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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 20 DECEMBER 2018 VOL 45 NO 27

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 20th 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

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received Non-Adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following;

a)    Finance (No. 2) Bill, [H. B. 9, 2018].

b)   All Statutory Instruments published in the Gazette during the month of November 2018.

PETITIONS RECEIVED

THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that I have received the following petitions:

                              i.            On 5th December 2018, Parliament received a petition from Deaf Women Included on the need to domesticate the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. The petition was deemed inadmissible and the petitioners have been notified accordingly.

                           ii.            On 11th December 2018, Parliament received two petitions from Community Water Alliance.  The first petition was on the need to safeguard the right of Zimbabweans to safe, clean and potable water in terms of Section 77 of the Constitution, while the second one was on procurement processes in the water sector.

The first petition has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water and Climate while the second one has been referred to the same Committee and the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development for a joint enquiry.

COLLECTION OF PREMIER SERVICE MEDICAL AID CARDS

THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform Hon. Members who applied for Premier Service Medical Aid to collect their medical aid cards from the clinic.

COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY

MAIN ESTIMATES OF EXPENDITURE

          First Order read: Committee of Supply 2019: Main Estimates of Expenditure.

          House in Committee.

          Vote 1 – Office of the President and Cabinet – US$294 700 000 put and agreed to.

          On Vote 2 – Parliament of Zimbabwe – US$101 013 000:

HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Chairperson. I rise to make submissions on Vote 2 – Parliament. The first critical issue is that this Vote does not support the capacitation of Parliament in the first manner that number one, if you look at the justification from secretariat itself, in conjunction with the work plans that have been submitted by all the Committees - including the latest documents that we received from the Speaker which is the national strategic document.  They speak to capacitation of Parliament in as far as 1) workshops are concerned.  We are having an issue whereby Committees are having to heavily rely upon technical partners, civil society organisation for capacity building.  That is unsustainable and that is not correct.  It puts Parliamentarians under the control of those civil society organisations. 

Parliament must be able to stand alone and capacitate its own members alone for them to be able to carry effective inquiries.  Some of the civil society organisations have got a conflicting mandate and mission with Parliament.  How then are we able to superintend and perform our oversight duties when we are being sponsored by the same civil society organisations?  In as far as capacitating members for them to be able to go through all the planned efforts, we need this Budget to be increased.  That is number 1.

Number 2 is the issue of Constituency Information Centres, only yesterday we received portraits of the President.  I did not take that portrait and that was not out of disrespect, but where do I put it.  Where do I hang it?  Are you going to be happy to see a parliamentarian hanging the portrait of the President under a tree because this is what the Minister is entailing and implying that I must hang the portrait of the President under a tree because he did not support the establishment of Parliamentary Constituency Information Centres – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

THE HON. CHAIRPERSON  Order in the House Hon. Members.  Can the Hon. Member be heard in silence please?

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Hon. Chair, only today – the 20th of

December, the Minister announced a new board for ZIMRA.  On that board is the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Finance.  I was seated across to understand his wisdom on why he put a permanent secretary to sit in the board.  His reasoning is why I did not stand up to raise a point of order because I could understand that they need a technical person who interlinks between the Ministry and the Board. The very same principle must be applied for Members of Parliament.  We need researchers to interface between the Constituency and the parliamentarians – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –  The very principle of having a technical mind interfacing with politicians because board members are policy makers and like politicians, we also need researchers to be able to understand the technical input from the Constituency to the parliamentarians who then present as a matter of policy to Parliament.

The $2 380.00 allocated under the PCIC is not enough to employ even one individual at the minimum Government rate of $400 for even three months.  At that rate, we are going to be employing our personal assistants at $94 and this is on the assumption that it is a one as to one in terms of the regime. 

My third and last point under Parliament is that you would recall that three weeks ago, heavy rains befell this city and affected Parliament.  It was an embarrassment to see water locked in Parliament.  There is need to support our secretariat to carry out the mandatory repairs in  this Parliament.  Our secretariat cannot even function.  I have not even touched on issues of welfare because I want to believe that he has totally ignored that. 

Therefore I move that the Vote 2 be restored to where it was in terms of the proposal and where do we get the money?  In the Budget, there is $70 million which he allocated to himself and did not qualify how it is going to be used and it has got a special name.  I therefore propose that the Budget of Parliament takes away a chunk from that $70 million and present it to Vote 2 for us to be able to have a way forward.  I thank you.

          HON. E. NDLOVU:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I stand here to acknowledge the presentation by my learned friend ...

          THE CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Member can you address the Chair. 

          HON. E. NDLOVU:  Hon. Chair,  I would like to respond to the issues raised by my learned friend from Kwekwe – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE CHAIRPERSON:  Can we have order in the House.  Less noise in the House Hon. Members! 

HON. E. NDLOVU:  I appreciate that we, as the Government of Zimbabwe have limited resources.  Our envelop is limited and our money is limited.  We do not have enough money to allocate Parliament.

THE CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Member can you approach the Chair?

          Hon. E. Ndlovu approached the Chair  – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE CHAIRPERSON: Less noise in the House Hon. Members please. 

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Chairman.  I do not blame the Hon. Minister Ndlovu for wanting to debate the budget because she is in the Executive.  She is not a Member of Parliament.  She has two cars, she has bodyguards and many allowances  – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –   I really understand.

We now go back to the three pillars of the state and we ask ourselves we are supposed to be equal.  The Member of Parliament are entitled to one car for five years.  Ministers are entitled to two cars plus those of the subsidiary that they have.  They have allowances.  They have everything that they want.  This is one pillar of the state which is the executive.  We have got the judiciary as well, the judges, magistrates....

THE CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Mliswa, would you be guided to concentrate your debate on the – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. T. MLISWA:  The issue is that we are trying to understand the relevance of Parliament but you cannot talk about the relevance of Parliament without talking about the three pillars of the state and then say, what role does Parliament pay?  The Executive has got a role that they play but we are supposed to be equal. This is the point.  But if we look at it, we are not equal in any way because others are capacitated more than the others, yet this Parliament here is the one that is responsible for oversight over everyone but it is paid less.  How then do we expect this country to move forward when we have those who are supposed to be exercising oversight are less capacitated?  Because of that, the relevance of Vote 2 being there is that Parliament having the role of oversight must be able to do it in a manner where they are not compromised.  Members of Parliament here are looked down upon because of the welfare issue more than anybody else. 

We are all Members of Parliament with the Ministers who are also appointed by the President but the moment that they are appointed to the Executive, we are different because of what they have.  Members of Parliament spend more time in the Ministers’ offices begging for coupons because Ministers have a full book of coupons per month/week.  If you look at it, how then do you expect Members of Parliament to also exercise their role?  So, you have a situation where you will have one of the cousins who is poor and as a result, they also get allowances on the cars that they have.  If I am not mistaken, I think they get cars every two years and they buy those cars at book value.  A Range Rover costing $120 000, they get it for around $6 000 book value. 

If you want to see the difference, go to any Minister’s house today and see how many cars are parked there. This is out of order yet in terms of performance as Ministers, they have failed to move this country forward.  So, it is only important that we are all equal and being equal is also about the resource which is given to us.

          The Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development is very much aware that the budget that he is going to allocate to the Members of Parliament have oversight over it and for them to be effectively capacitated, we talk about the researchers and the Clerks in Parliament.  We have a situation where one Clerk serves three Committees and one researcher serves three Committees.  So, how then do you expect us to be able to be discharging our duties in a professional manner when we are handicapped in terms of research and human capital? That is glaring and we do not have the time because we are not full time and we do not have the time to be doing research.  The research for us is done by the Parliament staff which is critical in ensuring that this Parliament is mandated to do its job accordingly.

          I want to talk about the aspect of the community information centres and the constituencies as well.  There is no way that you expect a constituency to function without being resourced and it is that one car again that goes around.  The cars that we get are not too hard for the terrain.  We are talking about a land cruiser which is the only car which is able to make sure that these Members here are able to do a job because the Toyotas that you give us are not able to do the job.  You need a 4X4 Land Cruiser, V8 with chrome – those new ones.  Those are the ones that we want.  Members of Parliament who are seated here, the only thing that they own is a car and if they are not given a car which has value and which gets them to do the job, they will not be able to do their jobs.  We can no longer have a situation where when a Member of Parliament ceases to be a Member of Parliament, he or she is a destitute.  It is sad. 

This is the only Parliament in the world where you regret not being a Member of Parliament.  If you want to see how poor they are out there, the pension is not good enough, the allowances are not good enough yet they would have served this country.  This is the time this year this budget must address the welfare of the Members of Parliament.  As Members of Parliament, we have been labeled in a bad way because of our welfare.  People look at our welfare and already they judge us and say Members of Parliament are not able to do A, B, C, D because of our welfare and that perception can only go away if this issue is addressed.

          I want to talk about the role of the Members of Parliament on the ICT.  Today we are in the ICT world – Ipads are not here, they do not have the computers yet we are expected to follow.  You can see even at times Parliament does not even give us this Order Paper on time but, if we all have Ipads, we are able to take notes.  This is the world that we are faced with at the end of the day and it is important that Parliament is capacitated in that way.

          I want to also talk about the sitting allowances.  They mean absolutely nothing.  The Committee that I chair can sit from 8 to 8 in the evening working for this country but what they get is a pittance $75, not US dollar.  Bond cash is better than RTGS and these are people who are working tirelessly for this country in those Committees.  Those Committees have a risk on their own because you are exposing people who have money and who have the ability to even put a mafia together for you but what do we get - $75.  That has to be reviewed because you want Members of Parliament to be able to execute their duties in a professional manner and that can only happen when they are sitting there and they are able to be given an allowance which is conducive.  We meet on Mondays where the kitchen is closed and they are hungry – they do not eat. 

You expect people to work yet they do not even get lunch when they are here and this budget must address the welfare of the players from even eating well. 

We are talking about wanting to be a world class Parliament but we only have a one course meal and the dessert is an apple/banana yet when we go out to other areas we get trifle, a nice fruit salad, custard, ice cream and all that.  But, look at what we get here – a mere banana and apple.  There is no soup.  The diet of Members of Parliament is important.  Nutrition is important because when Members do not eat well, they do not function well.  So, it is important that the nutrition of the Members of Parliament is maintained in order that they are able to discharge their duties.

          Mr. Chairman, the Hon. Minister must understand that there is a programme called wellness.  Wellness is the wellbeing of the Members of Parliament.  They do not even have a gym where they can go to.  They do not even have a sports club where they can go to and recreation is important for the mind.  They are stressed in here.  We have Members of Parliament dying because of blood pressure and stress that you know.  So, how many more are going to die before we rescue the situation.  We must have a recreation club where we play golf or choose any sport that we want to partake in.  We must be able to have world class gyms where we are able to train because when you are strong physically, mentally, it equally helps you.

          So, this is the world class Parliament that we are talking about.  I want to talk about the issue of fuel coupons given to Members.  Already, Parliament has actually cut down what Members are supposed to get.  What we used to get in the Eighth Parliament is not what we get now.  So, now you are saying to yourself, even the coupons that we got in the Eighth Parliament were not enough.  Members of Parliament are people with integrity and dignity.  Trust them and give them a whole book and let them have a book and not be scrounging around for coupons.  We queue up like little children for coupons which are not even enough. 

So, when are we going to have integrity and dignity left for the Members of Parliament?  Members of Parliament, because their welfare is not enough end up selling fuel coupons.  We are known for selling fuel coupons.  Whenever it is a Thursday, all the service stations know that Members of Parliament are coming to sell fuel coupons because of the welfare that we have.  It is a situation which is unattainable and a situation which cannot be allowed to happen.  The role of Parliamentarians cannot be underestimated. 

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Hon. Member, you are reminded of your time.

HON. T. MLISWA: Ok, I am going to summarise now. I talk about the allowances that we get when we leave this country.  The allowances that we get are US$50 leaving Zimbabwe.  It is not enough.  The foreign currency that we get is not enough at all and it has to be looked into and the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development must be able to also increase that allowance we get when we leave the country.  Parliament must be able to give us a credit card which you use and you account for it because when I do not have my money, it is parliamentary work that I am doing.  There must be a credit card which is given to Members of Parliament when they travel and what they must do is to account for it when they come back, not a situation where the money that we get is not enough even for you want to buy meals when you leave the country.  It does not represent the country well.

Lastly Mr. Chairman, Members of Parliament cannot be divided.  They are all entitled to diplomatic passports and it is important that that money also goes towards Members of Parliament being given diplomatic passports.  We cannot be divided. If I have a diplomatic passport and when I am travelling with my team, they do not have a diplomatic passport, they use the other route.  How can we be divided over a mere issue that just needs capital injection?  So, may I propose again that the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development ensures that Members of Parliament are all issued with diplomatic passports so that we are the same and no different.  Thank you.

*HON. KWARAMBA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise to make my contribution on the welfare of Members of Parliament regarding the cars which are allocated to us.  Being a Member of Parliament is a very tough task, especially for Members of Parliament who come from rural constituencies.  The car which is given to the MP is a service vehicle which is used in the constituency.  Even when there is a funeral, that car is used at that funeral and yet servicing the car is a very expensive exercise.  At times we are not able to service that car because of the expenses involved and using your salary, it is not enough. 

You will notice that because of the situation you are forced to use commuter omnibuses to conduct your business and we are now using public transport.  We are saying, may you please expedite the process of allocating us vehicles for moving around because as stated before, the car given to the MP is a service vehicle.  It is a universal car for the constituency.  Whatever assignment has to be done in the constituency, the electorate expect that car to carry out those duties.  I am pleading with you to increase allowances for better cars so that the MP can maintain the integrity and status expected of him.   I thank you.

HON. SIKHALA:  Thank you Mr. Chairman.  Hon. Members, I want to remind you of a very important statement which our Speaker told us during the day of our induction at Pandari Lodge.  The Speaker said, the powers belong to the Members of Parliament for them to see the votes to pass in Parliament.  I have had a number of debates by Hon. Members on this vote, Mr. Chairman, which is up to the Members of Parliament today to see whether they are going to exercise their powers as the third arm of Government.  The Legislature is part of the three arms of Government, Mr. Chairman, including the Judiciary and the Executive.  Overlooking the interest of this Legislature where we are taken as kindergarten children, that hour must come to an end. 

Mr. Chairman, the most concerning issue why I want to contribute to this vote is that Hon. Minister, do you understand that our Parliament is a member to a number of international organisations where we participate in various activities as part and parcel of international integration.  The Zimbabwean Parliament is a member of the SADC PF, IPU, ACP-EU and Afro PAC.  Our members who have been attending those meetings, Mr. Chairman, come back home humiliated when Zimbabwe’s membership arrears are 10 years back.

I still remember when I went to Geneva to attend the IPU meeting with the former Speaker, the late Hon. J. L. Nkomo.  Zimbabwe was among only five states that had outstanding arrears to the IPU.  If we ask the Speaker today and his delegation to the IPU, Zimbabwe is still in arrears 12 years back.  Does the Minister know that?  When Parliament made its bid, it was based on its…

HON. CHINOTIMBA:  On a point of order – [HON. MEMBERS:  Go and read your Standing Order, this is a Committee of Supply.] -

HON. SIKHALA:  Mr. Chairman, what I want to impress on the Minister is that he must not be oblivious of those obligations.  So specifically we urge him to reconsider the parliamentary vote.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Hon. Chairman, if I could respond to the input from the Hon. Members questions starting with the Hon. Member Gonese.  He raised a number of issues.   Obviously, the first issue which cuts across is about the size of the resource envelope that the $101 million that we have allocated to Parliament is not adequate [HON. MEMBERS:  It is Hon. Chikwinya.] -

It is Hon. Chikwinya who came to talk to me and also contributed, my apologies Sir.  So he raised the issue of the size of the resource envelope and that cuts across the three contributions from Hon. Members of $101 million.  I submit that this is a 25% increase from the previous year’s budget.  We do work in terms of increments per annum.  Twenty five percent is quite a bit from the $80 million from the 2018 budget to the $101 million for the 2019 budget.

Coming specifically to the issue of vehicles, this issue is under control; we are dealing with it.  Members of Parliament, you will get vehicles and I think we had even agreed on the model and if my information is correct unless they have changed, the model, it is a Hilux twin cab – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – if I can proceed Hon. Chair, we can debate the model of the car offline – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections ] –

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Can you listen to the Minister please.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: We are dealing with the issue of motor vehicles; you will get your motor vehicles.  I cannot give you the model right away because you are already disputing the model.  Maybe my information is not correct on the model but you will get your vehicles.   I also want to correct an impression that has been created in the House that the Ministers have received their cars.  That is not correct, we have not authorised the purchase of vehicles for Ministers.  I certainly do not have a vehicle that has been allocated by the Government.  In our view, we said that the Ministers should be the last people in line to receive vehicles whilst Members of Parliament receive their vehicles.  That is what we agreed – [AN HON. MEMBER: When?] – soon enough.  I am also acutely aware that the hotel costs have gone up.  I know that those who have to use hotels, you used to negotiate at a rate of $120 per night and now some of these hotels are saying you must pay $180 per night.  $220 is a higher end like Meikles and so on, we are fully aware and naturally we will be able to accommodate you in terms of adjustments.  I have got some reserves that we can make use of and we will look into those reserves and make sure they are accommodated.

          We are also aware that there is another issue regarding the gratuity payment for Members of Parliament who have served one term.  A formula is being finalised and that will be dealt with.  I am now adding issues myself, they did not even raise it but I want to show that we understand these issues and we are very concerned.  Should any situation arise where we have to adjust Government salaries sometime in our lives, certainly, I do not see any reason why Members of Parliament and staff would not be included in that adjustment.

          Let me come to the other issues that have been raised; for instance issues around donor agencies from Hon. Chikwinya.  Donor agencies are a key part of what we do as Government and State.  We welcome them, they support us with capacity building and I am delighted to learn that they are actually supporting Parliament.  I was going to invite more of them to do that, especially when it comes to supporting research, Paliamentarians and capacity building on issues of service delivery which I discussed at length when we were in Bulawayo at a Retreat where we can invite institutions such as the AfDB and others to support Parliament in capacity building.  This is normal, let us not miss that opportunity and ignore donor agencies, that is what they do and that is why they give us funds.  So, let us work with them.

          I would also want to say that there is no risk of donor agencies influencing the debate or Parliamentary agenda.  I am not aware that they have done that in the past unless they have done so.  We should not shy away from working with them, that is what they do.  In the Budget, we budgeted about over $600 million that will be contributed to our entire budget by the donor community and we welcome that absolutely.

          Hon. Mliswa raised issues over the size of the envelop itself, the role of Parliament, which I agree with.  He also raised issues of the gym, quality of the building but also Hon. Chikwinya raised similar issues in terms of the building and so on.  We are aware of this but the way to deal with capital expenditure is through the PSIP but also in a multi-year approach, we cannot fix everything in one year, that is what we are going to be doing.  However, we also allocated a budget for the New Parliament Building which is being built in Mt. Hampden.  Also what we do not want to do is to overinvest in the building that you will be abandoning instead of investing in the one that you are going to occupy in the future.  So, that is the balancing act that we have to deal with.  Imagine if we over-invest in a top gym in this building and then in another two and half years you will all be migrating to a new building, that will certainly be a waste.  I urge members to bear with us on this and focus all our investment on the new building.  However, we will spruce up whatever needs to be spruced up here so that the comfort levels can be raised.

          Hon. Sikhala raised similar issues on increasing the resource envelope on the role of Parliament, that is correct.  The issue of arrears is about the availability of foreign currency.  It is not just arrears in terms of Parliament; it is a whole lot of international arrears, including debt.  The debt is being dealt with separately. We are also in arrears with Embassies and we continue to make best effort in raising foreign currency to clear these arrears so that the Hon. Member Sikhala and others can participate as full members of the international community without the embarrassment that they have suffered in the past. 

          To conclude, I would like Hon. Members of Parliament to bear with us, we are in a very tight fiscal situation and really the budget of $101 million, which is a 25% increase from the previous year, we think is a very good start.  We do have reserves and all the issues that they are referring to, especially that of vehicles is being dealt with and I think they will be very happy when they see the vehicles they will receive at the end of the day.  We are working so that as soon as possible, they will receive their vehicles.  I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          The Chairperson asked Hon. Prof. M. Ncube to approach the Chair.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members. 

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Hon. Chikwinya raised another very important issue regarding the Constituency Information Centres in which he requested that they be capacitated.  We have listened to this and again, we will use reserves to deal with this issue.  It is a very important issue and we agree with him that it is important.

          HON. MUSABAYANA: Thank you Hon. Chair.  I want to add my voice to this debate on Vote No. 2.  Hon. Chair, I think this august House should agree on reminding the Minister that when you are looking at Vote 2, we are not looking at it as an expense, it should be looked at as working capital.  When you are giving a budget to Parliament, you are actually investing into the economy [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Mr. Chair, these are the people who are involved in the policy formulation of this country.  We are looking at policies and we are looking at the Constitution, it is the quality of work that is produced in this august House that will determine the level of investment that will come to this country.

          If our Parliament is robust, is engaging in health debate, if Parliament is fully committed to the work of Parliament, then we will have results in this august House.  We have a challenge in this august House and time and again, the Speaker is complaining about members who come and sit in the House for a few minutes.  It is not their fault, it is because they are moonlighting, and they are trying to eke out a living.

          Mr. Chairman, we want this Budget to help some of the Hon. Members who have been voted to this august House but do not have any other form of income to be able to fend for themselves and their families and also to be able to produce quality work.  Mr. Chairman, we also need to look at the issue of oversight.  When you are looking at oversight, you are looking at compliance in terms of corporate governance.  Our ministries are involved in trade deals and we expect Parliament to carry oversight.  That role requires that Parliamentarians are ethical; parliamentarians must be honest and are people of integrity.  It is difficult for our members to have integrity if they are not well paid.  For Hon. Members – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Chairman, we have a challenge where Hon. Members are soliciting for presents, they are soliciting for allowances when they go out to do their oversight role.  That is very embarrassing Mr. Chairman - [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

          I think it should be enough for an Hon. Member to have a normal or average standard of living.  So, it is my proposal that the Minister reconsiders Vote No. 2 to be able to help members to improve.  Having said that Mr. Chairman, it will be better for the other side of the House to consider that we are looking at Parliament and we are not just looking at party issues.  We are looking at national issues – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – but when we look at national issues, we must always know that there is a Head at the top – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – and it is the Head who chairs the Executive, for the opposition not to recognise that we have a Head of State and then at the same time wants the Executive to consider entries in Budget, I do not think it makes sense.  So, I beg the other side of the House to reconsider their position and acknowledge that we have a Head of State, His Excellency the President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa then we will be able to walk this journey together.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I request that we adjourn debate for 30 minutes for caucusing and then we will resume at 1540 hours sharp. 

           Business was suspended at Half-Past Three O’clock p.m. and resumed at Five Minutes to Four O’clock p.m.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Hon Chairman, I thank you and I welcome back everyone. I want to report back to Hon. Members and I hope they will be pleased that we have caucused and reflected on the Vote for Parliament.  Therefore, I propose that the increase from this year’s budget of US$80m be 50%, that means that the budget for Parliament for 2019 is now a US$120m, there is an extra of US$19 million on the initial proposal of US$101 million which will also cater for the constituency information centres.  I thank you.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Chair.  I think it is important Hon. Chair that we remind the Hon. Minister about the provisions of Section 119 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  That provision provides for the role of Parliament as an institution in this country.  Amongst the other roles that Parliament plays it has the duty of being the overseer of how Government business is being executed. The other role that Parliament has Hon. Speaker is the role of appropriation of all Government finances to various departments including itself.  So, I think the Hon. Minister must be reminded that it is not the duty of the Executive to appropriate figures in terms of resources that the nation has, that responsibility is bestowed upon Parliament constitutionally.  It is not his role, it is not role of the Executive, it is the role of Parliament. 

          Parliament can only abrogate its responsibility by underfunding itself – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – so if Parliament accedes to what the Hon. Minister of Finance is saying, it will be literally abrogating its responsibility to supervise the manner that Government executes its responsibilities.  Hon. Chair, if we go to audit reports, over a number of years, it is very clear that there is a lot of misbehavior in Government institutions related to financial indiscipline. Now Parliament can only curb that if it is well funded. So, we cannot, as Parliament then today say - when our role as Parliament is to ensure that it safeguards the Constitution of Zimbabwe; so, we cannot at any time abrogate that role of ensuring that we protect the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  For us to protect the Constitution of Zimbabwe and its provisions, it is right upon us Hon. Chair, we allocated sufficient resources to ensure that Parliament performs its duties properly.  So Hon. Chair, it is my view and my submission that Parliament sat down and made its calculations on how much it needs in order for it to perform its functions properly.  Any cent backwards or lower than what Parliament calculated in order for it to discharge its responsibility is an abrogation.  It is unconstitutional and that cannot be accepted. 

Therefore, Hon. Chair, it is my submission that anything below $163 million that Parliament submitted to Treasury its requirements for it to perform its duties cannot be reduced or deducted at any cost.  When we look at the figure, it might appear that it is too huge but there are certain factors that have not been taken into consideration.  For starters, if the Hon. Minister is going to compare with this year’s Budget, he has not taken into consideration the inflationary factor. 

Basically, $163 million in 2019 is not equivalent to $163 million in 2018 because it has lost its value through inflation.  $163 million is below $160 million in real terms.  I think the Hon. Minister understands that.  In real terms, what $163 million will be in 2019 is not the same with $163 million yesterday because of inflation and distortion in terms of the rates, whatever currency the Minister might suggest to use. 

On top of that, the $80 or so million that Parliament was allocated in 2018 had no provision for purchase of motor vehicles for Hon. Members because Parliament’s life was still in subsistence.  2019 is special because this is a new Parliament and there are new acquisitions that are supposed to be made by Parliament.  If the Hon. Minister is denying Parliament to get the amount that they require, he is simply saying do not supervise me.  He is simply saying do not oversee what he is doing and Parliament cannot allow that to happen. 

It is my submission Hon. Chair that the Hon. Minister should allocate Parliament what it requested.  If it does not do that, I am sure that he can have the Budget approved elsewhere and not in this House because Parliament has got to play its supervisory role.  Hon. Chair, those are the indications that I wanted the Hon. Minister to take into consideration.  Parliament should be allowed to get the $163 million that it claimed.  I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Members, can we have less noise?  Order, order Hon. Members.

HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.  I know that the Hon. Minister is engaging the Chief Whips, can I just pause.

I trust that I now have the Hon. Minister’s undivided attention.  The first point I want to make is that in the past, this august institution has allowed itself to be treated as a poor and distant cousin in terms of the three arms of the State and I believe that the time has now come for this institution to be accorded its rightful place as one of the three arms of the State.  What is critical to understand for the Hon. Minister is that in the past, this institution has actually failed to discharge its functions because of inadequate funding. 

We have had situations where Committees of Parliament have been unable to conduct public hearings and they have had to rely on the benevolence of development partners.  As a result, that situation cannot be allowed to continue.  We now want a situation where Parliament is able to carry out all its functions.  In this regard, it is imperative that what Parliament has asked for be granted by the Hon. Minister. 

I also want to point out that we also had situations where Committees have been unable to meet and they have had to synchronise their Committee sittings with the sittings of Parliament simply because – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Can we have less noise Hon. Members.

HON. GONESE:  Simply because there will be inadequate funding.  I am giving this background so that the Hon. Minister can understand where Parliament is coming from.

Coming to the current – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Members, can we have order in the House.

HON. GONESE:  Coming to the current Budget, I would also want to remind the Hon. Minister to appreciate that the supreme making body of Parliament is the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.  This Committee sat and deliberated – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Members, can we have less noise in the House?  Hon. Members!

HON. GONESE:  I was pointing out that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders also includes the Leader of Government Business who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  It also includes – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Members, can I have order in the House, Hon. Members?  I am going to send somebody out right away.  Hon. Chinotimba, Hon. Chinotimba! Hon. Mliswa, Hon. Mliswa!  It would be very unfortunate if I decide to send you out.  I do not enjoy sending somebody out of the House but circumstances can force me to do that.  Please can you allow me to enjoy the Chairmanship of the Committee of the Whole House? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. GONESE:  Well spoken Hon. Chairman Sir.

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you.

HON. GONESE:  I was just pointing out that in its collective wisdom, the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, which includes the Leader of Government Business who is the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as well as the Minister of Finance and other members of the Executive like the Hon. Minister of Defence and Hon. Minister of Energy, Hon. Gumbo;  they are all part and parcel of this collective decision and as such, the Hon. Minister is also part of that collective decision to make a bid of $163 million.  However, because of recent events, that amount is actually inadequate if that bid had been submitted this week, it would have been much more than the $163 million and the Hon. Minister must take that into account. 

          At this point in time, we are not asking for more than the $163 million.  We are simply saying, that $163 million - which maybe inadequate but that is the minimum, that is our starting point.  In fact, if it were possible, we would actually be asking the Hon. Minister to increase the allocation to Parliament above $163 million.  In the overall scheme of things, Hon. Minister Sir, look at what has been allocated to the various Ministries.  You will find that a lot of the individual Ministries have much more than that which is going to be allocated to Parliament.

When we talk of Parliament, the Hon. Minister must also bear in mind that we have staff of Parliament and at this point in time, Parliament is actually understaffed.  They have actually asked for Treasury concurrence to fill posts which are vacant as a result of the freeze and I want to emphasise to the Hon. Minister that he has also to factor that into account issues relating to staff of Parliament and their remuneration.  Whenever we sit late, dedicated members of staff actually do not have transport to go home and they have challenges in relation to transport.  So, we want to ensure that not only the Members of Parliament are catered for but also the supporting staff which makes Parliament tick because without those vital cogs in the engine, this institution cannot function. 

So, I want to reiterate to the Hon. Minister that, if he looks at what has been asked for by Parliament, in the overall scheme of things, it is actually a pittance.  The least that the Hon. Minister can do is to accede to the original bid, of which he was part of collectively as a Member of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.  This is the reason why I am saying that, whilst the Hon. Minister may be of the view that we are going to be happy with $120 million, to the contrary, there is general consensus across the political divide that we must get what we bid for  -which may even be inadequate, but in the circumstances, it is the minimum that this House can accept. 

Otherwise, I want to reiterate what my colleague Hon. P. D. Sibanda has said.  The Hon. Minister can be rest assured that if he does not accede to our request in this instance, Parliament is now going to bare its teeth. It has teeth which can bite and this budget cannot pass without the approval of Parliament.  That is my point Mr. Chairman.  I thank you for giving me this opportunity. 

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  First of all let me thank the Hon. Members for their spirited and rightly spirited contributions about the role of Parliament; its oversight role and their resource needs.  After causing and reflecting with my staff who help me manage the budget, I now propose to increase the Vote for Parliament up to a $145 million - (HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.) - 

HON. NDUNA: Mr. Chair, I do not want to disagree with the Minister and I applaud him.  Mr. Chair, what I want for Parliament to do is to embrace what is called digitalisation or computerisation in distributing that money that it has been given by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  What we see here is a situation where Members of Parliament are belittled in their modus operandi in the way they carry out their mandate.  They are belittled when they get coupons from Accounts Department.  Why does a Member of Parliament have to go and queue to get coupons?  We need to make sure that the distribution of that allowance called coupons is computerised - [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Order, order. 

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Chair.  We have about 270 Members of Parliament here.  This is 210 elected and 60 proportional representatives and every Thursday, they go under dehumanising conditions where they have to get coupons and they go into a queue where an accountant on accounting operation distributes those coupons in a manual way.  My suggestion is that, let that money go into our accounts and make sure that we do not leave anything to chance and make sure that Members of Parliament do not go under dehumanising conditions. 

I also ask that Parliament adheres to the ethos and values of PFMS because there is an Auditor General’s report that says, Parliament needs to adhere to the PFMS dictates and conditions.  If we are computerising our revenue generating and distribution mechanisms, we adhere to what the Auditor General has pointed out.  Therefore Mr. Chair, I ask that today be the last time that we get coupons distributed to Members of Parliament in a dehumanising manner because, we will be left with egg in our face.  Let us computerise and avoid the distribution of coupons in a manual way.  I thank you.

Amendment to Vote 2 put and agreed to.

Vote 2 as amended, put and agreed to.

Vote 3 – Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare – US$81 385 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 4 – Defence, Security and War Veterans Affairs – US$546 939 000 put and agreed to.

Hon. Nduna having stood to debate.

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Member I have not recognised you.  I have already moved for that.  Wait for the next step – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

Vote 5 – Finance and Economic Development – US$318 988 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 6 – Office of the Auditor General – US$7 763 000:

HON. MPARIWA:  Thank you Hon. Chair.  I will not take much of your time but I think Hon. Chair, if you may recall during the presentation of the debates in terms of reports for Portfolio Committees I presented the report of the Public Accounts Committee and we bemoaned the paltry allocation in terms of the budget.  I am really appealing and I think to the House I also appealed to all Members that if the AG has to be effective and carry out responsibilities, the duties that are entrusted in her office, the Minister really needs to reconsider the budget in the AGs office. 

If the Government is serious about dealing with corruption, with all the reports and with additional responsibilities in terms of local authorities that the AG was not dealing with, I appeal Hon. Chair.  It is my humble submission that the budget be reconsidered by the Minister.   Thank you.

HON. BITI:  Hon. Chair, can I also make an impassioned plea to the Minister to ask that he takes US$10 000 000 dollars from the unallocated reserve which he already has.  He has got a huge kit and put to this vote.  The Auditor General is so key in the Constitution in terms of financial oversight.  She is going to attend to forensic audits, she is going to attend to value for money audits and she is going to attend to her normal job and her normal job is very extensive.  She has to audit the vote of each Government entity.  She has to audit parastatals, she has to audit local authorities.  The budget of US$7 000 000 will not enable her to carry out her work.  So, I appeal to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to take US$10 000 000 from the unallocated reserves and give to Vote number 6 so she at least has US$17 000 000 to enable her to carry out her important constitutional work.  I thank you.

*HON. CHINOTIMBA:  Hon. Chair, I stand to support the stance taken by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  I support that statement and I am supporting the vote which has been allocated to the Auditor General.  Yes, I am saying that budget should not be increased, it should remain at US$7 000 000.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Chairman, let me take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for the concessions he made towards the welfare of the Members of Parliament.  It is something that is not easy to do, especially when things are tough, but be rest assured that Members of Parliament will discharge their duties in a much better manner and as such, we want to thank you.  I think I speak on behalf of all of them.  May I take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year and the Members of Parliament too.  Thank you very much.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Hon. Chair, let me again appreciate Members contribution towards making sure the office of the Auditor General is well funded.  I must hasten to say in reply, Hon. Chair, that last year’s budget, which is the 2018 budget, is US$5 000 000 and we are moving it to US$7 763 000.  That is well over 50% increase.  That is a major increase. 

You see when we budget and I implore Hon. Members, I will say even my former colleague since he held the portfolio, we work in terms of ratio percentages and not levels.  So, once our percentages are out of kilter then we cannot scientifically justify the increases we are making. So we use things like inflation and so forth to make the adjustments.  I feel that a more than 50% increase for the AG s office is okay.  We have reserves.  We can always apply reserves, that is correct, but a 50% increase is more than adequate at this stage.  Thank you.

Vote 6 put and agreed to.       

Vote 7 – Industry and Commerce – US$47 298 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 8 - Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement – US$1 020 552 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 9 – Mines and Mining Development – US$25 292 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 10 – Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry – US$38 398 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 11 – Transport and Infrastructural Development – US$437 149 000:

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Chair.  I am not at variance with that amount but I also want to propose other finances that might be obscured.  There is what is called the maintenance reserve account which by this time might be getting up to US$100 000 000 which is meant to maintain the road plan to Plumtree-Mutare highway, 821kms after 2027.  I asked the Minister through the powers invested in him to make sure that he institutes a statutory instrument or invokes some Act that unpacks that money or removes the lid and make sure that we vary that contract in terms of usage of that money because that money is stationed there and we are not getting what we want from what we have.  It is my clarion call that we take that money, which is $100 million, complement the existing $400 million and make sure that we have road infrastructure second to none.

Secondly, I ask that the Government be the only provider of third party insurance and it is going to make sure that Government gets about US$160 million per annum from the 1.5 million automobile that is in Zimbabwe currently.  What it then means is that we can take that money and put it into our road infrastructure as road user fees to rehabilitate, reconstruct and maintain our road network so that we reduce the carnage on our roads.

Furthermore, I ask that the $760 million which was previously not utilised be used for the establishment of Accident Victims Stabilisation Centres at all tollgates, mindful that 70% of our people are dying because they have not reached definitive health care institutions in the first hour after the accident.  So, this is money that I propose that the Minister can get and we get what we can so that we utilise it for the unsuspecting innocent citizens of our country because every day there are 45 people injured due to road carnage.  It is my clarion call that the Minister here, with the power vested in him, takes some of this money and takes the bull by its horns and put his money where his money is.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): This is a very useful suggestion Hon. Chair.  I will certainly look into it and see how we can bring in extra resources in the way that the Hon. Member has suggested.  I thank you.

Vote 11, put and agreed to.

Vote 12 – Foreign Affairs and International Trade - $56 090 000 put and agreed to.

On Vote 13 – Local Government, Public Works and National Housing - $190 038 000:

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Hon. Chair.  I come from a place which is infested with cholera.  The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing is the head of disaster management team and cholera is classified under this purview.  We have a dilapidated and deplorable infrastructure which has outlived its lifespan.  In 2008 in Chegutu West Constituency, cholera killed more than 400 people.  So, I ask that the infrastructure, without giving any other constituency any amount, Chegutu requires US$10 million and we have just received US$1 million from PSIP. 

It is a clarion call that I have got, that besides cooperating partners that we have who are ploughing into the mitigating factors for cholera epidemic, there should be a nominal increase particularly to deal with the cholera epidemic.  There are efforts that are underway, but let us not only wait for Government when there is a disaster declared.  I therefore ask that at least there be an increase from $190 million to maybe $220 million and if there is no place to put it, please apply it to Chegutu West Constituency.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Let me once again thank the Hon. Member for his suggestion and passion around the fact that we need to deal with this cholera epidemic by investing in infrastructure.  However, let me say this; the way forward to deal with the urban infrastructure is through Public Private Partnerships (PPP).  What we should do as Government and we will be doing and are already doing, is to crowd in the private sector, making sure that we also put in place the right types of user charges to service the loans that the private sector is providing us. 

So, the way to go is through PPPs, that is what everyone else is doing.  What we need to strengthen is revenue collection systems by local authorities, by the city councils so that those user charges can then service the loans that are provided by the private sector.  I do not think the Government will ever have enough money to deal with the urban infrastructure. Frankly, the only way forward is the PPPs but I accept and appreciate the passion that the Hon. Member has put this case across.

Vote 13 put and agreed to.

On Vote 14 – Health and Child Care - $755 837 000:

HON. DR. LABODE: Hon. Minister, I still appeal and hoping that I will hear somewhere that you are indeed going to give the 10% from the health levy back to the Ministry backdating from when you started collecting it so that they can deal with the cancer patients and others.  I am also hoping that somehow you will virement from the Command Agriculture to health because we should not be behind agriculture, not in any circumstance.  This is the Global Fund replenishment year and Zimbabwe has not yet paid its US$1 million contribution.  If we do not pay US$1million, we lose US$600 million.  So, we need to do something about it.  Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Hon. Labode for raising the issue of the Global Fund, an institution that I worked very closely with in my previous life.  I agree with her that this US$1million ought to be paid and it will be paid.  The delays have been due to the shortage of foreign currency because we know that by paying it, we will unlock many times more, US$600 million in total.  So, this will be done.

On the issue of the health levy, again she is making a very important point to make sure that the full amount is applied to the health sector – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We will look into this to make sure that the funds are applied to the health sector.  It is really a useful contribution and I appreciate it. 

Vote 14 put and agreed to.

Vote 15 – Primary and Secondary Education - $1 162 681 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 16 – Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development - $424 580 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 17 – Women Affairs Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development - $51 044 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 18 – Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage - $553 161 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 19 – Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs - $158 191 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 20 - Information and Publicity and Broadcasting Services – US$45 192 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 21 – Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation – US$56 663 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 22 – Energy and Power Development – US$124 734 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 23 – Information, Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services – US$17 912 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 24 – Judicial Services Commission – US$44 338 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 25 – Public Service Commission - US$291 597 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 26 – Council of Chiefs – US$5 202 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 27 – Human Rights Commission – US$3 335 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 28 – National Peace and Reconciliation Commission – US$2 463 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 29 – National Prosecuting Authority – US$8 089 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 30 – Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission – US$6 493 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 31 – Zimbabwe Electoral Commission – US$14 312 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 32 – Zimbabwe Gender Commission - US$2 000 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 33 – Zimbabwe Land Commission – US$10 490 000 put and agreed to.

          Vote 34 – Zimbabwe Media Commission – US$2 000 000 put and agreed to.

          HON. BITI: On a point of order Hon. Chair.

          HON. MUTOMBA: What is your point of order?

          HON. BITI: Before you conclude Hon. Chair, on a point of clarification. We debated Vote 6 after we had debated Vote 5. Vote 5 is the Ministry of Finance’s Vote, so the Minister has adjusted Vote 6 by an additional US$42m.  So, the confirmation and clarification is that, that is actually coming from the unallocated reserve.  This means that there has to be a reduction of Vote 5 so that the expenditure figures remains at US$6.8b, I would like the Minister to confirm that.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Hon. Chair, I confirm that – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          House resumed.

          Main Estimates of Expenditure reported with amendments.

          Report adopted.

          Bill ordered to be brought in by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in accordance with the Main Estimates of Expenditure adopted by the House.

FIRST READING

APPROPRIATION (2019) BILL [H.B 12, 2018]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Madam Speaker Maam, to give effect to the report of the Committee of Supply on the Main Estimates of Expenditure adopted by the House, I bring in a Bill to apply a sum of money for the service of Zimbabwe during the year ending 31st December 2019,  the Appropriation (2019) Bill [H. B. 12, 2018].  I move that the Bill be read the first time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the first time.

Bill referred to Parliamentary Legal Committee.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Madam Speaker, I move that Order of the Day, No. 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have received a Non-Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Appropriation (2019) Bill [H. B. 12, 2018].

Second Reading:  With leave, forthwith.

SECOND READING

FINANCE (NO.2) BILL [H. B. 9, 2018]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Madam Speaker Maam, the purpose of the Bill is to give effect to the review of the intermediate money transfer tax from 5 cents per transaction to 2 cents per dollar transacted.  The review has been necessitated by the need to mobilise resources from alternative sources following the decision to reduce unsustainable borrowing through Treasury Bills which was crowding out the private sector in the process of constraining production.

HON. BITI:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  The Minister is making a second reading for Finance Bill No. 2 when what is before us is Finance Bill No. 3 which is bringing in revenue measures.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Madam Speaker Maam, I move that the Minister be allowed to read the second reading speech for the Finance Bill Number 2, then we adjourn debate and we go to Finance Bill No. 3 like he is indicating. 

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Madam Speaker Maam, the purpose of the Bill is to give effect to the review of the intermediate money transfer tax from 5 cents per transaction to 2 cents per dollar transacted.  The review has been necessitated by the need to mobilise resources from alternative sources following the decision to reduce unsustainable borrowing through Treasury Bills which was crowding out the private sector in the process constraining production.  This and other measures are expected to assist restore fiscal equilibrium which is key to stimulating economic growth and promoting sustainable development.  Madam Speaker Maam, the review also spreads the burden of tax across the generality of the transacting public including those in the informal sector whose contribution to the fiscus has so far remained minimal.

          Madam Speaker, the Bill also provides for the exemption of various transactions from the tax. The exempt transactions are as follows;

i.                   The transfer of money for the purchase or sell of marketable

securities.

ii.                The transfer of money for the purchase or redemption of money

market instruments.

iii.             The transfer of money on payment of remuneration.

iv.             The transfer of money to or from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for the payment or refund of any tax, duty or other charges.

v.                The intra-corporate transfer of money, that is to say transfer of

money between the Treasury account and any trading account in

the name of the same company.

vi.             The transfer of money from (but not into) specified trust accounts.

vii.The transfer of money into and from nostro foreign currency

accounts.

viii.       The transfer of money by Government from the Consolidated

Revenue Fund or from funds established in terms of Section 18 of the Public Finance Management Act.

ix.             The transfer of money to any pension fund or to beneficiaries of

such a fund.

x.                The transfer of money for the procurement, production or sale,

(wholesale or retail) of a petroleum product by a petroleum

company licenced in terms of Part vi of the Petroleum Act

[Chapter 13:22]

xi.             The transfer of money involving a transaction other than one

mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs if the value of the

transaction is US$10 or below.

          Madam Speaker, I now move that the Bill be read a second time.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I now move that the debate do now adjourn until we dispose of Finance (No. 3) Bill.

          Motion put and agreed to.   

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have received a non-adverse report on the Finance (No. 3) Bill [H. B. 13, 2018].

          Second Reading: With leave, forthwith.

SECOND READING

FINANCE (NO. 3) BILL [H. B. 13, 2018]

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. NCUBE): I move that the Bill be read a second time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a second time.

          Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

FINANCE (NO. 3) BILL [H. B. 13, 2018]

          Committee Stage: Finance (No. 3) Bill [H. B. 13, 2018].

          House in Committee.

          Clause 1 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 2:

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Hon. Chair.  I just wanted to comment on Clause two in respect to subsection A1 in regards to the taxation.  The Minister has proposed to increase the non-taxable amount to $4 200.  My request to the Minister is that given the current situation and given the inflationary rate which is hovering around 31%, I believe that the increase of non-taxable income from $300 to $350 is not much and I would request the Minister to at least increase that amount to about $400 per month, that is moving it from the current $300 to $400.  The reason I say this is that at $400 per month, it is so little to the extent that most of our people who earn $400 will find it difficult to continue going to work.  In actual fact they will become a laughing stock to those people who do not go to work because they will actually believe that making deals is more important. To that extent Mr. Chair, I would be happier if the Minister could consider the plight of those people that earn less than $400.

          HON. MADZIMURE: Mr. Chairman I want to add my voice to what Hon. Mushoriwa has been saying.  I implore our Hon. Minister to be more considerate and look at the actual facts of what is happening on the ground.  It is true that even the person who is to earn $600, in real terms it is now around $180 or $200.  So, I think the tax free, the threshold must be raised.  Even the domestic workers, as we approach 2019, the majority of domestic workers are now going to earn around $400 because if you give anyone $200 it is actually $70 in real terms because of the inflation.  The real inflation is not what we look at as 31%, it is not true, it is around 100 to 150%. 

So if the Minister can consider seriously if the budget is going to have some semblance of taking into consideration the poor who are the majority of our country, I think that is very important and the Minister would have done a great favour to a lot of people - even the Government employees, quite a lot of them will benefit.  He also still needs measures that stimulate spending growth.  You can only stimulate growth if people have got more disposable income and I think the Minister will take this contribution seriously.

          HON. BITI: Hon. Chairman, can I add my voice to the voice of my colleague.  In my own opinion, we have entered into another spiral of inflation, high inflation which is bordering on hyperinflation.  If you take a bundle of goods like cooking fat, bread - like the cost of cordials, if you take a bundle of goods like non-food items for example cement, there is no question that our inflation is over 180%.  That means that once you are in this high level of inflation, tampering and tinkering with tax brackets is meaningless. 

          If you recall Hon. Chairperson in the hyperinflationary days, those of us who are employers, we started making salary increases of once a  month; once a week, until we got to a stage where we were paying employees through baccosi.  You would look for cooking fat for them; you look for rice for them; you look for mealie-meal and we ended up paying employees using Redan fuel coupons.  I think that we need to grab the bull by the horns.  The solution is for the economy to re-dollarise so that employees are actually paid in a currency with a real value and the currency with a real value is the United State Dollar.  So tampering with tax brackets is tagging, moving the furniture on the deck whilst the titanic is sinking.  We need to be bold and simply re-dollarise this economy.  I so submit Hon. Chairman.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Let me appreciate the Hon. Members for their contributions on this issue regarding the tax brackets.  I really believe that by raising the non-taxable monthly income to $350 is something that I think is worth appreciating and noting.  The thing is like this, we have just increased the budget for Parliament as an example, all this re-organisation and so forth in a tough budgetary environment requires us to raise every cent that we can and I believe that at $350 we have done quite a bit in making sure that we respond to the pro-poor character of the budget. 

Also at the upper end we decided that taxes were too punitive and we dropped hat to 45%.  We tried our best to make sure we limit the impact of the tax at both ends of the income spectrum.  So, I would like to submit that we maintain things as they are.  It is not an easy year, it is a tough year in terms of revenue raising and expenditure containment.  So, let us keep it as it is, through you Mr. Chairman.

          I also listened to Hon. Biti reflecting and submitting that we should move to full US dollarisation.  I do not think that we can do that at the moment; the fundamentals will not allow for a policy shift at the moment.  We just have to be very careful how we manage this going forward.  We are fully aware of what is going on in the economy absolutely, but also we recognise his sympathy for the poorer members of our society but I do not think we are ready to move to a fully dollarised economy.  What we are doing, as I explained before, is making sure we deal with the budget deficit so that it ceases to be a contributor to the growth and money supply, inflation and volatility in the premium to the exchange rate.  By so doing, we are creating the right conditions; the foundation for full monetary policy and full currency reform in the future and we are making progress in that direction. Thank you.

          On Clause 3:

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Hon. Chair, I propose the following amendment that on page 4 of the Bill, we delete paragraph (a) of the clause. The figure of US$240 501.00 and substitute it with the US$240 001.00. I thank you.

          HON. BITI: Can I ask that the Minister circulates his proposed amendments so that he does not ambush us. We have the right to know what he intends to do and these are very technical matters. So, we need to be furnished with proposals for written amendments. I thank you very much.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Chair, for the purposes of progressing with the Bill, if the Committee is in agreement with what the Minister is proposing, can we proceed with the Bill so that we can finalise it. I think we have done that even with some of the amendments that we did when we were doing the Appropriation Bill. So, I am requesting the indulgence of the Members that if you are satisfied, the issue of circulation, if you are happy with what the Minister would have proposed and we debate about it, we can adopt it so that we make progress. I thank you.  

          Amendment to Clause 3 put and agreed to.

          Clause 3, as amended, put and agreed to.

          On Clause 4:

          HON. BITI: Hon. Chair, this proposed amendment is in fact what is the Finance Bill No. 2, H. B. 9, 2018 which we have deferred. So, it cannot be on this Bill because it is already covered by a substantive Bill which is H.B. No. 9, 2018. That is what it is and we have already dealt with it and the Minister had made his Second Reading speech to it. We are yet to respond. So, there is a substantive Bill covering that. It is not a procedural way of doing it and I appeal that if the Minister does not have a legal advisor, he should urgently recruit one in the Ministry of Finance.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Hon. Chair.  I think we should abandon Finance (No. 2) Bill because there are additional provisions that are covered in this Bill.  Let us deliberate on this and with the leave of the House, we can then proceed to abandon No. 2 because we would have dealt with it.  I so submit.

          HON. BITI:  A Bill of Parliament is not something that you can stand up and say I am abandoning.  There has been a second reading by the Minister.  The formal processes in terms of the 5th Schedule of the Constitution – you cannot just say I am abandoning because you have gone through processes and this Bill was tabled in this House on the 4th of December 2018.  You cannot simply wake up and say you are withdrawing. You cannot do that. 

          In any event if you were to do that, it has to go on the Order Paper and that is when you can withdraw.  It is not before us and remember this is a Committee of Supply.  You cannot withdraw a substantive Bill in a Committee of Supply.  It is unprocedural, it is incorrect and it is unconstitutional.

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  I hear what he is saying.  I am saying let us proceed and then we deal with the procedure of withdrawing it.  These are two separate Bills and there are provisions that are not taken care of in Amendment No. 2.  There is no harm materially in going forward, deal with this Bill and then we can deal with the issues that are raised pertaining to Finance (No. 2) Bill thus we comply with the constitutional provisions.  I so submit.

          HON. BITI: With all due respect Hon. Chair, we are governed by rules and laws.  We are guided in terms of Section 119 to protect this Constitution which we are now trying to breach and the Leader of the House must lead us in protecting the Constitution and not in abusing the Constitution.  The proper thing is, as the Minister of Finance had conceded, we bypass Section 4 then we go and debate Finance (No. 2) Bill once we have concluded Finance (No. 3) Bill. 

We do not lose anything but we lose something by doing what you want us to do.  We create terrible precedence of cynically breaching and overriding our laws.  We should not do that.  We are a constitutional democracy and let us remain like that.

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  I am hearing what Hon. Biti is saying.  We have not breached any constitutional provisions at this stage.  What we are doing is, we have provisions of a Bill which requested that we expunge from the Bill.  I am saying that we should proceed and not expunge those provisions and then we deal with what he is saying because what we have in Finance (No. 2) Bill is exactly captured in Finance (No. 3) Bill.  We will deal with the procedural issues that he is talking about at a later stage and then we deal with them. 

          The Hon. Member has not mentioned a specific constitutional provision that we have broken by proceeding with something that is on the Bill – a clause that we are considering now.  If we feel that there is duplication and it is academic to deal with Finance (No. 2) Bill, then we can follow the due process of ensuring that we remove it from the Order Paper.  I so submit.

          HON. BITI:  Hon. Chair, you have to make a determination on the question of procedure.  After you have made the determination and if you were to rule and agree with the Minister, then we now go to the substance of the provisions.  You need to make a ruling on the quest because you have got two contesting narratives.  I submit that mine is correct. 

This section is covered by a substantive Bill which is superior to a section in a Bill.  The substantive Bill that is the Finance (No. 2) Bill is superior to Section 4 of the Finance (No. 3) Bill.  The bigger overrides the smaller.  The Bill is bigger than Section 4 and therefore, the Bill must give precedent to the section.  Therefore, the section should not be debated.  We should debate the substantive Bill, which is Finance (No. 2) because it is already before this august House.  We have just adjourned it not more than an hour ago. So, please make a ruling on that. 

HON. ZIYAMBI:  I hear what Hon. Biti is saying.  The Minister is empowered to withdraw a Bill anytime.  It is his Bill.  That is the first point.

The second point is, in Committee, we are discussing clause by clause.  We will discuss that Bill.  If we have an academic Bill that has been incorporated in this Bill, we abandon it. 

The Hon. Member is not quoting specific legislation that is prohibiting us from doing what we are doing.  He is not even mentioning a specific procedure that can hamstrung us from doing what we are doing.  I propose that we proceed and look at that clause, finalise it and then we deal with those issues later.

HON. BITI:  Hon Chair, can you make a determination – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

Mr. Chairman, noise does not change the law. The law remains what it is.  No amount of noise can change the law.  Mr. Chairman, can you kindly make a ruling on the matter?

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  I wanted to make a ruling and you stood up. The Minister had suggested that we defer this one and then move forward.  There is no reason why we should continue to be academic on this issue.

HON. BITI:  Hon. Chair, the Leader of the House wanted me to cite a rule.  I will refer to Standing Order No. 93 (g) that says, ‘you cannot anticipate the discussion of any subject which appears upon the Order Paper’.  Finance (No. 2) Bill is on the Order Paper.  If you have this mini-school debate on Section 4, you are anticipating the substantive issue which is on the Order Paper –[HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that we report progress for Finance (No. 3) Bill and we revert to Finance (No. 2) Bill.

          House resumed.

          Progress reported.

MOTION

WITHDRAWAL OF FINANCE (NO. 2) BILL

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Madam Speaker Ma’am I hereby move a motion to withdraw the Finance (No. 2) Bill. Thank you.

          HON. BITI: Can I rise on a point of privilege on Order No. 68.  I want to express my great reservation in the manner in which Finance (No. 2) Bill has been dealt with.  It is my contention that it was wrong at the first instance to bring in a piecemeal Finance Bill.  It was wrong at the first instance to bring in two Finance Bills in the same – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

          The purpose of a Finance Bill is to bring in revenue measures.  The Finance Bill was tabled on the 4th of December, 2018 and  I am talking about Finance (No. 2) Bill.  At that time the budget had already been presented on the 22nd of November, 2018 when the Finance Minister tabled the budget on the 22nd of November 2018.  He tabled it with two other additional documents.

          He tabled the Budget Statement, he tabled the Blue Book, he tabled the Finance (No. 3) Bill, 2018.  So, the question is, what wisdom or more appropriately, what lack of wisdom drove the crafting of two finance Bills, Finance (No. 2) Bill and Finance (No. 3) Bill.  It is unprocedural, it is unacceptable and the officials that are advising the Ministers and the officials that are drafting these Bills must and ought to respect this Bill. I so move Hon. Speaker.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTRY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  It was just a statement to express feelings and she is not arguing against any withdrawal.  I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

The Finance (No. 2) Bill accordingly withdrawn.

COMMITTEE STAGE

FINANCE  (NO.3) BILL [H. B. 13, 2018]

          Resumption of Committee on Finance (No. 3) Bill [H. B. 13, 2018].

House in Committee.

On Clause 4:

HON. BITI:  I said earlier that the Minister needs a strong legal team and regrettably that is non-existent.  Hon. Chair, it is no longer competent to debate and to move Clause 4 and I make reference to Standing Order 158 and I will read it for your attention.  It says, ‘subject to the provisions of the Constitution, no Bill must be introduced which is of the same substance as some other Bill which has been introduced during the same session and which has not been withdrawn.  So Hon. Chair, you cannot introduce Section 4 when you have introduced the Amendment to Finance (No. 2) Bill.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Hon. Chair, the Bill, the Finance (No. 2) Bill has been withdrawn.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Hon. Chair, we understand the Hon. Minister’s request of having monies and wanting to raise as much money as possible.  The challenge is very simple.  The 2% tax, the intermediate money transfer tax, in my view Mr. Chair, is punitive to the ordinary person in this country. 

I want to start firstly with the charge itself.  If you look at the banks, if you look for example at Econet through their ecocash, the charges that are being charged by Econet on ecocash charges are actually lower than the tax.  The bank charges on transfer being charged by banks are far less than the 2% the Minister is actually proposing.  Even organisations that are facilitating movement of funds in the country like for instance Paynet, the amount that the Minister is putting, the 2%, in my view, should actually be reduced to as low as half percent because 2% is too much and I believe it is not right.

The other aspect, Mr. Chair, is that if you then look at the other aspect, the Hon. Minister had raised certain exemptions, but I want to tell you that everyone is crying.  I was at a meeting where schools were actually complaining in terms of how much damage this is actually doing to schools.  Just removing monies, transferring monies from schools, be it examination fees to ZIMSEC, you have to be charged that 2%.  This move by the Hon. Minister, in my view, is not right for this economy and I think the Minister ought to look for funding somewhere or alternatively, it needs to be modified so that they can actually come up with something better that could actually target those people that have money rather than to have a blanket punitive penalty like this.  Thank you.

*HON. SIKHALA: Uyu wekuruzawo maelections uyu.

HON. NDUNA:  Musauya munomu muchizo justifaya kuuya kwa Douglas Mwonzora muchivenga Chamisa muchiuya muchitaura zvisina basa vana Sikhala.

Hon. Chair, the issues that surround the issue of the introduction of the 2% border around mitigating factors in terms of trying to equilibrate our RTGs and our bank balances, our RTGs and our United States dollar.  I stand here to propose more monies that the Minister can utilise, in the same vein trying to formalise the informal sector.  I come from Chegutu West Constituency where the informal sector is quite rife and a lot of money, in particular $1 a day from all vendors is being paid to council.  Where that money goes to, it boggles the mind.  It leaves one wondering where that wholesome amount goes to.  We have more than 5 000 vendors in Chegutu West Constituency and council collects $1 each morning from each of them.

I ask that that money, assuming it is being collected from 22 constituencies in Mashonaland West Province - that is 5000 times 22, that is about $100 000 each day that is not being accounted for because still it is being collected by council, policemen manually. That money can be used by the Minister, because it is hard cash.  If we make sure that we document and we have a paper trail of where this money is coming from, we can also put it in the Central Revenue Fund because if we do not, this money is going to be abused and empower the wrong people.  This is money that is going to be utilised to subvert the existing Government because a lot of these urban councils are where these opposition councilors are domicile.  We do not want this money to be used for wrong reasons.  Let us direct it to the Minister at US$100 000 per day from the 22 constituencies, we can make sure that we augment his meager resources and make sure that we complement his efforts of trying to mitigate the effects or have these austerity measures to make sure that we alleviate the plight of the suffering public in a very short time. 

          HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Hon. Chair.  Hon. Nduna must be helped to understand what we are debating.  Hon. Chair, how the 2% is affecting the ordinary person is because it is the ordinary person who is out there in Muzarabani, who cannot access the bank where they can withdraw and use cash – because when you use cash, you are not charged the 2%. It is our mothers and aunts in the rural areas whom we sent money through Ecocash who are actually being penalised for accessing the system of payment that the Government encouraged the people to use.  It is the Government that promoted the use of plastic money and it is now using the same plastic money mode of payment to penalise the people.

          Hon. Chair, it is not the solution as other Hon. Members would say, to raise money, you do not survive on penalising the poor people.  You survive through creating wealth and there are several means of creating wealth.  We have heard of a lot of mega-deals involving US$5 billion to US$15 billion, if those have come to fruition, Zimbabwe’s economy was going to grow and you would not need to penalise.  In actual fact, it must be the reverse where the Minister must come up with measures to stimulate the growth of our economy by making sure that employment is created and have a proper way of taxing people who are actually benefiting from the creation of employment by Government.  However, in this case, it is the people who are trying to scrounge around and survive whom we are penalising.  There is no term like, formalising the informal by introducing taxes.  The Minister’s job is to make sure that we work on formalising our economy so that we have a tax base that grows through the growth of the economy.

          Hon. Chair, I heard a number of Hon. Members saying, ‘this is what the people want,’ which people?  Which people were consulted on the 2%, what did they say?  No consultation was carried out even amongst the Members of Parliament.  We all agreed when this was introduced that it was wrong in this House, across the political divide – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am shocked to hear Hon. Members saying those people whom they represent approved this.  Hon. Chair, I want to be honest with you, even a person like Hon. Nduna can be justified because he was not voted for.  He has no people to consult because they will chase him because he did not win an election…

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Can you concentrate on what we are debating not that.

          HON. MADZIMURE: Going on to the real issue Hon. Chair, I think the best that the Minister can do is give a relief to our people and reduce the 2%, it is punitive, 0.5% will be reasonable even though it is not the best way of doing it.  Let us account for our minerals and diamonds.  Hon. Chair, in his statement, there is no mention of what we are going to do to plug the holes that resulted in us losing US$15 billion.  Hon. Chair, if we could account for only US$5billion of the US$15 billion, it is actually Zimbabwe’s national yearly budget.  So, we have got sources of income, we must not target the weak, those people have no option, they cannot refuse because you simply deduct.  There is no contract between the people of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to collect that money because no one was consulted.  I have never had the Minister visiting any place consulting.  I have never heard of the Committee of Budget and Finance visiting the people and consulting.  So, who are we saying are the people who are agreeable to this?  There are no people whom we have consulted.  So, we are imposing, that is why they are angry.  We are punishing our own people, why are we doing this?  This is not good.  They are poor and they are getting poorer.  This will not help the economy to grow because we are not even dealing with the issue of the expenditure.  We still have got ghost workers, we have people even amongst our Members of Parliament who draw from two salaries.  We have got people who earn two salaries in this particular House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – they still maintain certain jackets.  You go to councils, that is what we have – [AN HON. MEMBER: Name them.] – I will name them, we have them, they are quiet and they know, they are drawing two salaries.  No, this is not good.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I move that this Clause be adopted as is.  I will give my reasons.  First of all, on the rationale, we have debated this ad nauseam in our retreat in Bulawayo, prior to the Budget, in the Committees and then more queries were raised and I have responded before this House yesterday – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – and many times before.  I am actually quite surprised that we are still stuck on the same argument.  We have just agreed to increase the Parliamentary Budget to $145 million, where do Hon. Members think that money is coming from?  You are arguing for cars to be given to them, we have agreed and where do they think the monies are coming from?  We are allocating $310 million to the constituencies of the Hon. Members, where do they think that money is coming from? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – it is coming from the 2%. 

We have also increased the budget for education, health, we have budgeted these monies and I believe that the exemptions that we have proposed, will go a long way in making sure there is a relief out there and we need this money to balance the Budget.  I must hasten to say that this is a very modern tax Hon. Chair in the sense that it recognises that we are using more electronic means to make payments, including mobile telephones.  We have to move with the times.  We are actually ahead of the curve compared even to the first world; they are actually catching up with us in terms of modern means of taxation using electronic platforms.  So, I urge Members of Parliament to recognise that we are raising the much needed revenue to support the work they do here in Parliament but also to add more resources to their constituencies through the devolution process and to the social services sector.  I thank you Hon. Chair and I move that the clause be adopted as it is.

          HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Chair, when the retrogressive 2% was introduced on the 13th October 2018 – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Chairman there was public outcry and I doubt whether we represent people in this House, because when I was doing my civic meetings the people were crying about the 2% retrogressive tax.  When I also consulted important stakeholders in my constituency, there was public outcry about the 2% to the extent that other boarding schools were about to close before the closing time, because they were failing to buy basic commodities – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Less noise Hon. Members in the House.

          HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Chair. So today to say we are imposing the modern tax, I think it is very wrong Hon. Minister; we cannot impose the 2% on the basis that we are modernizing our country.  There are other means of modernising our country, there are other ways of raising revenue rather than to punish our people.  There are other ways of raising revenue rather than to say we have increased the vote for Parliament, it is very wrong – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I have to represent my people and I appeal that everyone who is here must represent the poor people, we cannot be modern on the basis that we want to be modern.  It is very wrong Hon. Minister. 

I remember at one time when I asked that does he understand that people are poor, we cannot force people to use electronic money so that later on we can try to charge them.  There is no cash in banks and this is forcing them because they are using electronic means; we want now to charge the 2%.  If the cash is available, make cash available and then people can withdraw money from the banks rather than using the electronic means like going to swipe so that you can shark the 2%.  We cannot modernize our country by punishing our own people.  It is my appeal Mr. Chairman to all people here; Hon. Members that we represent people and our people are suffering - more than 14 million are suffering.  So, we cannot punish them on the basis that it is modern tax, I think it is very important.  I thank you Mr. Chairman.

          HON. BITI: Thank you Hon. Chair, I rise to make submissions on the substance of this proposed tax.  My submission is concerned around the manner in which the Hon. Minister has introduced this tax. You recall that the Minister first announced this tax in his maiden press statement on the 1st of October, 2018. On Friday, 12th October, 2018, he then passed a Statutory Instrument that introduced this tax.  The problem with the Statutory Instrument Hon. Chair is that it sorts to amend a substantive provision of the Income Tax Act.  The intermediated transaction tax is legislated; it has been in our law since 2002 where it was US$0.5cents per transaction.

          So, Section 22 (g) of the Income Tax Act provided that there will be a transaction tax of US$0.5 cents per transaction.  What the Minister did through a Statutory Instrument that he enacted on the 12th October, 2018 was to repeal and override a defined provision in an Act of Parliament.  Now, Hon. Chair, we are Parliament and no Minister can ...

          HON. ZIYAMBI: On a point of order Mr. Chair.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: What is your point of order?

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair we have a specific procedure that is followed by this Parliament pertaining to Statutory Instruments.  If we are to labour ourselves about things that are in the past that are procedurally referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee, scrutinize it, recommend to this House the course of action to be taken then we will be going in circles.  What the Hon. Member is referring to, if the Minister did an illegality that is why there is provision to allow for all Statutory Instruments to go to the Parliamentary Legal Committee and advise Parliament accordingly.  So, I want to indulge you Mr. Chairman that we cannot continue going in circles over issues that are provided for – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –   

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Biti, you have heard the Leader of the House, he has been so clear.  I do not think we are getting anywhere, actually if I can just guide you a bit.  If you consider that Vote 2 had actually brought a standstill in this House but the Minister understood our plight and now he is saying these are the areas that he is supposed to get the money from.  Now we seem to be saying that the decision that he has made as Minister is wrong, he is now regretting why he has actually given in, we need to be human...

          HON. BITI: Can I finish my debate?  The Hon. Minister of Justice has disappeared.  I want to – [AN HON. MEMBER: He is coming.] -   I want to make this point in the presence of the Minister of Justice. Section 134 of the Constitution is very clear.  It says Parliament may in an Act of Parliament delegate power to make Statutory Instruments within the scope of and for the purposes laid out in that Act, but - this is the qualification; a) Parliament’s primary law making power must not be delegated.  So, it is only Parliament which makes the laws, so when the Minister of Finance and Economic Development on the 12th October, 2018 made law by repealing Section 22 G of the Income Tax Act Chapter 23:06, he breached Section 134 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Biti, I have already made a ruling, do you respect your Chair?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): When he was Finance Minister, he made provision for what the Minister did. He amended Section 3, of the Finance Act to authorize that, subject to confirmation by Parliament.  Now, he is standing here to say what he authorised when he was Minister is now wrong!  However, I put a point to the effect that Parliament has procedures of rejecting or accepting Statutory Instruments.  We cannot labour ourselves; what he is saying is that primary powers of Parliament to make laws must not be taken away. It is correct but it is for some reason that has been taken away by the Minster.  The PLC will correct that, their duty is to ensure that Ministers do not do that and they bring an adverse report to that effect to this august House, that is why I have objected to say that what he is saying is academic at this moment in time – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

          HON. NYATHI: On a point of order! Hon. Chair, I think we are going in circles, we have debated about the 2% - at all times and we have agreed that it is good for our economy.  It is the issue that is going to lubricate this economy so that this economy can run well.  So, it is prudent that when we get to such a stage and there is such an impasse, it is okay for us to vote!

          HON. BITI:  I have moved away from the Constitutional point but my learned friend knows on the question of law he is wrong.  A Minister cannot override Parliament.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: No, Hon. Biti, I have made a ruling on that one, if you do respect your Chair please sit down.

          HON. BITI: Now I am moving on the substance.  The 2% tax is wrong.  We are already – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- You were elected to debate, not to heckle!  I want to make substantive arguments on the 2% tax Hon. Chair.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead!

          HON. BITI: I want to say to the Minister of Finance that Zimbabwe, before the introduction of the 2% transaction tax was already the most over taxed country on the African Continent.  The contribution of our revenue to GDP was 32% of GDP.  South Africa which is an economy that is almost at 400 billion USD compared to ours that is 16 billion, has a ratio of revenue to GDP of 27%.  The ordinary average African country, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, the percentage ratio of revenue to GDP is between 14 to 16%. 

          So, imposing the 2% transaction tax on an already overtaxed population, Hon. Speaker is unsustainable.  The net effect of this tax is to increase the percentage of our revenue to GDP to 35% and that is completely unsustainable for a 3rd world country.  The net effect of

 -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjection.]-

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead Hon. Biti! Speak to your Chair. 

HON. BITI: Thank you Chair.  Our people do not have disposable income, 95% of our people are unemployed, and 79% of our people are living in extreme poverty, surviving on less than USD1.25cents per day.  For all intents and purposes we are in a recession.  We have had a decline in GDP since 2012 that is more than two successive quarters.  There is no aggregate demand and up until recently, 1st October 2018, this economy was in fact arrested by stagflation - low inflation.  From 2009 to 2018 October, our inflation was around 1%, 2%; all those are signs of an economy that is in a recession.  They are signs of an economy that is in fact graduating from a recession to a depression. 

          When you are in a recession, you create a mechanism where you give disposable income to people so that you basically the economy spend its way out of that recession.  So, the solution is not to increase taxes, the solution is to cut taxes so that people have got money to spend and when they have got money to spend it creates multipliers that reverberate in the economy and the economy gets stimulus.  So, the Minister is doing the opposite of what he ought to be doing now.  He ought to be cutting taxes but on the contrary he is increasing taxes.

          Thirdly Mr. Speaker, the problem with Zimbabwe is not that we do not have revenues.  The Minister collects at least 500 million dollars per year. Our challenge is not of revenue collection but of expenditure management and expenditure use.  Vakomana ava vanodya mari kunge mushonga wemusana, and that is the problem – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon Biti, you are left with two minutes.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA:  On a point of order Mr Chairman, Hon Biti should talk about the budget because when he says “you boys are wasteful” he is not communicating anything.  During his time as Minister of Finance, he wasted a lot of money including that which was supposed to be allocated to war veterans.  Hon. Biti is not being truthful but is only trying to prove a point that he was a better minister than the current minister.

          HON. BITI:  Hon. Chairperson, I propose that the Minister concentrates on real austerity which is expenditure retrenchment.  I submit to you Hon. Minister, that the first thing is to deal with the wage bill.  - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

                THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Biti, your time is up.

          HON. BITI:  It cannot be up vanhu vachiita noise.  Ndezvenyika izvi hazvisi zvekumba kwangu.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON; Hon. Biti, I have made a ruling.

          HON. BITI:  The first thing Hon. Chair is that the Minister must deal with the wage bill so that the wage bill...

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  On a point of order Hon. Chair.  We have rules in this House.  If the Chairperson so rules that your time has expired, I think he has been concentrating on rules and following rules.  So, let us abide by the rules to ensure that we are an honourable House.

          HON. GONESE:  I move that the Hon. Member’s time be extended.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  No, there is no time extension.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Mr Speaker Sir, I repeat, I move that the clause be adopted as it is, but I want to say three things.  First of all, it is not correct that the 2% tax is going to increase the tax to GDP ratio by 2%.  Hon. Biti gave some figures in terms of the tax to GDP ratio which is not correct.  The correct figure is actually 0.4%.  Secondly, the issue of 2% is not causing inflation but people are worried about prices and not about the 2%.  It is a minute figure that is not causing people a headache.  The issue is prices and inflation.

On the issue of the wage bill, I have said it agnaseum including yesterday and the day of the announcement of the Budget that we are dealing with the wage bill, we have recent announcements that we are dealing with these issues.  So, the thinking that we are doing nothing is actually misleading.  We need the 2% tax to be able to pay for the increase in the parliamentary budget and bill that we have just voted for and agreed to a few hours ago.  I submit we move on Hon. Chair.

HON. GONESE:  Mr. Chair, you asked for debate, we are in the committee of the whole House.  Mr Chairman, let us be procedural and follow our Standing Orders.  We are not in the House but committee of the whole House.  In the committee of the whole House, the Hon. Minister’s response does not close the debate.  You can debate again and as the Chairperson, you correctly asked whether there is still debate.  We are not in the plenary that once an Hon Member speaks and the Hon Minister responds, that is the end of the debate.  However, in the committee of the whole House you can still debate.  I want to respond to an issue raised by the Hon. Minister.  Let us be very clear, the Hon. Minister should not be allowed to mislead this august House.  All I wanted was clarification on what the Hon. Minister said in his response which is a fundamental issue.

I think it is very important for the Hon. Minister to be consistent and not to vacillate.  I know the Hon. Minister had justified the 2% tax on the basis that this amount was going to be used for infrastructure development.  He is on record as having said that.  So, the Hon. Minister cannot hide behind a finger and want to justify that amount on the basis that it is going to cater for the increase in the Parliament vote.  That is misleading this august House and the nation because it is not true.  We cannot accept that. The basic issue why there is objection to the 2% tax is that there should be other ways of dealing with the budget deficit, primarily reduction in expenditure.  The Hon Minister and his colleagues are responsible for the fiscal indiscipline.  They are not prepared to bite the bullet to deal with the unnecessary expenditure.  When I made my contribution to the general debate, I specifically mentioned issues where the executive should cut on expenditure and that is where the Hon. Minister’s focus should be and not hide behind a finger and tell us that there is justification.  After all, the 2% tax increase was introduced before we even came to this Budget.  We therefore insist that the Hon. Minister should not over burden Zimbabweans.  He must take a leaf from Ghana. In 2017, Ghana actually reduced taxes in order to stimulate production.  On the contrary, our focus should be on reducing taxes so that those companies which are already operating, especially those that are in the export sector can actually export and generate foreign currency, US dollars for this country.  This is the reason why we feel very strongly that the 2% is not the way to go, particularly at this point in time. 

          The Hon. Minister is giving examples of countries whose economies are performing.  We are a country whose economy is not performing and as a result, the majority of the people are impoverished.  Again, he is trying to give the rationale that the 2% tax was supposed to be targeting or partly targeting the informal sector.  If the Hon. Minister only wanted to target the informal sector, he must focus on issues which will target that particular sector and not this one which actually targets the rich, the poor and even those who are not in business.  Anyone who has been forced by the circumstances in this country where there is no cash to transact using electronic media, whether it is through the bank transfers or through eco cash, the bottom line is that people do not have a choice. 

You are punishing those who are in employment, particularly the civil servants who do not have a choice because they get their salaries through a transfer.  There is no way that they can get any cash.  Perhaps people in the private sector can try to come up with mechanisms to give their employees cash.  Those who are in the public sector cannot get access to cash and they are being punished by this punitive tax.  Therefore, Hon. Chair, I disagree with the notion that we should accede to that particular amendment.  We must reject it in its entirety. I rest my case Hon. Chair.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you.  As I have already expressed before Hon. Chair, this tax is necessary for netting in everyone.  If you recall, I did mention before this House and in various committees that the Government is owed $3.5 billion in unremitted taxes in terms of VAT, PAYE and I am excluding penalties.  If we include penalties, it is $4.5 billion.  So, we are owed a lot of taxes already.  People are not complying; compliance rate is very low in terms of taxation.  The electronic tax solves that problem because it makes sure that everyone is netted in including those who are in the informal sector. 

On the issue of expenditure containment, again I have explained this at length to say that whether we are looking at issues of wage bill, cutting down on Government waste and so forth, we are dealing with all of that.  I have been very clear that our strategy of fiscal discipline and dealing with the budget deficit is revenue oriented but also cost containment oriented.  I know that we will really achieve the budget deficit of 5% of GDP going forward. 

The Hon. Members noted that we do not have tax incentives.  We have a lot of tax incentives Hon. Chair, especially for foreign currency generation and for import substitution.  If you go through my Budget Statement, there are so many incentives and rebates around fertiliser manufacturing, the furniture sector, bread manufacturing and so forth.  So, a lot of tax incentives, which in my view have gone a long way in making sure that those sectors remain viable, they maintain jobs, some of them have actually grown their job figures and all of that is adding up. I therefore conclude by saying, once again, can we please accept the clause as is.  This is a necessary tax.  I thank you.

HON. KARENYI:  Thank you Hon. Chair.  If you read, it clearly shows that the issue of 2% tax, we are not in agreement with it.  We are here standing for the people, for the poor and we are here talking about the grandmothers out there.  We are here Hon. Chair standing for those who do not have voices in this House.  After the discussions Hon. Chair, if the Minister is very serious, there was supposed to be a commitment to say at least let us take less than 2% or something like that.  However, it clearly shows that there is no commitment at all.  Hon. Chair, if you ask anybody in the street about the 2%, people are not happy with it – [HON. CHINOTIMBA: Inaudible interjections.] – May I say to Hon. Chinotimba who is making a lot of noise, the issue is not about a vehicle.  The issue is about the people of Zimbabwe and their living; we do not eat vehicles, they do not eat vehicles.  So Hon. Chair, we say if there is no agreement, I ask for the House to be divided because I am not going to agree with the issue of 2%.  I am not going to agree with it.

*HON. CHINOTIMBA:  Thank you Hon. Chair.  Members of Parliament are so greed.  We cannot defend our own budget as Parliament but we want to defend that for the people.  The people who are paying taxes are the ones that we are telling that we want our money increased as Parliament.  We are stealing from the people.  Are we not?  It is the same money that you would want this budget increased.  They should not be double-faced.  It is unfair even if the taxes were to be reduced. So, we must divide and see who is going to win – [HON. MEMBERS:  Divide, divide!] –

[Bells rung]

          [House divided].

Ayes 80-: Hon. Bushu; Hon. Chibagu; Hon. Chidakwa; Hon. Chikomba; Hon. Chikukwa; Hon. Chikwama; Hon. Chingosho; Hon. Chinotimba; Hon. Chipato; Hon. Chitura; Hon. Dzuma; Hon. Gandawa; Hon. Gwanongodza; Hon. Gorerino; Hon. Kabozo; Hon. Karimazondo; Hon. Kashiri; Hon. Khumalo, S.; Hon. Kwaramba; Hon. Maboyi; Hon. Machingura; Hon. Madhuku; Hon. Madiwa; Hon. Madziva; Hon. Maronge; Hon. Masango; Hon. Masenda; Hon. Matambanadzo; Hon. Mataranyika; Hon. Mavenyengwa; Hon. Mawito; Hon. Mguni; Hon. Mhona; Hon. Mkandla; Hon. Mkaratigwa; Hon. Moyo, P.; Hon. Mpame; Hon. Mpofu, A.; Hon. Mpofu, M.M.; Hon. Mudarikwa; Hon. Mugweni; Hon. Munetsi; Hon. Muponora; Hon. Murire; Hon. Musabayana; Hon. Musiyiwa; Hon. Mutambisi; Hon. Mutomba; Hon. Ncube, E.; Hon. Ncube, O.; Hon. Ndiweni; Hon. Nduna; Hon. Nguluvhe; Hon. Ngwenya; Hon. Nhambo; Hon. Nhari; Hon. Nkani; Hon. Nkomo; Hon. Nyabani; Hon. Nyabote; Hon. Nyashanu; Hon. Nyathi; Hon. Paradza; Hon. Raidza; Hon. Rungani; Hon. Rwodzi; Hon. Seremwe; Hon. Shamu; Hon. Shava; Hon. Shumbamhini; Hon. Sithole, James; Hon. Tapera; Hon. Togarepi; Hon. Tsuura; Hon. Tungamirai; Hon. Zhemu; Hon. Zhou, P.; Hon. Ziyambi;

          Tellers: Hon. Mguni and Hon. Chombo

          Noes 26-: Hon. Biti.; Hon. Chamisa; Hon. Dinar;  Hon. Dube, P.; Hon. Gonese; Hon. Karenyi; Hon. Kureva; Hon. Mago; Hon. Makonya; Hon. Matewu; Hon. Mpariwa; Hon. Mukapiko; Hon. Mushoriwa; Hon. Nyamudeza; Hon. Nyokanhete; Hon. Nyoni; Hon. Phulu; Hon. Sansole; Hon. Saruwaka; Hon. Sithole, James; Hon. Tekeshe; Hon. Hwende; Hon. Jaja and Hon. Ndlovu, S.

          Tellers: Hon. Mutseyami and Hon C. Moyo.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Order, I have 80 Ayes and 26 Noes. Therefore, the Clause 4 is accordingly adopted.

          Clause 4, put and agreed to.

          On Clause 5:

          HON. BITI: Hon. Chair, I move to debate Clause 5. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members.

          HON. BITI: Hon. Chairman, there are two things on Clause 5. The first one is a matter of principle. The Clause seeks to deem and implicitly amend Section 14 of the Income Tax Act. By deeming, all fees and charges that are paid to foreign satellite service providers like Multi-Choice are deeming that as income sourced from Zimbabwe for the purposes of taxation. My more substantive point is that what the Government and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development needs to do is in fact, to revisit Section 14 of the Income Tax Act. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.]- To revisit Section 14 of the Income Tax Act so that the method of calculating Income Tax in Zimbabwe moves from residents to source.

          This is because the proposed amendment actually proves the efficacy and superiority of source based income tax over residents based income tax. There is an Hon. Member who suggested that I failed. Let me set the record straight. In 2013, this august House passed a brand new Income Tax Act which in fact, introduced radically and in a revolutionary manner the method of calculating tax from residence to source. Parliament passed it - both Houses, only President Mugabe did not put his signature to it. So, Parliament passed that. That is my point on source. Let us move to source instead of having an eclectic peace-meal acceptance that source is superior to residence.

          My second point is that it is not enough Hon. Minister of Finance to seek to tax foreign providers of broadcasting services in Zimbabwe. The question is why are thousands of Zimbabweans watching and paying in a very difficult economy, a very expensive price to foreign suppliers of broadcasting services? The real issue is that we must attend to the issue of media reform. Thirty-eight years after independence is not good enough that we have one broadcasting house called Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

          So, our people are paying Multi-Choice and DSTV because we cannot watch the unpalatable, disgusting Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. That is the real issue. There must be media reform. In this country there must be a liberalisation of the airwaves and this does not cost money. Unlike other reforms, introducing and liberalising the media airwaves does not cost money. It must happen now, today, namnhla. I so submit. 

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I rise to add my voice to this debate on Clause 5. Mr. Chair, the Hon. Minister did not hesitate during his presentation of the Budget to suggest a number of constitutional and legislative amendments which he felt needed to be changed if this country was going to move forward. I think you recall that the Hon. Minister even suggested that change in the way by-elections are held in Zimbabwe. He also suggested quite a number of pieces of legislation that he felt needed to be amended. 

I think the call and the reason why people in this country, each and every household – I think they are very few that watch ZBC and can probably do so during the news hour.  The majority of the people do not do that.  The clause here where the Minister feels that money is going to Multi-Choice and other satellite broadcasting can easily be cured if this country would open the airwaves and we have more broadcasting, we will not be having this problem because most of the people will have a choice – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Order Hon. Members.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Mr. Chair.  The challenge is that some of the Hon. Members do not understand the clause that we are debating – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – The clause that we are debating refers to the issue of satellite services and this is one of the issues that we are raising – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. CHINOTIMBA:  On a point of order, the Hon. Member is repeating what Hon. Biti clearly put and all of us understood.  He wants Hon. Chamisa to know that he has debated in Parliament – [AN HON. MEMBER: You are out of order.] – Out of order for what?  – [AN HON. MEMBER: Who is Chamisa.] – He is the losing President of MDC.  Do you not know him? A losing President of MDC – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Order please. Hon. Member, can you finish up.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I thank the Hon. Members for their contributions but this clause is about the foreign service providers and not the domestic providers.  I think comments around whether the domestic service provider is good or not is not the issue.  The issue is about the foreign service providers making sure that we can collect taxes from them.  This can only be fair.  I cannot believe that anyone is opposed to this very progressive clause about making sure that foreign service providers comply.  The issue about the domestic service provider is another issue which can be – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

I rest my case and propose that the clause is adopted as is so that foreign service providers of this kind of content can be taxed accordingly and contribute to the fiscus in Zimbabwe.

Clause 5 put and agreed to.

Clause 6 put and agreed to.

On Clause 7:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):   Hon. Chair, I propose the following amendments; on page 6 of the Bill, delete in line 32 the words “to either or anyone of the mining locations” and substitute it with “to anyone or more mining locations”.

On page 6 of the Bill, please delete in line 37 the words “part of” and substitute with “subjected to”.  I thank you.

          HON. BITI:  Chairman, may we be served with the proposed amendments please?  How can he pontificate on something that we cannot see.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  In the beginning, we agreed.  He raised it and I conceded and said what you are saying is correct but we are seeking the indulgence of the House so that the Minister can explain and we move forward.

It is recorded.  We agreed that for the sake of progress, let us do that.  We accept what you said but for the sake of progress, the Minister will explain the amendment that he is bringing forward which has been agreed by some of the members who are here from the PLC. I think it is in order if you allow us to proceed.  I thank you.

          Amendment to new Clause 7 put and agreed to.

New Clause 7, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clause 8 put and agreed to.

On Clause 9: 

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  On Clause 9 on page 7 of the Bill, please delete in line 4 the words and figures “in paragraph (2) (f) (i)”. 

On page 7 of the Bill, delete in line 15 the word “as old company;” and substitute it with “as the old company or entity; or”.

          HON. BITI:  Mr. Chairman, I rise to debate this proposed amendment.  For Members, what the Minister is seeking to do is to hold liable in their personal capacities directors of companies which are wound up or declared insolvent when those companies are unable to meet their debts.  So, he is saying if you are a director in a company and that company goes bust and is declared insolvent, you too as the director are then immediately liable for the tax liabilities of this company.

Mr. Chairman, clearly that is unconstitutional.  A company is a separate legal person and a different individual from its shareholders and its directors.  The doctrine of limited liability is at the epicenter of capitalism; it is at the epicenter of contract law as we know it.  People go into business with the protection that I am protected by the veil of the corporate status of a company; the separate distinction between the company and its shareholders and the company and its directors.  Therefore, and I want to refer Hon. Chairman to Section 45 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which recognises the existence of separate persona between natural persons and unnatural persons. 

          Mr. Chairman, a board member cannot be held liable for the tax liabilities of the company in the manner that this Bill seeks to do.  More importantly, our Constitution recognises due process in the Constitution.  Section 68 is very clear that an individual is entitled to the determination of his rights by an independent and impartial court within a reasonable time.  So, you cannot hold liable a director for the sins of the company without that director being called to a court of law to answer whether or not he did anything wrong that justifies him paying the liabilities.  But, this section imposes strict liability on the reasonable suspicion on directors.  So clearly it is unconstitutional.

          I thought that the amendments that would come are the following:  that if a court on reasonable belief that the company is being wound up in order to avoid tax liabilities, someone must prove before a court, then directors can be liable on the following conditions a) if the directors were responsible through mismanagement; through fraud and through deliberate commissions and omissions that led the company to be placed under liquidation and insolvency, then they should be liable. 

There are many instances in our jurisdiction where you have non-executive board members who are only called to a board meeting perhaps once a year, how can those board members be liable for the omissions and commissions of that company.  It is unconstitutional and it is wrong. 

          The Hon. Minister himself has run companies and he has run banks as a matter of fact.  It is not proper that a board chairperson be held liable unless through due process.  It can be proved that, that board chairperson/member was responsible for the omissions and commissions that led the company to be placed under insolvency and that should be stated in that.  So I would argue and submit Mr. Chairperson, that this is an unconstitutional provision.  The problem with this whole Bill is that the desire and zeal of trying to get money even from under rocks was so great.  The appetite was so great that it made those who drafted this Bill to take shortcuts and overlook important provisions of the Constitution.  We cannot do that Mr. Chairperson.  This provision, Section 9 of the Finance (No. 3) Bill is clearly unconstitutional.  I so move. 

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Chair.  I want to add my voice to this progressive amendment.  Hon. Chair, the first things that I want to ask fervently from the Minister are that this is not applied retrospectively because it is bound to affect unsuspecting innocent directors who were doing business in a proper way if at all, whose companies did not wind up willy-nilly and whose companies did not wind up knowingly and delinquently. 

          Mr. Chair, I ask also that as we deal with this amendment, we also look at the Insolvency Act and we also amalgamate it and align it to the Companies and Entities Act, which Bill is before Parliament and has not been debated.  In particular, Section 100 of the Companies and Entities Act which needs to be aligned with the Insolvency Act in order that we deal effectively and efficiently with those directors who are going to wind up their companies for selfish and self-centred reasons as opposed to those that have gone under judicial management – whose companies have folded under judicial management and which have also gone into a scheme of arrangement and otherwise in a manner which was not done to avoid paying taxes.

          Hon. Chair, I then propose the following: for the Minister to get monies from other sources which might not have been open for him to see, there is what is called the community share ownership trust which was launched in 2010.  Where I come from in Mashonaland West, there is what is called Chegutu-Mhondoro-Mubaira-Zvimba Community Share Ownership Trust.  What happened is that these companies offered seed capital to the Community Share Ownership Trust in those districts and jurisdictions so that they are given time to quantify the quantum of the dividend and make sure that they come out with the amount that is supposed to benefit the community in terms of the 10% share ownership that it has allotted to the community.

          I ask that this money if it has been quantified as a dividend by the end of this year as promised by Zimplats as the case might be in Mashonaland West; that it be applied or it be given to the community in retrospect, Mr. Chair.  What this is going to mean, assuming the dividend per annum is US$10 000 000, we are going back eight years to 2010. This then accumulatively becomes US$80 000 000.  I ask that the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development takes this US$80 000 000, apply it to the community for development after first ring-fencing it for that purpose, but let it hit the central revenue fund first and this is money that can be viremented because it is money that was not being expected by this community. 

So, I ask that instead of too stringent a measure he aligns his measure to the Insolvenncy Act, companies Utilities Act and the Constitution.  He does not apply his amendment in retrospect and takes some of this money that was not open to the simple eye or open to him before that I have proposed to him and applies it in the manner that he so wishes in order that he economically develops the economy in this country.  I thank you.

HON. PHULU:  This is a very serious clause and I think I will raise just a few issues so that I do not repeat the debate that has already been made.

The law already provides for adequate measures for one to go after company officials who act fraudulently, recklessly or who act with the intention of avoiding paying taxes. The difference with the current law is that it allows you to first prove that the person is culpable before you can find then guilty.  What this clause does is that the moment there is reasonable suspicion, someone just has to have a reasonable suspicion; anyone who was a director in a company becomes strictly liable to pay.  In fact, if you look at Section 77 of the Income Tax Act and you look at Subsection 4 where it requires a director to pay or someone who holds equity to pay, they must pay nothing in excess of their interest, but in this section 8 that you are adding, it is totally different from what you have in subsection 4.

The director of a company, unlike the partner that is mentioned in the section before, is paying even in excess of his interest and sometimes directors do not have interest in terms of holding equity in the company.  A director is someone who is coming to assist.  Sometimes directors do not really run the company.  There is no distinction between an executive director and a non-executive director who may not have the necessary culpability.  I would urge this House to amend this so that we move back to ensuring that we prove people to be guilty before we condemn them to make these payments which are sometimes excessive.

My last point is that if we do not look at this section carefully by crafting the necessary amendments, we may reduce all companies into sole traders because the distinction between the juristic person and the people who run the company will become nonexistent.  It will affect us adversely in the future.  In fact, it will actually curb the willingness of people to come and invest in our country if we do not carefully look at some of these clauses dealing with companies.

An additional feature which I find very worrying is that even an old director who has retired and decided I want to have nothing to do with this, and even someone who has himself been defrauded in the process is caught up - the moment some other person who is perhaps a lunatic or a crook decides to open a company that is running the same business.  I suggest that former directors who are not proven to be culpable, who have nothing to do with the subsequent acts mentioned in paragraph A, perhaps be removed from the ambit of this section.  I thank you Mr. Chairman.

HON. C. MOYO:  Thank you Hon. Chair.  It is very unfortunate that we go up the mountains and we move around the globe and say Zimbabwe is open for business – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -  Internationally it is known that there is the doctrine of separation of powers and it is known that many people can come and register their companies very aware that they are treated separately from the companies.  Besides, there would be reasons why they would be winding up voluntarily.  It is because maybe they will be failing to operate their business. 

So to say therefore, we will follow the directors after the winding up of the company, I think it is very unconstitutional and we need to carefully consider that, like Hon. Phulu said.  Thank you

HON. DR. MUSANHI:  Chairman I would like to add my voice.  This amendment compromises the corporate governance in terms of business.  Corporate governance comes in to make and checks and balances on a company so that everything is done properly in the company.  So if someone is appointed a director in a company, it does not mean he owns shares in that company.  Therefore, no one in this country will want to be appointed a director of any company because all what you have worked for will be sold to pay tax for something that you did not commit.  Therefore, I recommend that the Minister looks into this thing carefully because it might jeopardise a lot of business in this country.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you Hon. Chair.  Clause 9 is very clear and it is narrow.  It is clear in the sense that it talks about a company or entity that is wound up voluntarily or otherwise in circumstances that give rise to reasonable suspicion.  I emphasise reasonable and not unreasonable suspicion. That it is deliberately put into liquidation in order to avoid any tax liability – [HON. BITI: Hon. Chair I ask that the Minister of Justice responds to this.] – Hon. Chair, I am the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and this is a Finance Bill and there is an issue, a Clause that I am addressing right now because Members have raised questions on it and that is what I am doing.  I submit that to Hon. Biti if he cares to listen.  This phrase is narrow, it is clear.  It talks about a voluntary winding up of a company for the sole purpose of liquidating so that it avoids paying taxes.  It is very clear, that is what this is about.  That is the first point Hon. Chair.

          The second point is; we are aware that this is happening and it is happening a lot.  We are owed $3.5 billion by certain corporates who have done exactly this, which is to avoid the payment of taxes by winding up what they currently preside over and moving on to a new entity altogether and therefore avoid paying taxes and any other liabilities in the old company.  We are seeking to avoid this, plug the hole and make sure that this does not happen.  I therefore submit that this Clause be accepted as is, it is progressive and it is plugging a hole that ought to be plugged.  After all, we are owed $3.5 billion because of this kind of practice.  I thank you.

          HON. BITI: Hon. Chair, with great respect to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, these are complicated legal issues.  I respectfully ask that the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs responds.  The issue is about the rule of law.  The first issue; a director is not the company, a shareholder is not the company, the two are separate.  The second issue; you cannot hold a director liable without that director having been heard, it is constitutional.  So, I ask the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to respond to this, this is about the rule of law and the constitutionalism.  I beg you Hon. Chair.  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development said, ‘it is narrow.’  What is a reasonable suspicion? Who determines that this company has been put in insolvency in order to avoid tax?  Only a court of law can do that and not the Commissioner General of Taxes.  So, do not destroy companies, corporate governance or corporate law.  He ran Barbican Bank Hon. Chair, and it went down.  It is unfair to hold what he did as the Executive Manager of Barbican Bank to be done on directors.  You cannot do that, there has to be due process.  It is a question of law, let the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs answer this question.

          THE HON. MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I rise to repeat my earlier submission and response Hon. Chair, that this is clear, it is narrow and it is very specific.  It is about the voluntary winding up of a company for the sole purpose of avoiding tax.  It is very clear.  We should expect the legal and court process to take its course, that is allowed.  I submit that the Clause be accepted as is.  Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Hon. Chair, I submit that we proceed and accept this section as it is.  I think what Hon. Biti is saying is valid but it is misplaced when we look at the mischief we want to cure in this Section.  You wind up a company voluntarily, so there is no question of who determines how the company was liquidated.  You did it yourself, and then form another company which does more or less the same as what you were doing yet you did not pay your taxes.  This Section is simply saying; when you do that, there is reasonable suspicion that you did it to avoid taxes and when you go to Clause 27, it will clearly spell out procedures that will be followed to ensure that due process is done. 

The property is not being seized, it will be frozen, you will have it and you will have a right of reply to explain yourself.  If you are not guilty, you will be free to do whatever you want with your property.  So, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is very correct. If we proceed with this Bill, you will clearly find out that there are provisions which are amending the Revenue Act to deal with his concerns and they are clearly addressed.  I so submit that we submit.  I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          HON. PHULU: There has been a submission that this Clause will only catch those who wind up companies and then go on to form other companies that do the same business.  Now, that is not true because former directors who do not participate in this business are also netted in by this provision.  However, at the same time, let us see how clear Subsection 8 is. It does not say as was suggested, that a company has to be wound up voluntarily in suspicious circumstances.  There is a coma after voluntarily, so as soon as a company is wound up, we have a coma and we have got or, once we have a coma and or, if the coma was not there, then we could say that but as soon as your company is wound up voluntarily, that is the end of the matter.  You then cannot go on to form these other companies in terms of the Subsections.  Alternatively, if you wind it up otherwise, otherwise is what applies to the suspicious circumstances, but once you wind it up voluntarily, you are caught in the net, it is not clear. 

However, on the whole, this Clause is a disaster for the whole notion of separating the company from the individual.  It reduces the entire business into a village sole trader.  That way, there is no way that businesses are going to be able to attract competent people to come and be directors in companies.  I am invited to be a director in your company, I give my service for a year and when I walk out I lose my house for decisions which may have nothing to do with me.  I admit that there may be people who are culpable, find the people guilty or culpable and then go after them for the avoidance.  Go after them but it must not exceed their interests.  Even with shareholders, some shareholders hold 1% whilst others hold 99%.  You are asking the small person who was probably an employee to pay an amount equal to those who really made the disastrous decisions. 

There are a lot of things that are unfair, undesirable and run counter to the notion of the rule of law.  We submit that we already have enough sections.  If you read the Income Tax Act as it stands, it already allows you to go after people who behave in this way. 

          HON. MUSHORIWA [speaking]: Mr. Chair you know given the economic situation that is prevailing in the country, the entrepreneurs in this country, those people that have actually taken the risk to form companies.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Member, please do not repeat what was said.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Chair, you are not being fair, I have not repeated even a single word said by anyone unless you actually..

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: State the point.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: I am simply raising a very pertinent issue Mr. Chair – [AN HON. MEMBER: But do not challenge the Chair.] – We have a lot of unemployment in this country.  When you come up with a clause or section that threatens – what normally happens is that a company can wind up primarily because for some reason things do not work well and then it does not stop someone, a director or shareholder to pick up the pieces assuming the economic situation improves. I actually think Mr. Chair, that we should also avoid a situation in this country where we create laws targeting certain individuals.  When you create laws targeting certain persons, this is the end result.  The problem is that in as much as we sympathise with the Minister of Finance that he needs a lot of money but the truth of the matter is that just like Hon. Nduna has actually stated, we have got two Bills that are pending before this House, two Bills that can actually cure some of these things and there is no urgency in actually bringing this clause in this income Act.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Hon. Chair, I have taken note of the contribution of Hon. Phulu. Now I propose the following changes, - “if in Zimbabwe or in its country of formation, incorporation or registration a company or entity, (‘the old company or entity’) is wound up voluntarily and in circumstances that gives rise,” so we remove the “or otherwise” which may sound like it is netting in everyone beyond those who have voluntarily wound out the company for purposes of avoiding tax. That is what I propose as an amendment. So, replace “or otherwise” with “and”. I thank you.

          Amendment to Clause 9, put and agreed to.

          Clause 9, as amended put and agreed to.

          On Clause 10:

          HON. BITI: Hon. Chairman, Clause 10 seeks to condone the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe from its failure to submit income tax payments in respect of interest it was paying and not withholding to holders of Treasury Bills and it seeks to grant this condonation from 1st February, 2009 to 1st December 2018.  Mr. Chairman, the Constitution makes Parliament the overseer of the Consolidated Revenue Fund. So therefore, if there is tax that has not been paid or paid over by anyone, it is a breach of the Constitution in respect of which condonation ought to be sought not in terms of an amendment being sneaked in through the Finance Act but the substantive condonation provision in the Constitution of Zimbabwe which provision is Section 307 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  So the proper thing that needs to be done is for the Minister to table that Condonation Bill which must disclose the money that the Reserve Bank failed to collect and withhold from interest earned on Treasury Bills, whether it is US$5m, US$2m or US$10b.  Parliament must know the prejudice it has suffered by the non-compliance of the Reserve Bank in withholding a tax on Treasury Bills. 

          That Act and any pending stand alone Act is moved and debated in this House. So, we are being asked to condone something which we do not know.  What is the quantum of this tax, what is the quantum of the figure that the Reserve Bank seeks to condone through this august House?  Hon. Speaker, the Reserve Bank is a statutory board that employes quantities of lawyers, accountants and a compliance department.  We also need to know why the Reserve Bank actually did not comply with the law, the law in Section 8 of the Income Tax Act that requires that they withhold interest tax on Treasury Bills. 

          So, it is not good enough Mr. Chairman to condone without the explanation for the default.  Why was the Reserve Bank in default, we need that explanation and that answer; we cannot condone in the dark. So, I submit Hon. Chair that the right thing must be done and a stand alone Condonation Bill must be tabled separately in terms of Section 307 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe explaining the amount that the Consolidated Revenue Fund has been prejudiced and the reasons why that interest was not being submitted.  I so submit Chair.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Chairman, I just want to add one or two issues.  The first issue that I want to raise Mr. Chair, is that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is a big bank and just like Hon. Biti has indicated, it has quite a number of competent and professional people that are aware of the provision of the law.  My question to the Minister in regard to number 3, the issue of loans condonation for the schools; you will find that the condonation on Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is up to 1st December, 2018 and yet for the schools it is up to 31st December 2017. 

          I am raising this Mr. Chair knowing that a number of schools are run by people, the SDC, school authority some of them especially the Government schools may not necessarily have the requisite knowledge and I am just wondering why the Minister could not have the condonation if it is going to stand to the same period just as he has given a competent organisation like Reserve Bank to 1st December, 2018.  The condonation for the schools should also be up to1st December 2018 rather than 2017.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Chair.  I want to add my voice to this amendment.  I submit that condonation resides in various Acts across the country.  I know for a fact, the former State Procurement Board now turned into procurement praz, used to have a way of condoning government and quasi government departments in their delinquent behaviour from buyers if there was any.  There were sanctions for such a move, I ask therefore, that if at all RBZ needs to be sanctioned, let it not be disallowed to get condonation.

          However, Hon. Biti is the former Finance Minister from 2009 to 2013 and I have got some institutional memory that if something of this nature subsisted at that time, if my memory serves me right, during that time there was no inclination towards bringing up such paper trail and such information.  I stand to be corrected if I am wrong.  My point exactly is, if this has subsisted for a very long time even before the current and present Minister, two wrongs do not make a right but let us not prejudice RBZ of its constitutional right of seeking condonation.  I pray that condonation be offered without any foregoing conditions. 

          However, if there is any explanation to be brought to this House for the purpose of progress, if that explanation can come in at a later stage.  We have removed all stops in order to make sure that we pass this budget.  If this can be given an opportune time in the future for them to bring to this House what it is that they are seeking condonation for, but condonation should not be held back because they have not brought back those papers immediately and expeditiously.  If it can be noted on record that paper trail will be needed in the future, in the committee that he chairs if he so wishes, but let us not hold back condonation and this Budget unnecessarily;  I so move.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I appreciate the contributions from the two members.  It has been noted by Hon. Biti that we need a separate Bill with figures and so forth but this is the Bill. On condonation, we do not need to have a specific figure. The RBZ can always be requested to submit that figure,

          Secondly, Hon. Biti is a former Minister of Finance who presided over the Ministry in 2009/2010; he did nothing about this issue.  He ignored this issue.  I am actually trying to clean up and move on; him having neglected this issue.  Let us clean up and move on. If we need figures from RBZ, I am sure they can provide those, we can condone without the figures, absolutely I see no problems.

          On the issue of the schools, we should be delighted that they are included here to make sure that again we can move on.   They have been informed that they cannot go on without submitting this withholding tax, that is why the date ends on 31st December, 2017.  They have been informed, so they know the procedure going forward.  All I am trying to do is clean up and move on to make sure that this part does not occur and let us just do that – it is straight forward. Let us not create a storm in a tea cup, I submit.

          HON. BITI: I think the Minister needs to be very careful with his language.  As a matter of fact, the GNU in respect of which I had a privilege to serve as Finance Minister did not issue any Treasury Bills from 2009 to 2013.  So, there was no mess to clean up because unlike others we did not borrow, we did not issue any Treasury Bills.  The Minister needs to be upfront with the truth.

          Secondly, the role of Parliament is very clear. Parliament plays an oversight role. It is defined in Section 299 of the Constitution and Section 299 of the Constitution makes it very clear that Parliament shall have an oversight role over all revenues in Zimbabwe and all expenditure in Zimbabwe.  If the RBZ did not collect interest, income on Treasury Bills, surely the minimum that this House ought to know is what the extent of the prejudice is.  How can we condone something in the dark and how can the Minister of Finance say that is a storm in a tea cup, it is absurd, Hon. Chairperson.  What is the amount that we are condoning, is it 5 million, 20 million, 80 million dollars, what is that amount?

          Thirdly, we need to know the reason why the RBZ was in default.  What is the explanation of the RBZ being in default and that with great respect is not asking for too much.  Why did the Reserve Bank not carry out its statutory board? Section 117 of the Constitution makes this Parliament the overseer of every Government institution in Zimbabwe. We hold them to account in the national interest, we protect the Constitution in the national interest. We protect the Constitution in the national interest.  So, in the interest of protecting the Constitution, there must be a separate condonation Bill in terms of Section 307.  I so submit Hon. Chair.

            THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF M. NCUBE):  Can I repeat what I submitted earlier that on this clause, we proceed as it is.  We do not need a separate Bill.  So, we do not need a figure in terms of condonation but you can always request that information from the Reserve Bank.  On the issue of schools, they are now complying absolutely and they have been complying right through 2018, that is why the date ends on 31st December 2017.

Amendment to Clause 10 put and agreed to.

          Clause 10, as amended, put and agreed to

On Clause 11:

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF M. NCUBE):  On page 8 of the Bill, delete “in line 24 the word engages or will in a transaction” and substitute it with “engages or will engage in a transaction”.

Amendment to Clause 11 put and agreed to.

          Clause 11, as amended, put and agreed to

On Clause 12;

          HON. BITI:  Mr. Chairperson, we are dealing with a series of illegalities that we are now being asked to condone.  A series of breaches of our law that we are now being asked to condone.  What this particular amendment is seeking to do is to say if a Treasury Bill was issued and it specified that the interest to be earned was to be tax free, it is unlawful because no one, not a functionary in the Ministry of Finance, not the Governor of the Reserve Bank has a right to say the proceeds of this Treasury Bill are tax free because that is against the law.  This particular provision in the schedule is seeking to say if you receive a Treasury Bill which said that your income is tax free therefore it remains tax free, why do we condone lawlessness and cynical abuse of our laws in our country.  I have never seen a Finance Act that is as terrible as this one.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  This Clause is clear.  When you issue a fixed income instrument, you have to specify the covenants.  Some of these covenants might be such that you want to stimulate greater interest in the security.  It is very common to give certain transaction tax exemption status.  First of all, it is not unlawful to give certain transactions exemptions for purposes of stimulating greater demand for that specific transaction or investment tax exemption status.  It happens all the time including special economic zones for example.  We do it to stimulate investment.  Likewise, a Treasury Bill or any fixed income instrument is an investment instrument.  So in these covenants, it could be specified that there should be a tax exemption including other covenants.  Maybe the yield should be inflation linked, coupons should be treated in a specific way.  You could specify any number of portfolio covenants that ensures that there is demand for that specific investment or Treasury Bill.  So, this is not unusual at all but is designed to stimulate demand for that specific instrument.  We are just making sure that those who are beneficiaries of these instruments are not unfairly treated when in fact they are holding instruments whose income is tax free in the first place.  I submit Hon. Chair.

          HON. BITI:  Hon. Chairperson, there is no one except for this House that can waive tax on anyone.  The Special Economic Zones are what they are because there is an Act of Parliament passed by this House giving those tax exemptions.  No functionary can simply write on a piece of paper that this instrument that I am giving you is tax free.  If that is the case why is the Minister coming with this proposed amendment.  He is coming because without this Parliament condoning, that it will be unlawful.  So, my point is simple, we cannot condone the cynical abuse and disrespect of the law which is so manifest in this Finance Bill and anyone who seeks to defend this is amazing because it is unsustainable and it is illegal.  I thank you Hon. Chairperson.

          HON. NDUNA:  I understand that the issues of Treasury Bills are as old as even before Hon. Biti became Minister of Finance.  Why is  it  suddenly becoming an issue ?  I think we are majoring on minors and tissues instead of issues.  It is my fervent view and clarion call that the Minister has said it does stimulate our economy.  It is a panacea for de-industrialisation, and under-development.  It is an issue that can stimulate our economic development.  The issue that the Minister speaks to – the issue of Special Economic Zones speaks about capital, 100% repatriation and profits.  If this cannot be said to be a panacea for de-industrialisation then what is?  It is something that we should be standing here and celebrating that here is somebody putting some initiative on something that was way developed long before Hon. Biti came in and tried but left before injecting some economic development into the country.  I call therefore Mr. Chair that we let by-gones be by-gones and concentrate on the future.  There is no reason even for wading off or trying to even suggest that we should not have stimuli in economic development.  We have the SADC industrialisation strategy to deal with.  We have the Beneficiation and Value Addition of Africa Agenda 2063 to deal with and the SDGs and we sit here and say we want to wad off stimuli in our economic development.  I say no and I say yes to the stimuli and development of this agenda and trajectory that the Minister is trying to propose here.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  I propose Hon. Chair for us to accept this clause as is because it is stimulatory to the demand of a vital instrument such as a Treasury Bill which we need from time to time to finance our demands as an economy.  Thank you.

          Amendment to Clause 12 put and agreed to.

          Clause 12 as amended, put and agreed to. 

          On Clause 13:

          HON. MUSHORIWA:  Hon. Chair, I want to add my voice and debate on this Amendment Number 13 in as far as it reflects on the exemptions stated by the Hon. Minister in terms of the new taxation, the 2% tax.  Hon. Chair, there are certain groups of people that I actually think deserve to be exempted than some of the ones that the Hon. Minister has actually put. Whilst I do not have a problem in them being listed, I want to suggest that there be others that need to be put there.  The first group of persons that I think need to be exempted from this tax are the pensioners, those that are above 65 years and those whose income is actually coming from pension.  I think Hon. Chair, these people need to be exempted. 

          Secondly Mr. Chair, I also submit that there are certain organisations such as schools.  You know that the Government of Zimbabwe in terms of education, what we do is we provide the teachers but in terms of all the other things in Government and council schools, it is parents who are paying their levies, which is a form of taxation.  I think it is not fair for schools when they transact to also be subjected to this tax.  I actually think that schools should also be exempted in the same manner that we are exempting organisations that deal with the procurement and production of petroleum products.  I believe that it is crucial that we do that. 

I was in a meeting with some School Development Committees.  Their complaint is that whereas a transaction used to cost $3 bank charges, it is now attracting charges of around $800 to $1000.  Where is that money coming from?  It is coming from the poor people whose goal is to educate their children.  To that extent Mr. Chair, I would want the Minister to consider some of these organisations.  I thank you.

HON. PHULU:  Hon. Chair, there is sub-paragraph 2 of this clause, the last one is of concern.  This is a matter which Hon. Biti raised earlier on.  Concerning Statutory Instrument 205 of 2018, the clause seeks to validate Statutory Instrument 205 of 2018 from the date that it was passed or enacted to the date that this Act commences.  In other words, there is an acknowledgement that Statutory Instrument 205 should never have been passed; the Statutory Instrument was illegal. 

It has been raised time and again that the Statutory Instrument is illegal and as we speak, the Statutory Instrument is before the Parliamentary Legal Committee.  The Constitution is very clear.  The purview of making legislation belongs to this House and Section 134 is very clear that this House may delegate these functions from time to time in the form of Statutory Instruments.  Those Statutory Instruments must never amount to taking the primary law making power or function of this House.  This Statutory Instrument did just that. 

I would like to emphasise that this is something that this House cannot permit to be happening over and over again because there is a lacuna.  You can pass such kind of statutory instrument, it becomes binding until such a time that you can quickly then bring a Bill to cover the same issues.  I think this is mischief and for this House to condone such mischief by passing sub-paragraph in order to legalise what was illegal, we think is unfair.  There are mechanisms.  Let this statutory instrument go through the relevant committees.  Let the statutory instrument be challenged in a court of law to determine whether it was legal in the first place or not.  We submit that it is a double standard for us to ask this House through this Act to condone illegalities when we have been going back and fishing out those who have been failing to remit taxes before and those who have been committing crimes before.  Let this section be tested in a court of law to determine whether it was illegal or not because we will open a floodgate where all responsible Ministers will start to legislate via the backdoor throughout our term because this House will be affirming that it will accept the utilisation of this gap to allow our power to legislate to be taken away willy-nilly.  We submit that to allow this to be accepted as it is would be a travesty of our duties to represent the people who elected us to ensure that we uphold the rule of law.  The passing of this clause will be a direct affront to the rule of law in a way that we have never seen before.  I thank you.      

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. Chair, on a point of clarification, my understanding is the PLC sat as regards this Statutory Instrument and issued a non-adverse report. Yes it was issued and read in this House.  So, the process that is required by the Constitution was followed and it was up to – [AN HON. MEMBER:  Who is the Vice Chair.] – There is no Vice Chairman in the PLC.  So, I think he needs to consult his colleagues, maybe he was not there the day that they sat.  The due process that is required by our Constitution and our Standing Rules and Orders was followed.  Primary delegation powers are given to the Executive and they can issue Statutory Instruments but they are validated on behalf of Parliament by Parliamentary Legal Committee and that was done.  So, there is no breach of the Constitution whatsoever.  That is the point of order that I wanted to make before the Minister responds.  Perhaps he needs to check with his colleagues but that was done. 

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I rise to remind the House that there is a set precedence, which precedence we are currently seized with as Parliament in terms of aligning our laws to the Constitution.  When this House passed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPA), the Parliamentary Legal Committee had given its recommendations which we are now seized with today in trying to rectify in conformity with today’s Constitution.  We have various sections of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) which have been struck down by the Constitutional Court. By passing provisions of the Act which do not pass the Constitutional test at a full bench of the Constitutional law.  We are simply weakening ourselves as Parliament.  Can we take time Mr. Chairman to make sure that we are not abrogating our responsibilities as Parliament to the Constitutional bench to correct our own mistakes?  We have a number of sections which have been referred back to Parliament which the Courts have simply stated that this was not the intention of the letter and spirit of the lawmakers.  When it becomes the letter and spirit of the lawmakers, let us agree. 

The provisions stated by my colleagues who have spoken before me is that these provisions are in contravention of the constitutional provisions so provided.  It is my submission Mr. Chairman that this is not a matter of political expedience but it is a matter that we need to ask ourselves as Parliamentarians, whether this is clause going to pass the test of constitutionalism.  Is this clause going to pass the test of constitutionality?  We are currently seized Mr. Chairman with a various number of Bills before Parliament, 27 Bills n accordance to the state of the National Address by the President.  It is not necessarily about the bad clauses but it is simply about the letter of the law where the letter of the law was passed in the spirit of bad law.  According to Hon. Mushoriwa here present, we must not pass certain laws targeting certain individuals Mr. Chairman.  We must pass laws that are able to stand the test of time.  What I am seeing here is that we are dealing with a short gap measure.  We are dealing with a short term situation analysis rather than a long-term analysis. 

I beg the Hon. Minister here present, to apply his mind for posterity of Zimbabwe beyond the current politics.  What we are having currently, it may be a political question but it cannot be allowed to be passed and to be solved through legislative processes ahead of political processes.  I therefore beg Mr. Chairman that the consideration and provisions made by Hon. Kucaca Phulu be taken into consideration by the Hon. Minister of Finance, that provisions be made into the effect that we would not pass laws that target individuals or certain corporate individuals but we target the prosperity of this country going forward.   We are currently seized with...

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  On a point of order Mr. Chairman.  I think we are going clause by clause, let us address issues that pertain to that clause.  I have heard Hon. Biti’s point but it was overtaken by events because the Parliamentary Legal Committee sat and the due process that is allowed in our statutes was followed.  Delegated power was allowed and when delegated power is given, the Statutory Instrument goes to the Parliamentary Legal Committee to look into the constitutionality of that particular piece of legislation.  If it deems that it complies, a non-adverse report is issued and that was done.  Members within the PLC can confirm that.  So the due process that he was worried about was followed.  Let us stick to the business that we are supposed to be doing rather than speaking in general terms and we concentrate on that.  Some other time we can speak in general terms about constitutionalism, about all those issues but let us be focussed.  Mr. Chairman, direct us so that we do that.  I so submit. 

HON. MPAME:  On a point of order Mr. Chairman.  I am a member of the PLC and I do confirm that we sat, deliberated on the matter and passed a non-adverse report.  If we were wrong, the Hon. Member has alluded to the fact that this can be challenged in the Constitutional Court.  That avenue is open to any member of the public who is so aggrieved by our passing of that law.

THE HON. CHAIRMAN:  Hon. Chinkwinya, please can you stick to clause 13.

HON. CHIKWINYA:  My issue is on clause 13. 

*HON. CHINOTIMBA:  On a point of order Mr. Chairman.  The problem that we have in the House of Assembly is that when we are debating here, some are drinking beer outside.  They pretend to be knowing much.  He is drunk.  Mr. Chairman, it is very bad because I saw him drinking.  He cannot even stand, akuda kutodonha soo, apa arikutsvage sipo kwandiri.

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  First and foremost, it is very unparliamentary for Hon. Chinotimba...

THE HON. CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Chikwinya, Address the Chair. Hon. Chinotimba, may you sit down please.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Hon. Chair, my point of intervention and having listened to this debate was that we need to make laws that are consistent with our Constitution. Whilst the Parliamentary Legal Committee …

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, Hon. Chikwinya. We had one of the members of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) who stood up and confirmed that this part of the Bill came through the PLC. I do not think there is any need for us to continue dwelling or debating on that because it has been confirmed. We seem now to be taking a lot of time unnecessarily – [HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Chair…] – I  have made a ruling, unless if you are going to raise something different I cannot accommodate any other contribution towards this issue.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Hon. Chair, as I conclude with respect to your ruling - I am simply trying to make a statement that Parliament is seized with oversight functions and I want to believe – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Chikwinya, please.

HON. CHIKWINYA: Let me wind up.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: You are not winding up. You are repeating – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Chikwinya, what I just want to say to you is that members who are in the PLC are competent people and lawyers and one of the members actually stood up confirming this came to PLC. So, there is no need for us to continue arguing on this point. If there is an error that was made it has to go through the courts, period. This is what was said. There is no need to continue labouring on this issue and I have made a ruling.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Let me respond to the contributions. I thank the members for raising the issue of pensioners, the plight of pensioners. I draw them to paragraph (i) which refers to the transfer of money to any pension fund or beneficiaries of such a fund. So, that has been included but also I want to hasten to say it is difficult to include everything, everyone and every entity, otherwise everyone gets an exemption. This is a reasonably comprehensive list in our view that makes sure this step remains progressive as intended rather than regressive.

The issue of process which is paragraph two within that clause has been dealt with. Due process has been applied and I therefore move that this clause be accepted as is and we make progress. I thank you.

HON. PHULU: Hon. Chair, I acknowledge that the PLC did sit and that was an error on my part for which I apologise. However, the PLC having sat and rendered the Statutory Instrument lawful Clause 2 becomes superfluous. It is no longer necessary for it to be in this Act because you cannot validate what is valid. For that reason, I am sure the Hon. Minister of Justice will concur and the Minister of Finance as well. The clause should expire. Just those two lines only and we move.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Since the Hon. Member has indicated that since the Parliamentary Legal Committee sat, due process was therefore followed. This clause is redundant and I therefore move that it be removed and we move forward and the amended clause is accepted as is. Thank you.

Amendment to Clause 13 put and agreed to.

Clause 13, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clause 13 …

THE MINISTER JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Chair, I think it is procedural and it will not harm us if we leave the Clause there – [HON. BITI: But you cannot do that we have passed the Clause.] – No, we have not passed. We will pass the whole Bill later on. So, there is provision that we can do it. With leave, we need to have it there for purposes – it has not yet been put to the House. He agrees with me so let us leave it – [HON. BITI: Inaudible interjections.] – No, you do not speak for him.

HON. PHULU: For the record Hon. Chair, I do not agree because it is a redundant clause. We cannot legislate something that is redundant. The Statutory Instrument has been validated. It has gone through the PLC. It is valid law as from the time it was passed up to now and therefore for us to then pass a law in the Act which says we are validating it is unnecessary. It is just extra and redundant, and for that reason I do not agree.

HON. ZIYAMBI: With your indulgence, I agree with him - it is redundant and does not harm him so let us leave it there. If it is redundant, it does not affect anyone so let us leave it there.

          HON. BITI: Chairman, that is the point I wanted to debate and I was told that the Minister had withdrawn and I thanked him but it appears that he wants to bring it back.  The reason why he wants to bring it back is simple. It is because the Statutory Instrument cannot stand the scrutiny of constitutionalism and legalism.  It cannot stand scrutiny, it is being challenged right now in court. So, what they are now seeking to do is to basically retrospectively, through Finance (No. 3) Bill to basically retrospectively legislate for the transaction tax since the 12th of October, 2018.  You cannot do that Hon. Chair.  We cannot pass retrospective legislation. 

I would submit that the Minister of Finance’s concession must stand and that subsection 2 should be removed because the Minister believes in the correctness of what he did.  If he believes in the correctness of what he did, let that Statutory Instrument stand and let the court act as a referee. What they are basically doing is to say we acknowledge that this Statutory Instrument is void and because we anticipate that it will be set aside, we are through this Finance Act legitimising it retrospectively.

I said something very unkind; I said this House misses Patrick Chinamasa.  Patrick Chinamasa was a disaster; he created the fiscal budget deficit which we have which now stands at 10% of GDP but there is something that Patrick Chinamasa would not do.  Patrick Chinamasa respected the law.  Patrick Chinamasa respected constitutionalism.  This Minister does not…

HON. ZIYAMBI: On a point of order. I think let us not labour about this point.  Hon. Ncube indicated that it is harmless.  So leave it there, let us put it to a vote and we proceed – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order! Hon. Members.

HON. BITI: Hon. Chair, can the Leader of the House allay the fears that some of us now have, that this House has now become a fascist House where you act purely because of your numbers.  We are here to uphold the Constitution and the Constitution says we cannot pass a law that is retrospective because retrospectivity is unconstitutional.  So, have we become a fascist State?

HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, Hon. Biti is a seasoned lawyer.  He knows that when laws are passed, there are processes to challenge the constitutionalism of those laws, he can follow those processes.  If he believes that what we have passed does not pass the constitutional test, he is a lawyer, he can take it to the Constitutional Court.  I do not see where the fascist or whatever is.

HON. BITI: My question is, have we become a fascist State?  Hon. Ziyambi, have we become a fascist State?

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Biti, I think that is now showing disrespectfulness to the Chair.  How can you stand while the Leader of the House is actually standing? I think it is out of order.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, I seek your indulgence that we proceed because we have all the necessary procedures to ensure that our laws abide by the Constitution.  In our Constitution, voting is allowed, so I do not see where the fascist element comes when we are voting because in the very Constitution that he is alluding to, voting is part of constitutionalism.  I thank you.

HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Chair, I am standing on a matter of procedure.  The Hon. Minister of Finance, when Hon. Biti wanted the Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to come here and respond because it was a legal matter, the Hon. Minister of Finance said no, this is my Bill.  In view of that, the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development stood in this House and said we are now going to remove this clause.  Mr. Chairperson, you agreed and put it.  So it is wrong for the Leader of the House to come and usurp the powers of the Minister of Finance.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Hon. Chair, I want to respond to say that we accept this clause as it is, including paragraph two because due process has been followed.  It has been explained. I move that we proceed accordingly.  I thank you.

HON. BITI: Hon. Chairman, the Minister of Finance should be embarrassed. How do you withdraw a withdrawal; shameless, shameless behaviour.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Hon. Chair, this kind of language is uncalled for. It is unparliamentary and he should not be pointing fingers at me.  That is called aggression when you point your fingers to someone.  I submit Chair.

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I think what you are doing now is unbecoming of an Hon. Member and I do not think I am going to – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Once again Chair, I say let us accept this clause as is.  I thank you.

Clause 13, out and agreed to.

Clauses 14 and 15 put and agreed to.

On Clause 16:

HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Chair, one of the reasons why as a country we are lagging behind is because we export our minerals in their raw state.  We do not do anything in terms of beneficiation and Mr. Chairman, it is not proper to say that the exportation of unbeneficiated platinum has to be moved to 1st January, 2022.  Mr. Chairperson, I do not believe that the Hon. Minister of Finance, Prof. Ncube could really believe that a country that says we want to be a middle income country by 2030, a Minister that is coming from a Government that has been talking about the need for beneficiation, a Government that has been calling even for the levy diamonds that we need to make sure that we improve and that we export something that is processed, there is no justification to have this moved to 2022. In actual fact, this should actually been back-dated to as far back as 1980. We cannot allow this to go through. We cannot pretend and say that we want this country to move forward when in actual fact we are moving backwards. This clause cannot happen in a country like Zimbabwe. Thank you.

          HON NDUNA: Hon. Chair, I ask for your indulgence. In as much as I see the Minister has got year 2022, it is also my clarion call that there be a keen eye in terms of such investment. It is beneficiary to the investor to establish a refinery much quicker than 2022. That as it might be, we are endowed a lot with our platinum in particular, ubiquitous amount of it, which can give us catalytic convertors which are needed the whole globe so that we can have global products  being manufactured and made in Zimbabwe.

          If we sell to the outside world the products that we have, in particular supported by the Special Economic Zones, which in my view, we should create these geographical locations quickly to complement and augment his efforts of creating a refinery. In as much as I do not argue with the year 2022, I feel that there should be a clause also that speaks to and about that if the producers and the beneficiators are anchored in Zimbabwe in those special economic zones, we can quickly put to a stop the open endedness up to 2022. This is my call.

          Further to that Mr. Speaker, just before I sit. –[HON. ZWIZWAI: Inaudible interjections.]- there was alignment to the Constitution. A lot of laws, the General Laws Amendment Act that came to Parliament consequentially amended and aligned to the Constitution 114 pieces of legislation. So, if it is not supported, the assertion that there is no alignment of laws to the Constitution, Our Constitution did not allow for a period to say by such a year, we should have aligned as many laws. I have already said that General Laws Amendment Act consequentially amended and aligned laws. I think if we had done it the Kenyan way where it says by 2015/2016, we should have aligned so many laws, so be it, but alignment of laws is a process and not an event. I call that the other side of the Members of Parliament be so guided. I thank you.

          HON. PHULU: Hon. Chair, I would like to submit or rather I would just like to note the disappointment that the effect of this clause is to kick down the road. The great move and discussion on the need to start effecting beneficiation in order to ensure that we are adding value to our minerals, there is an opportunity for this Government to be able to create employment by ensuring that there is a serious drive and commitment to beneficiation, not only for platinum but for other minerals as well. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Tanga iwewe beneficiation yacho.]-

          Once we – I am beneficiating right now, I can beneficiate your mind. Once we enter this area and because 2022 is up to the end of the life of this Government, I would submit that it is not wise. In fact, we should be hitting the ground running to ensure that we are pushing this issue of beneficiation further. I think that it is a grave mistake to pass this clause as it is, to kick the can down the road and really undo what has been done, a lot of work in order to push the idea of beneficiating to ensure that Zimbabwe moves on and we create jobs and so forth. I thank you.

          HON. BITI: Thank you Hon. Chair. Platinum is a very dangerous mineral. Zimbabwe has world class platinum deposits, but the country is not benefitting fully from platinum. The reason being that platinum itself is a major conduit of the transfer pricing. In 2008, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe asked an American Company called Alex Steward to carry out an audit at Zimplats and this audit was a geological audit. So, this company measured the quantity of purification chemicalS used by Zimplats against their declared output and they found that Zimplats was under declaring to the tune of U$400 million.

          The matter went to the courts and the tax was reduced. The net effect of that was that there was an admission that Zimplats was not accounting fully. At the epicenter of Zimplats failure to account and all the platinum houses is that we do not have a refinery in Zimbabwe. So, stone and mining material ore is taken out of Zimbabwe in its raw material to be refined in the Republic of South Africa.

          When the refinery process takes place, there are ten metals that are derived from platinum and they include palladium, zinc and iron. So ten base metals, but when accounting is made, we are only told of one metal and that is platinum. So, the taxes that were imposed which are now being sought to be suspended until 2022 were offered as an incentive to the platinum houses to quickly construct a platinum refinery in Zimbabwe. When we suspend them now Hon. Chair, it means that we are continuing the blunder, the illicit financial flow in our country of which platinum is one of the major drivers. Between 2009 and 2013, US$3 billion left Zimbabwe in the form of illicit financial flows.

          I think that it is unwise, incorrect and it is wrong for this Parliament to sit to rubber stamp the desires of the platinum lobby in this House.  We cannot succumb to the interest of a lobby.  These taxes must remain so that those platinum houses can pull their resources to construct a refinery. 

One of the things you need to know Hon.  Chairman is that with a few adjustments, the refinery at Trojan Mine in Bindura can actually act as a refinery for platinum but the actors in the industry do not want that because if we have a refinery and if we refine platinum here, we will mitigate the massive loss of value that we are suffering.  This should be rejected and objected by any patriot in this country.  I hope we have a vote on this issue because it will show the real nationalist against lackeys of imperial capital.  I thank you. 

HON. MUSABAYANA:  Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I would like to add my voice to this debate.  I would like to applaud the Hon. Minister for the proposal that we give a window to allow the export of raw platinum.  I support this because naturally the refinery plant of platinum is a capital intensive project.  You need initial capital outlay which is huge and is not easy, given our economic circumstances.  Remember, ZIDERA is an albatross that has been imposed upon us because of mischievous elements of our society who are always globe-trotting looking for economic sanctions –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -   that have made the economic environment not favourable for foreign direct investment. 

The other issue is that when you look at platinum production, you need economies of scale.  You cannot come up with a small plant for platinum production because if you come up or assemble a small refinery, it will not be competitive on the global market because what you need is to be able to sell the end product on the global market.  Once the plant is small, you will not be able to have economies of scale and in turn, the end product will be expensive and uncompetitive.

My other submission is, if you look at the motor industry on the global market, it is a monopolistic or an oligopolistic set up which is made up of cartels of a very few players in that industry.  Those few players have systems or tentacles that are hard wired into the value chains of platinum production and the supply chains.  Once you do not fit into those, they might not be able to accept your product.  There is no guarantee that if we do our own refinery in here, we will be able to sell that product on the global market. I submit that we take the Minister’s proposal.

The other thing that we need to take into consideration is that the argument from the Hon. Members is wise in the long term.  In the interim, the Minister is not saying he has blocked those who have appetite to invest or inject money into refinery set up or building of refinery plants.  He is not saying it is mutually exclusive.  He is not saying once we start exporting raw platinum we automatically closed doors to those who want to set up platinum plants.  They say, “we have to live today to see tomorrow”.  The Minister is saying we start exporting what we have whilst we wait for those responding to our open doors to prospective investors in platinum beneficiation. 

As I conclude, I would like to say that the world is moving so fast.  If we continue to sit with our raw minerals unexploited as we see them as highly precious, we will be surprised that two or three years down the line, such value will be overtaken by technological advancement. Countries like China have come up with technology that is substituting some of these minerals that we are talking about.

As an example, as I speak, China now has technology where they can make limestone.  They no longer mine limestone but they produce their own.  They are coming up with technology to make diamonds so that they do not need our diamonds.  They can come up with fake diamonds or manufactured diamonds.  Why do we want to continue to sit on our raw materials or minerals and say let us wait until we are able to export.  Let us not waste time on this issue.  Let us allow the Hon. Minister to move on. 

HON. C. MOYO:  I think this is very dangerous and very retrogressive.  On the left hand we are saying value addition and beneficiation but from the right hand  we are saying no.  Just imagine with the high unemployment rate of 95% .....

HON. MGUNI:  On a point of privilege, Mr. Chairman; we have got a situation where some Members of Parliament are diabetic – according to the pace that we are moving up to Vote 36, we see that we will finish business at 0500 am.  We ask for the indulgence of the Chairperson to allow a certain number to go and eat then come back.  We will be giving them out in batches but I am also asking members not to stand up and move against a quorum because they must understand that we have released other members to go and eat.  Thank you Hon. Chair –[HON. ZWIZWAI: Inaudible interjections.] –

*THE HON. CHAIRPERSON:  Seargent-at-Arms, I gave order that Hon. Zwizwai be escorted out of this House.

Seargent-at-Arms approached Hon. Zwizwai.

*HON. ZWIZWAI:  No, no, no.  Inga vamwe varikutaura wani.

THE HON. CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Zwizwai, Hon. Zwizwai! –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – 

Hon. Machingauta having used derogatory language against the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. -[HON. MEMBERS:  Ngaabude, ngaabude, ngaabude! ] -

          THE HON. DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES: Order, order Hon. Members.  – [HON. MEMBERS:  Ngaabude, ngaabude.] - May we have order in the House Hon. Members? 

          *HON. MACHINGAUTA: I have swallowed all that I have said.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Can you withdraw?

          HON. MACHINGAUTA:  I withdraw whatever I have said. 

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Member, you have to behave yourself. 

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you Hon. Chair.  I want to clarify something; that the 15% export tax has been very effective.  It has caused the mining companies to comply in the same way that the Members here have been debating.  They are complying and in fact we expect Unkie’s refineries to go on line in 2019.  So, we are making progress. 

So, we have recognised that the progress that they are making by lifting the 15% tax and deferring it to January 2022 is a guillotine that you lift but you can bring it down when again there is no compliance.  So, we are recognising that they are making progress – the 15% has been very effective.  They are right that we need beneficiation.  It is happening and this is in good progress and we are making sure that the companies continue to invest more. 

We should not punish them because after all Zimbabwe is open for business.  So, this is a business investment friendly Clause and I would like to move that it be accepted as is because it has worked but if there is any deviation from companies, we can always bring it back as we have a right to do so.  I thank you Mr. Chairman. 

          HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Chair.  I have stated that the problem is of policy inconsistence where we are saying, a left hand is saying, we need value addition and beneficiation but the right hand will be saying, no.  That is where the problem is and with 90% unemployment rate, I think it is very important to take that into consideration to postpone worse up to 2022.  I think we want to open loopholes for corruption here and that is why we are even coming up with a date of January 2022. 

I want to agree with Hon. Musabayana who also agreed that the economy is in tatters, therefore, we cannot raise the money to buy whatever equipment and plant which is needed.  I think it will be then prudent to say maybe by 2020, rather than to have three years of that massive corruption.  I submit Mr. Chairman.  Thank you.

          HON. GABBUZA:  Thank you Chair.  I just want to understand from the Minister that we appreciate that there is need for value addition and actually it is one of the tenets of the stabilisation programme which was well pronounced by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development when he was first appointed as Minister.  If now we are saying we no longer need that value addition, are we going against what we proposed in that stabilisation programme. 

          Secondly Mr. Chair, the refinery plant, the last time we visited Selous, is not yet complete and it was benefitting from the money on taxing of the raw materials that were being exported.  If we now waiver that tax, is the Minister putting in place a fund to continue constructing that refinery plant because there will be no more taxes to fund the construction of that refinery plant.  What alternative measures is he putting in place so that we understand why we can vote for that suspension.  Thank you.

          HON. NYATHI:  Hon. Chair, I think that we are speaking the same language here.  The Minister is talking about value addition and beneficiation and I just want you to know that I am coming from Shurugwi and there they have already started at Unki doing a smelter.  They are now in a process of doing refinery and the Minister is not saying, we must be doing the refinery in 2022 because in Shurugwi we are actually looking forward to starting the refinery by 2019, which is next year. 

          So, you cannot plant a crop today and harvest it tomorrow – you need to give it time.  You cannot simply say because the Minister has said 2022, you are saying the crop must be ripe by today.  Planting today and it must be ripe today.  So I think we are speaking the same language.  We are simply saying what it is.  What the Minister has recommended is okay because we are already in the process of value addition and beneficiation and in terms of platinum, we are seeing already the platinum companies have started doing some smelters and they are in a process of doing refinery.  So we are speaking the same language.  Let this Bill pass.  So I submit.

HON. MUSHORIWA  Mr. Chair the explanation by the Minister is not convincing.  The Hon. Minister cannot come in this august House and say to us that because of the tax that was imposed on exporting of raw platinum, these companies have done some notable things and because of that he intends to remove the tax until 2022.

Mr. Chairperson.  There is no basis.  Those companies that have been mining platinum, they have been doing that for 25 years and who has been suffering?  It is Zimbabwe.  I do not buy the idea that they need more time.  More time to do what?  In actual fact, Mr. Chair, if we were in Government what would you do just to make sure that there is no exportation of raw platinum until beneficiation has actually started?  Platinum and other minerals, we owe it to future generation.  We should be in a position to tell the future generations that because of the platinum we had, we did this, we did that.  The same problem that we had with the diamonds, Mr. Chairperson, is the same problem that we are repeating with platinum.  There should be something apart from the aspect that the Hon. Minister has actually said.  There should be something that these platinum companies did behind the back because there is no justification. 

Let the tax continue and let these companies quickly do the refineries here in Zimbabwe.  We have lost a lot.  The unfortunate thing, Mr. Chair, is that the Minister brings this amendment.  He does not, as the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, tell us how much money we are losing in exporting raw materials.  To that extent, we will oppose this amendment.  Let them pay the tax until the refineries are operational.  These are our minerals, these are our assets.  This is why we defend it.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  I repeat what I said before which is that the 15% export tax has worked wonders in the sector in terms of beneficiation, forcing these companies to invest in refineries and they are doing that.  They are making progress, it is working. 

All we are doing now is recognising that progress has been made.  We are not removing this tax as was erroneously put to us.  We are merely deferring it, suspending it and we are ready to bring down the axe if we feel they are not compliant.  So, there is no question of us removing it completely.  This is mainly to recognise the progress that they have made in the beneficiation of our valuable minerals.  I therefore move that we accept this clause as is and make progress.  I thank you.

HON. BITI:  Hon Chairperson, I find something wrong.  The Minister said the other day that there is no ideology in a budget.  That is not true.  The budget is the most ideological piece of policy instrument.  You are reflecting your policy – are you social democratic, are you to the center, are you neoliberal and so forth.  So I have got a problem with a Bill that is so unrelenting in its pursuit of tax on the poor person. 

Look at the vigor and the energy in which the Minister applied in defence of the 2% transaction tax, but when it comes to the big boys now, look at the vigor and energy in which he is protecting the big boys.  These boys must pay tax.  They are exploiting a resource which is depletable.  Minerals do not last forever and our point is very simple. Zimplants was set up over 25 years ago.  They have been mining for over 15 years.  They have had enough time to set up refineries.  They do not want to set up refineries, so these taxes are incentives for these platinum houses to set up refineries so that there is value addition and beneficiation in this country.

Mr. Chair, our country suffers from a kwashiorkor of being underdeveloped.  We need beneficiation to industrialise our country.  The Hon. Chair speaks of Unky.  Unky is smaller, the big boy is Zimplants.  Zimplants has been doing nothing, is doing nothing and we will do nothing.  Let us tax them.  This tax must continue so that it acts as an incentive to construct a refinery for our platinum industry.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Hon. Chair, I submit that this 15% tax is not an incentive.  The Hon. Member has used the work incentive, it is not.  It is actually a sanction.  It is a penalty for not establishing a refinery.  We want to be clear about that. 

The second point is that this sanction is working.  They are beginning to comply.  I would mention about Unky whose refinery will come on stream in 2019.  So it is working and all we are requesting through this clause is to make sure that they continue to comply, but we want to reward, we want to recognise that they are complying.  We have lifted the axe and we are ready to bring it down again by 2022 if they do not comply.  So, I urge that we accept this clause as it is and move forward.  Thank you very much.

*HON. CHINOTIMBA:  The Minister has been told that for 25 years in such a country we have no refineries and we know it is because they are saying that because in the past, they were benefiting, but now that we have found out their trick, they are now saying there is something bad.

We know that Mr. Biti was the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for five years and during his tenure no refinery was ever made, whether for platinum, uranium, gold, you name it.  So there is no mine which had a refinery - he is seeing that the new Minister is making a mistake.  Like the biblical saying, ‘take out the log in your eye first before you see the speck in somebody’s eye’.  Therefore let us work on this Bill and pass it because it surely shows that Hon. Biti failed to make any progress and most of the people who are making contributions are not making head or tail of what we are talking about.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Hon. Chair, the Hon. Minister continues to say that these platinum companies have done sufficient work.  The Hon. Minister has indicated Unki, we have asked about the bigger ZIMPLATS, what has ZIMPLATS done?  The second issue which the Hon. Minister is not saying in this House is very simple; how much tax have we been collecting from these platinum mines?  If he can tell us, ‘we have been collecting so much dollars from these companies, and how are we going to compensate them because we need to be very clear.

Just a few minutes ago, we were discussing and you saw the vigour the Minister was expressing when he was saying, they actually want to follow up on those directors who would have their companies wound and open other companies.  We are simply saying, if he can have that vigour to fight an entrepreneur from Zimbabwe, you should have that same vigour to fight companies that we know are actually raping Zimbabwe.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): The Hon. Members Mr. Chair, indicated that Zimbabwe is overtaxed and they even compared Zimbabwe to the rest of the region in terms of the tax rates and so on.  Here we have recognised that our punitive tax has in fact worked and now we want to make sure that those that are compliant such as in the platinum sector – are granted some  relief.  So, they are really going against what they said earlier about our tax being too punitive because here we are giving relief and they are not happy, that is very strange indeed.

Hon. Chair, I really insist that we accept this Clause as is, the 15% tax has worked and we must just lift the axe for now and we can bring it down again in January, 2022.  I urge us to accept this Clause as is.  I thank you.

*HON. CHIKWAMA: Thank you very much Mr. Chair.  I stood up to make my contribution on this Bill.  I am supporting the Minister for whatever he is saying and this is within the system.  The only problem we have is that some of the Hon. Members, will not support anybody who is faithful and anti-corrupt.  I say that because they are going against every clause and condemning whatever is being said – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am not yet through, I am still going on with my contribution.

I have noticed that the Hon. Members are continuing repeating themselves.  As far as we are concerned, Hon. Biti is showing off that he is a lawyer and yet we are talking mathematics and accounts – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Hon. Biti is simply twisting our minds with his jargon.  We are discussing accounts and mathematics and we understand that.  What is happening is that he is throwing spanners in the works – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I am urging Hon. Biti to abandon legal practice and come and do some mathematics and accounts.  I thank you.

HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Hon. Chair, I stand to support the comments that have just been made by Hon. Chikwama.  Mr. Chairman, I have been listening to the debate from earlier on this evening and what we need to appreciate here is that it is not in the national interest for us to lose sight of the bigger picture.  If you look at the budget that has been presented before us by the Minister of Finance, it talks to the austerity measures that the Bretton Woods institutions, including IMF have been promoting. 

The IMF has stipulated certain operational framework parameters that the Minister has put in place.  I will point out a few of those points to support the point that if we knit-pick, we are not going to be making progress.  We have got a budget before us that has got a deficit that is in a one-digit level.  Hon. Chair, I am looking at the bigger picture of the budget before us.  If we are going to be knit-picking, we are not going to be going anywhere – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members – [AN HON. MEMBER:Tanga tinaye kubhawa uyu.] –

HON. MUSIKAVANHU: For the record, I am not a drunkard and I will not respond to that.  Mr. Chairman, I will give a clear example of the policy position that we have here.  If you look at the Industry and Commerce Budget, there was a provision that was in the Budget for $130 million, which we deliberately slashed because the policy position that we have is to allow industries to drive industrialisation programme with Government providing guarantees on industry progressing on itself.

If we have a Government that gives you a budget, that deliberately takes Government from direct involvement in industrialisation, what more would you be requiring other than a process of knit-picking?  The argument I am hearing Chair, is of people who are focusing on the ills of …

HON. BITI: Point of order Hon. Chair.  We are in Committee debating individual provisions of the Finance Bill.  At present, we are debating Clause 16, it is not a Second Reading Speech, please Hon. Chair can we be protected.

          HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Mr. Chair, I stood that if we nitty pick we are not going to go anywhere. I am therefore moving a motion for us to adopt the position that is before us from the Minister.  I thank you.

          Clause 17 put and agreed to.

          Clause 18 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 19:

 Hon. Biti having stood up to debate on Clause 19:  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Biti, I have already passed that one, I cannot revert - [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          HON. BITI: Chairperson, you cannot do that.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Surely, I am telling you that.

          HON. BITI: Chairperson, we suspended Standing Orders, we have no time limit.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I put the question and you did not stand up.

          HON. BITI: I stood up Chairperson.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: You only stood up after I had already passed the question.

          HON. BITI: Do not suppress debate Chairperson, let us do our work.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Alright.

          HON. BITI: Thank you very much Chair.  Hon. Chair, the clause at hand seeks to empower the tax collector to collect VAT from a currency other than the local currency which is either the bond note or the RTGS or if you like Ecocash.  So, the clause obliges the collection of foreign currency where the principal amount has been paid in foreign currency.  The danger of this Hon. Speaker is that it is unlawful; it is unlawful for three reasons.  Firstly, we have a law Section 43 of the Reserve Bank Act that recognises the bond note as legal tender on an exchange rate parity of 1:1. So, you cannot therefore outlaw the collection of, in this case VAT in some other instances what we have debated, customs duty on another currency other than the currency which is the legal tender of Zimbabwe. 

The legal tender of Zimbabwe, that bond note is the bond note.  Ironically Hon. Chair, the same section which we are dealing with, Section 19 defines bond note, it defines bond note in the following terms. It says bond note means a unit of legal tender. If something is legal tender, it means it is a legimate currency in that country. So the same section actually says bond note means a unit of legal tender whose par value in relation to the United States dollar is backed by a guarantee extended to the Reserve Bank by one or more international institutions and bond coins shall be construed accordingly.  Legal tender Mr. Chairman, is defined in the same section. It says, legal tender means bond notes and coins or money paid by means of electronic transfer.

          So, the amendment sought is actually reinforcing and is actually cementing the fact that the bond note, the RTGS transfer and ecocash are legal tenders yet that same section says if the principal amount has been paid in foreign currency VAT has to be paid in foreign currency illegitimising that which the document itself is calling legal tender, it does not work.  There are consequences, the Minister is going to town to argue that he is not balkanising, he is not making a distinction between the one to one bond note.  So, he has stuck against all wisdom and advice, he has stuck to the fiction of one to one.  Through these backdoor thing he is in fact recognising that there is no such thing as one to one, that is why he is now insisting that VAT in certain instances has to be paid in US dollars.  Customs duty in certain instances has to be paid in US dollars.  You cannot have your cake and not eat it. If you decide to eat a dog, eat the big dog and the big dog here is to recognise the fiction of 1:1 and to transmit it across the entire economy so that we re-dollarise and we stabilise the economy.  You cannot be eclectic; you cannot have your cake and eat it.  This provision is wrong, it is illegimate, it is unconstitutional and it is bad and terrible economics, I so submit Hon. Chair.

          HON. MUSABAYANA: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I have a short submission and I think the submission by the Hon. Minister of Finance is in order.  During our debates, it was clear that the elephant in the room is not the exchange rate, the elephant in the room is not the issue of foreign currency, it is the appetite for unimportant imports, it is the appetite for vehicles; the vehicles that cannot be sustained in terms of their consumption for fuel and now what the Minister is saying is, we do not have much options but what we are going to do is to ensure that we limit the appetite and importation of vehicles.  So, I think that is in order.

Also looking at taxes it also looks at the ability to pay.  These people are saying they are able to pay in forex. So to discourage them, we need to force them so that they pay in the currency in which they would have imported.  

          Mr. Chairman, I think the challenge that we have in this House - why are we so obsessed about the 1:1? There is no issue about 1:1 here, the issue is about limiting or banning or restricting the importation of vehicles.  So, I think the Hon. Minister’s submission is in order.  I thank you.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Mr. Chairman, I think according to the Minister, we are in a multicurrency environment. The Minister defines the bond note as a unit of legal tender whose par value is the same as the US dollars but he also goes on further to say that there is a guarantee extended to it by some international financial institutions.

          Hon. Chair, the Minister is aware that it is not only the amount of the bond notes or coins that are in circulation, the amount of money that we have in the form of RTGS is huge.  The issue is very simple because of the way Zimbabwe has been managed for the past years.  A lot of our people are out of this country. We have got people who are in South Africa, Europe, actually there is no country in this world where you do not find Zimbabweans – they are economic refugees. 

          Hon. Chair, it does not follow that the people that are importing the so called goods that are perceived as luxury have money.   When a person imports, for instance a vehicle, it is no longer a luxury bu a need.  Some of them have got properties, vehicles and other items which are being bought by their relatives and friends who are domisiled outside the country.   It is wrong to then have a situation where I received a car because it has been bought in South Africa by a relative and all I am supposed to do is to simply pay the duty and then I am forced to look for the USD or the rand to pay for that duty when we have our bond notes and RTGS which was created by our own Government.  This is the reason why we say this budget is anti-poor because the majority of Zimbabweans, the money that they have is in form of bonds, ecocash and RTGS. 

          If the Minster is honest, he will tell you that from the time they imposed that policy the amount of income that they have actually realised from that policy, in fact the amount has actually gone down instead of going up.  This clause, in my view, as long as we are in a multi-currency situation, I believe until and unless we reach a time when the Minister then says look, the RTGS amount or bond notes that we have are not equivalent to the USD.  Do you know Mr. Chairperson, there is no country which celebrates the suffering of its own people.  Why should a country truly have a problem to simply say Mrs. X now has a VITS which was bought by her son who is in Japan? Obviously, the son will be earning foreign currency, so why should the mother pay duty in foreign currency?

          This clause is not good.  The problem that we have Hon. Minister, this is the reason why we are explaining that we have got people who are accessing foreign currency on a 1:1 rate at the RBZ.  The politically connected, the elite and this is why they do not care, they do not mind about the suffering of the ordinary person.  

          Hon. Chair, I urge the Minister to revise and throw this clause away. Let those people who want to pay their duty continue to pay their duty in the currency of their own choice. If the choice is bond note, USD, RTGS, let them do so.  Nobody should be forced to pay in a particular currency.  I thank you.

          *HON. NYATHI: Hon. Chair, allow me to express myself in Shona.  The clause is saying, if you buy your car from abroad using foreign currency, for example you buy it using USD when you are importing it into the country; it is a requirement that you pay that duty in USD. 

          The Minister has crafted a very interesting and progressive Bill which is aimed at keeping our foreign currency in the country instead of externalising these funds.  The proposal by the Minister is the only way which can help us in retaining foreign currency because when we buy some goods in foreign currency, you also have to pay duty in foreign currency.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Chair,  a little point of clarification in terms of VAT; when you are collecting VAT, it is not your money.   So if you sell using USD and you have collected VAT, that VAT is not yours.  What the Minister is simply saying is, you have collected on behalf of the State VAT in that particular currency, remit it in that currency.  That is what the Minister is saying.  You have collected tax in that particular currency and you are holding it in trust, not as your money but as Government money – it is very simple and straight forward.  So, I propose that the Minister be allowed to proceed.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of order! Mr. Chairman, the Hon. Minister is the Leader of Government Business in this House.  I am quite sure that his position does not allow him to interfere into the democratic space of Parliament.  So, for him to stand up and try to interfere into what Members are explaining to the Hon. Minister, I think it is out of order.  Therefore, I seek Hon. Chair, that the Hon. Minister of Justice is the Leader of Government Business. The Budget that is being presented in here is coming from the Executive; he cannot have his cake and eat it at the same time.  So, when Members are debating the Budget that has been presented by the Executive.  He must sit down and listen.  He must behave.  So, for him to stand up and try to interfere when members are actually trying to put across their ideas on the Budget, I believe it is interference with the independence of Parliament.

          THE HON. CHAIRPERSON:  Understood Hon. Member but let me give a ruling.  Hon. Sibanda, can you listen to what I am saying.  The Leader of the House stood up to give a clarification on an issue that he could see a lot of Members did not understand well.  That is why he stood up.  I think it falls within his purview to give such type of clarification since he is the Leader of the House.  So, your point of order is overruled. –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – I have made a ruling.  If you respect your Hon Chair, you must abide by the ruling that I have given.  Please sit down.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Hon Chair, with your indulgence,  I am not saying that the Leader of Government Business has got no role to play in the House but I am saying when the Executive brings in a budget in this House, he cannot at the same time demand that Members debate according to his will. 

THE HON. CHAIRPERSON: This is where I said the hon.

Leader of the House has that prerogative of guiding hon. Members who were failing to understand, so it was just a clarification.  Please may you sit down, I have made a ruling.

                HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Hon. Chair, I have the Standing Rules and Orders.  May you please direct me to the Standing rule which says that he can interfere?  I have to be guided by the law.  It is not about whoever has got a high voice but about what the law says.  Where does he draw those powers to interfere with the debate by Hon. Members?

          THE HON. CHAIRPERSON:  I am not here to debate with you.  I have given you a ruling that he has got that mandate of directing the debate since he is the Leader of the House.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Hon. Chair, ndoda mutemo, aiwa ndoda mutemo. Without mutemo - I need the law that says that Hon. Chair.  Without that law handiteerere zvamurikutaura.  Which law?  Mutemo, mutemo, ndipeiwo mutemo.  Give me the law which says that then Hon. Chair I will agree with you.  But without the law ....

          THE HON. CHAIRPERSON:  Ndavekukutandanisai manje, ndavekukuburitsayi muno mu House.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Sorry, sorry Hon. Chair.  There is a lot of noise Hon Chair.

          THE HON. CHAIRPERSON:  I am giving you the last warning.

May you sit down.  This is my last call.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon Chair, Hon, Chair.

          THE HON. CHAIRPERSON:  I said may you sit down, may you sit down.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. chair, Hon. Chair.

          THE HON. CHAIRPERSON:  I said may you sit down,  may you sit down.  Okay Serjent-at-Arms, take him out.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA:  On a point of order Hon Chair, once a ruling has been made that a person should go outside one should go out outside.  He is busy chewing and he was drinking beer.  He is chewing and must be sent out.

          HON. CHIDHAKWA:  Hon Chairman, I am in full support of the Minister’s proposal on payment of VAT in foreign currency.  People were buying those cars outside the country and paying duty in bond but selling in foreign currency here in Zimbabwe.  That is criminal.  So, that VAT should be paid in foreign currency.  Hon. Chairman, next year when we are having these sort of debates, make sure that Members of Parliament do not get paid before they debate the Budget.  We have never seen such drunkenness in Parliament and such misbehaviour.  I thank you.

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Hon. Chair, I want to make reference to the Constitution, Section 107 on accountability of Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers.  It says on subsection 2 “every Vice President, Minister and Deputy Minister must attend Parliament and Parliamentary Committees to answer questions concerning matters for which he or she is collectively or individually responsible.  I rest my case.

          THE MINSTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Hon Chair, this Clause is very clear, it refers to the obligation of traders.  It says that when traders compel a customer for the goods that they are purchasing in foreign currency and they collect the tax, they must then remit to ZIMRA in foreign currency.  It is simple and that is what this is all about.  It is just to make sure there is compliance by the traders.  It is not an issue about the customers but about the traders.  Let us be very clear about that.  It is a very simple clause seeking compliance and I move that we accept it as is.  I thank you.

          Hon. P. D. Sibanda having stood to debate.

          THE HON. CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Sibanda, Hon. Sibanda order!

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  I want to debate.  I want to debate.  Debating is my right – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -  

          THE HON. CHAIRPERSON: Out!  Uri kutsenga, uri kudya.”  Out!  Out!  I am making a ruling.  He is arguing with me. 

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  You asked whether there was debate and I want to debate – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you Hon. Chair. There is an amendment on Clause 20 and I read as follows: On page 12 of the Bill …

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Point of order!  Point of order!  I have got a right to debate – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -  No, no, no.  I need to know why the Chairperson is stopping me from debating.  He asked a question, is there any debate and I said yes I want to debate.  Why should he stop me from debating?  That is an insult.  I have got a right to debate.  I have to know why the Chairperson does not want me to debate – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Hon. Chair, I would like to proceed.  On page 12 of the Bill; this is on Clause 20, delete in line 20 the words “prescribed currency concerned” and substitute with “foreign currency concerned”.  On page 12 of the Bill delete in line 21 the words “prescribed currency” and substitute with “foreign currency”.  On page 12 of the Bill, delete in line 32 the words, “liable for civil penalty” and substitute with “liable for secondary civil penalty”.  On page 12 of the Bill delete in line 47 the words “civil penalty” and substitute with “primary and secondary civil penalty”. 

          On page 13 of the Bill delete section 4 of the inserted section 38 and lines 1 and 2 and substitute as follows; “half the amount of the primary civil penalty and the whole of the secondary civil penalty shall be paid into and form part of the funds of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority with the balance being paid into and forming part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund”.  I thank you Hon. Chair. 

HON. SIKHALA Speaking....Mr. Chairman, my contribution to the amendments, the Minister is seeking here is that he is proposing that the Commissioner of Taxes will have the right of execution against a defaulter on an X party basis.  Mr. Chairman, this provision which the Minister is trying to force this House to pass this night does not have any leg to stand on at law.  Why do I say that the Minister wants to force execution?  On the basis on an X party, he says in section 20 (1), that the Commissioner should just give a notice.

If this provision of Section 20 (1) passes in this House today, Mr. Chairman, I bet my last dollar, if we challenge it in court, it will be nullified as an unlawful and unconstitutional provision for the following reasons:  first, there is no execution in any jurisprudence anywhere in the world that can be done on the basis of an X party application.  My own understanding Mr Chairman, is that even in the PLC which is being chaired by one of the members on the other side, he has said that this provision is unconstitutional.

HON. MPAMA:  On a point of order Mr. Chairman.  We are debating Clause 20 and he must be debating Clause 27.  We are not yet there. 

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Sikhala, you are discussing Clause 27, we are on Clause 20.  If you want to debate, debate Clause 20. 

HON. SIKHALA:  Mr. Chairman, with all due respect, you are not a lawyer.  The provisions of section 20 (1) says, let me read it verbatim so that you understand the substance of my debate.  It says that, “as soon as it comes to notice of the Commissioner that a registered operator has failed to comply with section 38 (4) (a), the Commissioner shall serve upon the operator notice”.  After the Commissioner has given notice, to assist my learned colleague, Hon. Mpama – do not be misled by Daniel.  Daniel has misled even our Committee.  We have seen him whispering to you for a long time – give us the opportunity to present the law as it is Mr. Chairman.  It goes further to say, “after the Commissioner has given notice, he shall prescribe currency concerned which shall be paid in prescribed currency concerned”.  What it means is that if the operator has been given notice by the operator, you do not have the right of reply.  There is a fundamental principle at law Mr. Chairman which is called the  audi alteram partem rule which says that every individual, no matter what you might be alleged, you have the right to be heard.

This section is trying to defeat an international legal principle and we wonder how the Minister would want just to be served the notice.  Mr. Chairman, the Members on this side will never be victims of this provision.  We have seen many people from the other side becoming victims of the laws that they have been passing here.  We know the majority of them.  When we were trying to enlighten the nation to say this provision, just giving Hon. Joram Gumbo a notice to say that you did not comply in terms of paying your tax, he is not given the right of reply and then the Commissioner executes the following day, that does not exist at law.

That is why this provision, the PLC in its wisdom, so composed of experienced lawyers of this House, some advice that we should always follow religiously said this section is ultra vires the Constitution and the lawful aspects of the operations of law.  Hon. Minister, I would bet with you if you would want this provision to pass, we will challenge this in court.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  On a point of order.  First, there are no comrades here, there are Hon. Members.  Secondly, the point that I want to clarify is, there is no way the Commissioner is going to enforce without going to court.  If you do not pay, there are remedies that this is a civil case that –[HON. SIKHALA:  It is ambiguous, the remedies are not there.  What kind of a lawyer are you?  It is a self executing provision.]-  Mr. Chairman, my point of intervention was

          HON. ZIYAMBI: … (spkg) Hon. Chair, my point of intervention was the Commissioner of Taxes, even in the current laws has got powers to garnish accounts. What this is simply saying is if you do not pay they will give you a notice and if you dispute it, you will go to court and you have a right of replying in a court of law. So, the remedies are already there. That was the point of clarification that I wanted to say if you read through the civil penalties, the provisions are already provided for. I think the law is very clear here. If anyone is aggrieved and feels that it is a bad law, our laws are also very clear that you can go and challenge this in a Constitutional Court. I move that the Minister be allowed to proceed.

          HON. SIKHALA: Hon. Chair, we feel insulted by the attitude of the Leader of the House. He is a respectable member of this House. He wants to detect the pace …

HON. NYATHI: Mr. Chair, I am going to read subsection 3 of Section 20 of the amendment. It says ‘a civil penalty that becomes payable by the infringer shall constitute a debt due by the infringer to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and shall at any time after it becomes due be recoverable in a court of competent jurisdiction by proceedings in the name of the authority’. So, the court is involved.

HON. SIKHALA: Mr. Chairman, the question which courts always ask every time is the intention of the legislature when they are promulgating laws. The laws that must originate from this House must be unambiguous, concise and full of clarity. The moment when the courts start to ask what the intention of the legislature was, that is when we will have the question. I would suggest Hon. Minister that we amend the provision to say that the Commissioner, after giving notice must give the respondent the right to reply and that one will be very clear on that position. Just adding that after giving notice the respondent must be given the right to reply because you cannot simply go and impose.

The Commissioner cannot simply go and impose on a defaulter an amount which he might dispute. Many people have been taken to courts over the issue of evasion of paying taxes. The amounts, for example, our own Hon. Wadyajena, the Commissioner of taxes simply goes to his office and says Wadyajena you owe us $3 million on taxes. No diligence has been done but the Commissioner simply brings his figures from his office to come and impose on a suspected defaulter. So, the defaulter in taxing must be given the right to reply to say the tax allegations you are giving me, I am not in agreement with you for the following reasons. These are my books of accounts. My income in the company and how much I should pay the tax master in terms of what I owe the Government.

So, on that one Hon. Minister, the defaulter must be given the right to reply. We cannot only depend on notices. I am just trying to help all of us because I know many people in this House are going to be victims of the laws that we pass ourselves in this House, but we must be able to give balances so that the due process l takes its own course.

The Hon. Minister also suggests – [HON. ZIYAMBI: It is okay Hon. Sikhala.] – Its okay, thank you very much for the indulgence of the Minister and the Leader of the House – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Let me assist. I do thank Hon. Sikhala again for his spirited and vigorous contribution in this regard on this clause. I propose the following; an agreement with him that as soon as it comes to the notice of the Commissioner that registered operators fail to comply with Section 38 (4)(a), the Commissioner having given the operator a prior right of reply at least seven (7) days before the service of the order shall – [HON. SIKHALA: Hamuone. Hear, hear.] – serve upon the operator a notice of assessment in terms of Section 31 of double the amount tax payable in the prescribed currency concerned which shall be paid in the prescribed currency concerned. I thank the Hon. Member. Thank you.

HON. PHULU: Just to say that there is normally leeway for the Commissioner to levy penalties. I see Hon. Chair that there is an automatic doubling of the amount that takes away the discretion of the Commissioner to levy the taxes, especially if you have been given a right of reply; to put on a sliding scale to use his discretion because not all defaulters are in valiance to the same extent. There are some circumstances where perhaps if we give that leeway, maintain the discretion of the Commissioner to a certain extent.  It will be appreciated.  I thank you.

          HON. BITI: There are three things that are wrong on the issue of notice to the tax payer.  Hon. Chairperson, you must make a connection with the section we are talking about, the previous section that we dealt with in terms of Section 19, the VAT in foreign currency.  So, the VAT that is being spoken of here is VAT in foreign currency or US dollars.  So, there must be that connection that links the section that we are referring to and Section 19 that we have dealt with.

When we come to the new section now; Section 20 now, it says that once the Commissioner has given notice to the tax payer of an assessment, he must serve upon the operator notice of an assessment in terms of Section 31 of double the amount.  So, the Commissioner’s discretion is taken away.  The minute he says you have not complied, he must now penalise you twice by saying pay double and remember what is being paid here pay double is foreign currency VAT as defined in Section 38 (4) (a), which we have just approved in Amendment No. 19.  Now, there is something wrong Hon. Chairman Sir, when we take away as Parliament, the discretion of the Commissioner.  The Commissioner himself must have discretion depending on a case by case basis – I am told he has conceded.  Thank you very much Hon. Minister.  I am glad you ate because once you have your supper you are upright.

Next issue is the penalty, which is Section 38A (ii) (a), so you receive a letter Hon. Chair that is double, when that letter places you in mora; mora is Latin word for delay, you have been placed on warning but when you are in that period of warning you are already liable to a penalty and that penalty is defined in Section 38A (a) and that penalty is a civil penalty of US$30.  So, the Act is imposing an obligation, an accrued penalty of US$30, not bond note but US$30, again we submit that there must be a discretion on any of the penalties.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs refers to the proviso which recognises and I quote, “it is provided that the Commissioner shall have the power to waive the payments or refund of the whole or part of any penalty prescribed”. The question Hon. Chair, the Commissioner General in terms of the Revenue Act already has discretion anywhere.  So, why are we interfering with that discretion?  If the Hon. Minister of Justice accepts that the Commissioner General of Taxes has got discretion, then I will submit that Section 38 A (ii) (a) is superfluous, leave it because the Commissioner General already has discretion.  So, I appeal to the Hon. Minister of Justice that, remove and exercise, pencil out Section 38 A because it does not add any value to the same.  I so appeal to you the Hon. Minister of Justice.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Hon. Members for the contributions.  I agree that we should give the Commissioner discretion and make the amendment accordingly.  Therefore, with that amendment, let us proceed to adopt this clause.

Amendment to Clause 20 put and agreed to.

Clause 20, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clause s 21 and 22 put and agreed to.

On Clause 23:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  I move the amendments standing in my name: that on page 14 of the Bill, delete line 15 and substitute on (b), “enforce any tax or collect any duty”.  On page 14 of the Bill delete line 28 and the words ‘for any tax and’ and substitute with ‘for duty and’.  I thank you.

HON. BITI: Hon. Chair, we have already made the point that this Finance Bill is so notorious in terms of its infraction on rights of individuals.  This provision seeks to enable the tax authorities to search private homes which they suspect are being used as business premises. Are we so desperate for money that we flounder cynically people’s rights? Section 57 of our Constitution protects the right to privacy. It says every person has the right to privacy which includes the right not to have their home premises or property entered into without their permission. So, the Constitution not only protects business premises. It also protects private residences. Are we so desperate Hon. Chairperson, that we want to follow people in their homes, bedrooms, kitchens and dining rooms to look for cents?

          This proposed amendment is an infraction on the right to privacy codified under Section 57 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Not just Section 57 Hon. Chairperson, but also Section 50 of the Zimbabwean Constitution protects the right to dignity. I consider that one as one of the most important provisions in the Constitution and allow me to read it. It says, “Every person has the inherent dignity in their private and public life and the right to have that dignity respected and protected”. There is nothing more insulting as an unwarranted visit and search at your own residence.

          Your home, no matter how small and dilapidated, it does not matter whether it is in Chiendambuya, Dotito, Tsholotsho, Binga, Nkayi or Odzani, it does not matter how dilapidated that residence is. In English they say, “A man’s home is his castle”. So, to allow an infraction because we are so desperate for resources when there are other methods and means of ensuring compliance is unconstitutional and is not good enough.

          Moreover, the warrant that is prescribed in the proposed amendment is a warrant that is obtained. In other words, there is no notice at all. So, you suddenly find the authorities invading your home. I do not think that it is right constitutionally and I think as Parliament, we must respect the individual’s right to privacy. We must respect the dignity of our homes, business premises and we must respect our own culture. When you go to someone’s home unonoka, woombera maoko uchiti tisvikewo Mwendamberi, Ah, svikai zvenyu. Not this kind of flagrant abuse of people’s rights.

          Mr. Chairman, the trait exhibited in this Bill is dangerous. Whoever drafted it has no care and respect of the Constitution. The person who drafted this Bill needs constitutional rehabilitation because in his mindset, he is totally oblivious of constitutional rights. I so move Hon. Chairperson. 

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Hon. Chair. Currently, ZIMRA officials and the Commissioner are already doing this. They are able to go into a residence if they suspect that you are running a business and they suspect that you are not paying your taxes and meeting your target. It is already happening. So, this is meant to be a refinement on something that is already happening.

          The officials, the Commissioner to move in and do that and inspect your residence because they believe you are running a business and you have not been paying taxes, they need a warrant from a magistrate in the first place. The warrant can also be denied by the way. So this is a very simple issue in terms of the Commissioner having the right, the prejudice through the Magistrate Courts to search premises if they believe you have not been paying your taxes, but you have been running your business in your own home. I think that is fair. Thank you.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA: I think we have the Indians and the Chinese who are conducting their businesses in their homes and some of them do not bank their takings that they make out of these businesses. So, it has to be spelt out clearly. May be there is a law in existence because if a person is not paying tax and ZIMRA observes that Chinotimba has a business, they know where my company is situated. We have home based businesses where no money is being banked and whatsoever is not being done. It is my view that the law should be spelt out clearly. Do not rush us by saying what does he contribute? Inspectors cannot just willingly go to a premise without appreciating what form of business is being conducted in that place. We want to know what type of business is being conducted by these people in their homes and what the end product is. Is it not better for it to be clearly elucidated as to what type or the form of business is reference being made to so that people can clearly understand.

          HON. PHULU: Hon. Chair, I will use Ndebele because you seem to be getting better here. What I am realising is that this law is violating other people’s human rights. When you look at Section 39, Section (c) where they are saying the property officer can get into your house and get your money or any of your properties, in his own opinion, I think when you go to the courts the following day when the courts are looking at that, they will say that the person is doing that according to his/her own views. If it is stated that one reasonably believes that what they are doing is correct, if they say according to their own opinion, I think this is an escape clause that will cause people to be harassed without any reasons. This will be used not only to Indians or Chinese. When one uses an escape clause that one can do whatever that they are doing according to their opinion, even the judges are said to be using judiciary discretions. If it is one’s discretion, it becomes a challenge. Because of that, we want that term to be removed and we use a proper term. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you to Hon. Sikhala for sitting down when I waved.  We have listened carefully to the debate and perhaps Clause 23 (a) will not add value beyond the current provisions.  I move that we scrap the whole of it and we progress – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

Clause 23 deleted.

Clause 24 put and agreed to.

On Clause 25:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  On Clause 25, I propose the following amendments; on page 15 of the Bill, delete the heading in lines 11 and 12 and substitute with amendment of Section 37 (a) of Cap 23.04.

On page 15 of the Bill, delete subsection 5 of subsection 37 (a) in lines 1 and 2 and substitute as follows; “5 – half the amount of a primary civil penalty and the whole of a secondary penalty shall be paid into and form part of the funds of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority with the balance being paid into and forming part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund”. 

HON. BITI:  This provision is wrong.  What it says is that if there is a miner who has outstanding royalties, once a notice is served by the Commissioner, it is immediately double.  The provision then immediately goes on to say that we impose a primary penalty of US$30.  It then imposes a secondary penalty of imprisonment.  The issue of non-payment of royalties cannot be criminalised in this matter.  Why are we charging these people US$30?  Why are we doubling that penalty?  Why are we not living everything in the discretion of the Commissioner such as the current law?  Why is there a permanent continuous, cancerous trick of cruelty and fascism arresting this Bill?  This is not good enough Hon. Chairperson.

HON. PHULU:  Subsection 5 of that Clause says that the amount of the primary and secondary penalty shall be paid to form the funds of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.  I think the funds should be directed elsewhere.  A person who is given the duty to form an opinion to decide who is a defaulter and to leave penalties should never be allowed to benefit directly from the same funds, otherwise we will have a lot of witch-hunts. 

You stay up at night looking for people that you can penalise in order to broaden your coffers.  We suggest that that be dropped or directed elsewhere.  It will remain in the fiscus but directed elsewhere.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Clause 25 is about clarity on how the penalties are handled around royalties.  I propose that we amend it in the same way that we amended Clause 20 which also pertains to penalties. 

HON. PHULU:  What about subsection 5 where the money goes to the person who is collecting?  Why can it not go to the Consolidated Revenue Fund?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Let us amend that to say that the money will go to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Amendment to Clause 25 put and agreed to.

          Clause 25, as amended, put and agreed to.

          Clause 26 put and agreed to

On Clause 27:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  On Clause 27, I propose the following amendments on page 16 of the Bill, delete in line 25 the words “authority may exparte and substitute with authority may make an exparte.

On page 16 of the Bill, delete in line 27 the word principle and replace it with “principal”.

On page 16 of the Bill, delete subsection 2 between the lines 22 and 32 and substitute the following:

If any person fails to pay any duly assessed additional duty due, penalty and interest payable in terms of the Act specified in terms of Subsection 1 when it becomes due is payable by him or her.

The authority may make an application on notice in any magistrate court within the province where the taxpayer is ordinarily resident or has or principal place of residence seeking an order a) For the payment of the sales tax, additional tax, duty due, penalty or interest authorising the messenger of court if the application is granted to attach the taxpayer’s movable property itemised in the application to satisfy the debt due upon service of the order on the taxpayer.

          On page 16 of the Bill, in line 40 delete the words, ‘the scheduled Act in question’ and substitute with the ‘Act in question’. 

          On page 17 of the Bill, delete in line 35 the words “of subsection 3 of this Section with the Clerk” and substitute “of subsection 2 through the”.

          On page 17 of the Bill, delete in lines 41 and 42 the words, ‘the Act specified in subsection 1’ and substitute with ‘the Acts in question’.

          On page 17 in subsection 5, delete “the ex parte application” and substitute with “the application”.  Also in that subsection, delete ‘a provision order’ and substitute ‘an order’.

          On page 17, delete subsection 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 and substitute with the following and renumber the subsequent subsections accordingly:

6)     Until the application is determined, the respondent taxpayer shall not in any way deal with the itemised property referred to in subsection 2 (b), in a manner that will in any way diminish it.  Failure to comply with which shall be an offence punishable by level 10 – fine or imprisonment of six months (or both).

7)      Notwithstanding anything contained in the Magistrate Court Act [Chapter 7], paragraph 10 or in any other law dealing with the monetary jurisdiction.  An application maybe made in terms  of subsection 2 with the magistrates’ courts having jurisdiction in respect of a person for any amount not exceeding $50 000.  In respect of amounts exceeding that level, the provisions of this Section shall apply with the necessary changes as if the application were made in the High Court.

8)      No action shall be taken in terms of this Section where more than six years have elapsed since the tax duty or penalty referred to in this Section became payable.

On page 18 of the Bill, delete in line 12, the words “subsection 8” and substitute with “subsection 5”. 

On page 18 of the Bill, delete in line 17 the words, ‘a copy of the final order’ and substitute with, ‘a copy of the provisional order’.

I thank you Mr. Chairman Sir.

HON. SIKHALA:  Mr. Chairman Sir, despite the substantial amendments suggested by the Minister, I still have problems with subsection 9.  I think the Hon. Minister is looking at it.  On subsection 9, the provision says that, ‘if the order is granted by the magistrate’s court, and if an appeal is noted to the superior court, it does not suspend the original judgment’.  Meaning, to say that execution will take place because the judgment has not been suspended.  The legislature must always pass.

Mr. Chairman Sir, it must be substantially and procedurally correct.  Procedurally, if a person appeals, it suspends the sentence.  So, how would we pass a legislation that defeats the procedural correctness of the law?  Making the judgment by a magistrate’s Court standing.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I think the Section that he is referring to has been deleted.  So, there is no need.

HON. SIKHALA:  You have totally repealed the provision?

HON. ZIYAMBI: Yes.

HON. SIKHALA:  What the Minister is saying that subsection 9 has been repealed is very good for this legislature.

HON. PHULU: Hon. Chair, in relation to the earlier correction by the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, I think there was an error.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  The Hon. Members are alert Mr. Chair that we want to correct something.  I said right at the beginning that on page 6 of the Bill, delete in line 25 the words ‘authority may an ex parte and substitute that with ‘authority may make an application on notice’.  That is the first one.

Then the second amendment is right at the end of my previous amendment.  So, on page 18 of the Bill, delete in line 17 the words,” a copy ...” and so on.  Take out all of that.  The last part of what I have mentioned in terms of amendment.  I thank you. 

I move that we accept the Clause as is.  I thank you.

Amendments to Clause 27 put and agreed to.

Clause 27, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 28:

HON. PHULU: In our submission Hon. Chair, the fines are very high.  One has to look at the other legislation and see where the levels are and for some of these driving offences, even taking into account perhaps the gravity, you have to sell your car and sometimes it may not even be yours.  If you take into account the salaries that people earn, if we use maybe even civil servants and even Members of Parliament as a measure, they are only at level seven or eight and certainly the idea of a fine is that where we can avoid  someone going to jail, they must pay a fine. Yes, it must be biting, it must slap them, but certainly where we set up people to fail to pay fines, we will end up having our jails being inundated with people who are unable to pay these fines.  Certainly it will also become a very difficult thing to do a simple act such as driving. 

We also know the history where fines have been milked out of the public for a long time.  I think it was a point of reference as we led up to events in November.  One of the points of reference was the milking of people using these fines.  It is undesirable to have fines at that level.  I do not want to say nowhere in the world, but I am saying that it would be very rare for you to find fines that are 300% of your salary.  We suggest that perhaps these fines need to be rationalised massively so that they accord with the level of income of Zimbabweans.

HON. SIKHALA:  Mr. Chairman Sir, though fines are generally put in place for punitive purposes, they must not be outrageous to defeat logic and reason.  They must always be able to rehabilitate an offender even in very serious criminal cases.  The moment when a fine becomes unreachable by the intended offender, it is no longer serving its purpose.  Fines are there to assist people who offend against the law as a warning.  Why are fines always put as a substitute to imprisonment?  Its purpose is to serve as a warning but when the fine becomes out to the reach of the offender, it defeats the whole purpose of it being instituted. 

I suggest, Hon. Minister, the following amendments in terms of the level of fines that you have put in this standard scale.  The first schedule  level 1 of the fine, Hon. Minister Sir, I would agree with you that it remain $20, level 2 let it remain $20, level 3 no dispute, let it remain $60, but we cannot fly from $60 at level 3to $400 at level 4.  It now becomes outrageous and defeats logic.  So, I would suggest that level 5 be $100 so that it goes in that scale.  I also suggest that level 5 be $200 and not $800.  How would it double from level 4 at $400 to $800?  It is  a100% increase and I would suggest that level 6 where you said $1200 be amended to $400 Hon. Minister.  Level 7 $800, level 8 $1200, level 9 $1600, level 10 $2000, level 11 $2500, level 12 $3000, level 13 $5000 and level 14 $10 000, Hon. Minister Sir.  That is my suggestion.  I move, Mr. Chairman Sir, for the scheduled level of fines.

HON. BITI:  Hon. Chair, let me support.  Let me make three fundament points and I am looking for the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, I cannot find him.  I want to make a point that...

*HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Hon. Chair for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate.  I want to support the Minister of Finance and Economic Development by saying that the fines were fair so as to deter people from violating the law.  For them to reach level 5 where the fine is very high, they would have committed a very serious crime.  This will mean that people will not engage in serious offenses.  There are other countries that charge even higher fines.

HON. SIKHALA:  Give us an example.

*HON. CHIKWINYA:  This will result in people paying fines on time.  Serious offences have a negative impact on our Government.

HON. SIKHALA:  On a point of correction Hon. Chair.  The Hon. Member raised a point of order.  It no longer became a point of order because she went into the merits of the debate.

*HON. CHIKWAMA:  I did not raise a point of order.  I was just contributing to the debate.

HON. SIKHALA:  Hon. Chair Sir, Hon. Chikwama was in the bar drinking a lot of whisky – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]-

THE HON. CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Sikhala just sit down.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Hon. Chair, if I could assist.  Let me begin with clarification which may not have been clear from the beginning, which is that these numbers here - the level of the fines, these were the maximums that are payable as penalties.  For instance from level 1 to level 3 that is a spot fine, but beyond that which is level 4 to level 14, that is the maximum that a magistrate can charge.  We want to be clear about that.

So one thing that we could do, Hon. Chair, if everyone agrees, is we change the heading and say Maximum Monetary Amount so that it is very clear.  Would that satisfy the Hon. Members?

HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  What is the motivation?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Because pronouncing them as they are is a deterrent.  That is the reason about fines, that you want to make sure that they are a deterrent.  I want to make it clear that that is the maximum.  I am not saying that the magistrate may not use it.  They may use it. This is exactly what I was saying Hon. Chair, that we insert the word maximum monetary amount on that column.  That is what I am proposing.  Is that acceptable?

          HON. BITI: Thank you Hon. Chairperson.  I wanted to make my submission in the presence of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  I want to make the point that, Section 2 of the Zimbabwean Constitution recognises the principle of the doctrine of Separation of Powers.  What we are doing in casu as Parliament is; we as legislators are treading on the grounds of the Judiciary.  It is the Judiciary which sets fines.  The Principle that the legislature should not impinge on the grounds of the judiciary is now one that is founding currency in African jurisprudence.

          Mr. Chairman, I want to refer you to a Ugandan case, Alice Chigula versus Attorney General and Others, it is a decision that was handed down by the Chief Justice of Uganda, Justice Odochi C.J.  What happened in that case was that the Constitutional Court delt with a situation where a death penalty was imposed without extenuating circumstances or mitigating circumstances.  So, the Constitutional Court of Uganda held that the issues of sentencing are matters that are the preserve of the Judiciary and not of the Executive or the legislature.  So what we are doing here Hon. Chairperson in setting fines, we are infringing on the rights of the Judiciary. 

The approach in Uganda by Odochi C.J in the Alice Chigula Judgment has been followed in Malawi.  It was also followed in the Republic of South Africa in 2005 in a case called State versus Mkwanyani.  So, I would like to submit to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, that we as the legislature, should not set these fines, where we should give indications are your spot-fines but we should make it clear that a spot-fine can only be paid voluntarily.  If you contest a spot-fine, you approach the Magistrate Court and contest.

          However, I want to come to the penalties themselves, Mr. Chair, penalties must be proportional to the wrong that is committed.  So, you have a situation where, from $20 to $60, there has been a doubling up of the penalties since 2009.  So, where you have $20, it used to be $10, where you have $30, it used to be $15, where you have $60, it used to be $30, doubling up.  However, when it comes from level 4 to level 14, there has been a quadrupling up of the penalty.  What is the justification of quadrupling when with level one to three you have doubled?  Is it because of inflation, it cannot be because of inflation because from 2009, our inflation has not quadrupled.  I would make the point that we remove the first schedule in its entirety by level one to three but we make it very clear that a spot fine is not obligatory; it is the price you pay because you do not want to go to court. 

Theoretically, it has always been like that but on the ground Hon. Minister, you know that our police behave in a manner that is not consistent with the Constitution.  I have appeared in several cases where the police actually took someone’s motor vehicle because the person refused to pay a fine.  There are High Court judgments to that effect.  There is a judgment by Justice Zhou, you know that Hon. Minister.  So, if we clarify that a spot-fine is discretionary and you have got a right to contest that in the Magistrate Court, then we would have done justice to the principle that the Separation of Powers, the Executive and the Legislature cannot impinge on the football pitch of the Judiciary which is that of determining liability and a penalty.  So, I would go for the scratching of anything from level 4 to level 14.  I thank you very much Hon. Chairperson.

THE MINISTER OF LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI.): I agree and I do not agree with his interpretation.  This House is within its jurisdiction to prescribe fines or sentences in an Act of Parliament, it is allowed.  You cannot have the Judciary determining fines.  In any event, if they are to propose a raise in fines, the Judiciary does not have an audience in here, they still have to propose to the Executive that will bring that here.  So, I think some of the issues that he is raising have got merit in terms of the level of fines.  However, as a compromise, I hope that the Minister is prepared to take that.   My plea is that let us have the fine schedule there and we approve with amendments.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I appreciate the debate and input from Hon. Members.  They have made a passionate point that; once you signal a maximum for a magistrate or anyone, they may just use that figure and it becomes punitive. I think that assessment is not unreasonable Hon. Chair. 

So, I propose the following; that we amend these maximum monetary amounts in the manner as proposed by the Hon. Members.  So, for 1, 2, 3, it stays as is, from 4 to 14, we amend as follows; I will just read quickly; 100, 200, 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 2000, 2500, 3000, 5000 and a maximum at 11/14 of 10 000.  I also want to make it clear that the 1 to 3 is always discretionary, there is no issue about that, it is an issue of enforcement.  So, I suggest that then on the title, we still insert the word Maximum Monetary Value so it is clear that it is a maximum but it is not the prescribed level.  I therefore move the motion that we then adopt this clause with these amendments.  I thank you. 

          Clause 28, as amended, put and agreed to.

          Clauses 29 to 33 put and agreed to.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Chair. I take note that it is after 1200 midnight, are we now on a second day of sitting?  I want confirmation from the Chair.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): If I can assist, this is one continuous sitting.  I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order please, the Minister of Justice yesterday suspended automatic adjournment.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: I appreciate your answer Chair but the motion by the Leader of the House was that we stand over all the Orders until 12 midnight, that is what he said.

          HON. SIKHALA: Mr. Chairman, why can we not be serious for the first time. The Minister, when he was moving the motion to suspend Orders, said that the Orders be suspended until 12 midnight.  Now we have gone beyond 12 midnight and all Hon. Members who are here want to understand. Are we still in the same session without seeking leave from our Standing Orders for us to proceed with the request the Minister of Justice made.  This is purely a simple legal issue. Our Minister is a legal person, he knows it. He must seek new authority for us to proceed.  So, there is automatic adjournment and we know Daniel always misleads Committees and Parliament on his interpretation of the Blue Book and we know him – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -   

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Hon. Chair, I thank you very much. When we suspended the automatic adjournment times, I indicated that on Friday we adjourn at 12 noon not to say that on any other day.  What will happen is, Hon. Members, administrative measures will be put in place to take care of your concerns pertaining to the sitting times.  I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -   

          HON. SIKHALA: Mr. Chairman, as the Minister of Justice has accepted that we are now starting a new session on a Friday, we must start with a prayer - [Laughter.] –

          On Clause 34:

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Hon. Chair, I propose the following amendments on Clause 34, on page 23 of the Bill under Section title 37 (b) unexplained wealth order, delete 1 (b) US$10 000 and replace with US$50 000.  Also on that page under the same section, delete subsection 3 and 4 and renumber subsequent sections accordingly and substitute the following, “the High Court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the respondent is or has been involved in serious crime whether in Zimbabwe or elsewhere or a person connected with the respondent has been so involved”.  I thank you.

          HON. BITI: Hon. Chair, the Finance Act is a priviledged Act, the Finance Bill is a priviledged Bill, it by-passes certain obligations in our law. It by-passes the obligation of gazetting, sitting for 14 days without reading, first reading and all the consequential time limits because it is dealing with revenue measures that have to be implemented immediately.  

          Revenue measures are tax measures, so tax measures by their very nature require a modicum of summariness, modicum of urgency and that is why the Westminster tradition that we have incorporated in the sixth schedule of our Constitution recognises this summariness.  However, what we must avoid is to sneak in the Finance Bill things that have got nothing to do with revenue, things that can be dealt with by ordinary legislation.  The Constitution itself has put safeguards in respect of ordinary legislation.  One of the things that have been put in respect of ordinary legislation is the obligation to consult members of the public that is codified in Section 145 of the Constitution. So all laws that we make, we must consult the public.  This part to do with unexplained wealth is not a revenue measure, it is not amending the Revenue Authority Act, the Customs and Exercise Act, the Value Added Tax, but the Income Tax Act, it is amending a non Revenue Act, the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act, Chapter 9:24. 

          I submit Hon. Chairperson that it is improper; the kind of thing that is sought here requires public consultation   by the relevant Parliamentary Committee, I suspect it is the Budget Committee chaired by Hon. Mhona who is not listening to me or another relevant Committee because there is no urgency.  It is not an urgent issue; it is not a revenue issue.  All the other matters which we have discussed up until now have been revenue matters.  We discussed amendment to the Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax Act, Customs and Exercise Act but this is not a tax issue. 

          However, I want to come to the merits. The proposal that is sought to be introduced in this Act is to deal with what the law calls unexplained wealth.  So, the law seeks to say that if somebody has unexplained wealth an order can be obtained from the High Court of Zimbabwe asking you to explain how you acquired the property that is subject…

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair.  I believe Hon. Biti to a certain extent is correct, but I want to indulge him to say that for the purposes of the Minister and the Revenue Authority to manage assets that have been forfeited, maybe if we can keep the asset management unit in there, expunge that and we bring it using the normal process. 

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Hon. Chair. With that amendment which says we expunge the rest of that clause with the exception of the asset management unit we made to Parliament, with that amendment, I propose that we accept the Clause as is and proceed.  I thank you.

          HON. BITI: Can we thank and acknowledge the Minister of Justice for believing in the Constitution and upholding the Constitution unlike the people who drafted this Bill.  I thank you.

          Amendment to Clause 35 put and agreed to.

          Clause 35, as amended, put and agreed to.

          On Clause 36:

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Hon. Chair for your patience and that of everyone in this House.  I move the amendment standing in my name that; I propose the following additions on page 40 of the Bill - delete in line 22 the words “with effect from 9th November 2018, the Exchange Control Act” and substitute that with “the Exchange Control Act”, without the date. I propose that the clause be accepted and we proceed.  Thank you.

          Amendment to Clause 36 put and agreed to.

          Clause 36, as amended, put and agreed to.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you Hon. Chair.  We have an additional clause that we propose should be added, Clause 37; which pertains to the Parliament Pensions Act.  Amendment CAP 2.02.  The Parliamentary Pensions Act Chapter 2.02 is amended

a)     in Section 2 interpretation by the insertion of the following definitions:

-Commission means Civil Service Commission established in terms of Section 202 of the Constitution.

-Surviving spouse means a widow of a registered civil or customary marriage

b)   A widow/widower of an unregistered customary union

c)    A widower of a deceased female member who made contributions in terms of Section 4 or

d)   If there is a widow/widower any person with whom a member was in the opinion of the commission was living as husband or wife at the time of death

e)    In Section 7 entitlement to pension  by insertion of the following sub-section 2  ‘for the purposes of the proviso to subsection 1, a former member shall be entitled to be paid a gratuity calculated at the rate of 130 second of his pensionable retiring emoluments for each complete month of his/her service in Parliament.

I propose that we adopt it as is.  This will deal a comfortable blow to the welfare of Parliamentarians.  I thank you.

     HON. CHIKWINYA:  I want to thank the Hon Minister for that clause.  Certainly we have got no definite and guaranteed period of us coming back to Parliament.  My question and clarification is in terms of the retrospective aspect.  Is there a retrospective aspect in application of this law or it is going to start with the ninth Parliament.

     THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): The gratuity is retrospective.  I did say this at the beginning when we were discussing the emoluments for Parliament.  I thank you.

          House resumed.

          Bill reported with amendments.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

SECOND READING

APPROPRIATION (2019) BILL [H. B. 12, 2018]

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  I move that the Bill be read a second time. 

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a second time. 

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Madam Speaker, soon after we deal with the Finance Bill, we revert back to the Appropriation Bill.  With the leave of the House, I move that we do that.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE DEPUTY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have to inform you that the Parliamentary Legal Committee met on the 21st December, 2018 and considered the amendments of the Finance (No. 3) Bill [H. B. 13, 2018].  The Committee is of the opinion that the amendments of the Finance (No. 3) Bill, [H. B. 13, 2018] are not in contravention of the declaration of rights or any other provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

CONSIDERATION STAGE

FINANCE (NO. 3) BILL [H. B. 13, 2018]

          Amendments to Clauses 3, 7, 9, 11, 20, 23, 25, 27, 34, 36 and new Clause 37, put and agreed to.

          Bill as amended, adopted.

          Third Reading:  With leave, forthwith.     

THIRD READING

FINANCE BILL No. 3, 2018 [H.B. 13A, 2018]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Madam Speaker, I move that the Bill be read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  We revert to the Appropriation Bill.  In terms of Standing Order No. 117 (8), the Bill shall not be committed to the Committee of the Whole House and the motion of the third reading shall be decided without amendment or debate.

Third Reading:  With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

APPROPRIATION 2019 BILL [H. B. 12, 2018]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Madam Speaker, I move that the Appropriation 2019 Bill [H. B. 12, 2018] be read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

HON. SIKHALA:  Madam Speaker Maam, before the Leader of the Government business closes the House, I would like to express gratitude over the way how Hon. Members of Parliament, in  unison, today stood up to defend the people who elected them to be in this House.  I also want to thank the Hon. Minister of Finance and the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for their understanding when there was a vigorous debate over the amendments we needed to be put and proffered in the Bill.  If this House continues to function the way it worked today, the people of Zimbabwe did not elect all Members of Parliament in vain.  Since we took oath of office in September, today the people of Zimbabwe must be gratified with some very important tasks that have been accomplished by this House today, especially as far as the Bill that nearly robed our people of Zimbabwe freedom has been finally agreed to be amended to be what it is.  These are my submissions I wanted to make Madam Speaker that we are happy with the conduct of the House and the business today, though we are going to sleep early in the morning today; we are happy with the business that we accomplished today.  Thank you Madam Speaker. 

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Thank you for the comments.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):   Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Members for staying up until 1 a.m. so that we consider matters of our Budget.  I really appreciate the effort that has been put in debating and the robust debate that we had today.  it is much appreciated.  I want to thank everyone and I want to wish all the Hon. Members a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.  I hope that we will drive safely to our destinations and enjoy our holidays and we meet again next year. 

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Two Minutes past One o’clock a.m. until Tuesday, 29th January, 2019.  

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 20 DECEMBER 2018 VOL 45 NO 27