2) Finance and Administration which prepares budgets, executes, monitors and reports on financial resources and safeguards assets of the ministry, 3) Human Resource management which recruits, trains, develops, disciplines, motivates and advices on human resource issues, 4) Internal Audit which provides independent and objective assurance on internal controls and government processes to improve operations, 5) Legal Services provides legal advice, policy guidance, attends to litigation and legislative reviews, 6) IT Services  which provides strategic direction through effective planning, monitoring and evaluation of the Ministry’s policies and programmes, and 7) Zimbabwe National Commission for UNESCO which promote programmes and projects within UNESCO system through lobbying the International Community for financial, material and other support.

                ii.               Skills Training and Development

This is the main programme of the Ministry responsible for improving the supply of skilled and competent human capital. The programme has 3 sub-programmes namely 1) Higher Education (Universities) which facilitates the management of state universities, 2) Tertiary Education, which consists of teachers’ colleges and polytechnics. The programme facilitates the management of tertiary education and 3) Quality Assurance (NE, CRD and ITTD) responsible for developing curricula, examining and certifying NFC, HND, apprentices and skilled programmes.

             iii.                        STEM for Industrialisation and Modernisation

This programme has the objective to develop capacity in innovation and application of new and emerging technologies to accelerate industrialisation and modernisation of the economy. The programme has 3 sub-programmes namely 1) Technology Transfer responsible for the advancement of science for socio-economic development, 2) Research Development and Innovation which coordinates research development by providing funding to research and 3) Promotion and Advocacy responsible for popularising science activities in the country through numerous platforms.

5.1           Overview of the ministry’s budget

The Ministry’s budget of US$424.58 million from the total resources (i.e. Consolidated Revenue Fund and retained funds) constitutes 4.0% of the total budget for 2019. This is a decrease from the 2018’s proportion of 6.9%. This budget allocation is 41% of the Ministry’s requirement as indicated by the Ministry’s bid of US$935.150077 million. The budget also includes Retention Funds amounting to US$43.738million. Retained funds are only 10.3% of the ministry’s budget. If we include statutory resources the ministry’s budget becomes US$474.417 million which is 4.2% of the total budget. The overall budget allocation to the ministry will increase by 20.2% in nominal terms in 2019 against an increase in inflation of 20.85%. This implies a stagnant budget in real terms. The increase also falls short of an overall increase of the national budget of 47.4%. If we also factor in the charging of some goods and services by some providers in foreign currency, the budget becomes retrogressive and will pose challenges for the ministry going forward.

5.2           Distribution of the ministry’s vote

The bulk of resources of the ministry go towards Skills Training and Development (90.7%) followed by STEM at 8.6% and Policy and Management at 0.8%. This is in line with the ministry’s core mandate of human capital development. The overall disbursement to the ministry stands at 72.5% by end of September 2018. However, the disbursements mainly went towards Skills Training and Development (65.3%) while others sub-votes’ disbursements were not pleasing. A 6.5% disbursement towards STEM works against the ministry’s drive to upscale teaching of STEM subjects and research and innovation which drives growth in modern societies. A 0.9% disbursement towards Policy and Management makes it difficult for the ministry to perform its oversight role in supervising its various departments. Figures 4 and 5 show the distribution and performance of the Ministry’s budget by sub votes respectively.

Figure 4: Distribution of the ministry’s budget

Figure 5: Performance of the ministry’s budget to September 2018

5.3           Economic classification of the ministry’s vote

The ministry’s budget is skewed towards financing current expenses to the tune of 83.5% of the ministry’s budget. This leaves 16.5% for capital expenditure. Employment costs for those directly employed by the ministry take 13.8% of budget while all the current transfers to universities which chew 57.4% of the budget go directly towards salaries. This means that total employment costs for the ministry stands at 71.2% leaving only 28.8% for the rest of expenses.This reflects a highly consumptive budget. Figure 6 shows the economic classification of the ministry’s budget.

Figure 6: Economic classification of the ministry’s budget.

 

5.4            Analysis of the Sub- votes budgets to the Ministry

5.4.1   Policy and Admin budget

The bulk of resources towards this sub vote go towards Finance and Administration (35.8%) and the Minister and Permanent Secretary’s office (29.2%). The rest of the budget items share the remainder as shown in figure 7. The Policy and Administration budget will decrease by 19.6% in 2019, possibly reflecting the austerity measures by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. This is driven by decreases in Finance and Admin (48.9%), Internal Audit (40.5%), Human Resources (28.3%) and Zimbabwe National Commission for UNESCO (18.3%). However, increases are going to be realised in the Minister and Permanent Secretary’s office (161.5%), IT and Web Services (63.6%) and legal services (36.9%) but these increases are weighed down by the large negative figures in the other budget items.

By end of september 2018, the sub-vote had received 69.3% of the resources committed in the budget. Disburements were largely towards Finance and Administration to the tune of 45.2% while all the other budget items recieved less than 10% of committed resources. This points to a dire situation in which the treasury should disburse the remainder in the last 3 months of the year. The situation also cripples service delivery by the ministry. Figures 7-9 shows the distribution, changes and performance of Policy and Admin budget respectively.

Figure 7: Distribution of the Policy and Admin budget

Figure 8: Change in the Policy and Admin Budget

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 9: Performance of the budget to September 2018

 

5.4.2   Skills Training and Development Budget

Higher education (Universities) take the largest chunk of the Skills Training and development budget (70.2%) followed by the Tertiary education (27.6%) while Quality assurance takes the least (2.2%). The budget towards Skills Training and Development will increase by 11.2% in 2019.  This is driven by increases in all sub items with Quality Assurance and Standards budget increasing by 64.2%, Tertiary education increase by 24.7% and Higher education increasing by 7.2%. The increase basically reflects improved resources in the national budget. However, an increase of in the Skills Training and Development Budget of 11.2% when inflation increased by 20.85%, is actually a decrease in real terms. This will make it difficult for the ministry to attain its main goal of quality higher education with a drive towards an upper middle income economy by 2030. The levels of disbursements standing at 67.4% for this sub-vote were largely driven by current transfers to universities 62%) which basically go towards employment costs. The budget towards Teacher education standing at 4.7% and Quality Assurance and Standards at 0.7% shows negligible disbursements towards operations costs or non salary costs.  This sub vote’s budget is the one supported by retained earning which constitute 11.4% of the total sub vote. The retained funds support tertiary education (10.1%), Quality assurance and standards (1.1%) and universities (0.2%). Figures 10-12 shows the distribution, changes and performance of the Skills Training and Development budget respectively.

Figure 10: Distribution of the Skills Training and Development budget

 

Figure 11: Changes of the Skills Training and Development budget from previous year

 

Figure 12: Performance of the Skills Training and Development budget to September 2018

5.4.3       STEM for Industrialisation and Modernisation

The STEM budget takes 8.6% of the Ministry’s vote. The bulk of resources to this programme go towards Research and Development which takes 96.2% of the resources with Technology Transfer taking 2% while Promotion and Advocacy taking 1.8%. The STEM vote will increase by 492.2% in 2019 driven by an increase in the Research and Development budget which will increase by 956.2%. The other items will decrease with Teachers’ colleges’ budget decreasing by 66.1% while the Promotion and Advocacy will decrease by 0.6%.  Disbursements by end of September 2018 towards this budget item, amounting to 330.5% indicates that sub vote budget was previously understated. This is driven by research and development for which disbursements reached 245.7% of budgeted resources. While the Technology Transfer looks adequately resourced by end of September 2018 (81.7%), Promotion and Advocacy only received 3% of budgeted resources. This shows lack of commitment on the treasury to popularising science activities in the country.

The budget on Research Development and Innovation at 0.11% of GDP also falls short of the African Union target of allocating 1% of GDP to this item. Figures 13-15 show the distribution, changes and performance of the STEM budget respectively.

Figure 13: Distribution of the STEM budget

 

 

Figure 14: Change in the STEM budget from previous year

 

Figure 15: Performance of the STEM budget in 2018

 

6.                Main challenges of the 2019 budget

1.                Disbursements mainly done for employment costs: The analysis reveals that the Treasury mainly worries about disbursements going towards employment costs where more than 60% of funds have been released by end of September 2018. On the other hand, on average, less than 20% of funds allocated for capital and operations expenses are ever disbursed 9 months into the year. While the timely release of funds for employment costs is a noble and welcome development, this has culminated in operations and capital expenses being largely ignored up to the end of the year. This means service delivery will be in limbo for the greater part of the year.

2.                The budget remains stagnant in light of rising costs: Although the budget has increased by 20% in nominal terms, inflation stood at 20.85%. This implies that there is no increase in real terms. In addition, the charging of goods and services in US dollars also means the budget is even much less than it appears.

3.                New universities budget too small: The government has made a commitment to have a university in each province. This has culminated in the establishment of 3 new state universities in Manicaland, Matebeleland South and Mashonaland East. However, the amounts allocated to these new universities are inadequate to fully operationalise them. Although the minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development has tried to source funds through such initiatives as BOT especially to construct students’ accommodation, the burden is likely to fall on the students, the majority of which struggle to raise fees.

4.                Student’s welfare fast deteriorating: The situation at most state universities and colleges indicates that there is inadequate accommodation, learning space and other supporting facilities. This results in some institutions compromising on the welfare of students by increasing room occupancy beyond the infrastructure’s capacity. This no doubt becomes a health hazard given the prevalence of airborne and diarrhoeal diseases where the carrying capacity is exceeded. Where institutions fail to provide the requisite infrastructure such as accommodation to students, the majority end up staying under crowded conditions in the vicinity. This also poses health challenges as well as results in some students resorting to unbecoming behaviour such as prostitution for survival. At the end of the day institutions of higher learning produce products of a poor moral quality which does not benefit our societies.

5.                Surrendering of retention funds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund a big challenge for our institutions:  The ministry bemoans the announcement by the minister of Finance and Economic Development that all retained funds should be surrendered to the Treasury. This is on the backdrop that these institutions survive from retained funds for their operational expenses. While we understand that the Government is operating from a shoestring budget, this is likely to impact negatively on service delivery going forward given the treasury’s low attention to the disbursement of operational funds.

6.                Salaries for college lecturers too low compared to their counterparts in universities: Traditionally, college lecturers used to earn 75% of salaries earned by their universities’ counterparts. This is despite the fact that most of them have similar qualifications to those at universities. This reality provides room for high staff turnover for lecturers in colleges as soon as they attain comparable qualifications. The differential also de-motivates those who remain in post.

7.                Critical staff shortages in universities: There are serious staff shortages in critical areas at most state universities. A serious case in point is the shortage of medical lecturers for higher level courses at the Midlands State University. This is in light of the staff freeze instituted by the government in 2014.

8.                Inadequate and dwindling cash flows from retained funds: Given the current economic challenges, most students struggle to pay school fees. The ministry pointed out that the failure rate to pay full fees is about 25%. In addition, student’s fees have not been increased since 2011.   Thus, the envisage revenue from fees is not fully realised by institutions of higher learning. This makes it difficult for them to operate efficiently since for example all universities thrive on retained funds for their operations budgets. In light of increases in prices of food and other essential services, this is likely to affect the quality of service provided.

9.                Students on scholarship in universities out of the country in a distress situation: The country sends students out of the country every year to study in other countries. However, these students’ stipends are usually not sent on time, resulting in exposing them to economic hardships. This is despite the fact that we have a minister solely responsible for scholarships - although the general view is that all training of higher education should be the prerogative of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.

10.           Research and development funded by less than 1% of GDP: The government previously underscored the need to provide at least 1% of GDP to fund research and development. However, the current status quo shows that we are way below that as the current budget allocated only 0.11% of resources to this item. Therefore, if Zimbabwe is to become an upper middle income economy by 2030, emphasis should be given to researches that drive the economy towards this vision.

7.                Recommendations

1.                Timeously disbursement of funds: The disbursements towards operations and capital expenses remain negligible nine months into the year.  These budget items have traditionally been accorded less priority when it comes to disbursements even though the ministry depends on them for service delivery. The committee recommends that the ministry should look into this issue in the 2019 budget disbursements.

2.                Clarification on the currency issue versus pricing policy in Zimbabwe: The current pricing policy which is largely a by-product of the multicurrency regime still remains unclear to stakeholders including the Ministry. Prices have gone up by 20.85% but the budget has only increased by 20.2% in nominal terms. It was going to be prudent if the budget is denominated in US dollars and disbursements also done in US dollars.

3.                Prioritise construction of students’ accommodation and learning space: The growing number of universities is creating a challenge for student accommodation and learning space. The budget should consider increasing funding towards this critical area for the quality of our education to move in tandem with the need to attain an upper middle income status by 2030. Otherwise, this vision will be difficult to achieve, notwithstanding the fact that education is a catalyst for growth and modernisation.

4.                Lift staff freeze for critical skills: The skills freeze that was instituted in 2014 is affecting the quality of service in institutions of higher learning. There are critical staffs that are required to teach specialised subjects. The institutions cannot fund the wage bill for such staff where they decide to hire on their own, given the challenges faced by students to pay fees. The committee recommends the lifting of this freeze in light of critical staff requirements and the coming on board of new institutions of higher learning.

5.                Student’s loans to be up scaled: While the Committee acknowledges the allocation of US$8 million towards Distressed Students Fund, the resources remain inadequate given the level of vulnerability for students in higher and tertiary institutions. This money can be used to leverage the existing Edu-loan provided by financial institutions while government considers other avenues to assist disadvantaged students.

6.                Recall the scholarship fund to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development: The scholarship fund currently housed in the president’s office makes it difficult for the Ministry to perform oversight role of provision of quality higher education to Zimbabwean citizens. The committee recommends that the fund be administered from the Ministry so that there is a close watch on the welfare of students studying outside Zimbabwe.

7.                Allocate at least 1% of GDP towards research: The international best practice is to allocate at least 1% of GDP towards research and development. The African Union has heeded this call at its Executive Council meeting in 2006 and set this target.  However, in Africa, countries around this target are South Africa, Kenya, Senegal Uganda and Malawi who spend an average of 0.8% of GDP on research and development. In Zimbabwe, currently, the government is allocating only 0.11% of the budget towards this important area although the government has agreed to prioritize research and development in line with the 1% of GDP declaration. If the vision to attain upper middle income status by 2030 is to become a reality, the government needs to scale up the fund for this important budget item.

8.                Strengthen financial management and accountability of state institutions: The committee recommended efficient control and financial accountability systems to the Ministry’s statutory bodies.  ZIMDEF is singled out as an example of an organisation whose reputation needs to be improved, given the background of alleged misuse of funds.

          HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker Sir, it is a great pleasure to debate the 2019 National Budget.  This budget, Hon. Speaker Sir, could not have come at a time of great fragility and great vulnerability of our country.  The economic situation is dire, difficult and is arrested by a number of multiple imbalances.  These include the fact that for many years our economy has been stuck in a recession characterised by low output. Since 2012, our economy has basically been on a downward spiral recording GDP declines.

          HON. MLISWA: On a point of order! Mr. Speaker Sir, the debate on the budget is probably the core business of this Parliament and it is saddening that others are not here.  My question is - what are they doing in this House? The country is watching us, tax payers’ money - we are supposed to be debating.  Those empty seats are just noise makers, they are never here to debate anything meaningful and yet this is tax payers’ money.  Let us ask ourselves - are we doing justice to the money that people are putting for us to be able to execute our duties when this nation is suffering?   We come here, get our fuel coupons, stay in hotels, we keep quiet, make noise and we are not here to even listen to the budget.  We accuse the Minister of Finance for not being here; who is hypocrite? The Minister of Finance is here and you are not here.  So, it is important that it is recorded that this budget will determine the course of this country. Failure for Members of Parliament to participate in the debate of this budget; it is disaster for this country.  As such, I implore the Chief Whips of the relevant parties to whip their Members to be here so that when you hear people like Hon. BitI who was a former Minister of finance debating, there is value in that and we must be able to really pin our ears to a good debate.  I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order! Thank you Hon. Member.   I think Hon. Mliswa is right but because there is a quorum and the Committee Chairpersons were responding; we have also given other Members to respond and so there is no problem.  Please, may we encourage Chief Whips to make their Members come in because this is a very important debate. Hon. Member, you may continue.

          HON. BITI: Apart from the challenge of low productivity, weak GDP figures, we have the challenge of fiscal ill-discipline reflected in a gross and acerbic budget deficit.  That we have a budget deficit that is in excess of 15% of DGP is not acceptable but that is the order of the day.

          We also have a challenge, until recently, of weak and none aggregate demand unlike the crisis of 2007/8 where we had a crisis of under accumulation with all of us being billionaires and trillionaires but with hardly anything available to buy in shops.  The current crisis has been characterised by shops that have actually been full of goods but people and persons have not had the capacity to purchase goods and commodities. 

          We have also had the challenge of currency and currency distortations, the shortage of cash and the challenges around the exchange rate.  These are the issues that are affecting our country; these are the issues that our people are living with.  Therefore, the 2019 budget was going to be a critical one.  It was always going to be a critical one because to the ordinary average person in the street, he or she expected a remedy out of the ills and mischief arresting this country.

  I submit Mr. Chairperson, that the 2019 budget had to be a remedial budget, one that dealt with the challenges of currency distortions, fiscal ill discipline, crippling domestic debt and crippling sovereign debt.  The question Mr. Speaker is; did the budget in fact pass the test; did the budget in fact provide an answer, a solution to the challenges that I have identified?  With great respect to the Minister, I submit that the budget did not provide a remedy, an answer and a solution to these structural challenges that are affecting our country.

          The first challenge in the 2019 budget, Hon. Speaker Sir, is one which a few colleagues, in particular the Chairperson of the Finance and Budget Committee has identified.  This is the challenge relating to the budget’s failure to identify the exchange rate in which it is predicated upon.  This is the failure of the budget to identify the currency in which it is expressed.  To maintain the fiction of a US$1:1 bond makes this budget fail even before it has started.  The reality out there, Hon. Speaker Sir, is that we are existing in a period of serious structural exchange distortion.  We are existing in a period of a multi tier pricing system; there is a price in US dollars, bond notes, and RTGS.  The growing exchange rate in the past two months has been a rate of 1:3.50 or 3.50. In other words, to purchase US$100 you require $350 of the local currency, whether it is bond notes or RTGS. So, we cannot run away from that reality.  If we have a budget of $8 billion, surely it cannot be US$8 billion.  In reality, it means that it is 8.5 divided by 3.5 – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] – It also relates to the GDP.  We have got a contested terrain of the GDP.  We have got the transitional stabilisation plan speaking to a rebased GDP of $25 billion.  What is this $25 billion? Is it US dollars?  Surely, we are not at US$25 billion economy. If that is the case, you then have to discount the rebased GDP of $25 billion by the going rate of 3.50 or the Old Mutual implied rate, which would mean in real terms that our GDP is around US$8 billion.  Unless and until the budget and the Minister is bold enough to deal with this elephant in the living room, the issue of the current expression of the budget and the decimation of the fiction of 1:1 then the budget itself becomes facial.  It is a waste of time. 

          I want to draw Mr. Speaker’s attention to something that happened this week.  This week, two rating agencies S and P and Mudi removed Zimbabwe from the indices of countries where data is collected and collated for the simple and good reasons that our data is unreliable because we keep on maintaining this fiction of one bond to one US dollar.  Courage is required; the Minister needs to be courageous to recognise that one bond note can never be equal to one US dollar – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] – Not even the Euro is equal to the bond note.  Unless this is addressed, everything we are doing is a joke. 

          The second thing I want to deal with Hon. Speaker, the Minister must go beyond recognising that one bond note is equal to one US dollar. He must also have the courage of doing that which he actually wanted to do initially, that of de-monetising the bond note – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] – The bond note Hon. Speaker Sir is terrible economics.  You cannot introduce a quasi-fiscal instrument in a dollarised environment.  The net result is in fact what happened.  Bad money always displaces good money and this is exactly what happened.  So, the Minister and the Government must have the courage of de-monetising the bond note. 

          Thirdly Hon. Speaker Sir, the Minister must have the courage of liberalizing the exchange rate and I would like to submit that if the Zimbabwean currency, whether the RTGs is allowed to settle and if the exchange rate is allowed to be liberal, it will settle at a rate that is much lower than the going rate of the 350 bond notes and in my opinion it will be around 90 because we do have some exports.  We do have an economy to sustain a rate of around 90 to 100.  So, I would submit to the Minister that you need to liberalise the exchange rate. 

          The other issue I want to deal with Hon. Speaker, is the macro-economic framework which is found on pages 35, 36 and 38 of the Budget Statement.  Firstly, the budget proposes a recurrent expenditure of around $6 billion out of $8.2 billion, a capital expenditure of $2.1 billion and a budget deficit of $1.56 billion.  Given the lack of gross capital formation that our country has experienced since the 60s, I would have submitted Mr. Speaker Sir, that the budget should have had a bigger say on investment in gross capital formation and capital projects. What we have right now is largely a consumption budget in respect of which $6 billion out of $8 billion is actually going towards recurrent expenditure.  We needed to put resources towards the construction of dams, bridges, railway, energy and those things that are affecting our country.  To the extent that the budget focuses so much on recurrent expenditure, it becomes anti-development; it is not developmental in thrust and that is regrettable. 

          Also, is the issue around austerity.  The budget theme is that of austerity for prosperity.  Austerity means fiscal retrenchment, the tightening up of the belt and retrenchment of expenditure.  Regrettably Hon. Speaker, if you look at the 2018 budget and the 2019 budget, the Parliamentary Vote is the only one that did not have an increase but everything else increased.  That is not austerity because at the minimum, if the Minister wanted to be loyal to austerity, at least on expenditure, the figures for 2019 should not have been more than the figures of 2018. 

What is unacceptable Hon. Speaker, is how the Minister proposes to fund his deficit. He proposes a deficit of $1.56 billion which on its own is strange when you are preaching austerity.  If you are preaching austerity at the very minimum, you ought to be able to balance books but in this case the Minister is actually budgeting for a budget deficit.  When you are running a fragile economy such as ours, deficit financing is a problem because a budget deficit produces dis-equilibriums and distortions which the Minister acknowledged himself in the Maiden Speech of the 1st October, 2018.

 I want to draw your attention Hon. Speaker, to page 38 of the budget. We have something that is actually not permitted by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  Of his expenditure and the budget deficit of $1.56 billion, he actually has a figure of $916.4 million which he describes as financing to be arranged. In other words, he has presented a budget here in respect $916.4 million which is unfunded and he does not know how he is going to fund this.  Surely, Parliament cannot pass hot air. 

If you look at the provisions of Sections 308 and 309 of the Constitution, it is not permissible for Parliament to make an appropriation which is not funded and where the Minister does not know he is going to get the money from.  I do not know; what was the problem of simply saying we do not have this money, we do not know how it is going to be financed, therefore let us remove it so that we simply maintain a balanced budget.  So, I have a big problem of that from a constitutional point of view. 

That is not the only section of the budget that breaches our law.  Firstly, the suggestion Hon. Speaker, that duty must be paid in US dollars for certain commodities including vehicles when Section 43 of the Reserve Bank Act recognises the US dollar and other bundles of multiple currencies as legal tender is on its own illegal.  In other words, as long as Zimbabwean law recognises the US dollar as legal tender and the bond note as legal tender, it is unlawful for the budget to suggest that for certain commodities and for certain items, you should pay in US$ only. That is unlawful and illegal – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.].

I am just touching on illegalities and another aspect of illegality Hon. Speaker pertains to the Minister’s suggestions on by-elections. The budget suggests that by-elections should be held once every two years or once every year. That is not possible Hon. Speaker because the Electoral Act is very clear. There has to be a by-election that has to be held within 90 days of a vacancy occurring. So, the budget cannot propose to do something that breaks the Zimbabwean law.

A third aspect of illegality Hon. Speaker, pertains to the suggestion in the revenue measures by the Minister that the maximum police fines should be $700.00. The Minister of Finance does not interfere – we have got separation of powers and the Executive does not interfere with the function of magistrates and judges oN sentencing people and determining the measures of punishment, and I hope the Minister can revisit.

Another aspect of illegality is the suggestion in the budget that traffic fines must be enforced by members of the security forces, which I took to mean soldiers and non-policemen. That also is unconstitutional. The function of law and order in Zimbabwe is reserved solely for the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and left on their own without political interference, the Zimbabwe Republic Police can do their job.

Another aspect of illegality is the suggestion by the Minister in the Budget Statement that many people are using houses as business premises and he therefore suggests that Customs people must be empowered to carry out searches on these homes. The Constitution is very clear; it protects the privacy of the home. So, neither ZIMRA nor Customs has the power Hon. Speaker with great respect of searching people’s homes.

A more substantive form of illegality in the budget relates to the way we are handling foreign currency in this country. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is allowed to retain foreign currency from exporters like ZIMPLATs and other bodies. I would like to submit that is unlawful and if you take the Minister’s budget where some fines and duties are actually going to be in foreign currency. It means that the budget itself should have a section of foreign currency that is going to be received. In other words, there must be a bifurcation of the Consolidated Revenue Fund between that which is expressed in US$ and that which is expressed in local currency.

I want to come to the Reserve Bank. All revenue in Zimbabwe is controlled by the Consolidated Revenue Fund, including foreign currency retentions. So, the Reserve Bank cannot take people’s money and then privately allocate the same. That money has to be allocated by Parliament through the Consolidated Revenue Fund and the Minister of Finance must have an oversight over that. So, I submit that the whole retention of foreign currency and allocation of foreign currency allowing the Reserve Bank to control and use foreign currency in Zimbabwe is illegal and unconstitutional.

[Time Limit]

HON. CHIBAYA:  Mr. Speaker, I move that the Hon. Member’s time be extended.

HON. CHIKWINYA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, five minutes to wind up.

HON. BITI: Thank you Hon. Speaker.

Hon. Speaker, I am concerned that the budget deficit of $1, 56 billion that the Minister has budgeted for is grossly understated. Even before we have passed this budget, the Minister has already undertaken to increase the salaries of civil servants by 10%. So that means the figures that we already have are already out by 10% and I submit Hon. Speaker that the solution is not to give X% of increases to civil servants. The solution is simply to pay them in US$ and to re-dollarise the economy.

Secondly and again a driver of the budget deficit – the budget Hon. Speaker, budgets around $300 million in interest payments but we know that the domestic debt is around $10 billion. Assuming that the Treasury Bill interest is 10% of $10 billion is a billion dollars already. So, interest payments cannot be $300 million. They have to be at least $900 million to a billion dollars. So, I submit therefore that a budget deficit of $1, 56 billion is not accurate and is grossly understated.

On the macro-economic framework Hon. Speaker, the figure of inflation that is used by the Hon. Minister for 2018 is 8, 6%. The figure for inflation that is used for 2019 is 22%. Just today the official inflation figure announced by ZIMSTAT yesterday is 31% but you know Hon. Speaker that inflation is already over 200%. A bag of cement used to cost $10 in August of 2018 but is now costing $34, an increase of 240% and that is non-food inflation. So, the figure of inflation used in the macro-economic framework is facial and a fiction because our inflation is already hovering on hyper-inflation where month on month inflation is over 80%.

The growth rate of 3,1% is over ambitious given the fact that we are likely to be in an El Nino season and the budget expects growth from agriculture to be over 105. Mining, we have been over reliant on gold but the figures are now becoming clearer that we are not going to meet the 30 tonnes target.

I want to move to another area which concerns me, which is the issue of domestic debt. There is no plan in the budget of how the Government is going to deal with the crippling domestic debt of $10 billion. Whilst I am on domestic debt Hon. Speaker, the Government has produced two Blue Books which are all wrong. Hon. Speaker, if you go to paragraph 66 of the Budget, the figure of public debt is put at $17, 69 billion and of that, $10 billion is domestic debt. If you go to the Blue Book, page 393, the figure for the domestic debt Hon. Speaker is put at $4 872 871 billion, that is the Blue Book. So, you have got the Blue Book saying domestic debt is $4 billion but the Budget Statement is saying $10 billion.

So, we need these documents to be accurate but a more fundamental point is that there must be a plan on how the $10 billion domestic debt is going to be dealt with. The suggestion by the Hon. Speaker – I heard him speak in other circles that we are simply going to roll over those debts and TBs, which is not good enough. There must be a plan on how you deal with and retire the $10 billion domestic debt. Equally, there must be a concrete plan on how you deal with the external sovereign debt. The budget is weak on a formula on how you propose to deal with debt. He must either say I am going HIPC or HIPC light or another model of resolving the sovereign debt crisis. To simply plunder in the dark like a crocodile is simply not good enough.

The fourth aspect I want to speak about Hon. Speaker is the budget tax regime. It is wrong Hon. Speaker to raise taxes when a country is in a recession and when people do not have disposable income. The 2% transaction tax is wrong and must be scraped. Asking members of the public to pay duty in US$ when we are all earning local currency in the form of bonds and RTGs is wrong. I do not know whether you are aware Hon. Minister that they are now calling you Walker Texas Ranger – [Laughter.] – because people do not appreciate and understand your tax regime. Mr. Speaker, we have lived through a crisis of hyperinflation…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Order, Hon. Member, your five minutes is over.

          HON. BITI: Can I just conclude one point.  We have lived through a regime of hyperinflation in 2007/2008…

          HON. TONDERAI MOYO: On a point of order.  May I remind the Hon. Member to address the Speaker and not to address the Minister of Finance?

          HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker Sir, we have lived, as Zimbabweans, through a period of hyperinflation, 2007/2008, therefore the proposed duty which is being implemented already, excise duty on fuel is wrong because it is inflationary.  I urge the Hon. Minister to reverse that decision; you do not tax a commodity like fuel – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I have got a few points that I want to add my voice on.  Unlike the previous speaker, I am going to deal on how to complement and augment the meagre resources that have been put across by the Minister of Finance.  It is my fervent view that our $8.5 billion budget is just but a pittance and Zimbabwe as a country is understated if we give into a budget such as that one because we are endowed with ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth.  The resources that we have got, if we put them altogether, we certainly can cut down on the recurrent expenditure because it is said to be at 90 or 80 percent because our budget is way too low; it is understated. 

          Assuming our budget was a $100 billion budget, which I believe is still understated, we would certainly have recurrent expenditure which is way below 20%.  It is currently at 90% because your budget – then it was $4.2 billion, now that it is at $8.5 billion, may be it has gone down to 60% and I would want the Minister of Finance to look at that closely in that we are not certainly an $8.5 billion budget country.

          Our roads require nothing less than US$20 billion in order to be rehabilitated.  We have got a Zimbabwe National Road Authority which only per annum generates US$200 million.  Even if we try to apportion that in order to rehabilitate our road infrastructure, it would not be enough.  I have got suggestions as to how you can augment those meagre resources.

          The first one is that you need to make sure that the Mining Houses who are extracting; who are involved in the mineral extractive sector, they need to plough back those same resources in order to rehabilitate the roads in their mining areas.  It is very possible.  We have got Zimplats formerly BHP, they did not rehabilitate but constructed during their time an 80km road network; not only an 80 km road to their refinery but it is a compact 80km- it has got base one, two, three and it has filler material that is made of rock and quite some vigorous substance.  I believe that it is in the purview of the Mining Houses to rehabilitate; not only to rehabilitate the roads in order that the Minister of Finance does not go about chasing his tail looking for monies to rehabilitate those roads.  We can get what we want from what we have.  We can get what we want from what we have as resources and it is my clarion call therefore that those Mining Houses, there be a piece of Statutory Instrument that enforce them to plough back in the purview of their mining areas.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of computerisation plugs revenue leakages, it increases revenue generation and stops illicit outflows.  The issue of computerising the Transport Management System in Zimbabwe is way overdue. In the Eighth Parliament, the computerisation of the remittance of 12½% to Traffic Safety Council generated over US$10 million.  It generated for the Minister of Finance in absentia over US$5 million per annum, just by computerising that revenue stream.  What it means is the 1.5 million automobiles that are currently registered in Zimbabwe that is the cars in Zimbabwe, are 1.5 million minimum and they all pay Third Party Insurance.  This insurance used to be moribund, archaic, rudimental and antiquated in the manner that it was being collected because it was flout with legacy oriented scenarios but now it is computerised, there is US$160 million being generated per annum.  That is known where this money is going to, so it means the taxes to the Minister of Finance are coming in, in a streamlined manner.  This is the second way I believe he can generate monies in order to supplement and augment the meagre resources and also may be ring fence that money for road rehabilitation, reconstruction and maintenance.  I am not coming here to cry wolf, I am coming here to proffer solutions – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          The computerisation of the Transport Management Systems has fixed to and about – if you can join VID, Driving Schools, RMT, ZINARA, ZIMRA, Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS) and all other transport related issues, tollgates included, what does it do?  It can also reduce road carnage.  Road carnage reduces the GDP and undermines the GDP of any country.  There are five deaths per day in Zimbabwe.  Just over the past three weeks or one month, there are over 200 deaths that have occurred on our road network that crisscross the width and breadth of Zimbabwe and it is unacceptable.

          The global average of deaths per day is three. In Zimbabwe, we have five and if that had to occur in this House, you will have no Members of Parliament in exactly two and half months.  I ask therefore that this tax route, the issue of computerisation, what it means is whoever is operating a public service vehicle, which is licenced and given an operator’s licence by RMT. Whoever is driving it is both going to have five things which can stop road carnage. They are going to be above 25 years of age, have a medical certificate and they are going to be having five years experience. They are also going to have a licence which is a certificate of competence and also, their vehicle is also going to be roadworthy. That can be picked up only if these systems are linked one to another. Why does that help the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, it is because we are losing a lot of our technocrats due to road carnage.

          So, if we have that take this route, link all the systems together, let them police each other, avert corruption, avoid corruption, increase revenue generation, stop illicit outflows, reduce road carnages and make sure we have resources enough from our country, from what we have - we get what we want. I have spoken about the third party insurance. Third party insurance is mandatory for all the 1.5 million vehicles. I have said there is US$160m going to insurance houses but not benefiting the generality of Zimbabweans. That is all the people that are paying that quarterly. 

          I have suggested that in order that we do not lose lives unnecessarily, we need to make sure that Government is mandated with collecting that third party insurance. You have already said it yourself, the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, that you want to take out of that money in order that you plough back to disaster management funds. My view would be let Government be the sole issuer of third party insurance, because we are not seeing anything that is tangible that is being produced by that third party insurance. There is US$160 million going to the pockets of very few. Let it go to Government in order to sort out the issue of road carnage.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the reason why we have a lot of road carnage and are losing lives unnecessarily, is because there was deregularisation back in the 90s of the passenger service vehicle operations or modus operandi. It is my clarion call therefore, that there be regularisation of that transport sector again because we have a lot of public service vehicles chasing a few number of the electorate. There are few people that are being chased by a lot of vehicles. What it is going to mean is that there is going to be a lot of speeding in order to enhance competition by the public service vehicles. By saying public service vehicles, I mean kombis, buses and otherwise. So, we need just a Statutory Instrument or the amendment of the Act to regularise again on the public service transport sector. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

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

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?      HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think in the interest of time, it is important that when we are debating the budget issue, we focus on the issues contained in the budget. If we go astray, we are going to lose focus and we will not be able to touch on the issues that are contained in the budget. There are a lot of Members who have real issues that are contained in the budget. So, we should avoid repetition and going outside the budget. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order please. I assumed that Hon. Nduna was proffering something to the Minister. Can you continue Hon. Nduna.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is not easy not to be regimented and think like a simple mind. I am proffering solutions. I propose that the monies generated from bill boards in the City Councils and on the highways, be ploughed to road rehabilitation, maintenance and reconstruction. I also ask that the monies used or generated from parking fees by local authorities be channeled to the Central Revenue Fund and be directed to road rehabilitation because that is exactly where they are coming from, being generated from road user fees by those motorists.

          This debate is not for the faint hearted and it is not easy to the simple mind. Mr. Speaker Sir, I will go to the Aviation Sector. We have the hangers that were built by the Americans and the British that speak to and about the Boeing Aircraft. It is my view and it is my call to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, that if he can have a tit-a-tat with his other counterpart in the Executive who is the Minister of Transport, so that we are inclined to buying Boeing Aircraft. This is because we can utilise the existing infrastructure as opposed to going and leaning towards the air bus and other aircrafts which are going to see us wanting to establish hangers that are different from what we currently have.  

          Otherwise, we lose jobs to other nations because we cannot utilise the infrastructure that we have got. In the Eight Parliament, in 2016 in particular, there was a cap of 30 million tons raw chrome that we removed from Zimbabwe where Government said they can now liberalise or can export raw chrome to other neighbouring countries of 30 million tons. I know for a fact that we have not moved 15 million tons for refining or sell of that raw chrome to other countries. I ask therefore, that all that 15 million tons that is left be ring fenced and transported by NRZ, what it is going to generate is nothing less than a billion US$.    

          I believe that NRZ only needs US$650 million in order to reconstruct its rail link and buy wagons, engines and such like and revamp its communication systems. We are getting a billion US$ not from fiscas, but from what we got. Also in the same vein, for the Minister to ask that there be a Statutory Instrument to ring fence 10% of all minerals on all mining houses that be moved by NRZ. If we are moving coal and chrome, we have no need to travel at 120 kilometres an hour. We can use bulk goods transportation by NRZ and revitalize NRZ and make sure that we revamp NRZ.

          As I conclude, we are importing more than a thousand vehicles per month at a cost of more than US$4 million per month. It is my thinking therefore, that we have a geographical location which is called Special Economic Zone, bonded warehouse where we call in those that are selling to our unsuspecting innocent citizens, the mushikashikas and all the vehicles, the ex-jobs, to come and sell them whilst they reside here in Zimbabwe and they sell them in the currency that they were selling them for and we request because of the space we have given them here in Zimbabwe for them just to deposit 10% of their takings which is US$4 000 000.00 – we bank US$4000 000 and we revitalise our foreign reserves.

          I think this is doable and I ask therefore that before this is done, all vehicles so that we avoid smuggling and criminal activities in Zimbabwe – all new vehicles and second hand vehicles be registered at the ports of entry.  I also ask that....

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. KHUMALO):  Your time is up Hon. Member.

HON. NDUNA:  I ask that I be given another five minutes so that I conclude – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order please! Order, order please! Hon. Nduna, you said that you are winding up.  You cannot wind up in five minutes.  Please can you continue and finish up.

HON. TSUNGA:  I propose that the member’s time should not be extended.  Can he sit down? – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Nduna can you conclude?

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for your protection.  However much, the train is moving, if the dogs are barking, the train will never stop. 

There is an issue of the passenger service vehicle insurance and it speaks about the compensation of US$4 000.00 for the bereaved, US$1 500 for those that are injured – that is not being employed optimally, effectively and efficiently by the insurance houses.  They are playing cat and mouse with Government where after an accident has occurred, Government declares it a national disaster.  They pump out grains of maize, a coffin and other things - but there is money residing with the insurances.  I ask that all these issues to do with insurances and remittances for automobiles should be computerised so that we optimally and effectively compensate those that are bereaved and those that are injured.

I hope with these few remarks which were not simple and quickly perceivable to the simple mind, I have proffered solutions to the Hon. Minister of Finance and I want to thank you for your protection.

*HON. KARENYI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to make my contributions on this Finance Bill.

When I was looking at the Budget, I noticed that the Budget is not gender sensitive.  I feel that the Budget should be of assistance to women, because they are responsible for the welfare of the family.  When we look at the health aspect of the Budget, it did not allocate the 15% which is stated by the Abuja Declaration.  

We look at the maternity user fees and all the costs within the health sector, there is disharmony because the Budget is not very supportive.  When we look at the infrastructure of our health institutions, the clinics and hospitals, there is chaos, especially if we look at the few days gone by. The ward for women in post natal labour in one of the hospitals had a leaking roof.  Rain water flowed into the maternity ward and the women and children were affected – the beds and linen were wet.  Our Budget should be gender sensitive and protect these women who will be in labour.  There is need to increase this Budget. We need to put more money for breast and cervical cancer so that we fight these diseases. We call upon the Minister to increase money to this Budget which must be gender sensitive and protect women from these cancers. 

We have people who are living with HIV and AIDS.  In the past we have said that we only test viral loads in the capital city – Harare.  There should be decentralisation so that viral loads can be tested in any district at any institution.  This can only happen if the Budget is increased. 

There is need to provide adequate infrastructure or shelter for waiting mother so that they expect peacefully. 

Our Budget has not done much to relieve people from the high cost of medication because pharmacies are demanding payments for medication in US dollars.  People are now being affected by high blood pressure because of the stress caused by the life in Zimbabwe.  People cannot afford the cost of the medication.  An old lady in Chimanimani or Tsholotsho cannot afford to have those US dollars.

On education, 95% of that Budget is going to labour and nothing was allocated to infrastructure.  When we look at the girl child, the main reason why they end up turning to prostitution and indulging with sugar daddies is because there is not enough accommodation at the universities hence they are forced to lodge in the surrounding residential areas.  They then compensate or make up for their budget; they end up going into prostitution.  These are the future leaders, let us put up the appropriate infrastructure for them.

The Budget stated that sanitary wear is going to be tax free during importation. My big question is, when these sanitary pads have been taken into our retail shops for sale, are we going to monitor their price of this sanitary wear like the current cost which is $4, yet this is a high cost because they cannot afford it and they need to use a lot during their menstrual cycle.  Therefore, we are saying, the Government should have a way of distributing these sanitary pads in schools free of charge.  The Government should find a way of assisting.

          Still talking of sanitary pads, looking at a country like Zambia our neighbour, the same sanitary pads which are going for $4 in Zimbabwe, are going for only 30 cents and you wonder why.  They should be cheaper in Zimbabwe because we are a cotton growing country; we have the raw materials for these sanitary pads and it is God’s creation that women should go through their cycles and use sanitary pads.

          When we look at foreign currency, we have a lot of black market. The Minister should put measures to fight this black market and corruption.  The people who are responsible for financing this black market, who are they and where do they get the money from?  The simple conclusion is that, we have high ranking officials who have access to foreign currency who are fanning this black market using foreign currency.  Mr. Speaker, my suggestion which I am proffering to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is that in the future, he should come and report to this House about this foreign currency issue.  I do not know why people are heckling, but it is a known fact that we have problems in accessing the foreign currency.

Minister of Finance and Economic Development, we are pleading with you to please stop this illegal foreign currency exchange because people who are selling this foreign currency are known and those people financing this black market are also known. 

*HON. CHIDAKWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. Thank you Mr. Speaker, can the Hon. Member provide us with the V 11 of those people selling forex? 

*HON. KARENYI: Mr. Speaker, let me tackle another problem which we are facing in the country.  The problems is about the way we spend our money as a country. We must cut costs n the issue of foreign trips because we are milking our budget. We must cut our expenditure. We must stop unnecessary journeys abroad because these are draining our fiscus and lead to the drawback in our country. 

Before I sit down, may I please advise the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to introduce some other duties such as tax on perfume as a way of raising money.  Why do you want to target money on small things like perfume?  As far as I am concerned, this is not of some benefit to the nation but, I think the Minister must concentrate on raising money from other sources. We have old ladies in the rural areas who receive money through Eco-cash from their children and dependants and that money is taxed.  I am pleading with the Minister to remove this tax on Ecocash money transfers sent to our parents because we are already milking a cow which has already been milked and cannot provide us with more milk – thus milking a stone.  I thank you. 

HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  Allow me to make my submissions on the 2019 National Budget Statement so presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development on the 22nd of November in this Hon. House.  Hon. Speaker, without going much into the report, I sat into this House as the Committee Chairpersons were presenting their well informed Committee reports as given precedence by the Chair.

Every Committee reported that the budget falls short of the expectations of the requirements of the ministries.  If we budget for failure; if we fail to budget, we are budgeting for failure.  We run the risk of coming back in this House around June, seeking for more funds since all ministries would have run out of their allocated budget.  We must take cognisance and serious attention to all the Committee reports which have been presented to this House because they represent a cross-cutting consultative process which was done, including senior officials of our ministries who are going to superintend over this budget.  The critical area which the ministries were raising Hon. Speaker, is that whilst the Budget presents as one is to one exchange regime, the service providers to the ministries are respecting the parallel market command regime.  So, where we have budgeted to build a school and purchase cement on a one to one basis, the reality on the ground is that there exists a 1 is to 3.5 regime.  Therefore, we cannot sit as a House to pass a National Policy Statement which we know that it is not going to deliver and it is bound to fail.  We would have lied to the nation first, and we would have lied even to the Executive including His Excellency himself.

  Hon. Speaker, at the time of the Pre-Budget consultation process, inflation was recorded in this House to be around 5.1.  Yesterday, ZIMSTATS released official figures relating that the inflation was now at 31%.  This is the official month on month inflation rate but the reality on the ground is that this inflation is much more than that.  What are we saying if we are supposed to make laws for the good governance of this nation, if we are on a reality background and reality check that the very same statement which we are going to be producing when we say yes to this budget, is not going to fulfill the aspirations and expectations of the people?

Just for example Hon. Speaker, we are crippled with a strike in the health sector where doctors have withdrawn their services.  This budget as it stands, pronounced before the strike commenced, had allocated $41 RTGS per individual in this country.  That is, if you divide the total figure allocated to the Health Ministry, divided by our population as stated by the United Nations in the month of November to be 17 million, you would find that we budgeted $41 RTGS per individual towards the health sector.  This is unsustainable.  Other nations in the SADC and in fact the SADC recommendation, is that we must budget US$75 per capita if we are going to sustain our health system.  So there is need to relook into that sector.

Hon. Speaker, as we debate this budget, some of my colleagues have left this House – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, Hon. Members.

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Some of my colleagues have left this House not because they did not want to pay attention to the budget but they have gone to join fuel queues.  It has now become so much difficult to conduct business and I hope the Minister, at some particular time, will commission an investigation as to how much productive time is lost by civil servants and private sector members as they queue in fuel queues for them to be able to access fuel.  The Minister must come clean on the fuel procurement policy in this budget.

Information which we are getting, Hon. Speaker, from the Minister of Energy and Power Development is that the Government secured fuel for 18 months through a private player called Tagwirei and Sakunda - Trafigura.  The Deputy Minister came to Parliament the following week and said we are now running short of foreign currency to procure the same.  There is policy pronouncement inconsistency between the people occupying the same office in the same Ministry, but the reality on the ground is that there is no fuel in our country.  At some point we were told that fuel is lacking simply because there is too much industry which is responding to the do business mantra, but the reality is that we do not have fuel.

I do not want to address the symptom; I want to address the policy perspective in this budget.  How are we going to procure our fuel going forward?  Why can we not liberalise our fuel procurement system so that we do not all depend on Sakunda.  Sakunda has gotten us into a situation whereby they give us fuel on a mandate of 18 months and they come back again and say we cannot give further supply of that fuel because you have not paid.  The Hon. Minister was in the media some time saying because of foreign currency inconsistencies we are failing to meet our obligation with our sole supplier of fuel.  I think that policy needs to be reviewed so that we liberalise our procurement policy and then allow Zuva, Total, Engen and every other player in the fuel market to be able to supply fuel.  At the end of it all, it comes back to our one to one exchange regime.  The other players cannot respond to that policy of liberalisation because our fuel will then end up fetching other prices.

There is also the issue of ethanol blending.  I think it is high time the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, in his ancillary role with the Minister of Energy and Power Development, again to liberalise the ethanol blending policy.  We again have a sole player in the ethanol field who determines the prices willy nilly.  Ethanol at Tongat Hullet in Chiredzi goes for 10c less than that in Chimanimani.  Who is benefiting over that 10c?  Ten cents per litre of fuel is too much.  We need to liberalise some of these policies and allow other players to be able to enter into the market, thereby having free trade competition which results in the reduction of prices.

I will come to Vote number 2.  I say Vote number 2 in respect of Hon. Members.  I am sure you know what Vote number 2 is.  Vote number 2 falls far short of the expectations, not only legitimate expectations of Members of Parliament.  Before we come to debate the budget, there is a pre-budget process that happens in confidence because we need to respect each other with the Executive where the Hon. Minister is present in his capacity as a member of the SROC. 

Certain commitments were made so that at least we see a realisation of capacity and empowerment of Parliament under Vote number 2.  When we went to the Pre-Budget Seminar in Bulawayo, you will discover Hon. Speaker, that there was not much debate because it was on the understanding that prior commitments had been done by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

When the Minister of Finance and Economic Development was presenting his maiden National Budget Statement, all of us had confidence in him.  We thought that what he would have agreed with our seniors, our representatives to the SROC in confidence, he was going to execute as such.  He did nothing.  We do not want to be tempted as Members of Parliament to come to a situation whereby we say we are not going to pass the budget because the Minister of Finance and Economic Development did not respect us. In essence, what he did under Vote number 2 is to disrespect Parliament.

Parliament in its wisdom, having elected members across the political divide, approached the Minister who made certain serious commitments which are not to do with welfare.  No, they are to do with capacitation of Parliament.  I will point out one issue – the establishment of Parliamentary Constituency Information Centres.  At the inception of this 9th Parliament, we had two critical workshops - one at Pandari and the other one at HICC where the issue of the establishment of PCICs was critical and the substantive Speaker, Hon. Mudenda, had far reaching statements to the extent that we cannot capacitate Parliament if we have not yet capacitated Parliamentarians. 

You cannot capacitate Parliamentarians if the seats where they do the majority of their work have got no capacity building mechanisms and tools and the major tool is the PCICs.  What did the Hon. Minister give us under Vote number 2, he gave us $2 380 per MP for the whole year.  If I am going to employ an assistant researcher to assist me to make informed debates in this Parliament, for the good governance of our citizens for us to be able to make good laws, I need to be assisted in terms of research.  Our parliamentary selection process does not stipulate that one must be an academic to be in Parliament.  This is why we have got Members from Buhera South.  One must not be gifted to be an academic researcher – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. NDUNA:  On a point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir.  Whilst we actually enjoy the powers and immunities of Parliament in terms of our debate, it is my thinking that the Hon. Member of Parliament, Hon. Chikwinya is out of line in terms of what it is that he has said, trying to belittle the people of Buhera South in the manner and how he has presented himself.  I ask that he does not only withdraw that assertion that we have people that have no choice in Buhera South, but that he also be stopped in his debate – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order.

HON. NDUNA:  So that he knows that he cannot repeat this now and in the future.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Chikwinya, with all due respect, can you withdraw that statement.

HON. CHIKWINYA: Hon. Speaker, I withdraw, it was polical banter  Hon. Chair, my point to note to the Hon. Minister is that the funds allocated for the establishment of the PCICs not only is it not enough, but it is non-existent because remember, it is coming on a backdrop of being divided by a factor of 3.5.  So the Minister has simply ignored the establishment of PCICs and is comfortable with working with uninformed Parliamentarians.

Hon. Speaker, Chapter 12 of our Constitution establishes a Bill of Rights.  Accordingly, the Commissions around the Bill of Rights have been so much underfunded because a budget is a policy and a policy is a statement of intent.  If you then incapacitate institutions that are supposed to promote human rights, you then can read into the mindset of the Executive.  They have given $44 million to the Judicial Services Commission and $2 million to the Zimbabwe Media Commission, $2 million to the Gender Commission, $3million to the Human Rights Commission and $2 million to the Peace and Reconciliation Commission. 

Why so much underfunding to Commissions that are to do with human rights and then you so much fund a Commission that simply promotes the packages of the Bench.  Are we not capturing the Bench?  What are we trying to hide behind if we are going to be doing our issues and businesses in a corrupt free manner?  Hon. Speaker, the 2019 National Budget is interlinked with the TSP.  When the Hon. Minister announced the TSP, he spoke of reforms, political, institutional reforms because he had identified that the non-performance of our economy is largely benched by a non-reformist Hon. Members having been making a lot of noise.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, can we have less noise in the House please.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: In the announcement of the TSP, there were issues to do with reforms.  There is now silence in the Budget; when the Hon. Minister first entered office, he had identified that for an economy to perform, even if we multiply this budget by 20, if we do not reform certain sectors of our institutions, the constitutional provisions aligning our laws to the constitutional provisions, we are not going to move because the economy cannot be separated from politics.  He has been silent in the budget.  I want him to go back and retrack himself. 

          When he was speaking to issues of engagement, repealing of AIPPA and POSA,

[Time Limit]

budget accordingly for the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for it to be able to respond to the political reforms which enable economic reform.  We cannot separate political reform with economic reform.  To that extend Hon. Speaker, I will conclude by saying the first political reform which needs to be sponsored by this Budget is the return to legitimacy – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – The Budget must not be silent on this critical issue yet we as Parliament seated here, there is a judgement by Hon. Justice Chidyausiku in the Matter between Jonathan Moyo versus Austin Zvoma, that Parliament is the highest concentration of political leadership.  So, we must be able to confront political questions under the biggest policy pronouncement of Government, which is the National Budget.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. MGUNI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  May I add my voice that since 2013, when I came to this House; on budget allocation, I have seen that this one is better than all of them I ever came across – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Can the Hon. Member be heard in silence please.

HON. MGUNI: Proper allocation and realistic, we have to see whether actually, that money is going to reach where it is allocated; otherwise the allocation is the best ever over all the budgets I have come across.  Hon. Speaker Sir, there are very good things in this budget, where for the first time, we will see each province getting $31 million for the devolution system.  Let us not look at the negative side only, we also need to encourage the Minister that, that one like devolution of power where he has allocated $31million, that is thumbs up from us.

Mr. Speaker Sir, IMF, which is the world renowned financial institution – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, do not make me to do things that I do not want to do.

HON. MGUNI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am talking about IMF, which is the world’s renowned financial institution which has also given thumbs up to the TSP that we have.  Now, what does this mean?  It has already shown the fruits that in two months, after being implemented, we could save $29 million from our coffers.  So, it shows that we can improve and save more money so that we can pay the debts that we have, which is a positive sign towards paying debts.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like the lawyers to quote this one; according to the Customs Act, Section 4 (a) (b) (c) it provides that a customs officer without any notice, can go into a vessel, a house or a car that is now turning into a business environment and search or break through to search, that is the Customs Act – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Therefore the Minister is correct to do that.

Hon. Speaker Sir, the title of a Professor comes from the word prophecy in the Bible.  I was also worried about the fuel levy when the Minister announced that there will be fuel levies but now I have read around the world that the prices of fuel are dropping and already Zimbabwe’s fuel is cheaper.  So, he is correct to levy that fuel – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.  Hon. Members, to those who are making a lot of noise, I have been watching you, you were debating and nobody was disturbing your debate – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – so, please can you give this Hon. Member time to debate and may you listen.  Do not force me to send people out, do not enjoy that.

HON. MGUNI: Hon. Speaker Sir, as we stand here today, the bond, about a month back was trading at 3.5 :1 to a dollar. Today it is at 2.6:1, which shows that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – which shows that the bond is gaining slowly but surely.  Therefore, if it continues gaining, most of the three tier systems will be done away with because the bond will be equal to a dollar at 1:1. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, on the advice or solutions, the Minister has to intensify what our President started on taking money from those who externalised, who banked the money outside.  Let us not leave that programme to let them come back with that money and bank in the Nostro Accounts that the Minister has now done because the statistics of the Nostro Accounts show that it has increased by 45% within a short period.  It shows that Zimbabweans are accepting and actually using those accounts.  So, can those people with external accounts come back home.

I would also want to advise the Minister that there is need to intensify their revenue services by creating awareness to the Zimbabweans.  I would like to give you an example where Zimbabweans do not like paying taxes to their own Government.  For example, a vehicle like a Honda Fit is bought in Japan with US dollar but now when they have to pay the Government with the same currency, they refuse [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – so what is happening?  Mr. Speaker Sir...

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Members, can we have order in the House.

          HON. O. MGUNI: What we need to do is, the Ministry has to create stands all over, the malls, taxi ranks, shopping centre et cetera and to educate Zimbabweans why it is important to pay tax to the Government. A lot of them are avoiding paying tax yet they are living luxuriously.  Mr. Speaker Sir, there is a wing in anti corruption that is needed in Zimbabwe which is called forfeiting unit.  To forfeit is to go to a person who embezzled funds in a wrongful way, a person who did fraudulent activities; not only to be sentenced in court but you need to recover those things that were acquired wrongly, they must be brought back to the State and some must be auctioned, even if it is houses so that the State does not completely lose.  The Minister must advocate for this to be implemented.

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me say it is very good in Zimbabwe to pass through a phase where Zimbabwe has to learn to use its resources to get money. I was reading today where America was accusing Zambia of getting a lot of money from the Chinese and they were saying Zambia has been colonised by China.  I think the painful way Zimbabwe is going through will enable Zimbabwe to learn to use its resources rather than to go and put itself under another colony, coming out of a colony to another; we need to stand up.  We need a bold and action driven person like the Minister of Finance.  Mr. Speaker, let me thank you for giving me an opportunity to contribute.  I thank you very much - [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

          +HON. N. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to add my voice on the allocation that was done to the Forestry Commission. The Commission was not given anything but they are saying they have to get 50% from TIMB.  The Minister said that the Commission should get 50% from TIMB but we do not know how much was allocated to TIMB.       

          Mr. Speaker Sir, if Forestry Commission is given 50% by TIMB whilst we do not know how much was given to TIMB, suppose it was given US$10, how much is 50% of this amount? This is a sign that Forestry Commission will not get anything from that. Therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, if Forestry Commission do not get money, we know that trees are life, we get oxygen from them and in this case, the country must not stop planting trees because the Commission was not given anything.  We should continue planting trees.  If we do not have trees as a nation, there will be soil erosion and the country will not benefit from that. 

          Soil erosion can also lead to land degradation which will in turn lead to poor crops.  Very poor soils result in poor harvest and once people are poor, women for example, this can impact on the lives of their families.  We are therefore asking the Minister of Finance to allocate enough resources to the Forestry Commission for we are all surviving from trees. 

I want also to add my voice on tourism, there is the 15% levy that is being charged on all the tourists that are coming into the country.  We indicated that as a country, the 15% is a bit on a higher note.  The Minister promised that Government will revisit those percentages but we are not sure as to how much it will be reduced by so that we can attract more tourists.  Because of that 15% that is being charged to the tourists that are currently coming into the country, you will realise that most of them are no longer coming to Zimbabwe but they prefer going to South Africa then drive to Zimbabwe and this is affecting our economy.  Therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, we are asking the Minister of Finance to reduce the tax from 15% to at least a reasonable percentage which will lure the tourists into coming to our country.

          On the transport sector we have the IATA debt that has risen to a huge figure and as a country, we have spent so much money from other countries and we are no longer able to pay the debts.  Whilst we are not able to pay the debts as a country, we do not even have our own fleet of aeroplanes.  I was shocked last week that they had to jump start an aeroplane which was scheduled for Victoria Falls and that is a danger to the people boarding the plane.  Mr. Speaker Sir, how can we as a country not have our own flights and with the extent of our indebtedness, there is no country that will want their flights to fly into Zimbabwe.  It is a sign that we will remain poor as a country.

          I will touch on the issue of wildlife in Hwange for example, the people there are cohabiting with animals. When you go to Hwange, you realise that the elephants move around. Most of the time people meet them as they do their day to day business and this is a danger to human life.  People from Hwange also indicated that if they ask the rangers to come and help them, most of the times they cite the issue of shortage of fuel or vehicles to use.  All these things that I have highlighted on bring down the economy.  Most of the times the poachers will just come in and take elephant tusks for example. Because we do not have a tracking mechanism to use to track the poachers, they just go scot free. EMA has been allocated a better budget this time.  We do appreciate that Hon. Minister.

          HON. MKARATIGWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to sing a different tune.  It is of paramount importance to allow the country to move forward. Most of the issues being raised are not new, they were debated comprehensively – [HON. MEMBERS: arikureader.] –

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

          HON. MKARATIGWA: They were debated comprehensively and I am sure the Hon. Minister of Finance gave due and thorough considerations on these issues but suffice to say he is between a rock and a hard place...

HON. CHIBAYA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.  That is not the Hon. Member’s maiden speech, therefore he cannot read.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  What is the point of order?

HON. CHIBAYA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, that is not the Hon. Member’s maiden speech, therefore he cannot read.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, may you refer to your notes.

HON. MKARATIGWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I am referring to my notes.  Mr. Speaker Sir, let us take all submissions as a wish list.  Surely, reality must prevail to achieve any turnaround amidst scarce resources.  To achieve any turnaround, you need resources and you allocate them according to priority.  It is a fact; we are under sanctions and cannot ignore that in our consideration.  The US dollar, of course is not sustainable as an only currency.  The obtaining multi currency system can only be managed so we eventually come up with our own currency.  I applaud the splitting of accounts into FCA and RTGs.  Take note that the Bond Note was already in place when the Hon. Minister took office and we know how it came about as a stopgap measure to deal with the drying up of the US dollar and the crippling cash challenges. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, we need a weaker currency to stimulate productivity and promote exports.  You cannot drive and sustain an export initiative on a US dollar based pricing model.  Our cost of production is very high and that is the reason why we are not competitive in the region.  This is why the United States of America, from time to time, complain about the Chinese currency being undervalued.  China deliberately embraces a devalued currency system in order to drive exports and enhance domestic production...

HON. TSUNGA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  What is your point of order?

HON. TSUNGA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, it is apparent that the Hon. Member is reading word for word, as a statement probably prepared for him.  It is my humble submission Mr. Speaker Sir, that he debates the Budget.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Member.  I have already made a ruling on that point.  There is no need for you to repeat that point of order.  Please go ahead Hon. Member.

HON. NDUNA:  I ask for your indulgence Mr. Speaker. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I have already made a ruling, we need to move forward, what is your point of order?

HON. NDUNA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I ask that you do not indulge professional Members of Parliament who are only good at raising points of order and are themselves, not able to debate.  I ask that you do not indulge them in any way Mr. Speaker, in particular, this Hon. Member that I am looking at.  Mr. Speaker Sir....

 THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Nduna.  I have already made a ruling on that point long back, so there is no need for you to downplay my ruling.  Hon. Nduna, please. 

HON. MUKARATIRWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I was saying, China deliberately embraces and enhances a weaker currency to drive exports and enhance domestic production.  It is a known success story.  In fact, it is an envy of many countries, undeveloped, developed and even developing countries.  My thinking is that instead of too much criticism and resistance, let us embrace convergence and encourage the Minister to carry on with his plan and vision for reviving the country’s economy.   

If we focus on agriculture, mining, manufacturing industry and all other issues enshrined in the TSP, we will definitely succeed.  We have agriculture and horticulture, why should we import soya beans for example, why should we import crude oil, why should we import wheat, why should we import fruits and why should we export minerals in raw form?  We must value add.  It takes all of us to build our economy.  We need systems everywhere in the country.  We must be accountable in both private and public sectors.  Systems promote maximisation of revenue collection which down turns into our fiscal system.  It promotes quantitative and qualitative production which guarantees acceptance of our export commodities in the export market.  I support the fiscal Budget with minimum and constructive adjustments.  I thank you. 

HON. MUSHAYI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise in this august House as a very humble Member and yet proud from Kuwadzana.  At the outset, I want to place on record, my most profound gratitude to the people of Kuwadzana for their trust in me to represent them.  I will always honour, respect and cherish that trust – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections]. –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  May we have less noise in the House Hon. Members.  Order Hon. Members!

HON. MUSHAYI:  My name is Miriam Mushayi, I represent Kuwadzana Constituency.  I am going to debate on this Budget as a woman from Kuwadzana Mr. Speaker Sir.  From the onset, I am going to say that this Budget is confusing, contradictory and totally anti-poor.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I join my colleagues in asking the Minister of Finance to declare to the nation what currency he is basing this Budget on.  Can the Hon. Minister tell the nation whether it is Bond Note, US Dollar or RTGs.  I ask this pertinent question Mr. Speaker Sir because if all these allocations are in RTGs, then the figures mean something else totally different from what we are seeing on paper...

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Member.  May you be reminded that it is pointless to repeat points that have been raised by other Hon. Members.  Can you bring out new issues that you have.  You can you go ahead with your debate.

HON. MUSHAYI:   Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I say that the budget is confusing to us particularly as women because according to this Budget Statement, we are told that the rate is 1:1, yet women cross border traders from Kuwadzana are asked to pay for duty on things like perfumes in United States dollars. Why should we be paying for the goods that we are importing in United States dollars if the rate is 1:1? Where do Cross Border Traders get the United States dollars or the foreign currency to pay for duty? At the moment Cross Border Traders are not priority according to the Reserve Bank priority list.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, if I, as a citizen, am found trading in foreign currency on the black market, I am jailed for 10 years, according to the Exchange Control Regulations, so where are we as Cross Border Traders, as women, going to get the USD to pay for the duty that we are now being asked to pay for the things that we are importing?  I say this budget is confusing and anti-poor because as Cross Border Traders we sell our goods in bond notes, we are then asked when we bring in goods for resale to pay in USD the duty, where do we get it from? This budget is punishing, particularly on Cross Border Traders who want to be able to look after their families and make sure that their families survive.  They are not able to put food on the table because of the demand for USD. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I therefore ask the Hon. Minister of Finance to look again at this demand and do the honourable thing.  I also ask the Hon. Minister of Finance to demonetise the bond note and liberalise the exchange rate.  I ask for this humbly because there is abundant evidence that the bond note has totally failed.

          The reason why people go to Japan to import vehicles is because they cannot afford to buy vehicles from Croco Motors, they cannot afford the expensive vehicles from service providers who provide new vehicles.  They save, through the nose which they are paid  in the RTGS form, they are not paid in USD. They then save through the nose to go and import these cheap vehicles from Japan.  When they bring them, according to this Budget Statement, they are now asked to pay for duty for those vehicles in USD.  Is this expectation realistic, Mr. Speaker Sir?

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I stand here to ask the Hon. Minister of Finance to tell us as a nation why it is that as a nation we are now expected to pay 2% transactional tax.  I ask this from the bottom of my heart because we are a highly taxed nation.  We are a seriously highly taxed nation to such an extent that my expectation as a common woman in the street, was that the Hon. Minister of Finance was actually going to scrap that tax and even give citizens another tax relief budget, to my surprise the transactional tax stays.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the 2% transactional tax is heartless, inconsiderate and an albatross on the neck of the poor person.  It is on record that this nation is highly taxed.  We therefore cannot continue to be adding on another tax to the poor suffering women of this country.  When the Hon. Minister of Finance said that they are going to be innovative and expand the tax revenue, we expected the Hon. Minister to be creative not to expand the tax revenue on the back of the suffering poor people of Zimbabwe.

          I am speaking about this budget as a woman from Kuwadzana.  I am speaking about the things that are passionate and dear to my heart.  One of the things that the Hon. Minister of Finance has said is that his macro framework assumption is that of a low inflation rate, of 20, 8% which is a two digit inflation.  Can the Hon. Minister explain to the nation how he is going to maintain the low inflation rate when two liters cooking oil that I was buying for $349 in July, 2018, is now going for $15 in my rural area in Buhera.  The packet of rice that I was buying for $2.80 in July, 2018, is now going for $5.

 Mr. Speaker Sir, this is 100% increase.  Can the Hon. Minister explain to the nation how he is going to keep the inflation rate low when we are operating in a multiple  price regime environment?  We have the bond note price, the RTGS price, the USD price and ecocash price for everything that we are buying in this country.  So, which price and currency did he use to calculate the inflation rates? 

          On this point Mr. Speaker Sir, I am going to share with you a personal experience.  My 93 year old father is diabetic, he depends on tablets called Galvus, if we walk outside this building and go to a pharmacy, and the tablets cost USD68 for a month supply.  If they are available in that particular pharmacy, they will multiply the USD68 by four to get the bond note rate equivalent. No one in my family of six is paid in USD.  So, where are we going to get the USD to make sure that our 93 year old survives?

          Mr. Speaker Sir, were these things that I am talking about factored in when the Minister of Finance was doing the calculation of his inflation rate and when he was doing the budget allocations?  If that was not done then this budget and this Government are making citizens die a slow death.

          I see that the domestic debt is sitting on 9,6 billion as at September 2018.  As a woman, I ask the Hon. Minister of Finance to be both transparent and accountable around the Zimbabwean debt.  If it was Mr. Mushai coming into my house and saying to me, lady we now owe so much to the people out there.  I would ask him a couple of questions.  He has to tell me how much is owed to whom? Why are we owing Mr. who and what was that money used for?

          It is totally unfair for the Hon. Minister of Finance Prof. Mthuli Ncube for example, to tell us that the Government borrowed $2 million according to the 2017 Blue Book, page 32, to finance RBZ special projects.  What animal is called RBZ special projects? 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, these are public funds, we need to be told what constitutes RBZ special projects. We demand full disclosure regarding all the country’s debts.  The Hon. Minister of Finance cannot just tell us that the nation will now have so much debt at the moment – he should tell us why we borrowed, where the money was used and the measures that we are putting in place to ensure the following:-

1.    That we do not continue to borrow with no control;

2.    We do not borrow beyond our means; and

3.    We have the capacity to pay back our debts;

Unfortunately, I do not see convincing and plausible measures being articulated in this budget.  I see a lot of tokenism in terms of the so called austerity measures to control the Government’s huge appetite to borrow and overspend.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker Sir, can the Hon. Minister of Finance tell the nation why the domestic debt is now higher than the external debt?  Is that exercising fiscal management prudence or we have now decided that we are going to throw the dictates of financial discipline out of the window as a nation? 

In conclusion, I ask why it is that the measures that the Hon. Minister of Finance is putting in place are affecting the common person more.  We are now being asked to pay for duty in USD. We now have to pay the transactional tax.  We are now being asked to pay fines which have risen exorbitantly from $30 to $700.  Mr. Speaker Sir, where does a person who earns $350 get $700 for example to pay a fine?  What this punitive measure is going to do, is to promote corruption because I am going to get into the street, pay the police officer a bribe to make sure he does not give me a ticket which has a value of $700, which I cannot afford because I earn $350. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, unless as a nation and the Hon. Minister of Finance can look at some of these things and say to us, these measures are not at all pro-poor, they are anti-poor, retrogressive and make the common person on the street suffer.  As I sit down Mr. Speaker Sir, may I ask the Hon. Minister of Finance, through your office, on why it is that all these measures are being introduced without public consultation?  Are the citizens now so unimportant in the governance matrix that we are being rail roded into accepting anything?  I humbly ask the Hon. Minister of Finance, through you Mr. Speaker Sir, to go out and consult the public on all the measures so that he hears how the nation is groaning and suffering – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] – I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          HON. P. CHIDAKWA:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  Firstly, I would like to thank the Minister of Finance for a well researched and well balanced budget statement.  You have tried your best given the stress you had.  Mr. Speaker Sir, we urge the Minister to fully implement what he had set out to do.  I believe that we are on the right path and a journey of 1000 steps starts with one step.  This has to be done.  So, we are on the right direction.  The reduction of the budget deficit will solve most of our problems.

          I would like to urge those who have called for sanctions to please go to back and remove the sanctions.  Unfortunately Mr. Speaker Sir, those who called for sanctions did not call for sanctions which discriminate between their supporters and our supporters; they are affecting everybody.  For the progress of this country, sanctions must go – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I am hearing sentiments saying bond note has failed; I am actually very surprised.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the bond note is as strong as whatever currency in Southern Africa – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – 1:3.  The Rand is 14.  Whatever you may call it, RTGs nostro is the strongest in Southern Africa – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, all progressive Zimbabweans who have Zimbabwe at heart and have their supporters at heart, who have been legitimately elected to rule must not “dira jecha.”  They must join the Minister to implement this budget and make Zimbabwe great again.

          HON. DR. LABODE:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I will be short.  I just wanted to tell the Minister that personally I was very disappointed with the allocation for the Ministry of Health.  Seven hundred dollars allocated to the Ministry of Health today translates to about $200 million.  That is enough in hospitals for food and cleaning material but no drug will be bought in that institution – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] -  As I am talking to you today, there are no drugs in hospitals.  Forget about the doctors being on strike.  Even if you went to the hospital, you would actually be told to go and buy your drugs.  We should not joke about this, because this is serious.  Health is not like agriculture.  We can choose to go on a hunger strike for a month but you cannot choose to allow a sickness to last for more than 24 hours in you, you will die. 

          I once saw the Minister on a programme where he says actually he does not subscribe to the 15% Abuja Declaration as a benchmark for a good budget allocation but rather he believes in impact.  I watched that and I said to myself; as people are dying in the hospital, in his mid-term review, he must tell us how many people have died in these central hospitals, which to me will be an impact.  Fifteen per cent for me also, I do not believe is enough because it depends on your economy I think, but still it is something that tells you that you have put adequate money towards something.

          Today we were in Kadoma as a Committee on Health.  We met the Ministry of Health, they raised these issues and I asked the Director for non-communicable diseases to do a snap survey immediately now on the death from diabetes, hypertension and cancers related to the situation that is on now.  Also, they should go back a year and see how many people died at the same time because people are dying I am telling you yet we are sitting here and joking. 

          I want to tell you that if today we approved this budget, tomorrow the $200 million will go out there and buy soap at times four, buy cabbage to feed people in the hospitals.  They will not buy drugs because they do not have foreign currency.  We invited the pharmaceutical industry to the Health Committee and something came out very clear there.  The manufacturers want foreign currency to manufacture; that is a long term strategy.  The wholesalers want foreign currency to supply pharmacies and that is another mid-term strategy.  I know Government has opted to re-vitalise NatPharm, which I think is a brilliant idea but unfortunately it is another mid-term one.  Hon. Minister, we have been revitalising NatPharm since Adam was a fetus. I have been at this game.  It needs fiscus discipline, you need to set a good board and you need to move at such a speed you have never seen to say NatPharm will take over and supply drugs immediately. 

          What I am saying is that we have no option but to move with NatPharm.  We need to move at such a speed that within a month or so, NatPharm must take its own position and start supplying drugs to the public sector.  If NatPharm supplies drugs to the public sector, allow the private institutions to find their own money and buy their drugs and sell at whatever price they so wish as long as drugs are there in institutions, in the public sector.  That is how we used to operate in the 1980s when we were at hospitals.  We had what was called the medical stores. The medical stores was given the mandate by Government to order drugs on behalf of public institutions.  We got our drugs from public institutions and not from a private supplier somewhere and then we distributed.  We never even knew where the pharmacies got the drugs because they were not allowed to buy from the medical stores but there were drugs in the pharmacies. So, what I am saying is that yes, I applaud you Minister but you need to move faster on Natpharm.

We lobbied for a levy called the health levy with civil society with the last Minister of Finance. We had so many meetings with him and we finally agreed that as a move to increase domestic funding towards  healthy we introduce this health levy. That money was supposed to come to the health sector, not part of the money to go somewhere we do not know. Now, we are learning that you are actually collecting 10% and giving only 5% to the Ministry of Health. We demand that you give the 10% and that you go backwards to where you started collecting and bring the money back to where it belongs because that money would make a huge difference.

We were collecting that money for non-communicable diseases because we know the other diseases are covered by the Global Fund, WHO and so on but there is a section – no donor wants to give the hospitals money because that is what exposes the incompetency of the Government. If you do not give hospitals money quickly, the masses know that people are dying but with HIV one will die in their village or wherever. We have no donor in hospitals and so, we need Government to stand in hospitals. We need our money Minister, tomorrow.

As I stand here I know people think that we are just here to condemn the Minister. The idea for this debate is to bring to the attention of the Minister some of the issues that he may not be thinking about, not just to be time flyers – no, but to bring some of these issues. Minister, I am asking for this money.

HON. TSUNGA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I also rise to add my voice to this important debate. Before I proceed Mr. Speaker Sir, there are quite a number of issues that I wish could be addressed or attended to by the Hon. Minister before this Hon. House can pass the budget.

First, we need to know the anchor currency of this budget. We need to understand why expenditure for ministries has gone up whereas we are talking about austerity, why there are illegalities that have been highlighted and how the Minister is going to address those. We need also to make sure that the budget is a developmental budget because as it is from the discussions that we have done, it appears that it is more of a consumptive rather than a development budget. So those fundamental issues Mr. Speaker, need to be addressed.

Having said that Mr. Speaker Sir, I represent Mutasa South Constituency with unique demographic characteristics and I am going to be speaking to issues that impact my constituency in as much as they impact everyone else in the country. The dire economic situation and the crippling cash crisis impacting the lives of our people have not been adequately addressed in the budget, especially with regard to how the Minister is going to be dealing with this cash crisis.

Unemployment Mr. Speaker, estimated at over 95% is obviously a bomb waiting to explode and the Minister has not categorically addressed the issue of unemployment and how the budget is going to be dealing with this debilitating problem. Because of the high unemployment rate that the budget has manifestly or clearly failed to address, there are coping mechanisms that our people are employing that are not beneficial to anyone but rather detrimental to development of our people.

Our people have resorted for example to transactional sex, substance abuse and other forms of illegal, unsustainable and unsafe livelihood activities. It is my submission Mr. Speaker, that the Minister should have deliberately taken the issue of addressing unemployment in his budget. What now happens is that our people, women and youths become much more vulnerable and susceptible to political manipulation by selfish politicians and this is quite dangerous for the development of our country.

I have already referred to unemployment but I must say that we have a mine where I come from which is laying off workers enmass and without any indication as to when those workers will be able to get their terminal benefits. Some of the workers, for example at the forestry plantations in Shiba in Mutasa South are earning as little as $100 and that is RTGs translating to something like $30 given the submissions already made in here.

Also, the issue of sustainable living wages needed also to be addressed by the Minister in his budget because the one to one ratio is clearly a fallacy and will not work. Extreme poverty usually associated with rural areas in this country is now also prevalent in urban areas. The budget, instead of tackling the problem of poverty is actually fueling urbanisation of poverty and we are seeing poverty being much more manifest even in urban areas. 

The bond note artificially pegged at one to one with the US$ is unsustainable as a medium of exchange and Zimbabwe deserves better. I think the Minister must be real and as one Hon. Member has already indicated, must be brave enough to declare the one to one ratio as unrealistic and untenable. It really must be scrapped because it is not helping this economy, our people or this country. If anything, it is fuelling corruption and accelerating the levels of poverty amongst our people.

Also, the issue of promoting artisanal mining should have been deliberately addressed in the budget but there appears to be nothing. If anything, the Executive has tended to focus more on prohibition rather than on regulation but prohibiting the advancement of our people for those that are trying to eke a living out of artisanal mining.

Having said that Mr. Speaker, I will not dwell much on  what others have already said as you have already stated but I must say that by way of recommendation from my point of view, the there is need to out rightly scrape the bond note and secondly…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Member, the issue of bond note has been highlighted on numerous occasions and it is tedious repetition.  Please can you bring out new issues that you have and not to continue repeating bond note ?

          HON. TSUNGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  During my tenure as a teacher, you needed to reinforce, it is called – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Thank you very much.  I am happy though on a positive note that the issue of ghost workers has been attended to and I think it is going to save this country a little bit of some money, so it is a plus on the part of the Minister.  I think much more needs to be done in that regard and of course the need to accelerate the State reforms.  I must also reinforce the issue of looking at the Parliamentary Vote that I think not much has been done and the Minister has to review upwards the Vote on Parliament.  I think it will be in our interest and in the interest of the country to improve our oversight role that that budget be reviewed upwards so that we are able to perform as Parliament.  I thank you.

          HON. MUSANHI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to congratulate the Minister of Finance for unveiling such a budget.  The issue here is our two Ministers of Finance from 2013 up to now, they have gone on a very hard path.  It was difficult to travel this path.  It looks like some of our friends here when they are on the helm, they want to think they are doing it for the good of the country but as soon as they leave the helm, they will go back and say I am no longer there, put sanctions so that it can be difficult to maneuver.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue is the Minister here has gone through turbulence and has seen how difficult it was to maneuver this country.  If you look at what he did on the budget, he has put a lot of money on education and agriculture to try and stimulate our economy.  So, our friends from that side, if they see us closing our eyes and listening when people are talking, they think we are sleeping, yet we are closing the eyes in order to concentrate and listen to what is being said. 

          The issue of bond note, we were all here, it was pegged to the United States Dollar because there was an Afrexim Bank which offered us a loan to support that bond note so that the bond note is equal to the United States Dollar because of the United States Dollar bond that is there, that is held somewhere.  We cannot over night go through the black market and try to change our rate from the actual rate to black market rate.  The argument here is the bond note holds its value.   I respect people like Hon. Dr. Labode who contributes meaningfully and proffer solutions not to come and criticise the Minister who is trying to make the ship move, then you criticize him to the level that he does not know what he is doing.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Minister has done his best and I congratulate him.  All the people who are on this side who listen like me; who close eyes when listening so as to concentrate, they must actually pass this budget without any problem.  I know from that side, you guys you are calling for –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Member.  We do not have guys in this august House, we have got Hon. Members.

          HON. MUSANHI: I am sorry Mr. Speaker Sir.  I withdraw that but you heckle too much you guys.  Hon. Members on this side behave like Honourables.  They do not heckle when someone is trying to express a point – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –…

          THE TEMPORARY: Order, order! Hon. Musanhi, address the Chair.  Please dwell into the motion.

          HON. MUSANHI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to close my remarks by thanking the Hon. Minister of Finance who is trying his best to try and move Zimbabwe from where it was to somewhere.  Thank you Mr. Speaker.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice to the issue of the budget.  Since a lot has been said, I will focus on a few issues which I think the Minister should address.  First and foremost, the Minister has noted that his budget anchored on Vision 2030, my request is that it is good for this nation that Hon. Members are given the actual document of the Vision 2030 because as it stands the budget is like anchored on a non-existent vision, probably a vision which was just announced at  some political rally and we do not have that vision. This actually reminds us of the reconciliation policy of the 1980s which was again just stated but there was no policy.

          So, it is important that we have the vision and when we debate, we really know what exactly the vision is all about. I would also want to acknowledge what the Hon. Minister had said that there is need to focus on the voice of the people and that the Government should also be anchored on accountability. The Hon. Minister said that he wants to promote the voice and accountability of the people as it is represented by Parliament. He also acknowledged the need to reorient the governance system towards democracy.

          My request is that the Hon. Minister should avail more funds towards reorienting the country towards democracy. Without democracy, re-engagement will not be possible without ensuring that the voice of the people is heard. What the Minister has represented will not be fulfilled. The Hon, Minister also noted that there is need to plug leakages in the mining sector, especially on gold. Surprisingly, there are no figures presented by the Hon. Minister to indicate how much the country is losing in terms of leakages. It now seems as if we are working on speculation.

          There is need to support a nationwide study to identify and have clean figures as to how much the country is losing in terms of...

          HON. NDUNA: I have got a point of order. Ndoda kumbokudirecta mbichana, gara pasi .- [HON. MEMBERS : Inaudible interjections.]-

          HON. BITI : Hon. Nduna cannot utter such words.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Let me first of all recognise you. I have not recognised you Hon. Nduna. May you sit down? Can you go ahead Hon. Member?

          HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for the protection. The issues I am highlighting are contained in the budget and I think they are really critical for the progress of this nation. I was just saying that the Hon. Minister indicated that there is need to plug leakages in the mineral sector. My humble request is that there is need to do a study to establish the quantities of leakages and how the country is losing and come up with measures to plug the leakages. In the budget, he highlighted gold only but we have heard before that close to US$15 billion went missing from the diamonds.

          It is also important to highlight what is happening in the diamond sector. The Hon. Minister only just talked about selling the diamonds that are being piled by ZMDC. The Hon. Minister also talked about supporting Small and Medium Enterprises. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important to recall that at some point, the Hon. Minister has noted that the economy of this nation is now highly informalised, but the way the Hon. Minister handled the issue of SMEs is not in line with the thinking that the economy is highly informalised.

          I would want to encourage the Hon. Minister to visit Mbare/Magaba and see what is going on there and also visit Glen View where carpentry is taking place. I think Hon. Minister, it is really good to see what is happening in the Small and Medium Enterprises, so that this sector is supported fully. We have a lot of people who are doing their work from their homes but they are not being supported. So, it is also important to have a clear number of how many and also the nature of SMEs that we have in the country.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Minister stated that in 2019, he is going to encourage payment of tax in currency of trade. It is important that the Minister of Finance do again research into establishing which sectors are really trading in foreign currency. For example, I will give the issue of vehicle parts, they are all being sold in foreign currency and I do not know if the Hon. Minister has captured that. The issue of drugs has been highlighted and there are many other issues that are being sold in foreign currency. So, it is important that there is clear indication of what is really happening.

          I would also want to join my colleagues who have highlighted the issue of fuel where there are queues all over. I would want to say that it is not only queues for fuel, but also queues for water. It is even important that we calculate the time that is being lost even by school going children when they are waiting to fetch water from boreholes. As we speak, the City of Harare is sitting on a time bomb because they are just able to supply a third of the required amount of water. So, it is important also that the budget should address this. The issue of Kunzvi Dam was highlighted in the budget but it will take a minimum of five years for Harare to receive water from Kunzvi Dam. So, it is also important that the Hon. Minister address this issue.

          In conclusion, there is another issue which was raised of purchasing vehicles. It is really disheartening to note that Honda Fit is being regarded as luxury vehicles. The other Hon. Member said that we have 1.5 million vehicles in Zimbabwe. If we compare with the total number of people in Zimbabwe, I think now we are more than 14 million. So surely, we cannot say Zimbabwe is now more necessary vehicles when we have 1.5 million against more than 14 million people. Importing a Honda Fit will never be a luxury vehicle. A vehicle is a necessity just like our ancestors used to use donkeys for transport, we need some mode of transportation which is in line with modernisation. We cannot talk of vision 2030 when we are not empowering people to own just a vehicle.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker Sir, all ministries that have presented their comments to the Budget have highlighted that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has been failing to disburse money allocated to those ministries on time.  They have also complained that the issue of demanding retention funds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund will cripple the work of the ministries.  I would want to encourage the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to rethink on the issue of demanding retained revenues from ministries and also that it is good that funds allocated to the ministries are given to the ministries timeoulsy.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. NDUNA:  You only said two things.

HON. BITI:  On a point of order, Hon. Nduna is so disrespectful to address Hon. Members in the – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. NCUBE):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 19th December, 2018.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. NCUBE), the House adjourned at Eighteen Minutes past Seven o’clock p.m.

 



 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 18 DECEMBER 2018 VOL 45 NO 25