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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 20 JULY 2017 VOL 43 NO 78

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 20th July, 2017

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

CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, I have the following announcements.  I wish to inform the House that as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative, Parliament will host a charity golf tournament on Friday, 4th August, 2017 at the Zimbabwe Republic Police Golf Club.  The registration fee is $50.00 per player or $200.00 per foursome.  For more information, you may contact Mr. N. Samu on Extension 2186 or 2209 or Rtd. Major Mbewe on Extension 2240.

RECOMMITTAL OF THE LAND COMMISSION BILL (H. B. 2, 2016)

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that I have received the Land Commission Bill (H. B. 2, 2016) from the Senate with amendments.  The Bill is recommitted in terms of Standing Order No. 181 (1).

PRESENTATION OF THE 2016 ANNUAL BUDGET REVIEW AND THE 2017 ECONOMIC OUTLOOK STATEMENT

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development will present the 2016 Annual Budget Review and the 2017 Economic Outlook Statement today at a Quarter to Three o’clock this afternoon.

Business was suspended at Twenty-Two Minutes past Two o’clock p.m. and resumed at a Quarter to Three o’clock p.m.

          The Acting President of the Senate in attendance.

MOTION

2016 ANNUAL BUDGET REVIEW AND THE 2017 ECONOMIC OUTLOOK STATEMENT

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the motion standing in my name;

THAT WHEREAS, paragraph (a) of subsection 2 of section 7 of the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:17] provides that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development shall ensure full and transparent accounts are from time to time and not less than annually made to Parliament indicating the current and projected state of the economy, the public resources of Zimbabwe and the fiscal policy of the Government;   

          WHEREAS paragraph (a) of subsection 1 of section 298 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that there must be transparency and accountability in financial matters;

          WHEREAS during the presentation of the Annual Budget 2017, an undertaking was made to provide the House with an update on the performance of the 2016 Budget;

          NOW THEREFORE, the House is requested to take note of the 2016 Annual Budget  Review and the 2017 Economic Outlook as tabled by the Minister of  Finance and Economic Development.

INTRODUCTION

1.                   Mr. Speaker Sir, during my presentation of the2017 National Budget on 8 December 2016, I indicated that, I will be bringing a comprehensive Annual Budget Review, with fiscal and macro-economic outturn to December 2016.

2.                  I further indicated that the presentation of the 2016 Annual Budget Review also allows opportunity for reporting on 2017 recent macro-economic developments and prospects.

3.                  Accordingly, Mr Speaker Sir, this Review confines itself to 2016 developments and outlook for 2017, while fiscal and taxation proposals will be contained in the forthcoming 2018 National Budget.

4.                  For purposes of accountability and transparency, Treasury will also continue to provide Quarterly Treasury Bulletins, capturing quarterly macro-economic and fiscal developments, in addition to the Consolidated Monthly Financial Statements, which are tabled in this August House in line with the Public Finance Management Act.

5.                  These arrangements should therefore avail the public with necessary information on relevant economic developments, that way enhancing and supporting their decision making processes, activities and engagement with Government on overall economic policy issues.

6.                  Allow me, therefore, Mr. Speaker Sir, to unveil and table the first Annual Budget Review and Outlook for 2017, focusing on its main highlights.

CHAPTER 1: REAL SECTOR DEVELOPMENTS

7.                  Mr. Speaker Sir, 2016 was a difficult year, challenged by a severe drought, coupled with depressed international commodity prices. Despite these developments, the economy registered a modest growth of 0.7% against a Budget target of 2.7%.

8.                Growth prospects for 2017 are quite positive. This follows a resounding agricultural season and partial rebound in international mineral prices. These positive developments gave impetus to the rest of the other sectors, to give a projected growth of 3.7% this year.

9.                 Details on respective sector performance are in the main document.

Agriculture

10.               The recurrence of drought from the previous two years severely affected most crops and livestock, with significant losses in yields experienced in the drier southern parts of the country.

11.            The 2016/17 agriculture season, saw much stronger Government and private sector cooperation in supporting the sector under various cropping programmes including the Special Maize Production Programme, popularly called ‘Command Agriculture’ .

12.            Already, positive results are evident, with this year’s strong recovery of agriculture estimated to yield a commendable 21.6% growth.

Comprehensive Monitoring and Accounting

13.            The success of the ‘Command Agriculture’ was not only anchored on better financing preparations and good rainfall, but also comprehensive monitoring and evaluation by teams drawn from different Government Agencies at National level.

14.            These teams closely monitored utilisation of inputs and farming activities with a view to ensuring the success of the programme in terms of yields and capacity for loans repayments.

15.            All monies extended to beneficiaries under the ‘Command Agriculture’ Scheme are, therefore, being accounted for and audited under the Command Agriculture Fund approved by Parliament for that purpose and administered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, with recoveries maintained by Agribank.

Extension of the ‘Command Agriculture’

16.         Building on the experiences of the first phase of the programme, preparations for the 2017/18 agriculture season have already begun, with mobilisation of financial resources, procurement of seeds, fertilizers and chemicals underway.

17.            Starting with the 2017/18 agricultural season, ‘Command’ wheat, ‘Command’ livestock, ‘Command’ fisheries and ‘Command’ wildlife will, therefore, be unveiled with a total value of about US$334 million.

18.            This will be complemented by the Presidential Input Scheme valued at US$153.1 million to cater for about 1.8 million rural households. Under the Presidential Input Scheme, cotton will be supported to the tune of US$60 million, catering for 400 000 households with grain production taking up US$52.9 million, and the balance supporting oilseed crops such as soya beans.

Mining

19.            In 2016, the mining sector realised output gains across most minerals with the exception of coal and diamonds, underpinning overall growth of 8.2%.

20.            This was notwithstanding relatively low international mineral commodity prices. However, enhancement of the viability of mining companies producing gold and platinum benefitted from the review of royalties.

21.            As a result, mining contribution to GDP increased to 8.7% from 7.9% recorded in the previous year.

22.            With regards to gold production, I commend Small Scale Miners, whose contribution is gradually increasing to reach 42.6% of total gold output in 2016, from 36.7% in the previous year.

23.            This category of miners will also benefit from Government support through the SMEs Mining Loan Fund, as well as the recently launched US$20 million SME Facility for artisanal miners.

24.            In 2017, the ongoing reforms in the diamonds and coal industry are already seeing the turnaround of these sub-sectors and providing impetus for higher growth in the sector.

25.            With the capitalisation of the ZCDC to the tune of $80 million, diamonds output during the first half of 2017, were 1.1 million carats against 690 000 carats realized during the same period last year.

26.            Coal output is also on the increase following implementation of turnaround strategies at Hwange Colliery. Following Government capitalisation of Hwange Colliery and appointment of a new Board, coal production has jumped from a low of 80 762 metric tons per month in 2016 to 170 000 metric tons in May 2017 and 234 000 metric tons in June 2017 as turnaround strategies began to bear fruit.

27.            With all these initiatives, the mining sector is expected to grow by 5.1% in 2017.

28.            Mr Speaker Sir, let me, however, mention that, notwithstanding the positive growth in mining, and the sector being number one contributor to foreign exchange earnings, its contribution to the fiscus remain low, accounting for a meagre 2.2% of total revenues in 2016.

Mining Sector Revenue Share

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Total Government Revenue (US$ Millions)

934

2,339

2,921

3,496

3,741

3,727

3,737

3,502

Mining Revenue (US$ Millions)

50.6

154

161.3

245.8

185.2

335.9

139.9

75.74

Mining Revenue Share (%)

5.4

6.6

5.5

7

4.8

9

3.7

2.2

Source: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development

29.            The finalisation of the Mining Fiscal Regime will therefore address this challenge.

Industry

30.            The positive impact of Government interventions in support of domestic value addition contributed towards revival of the manufacturing sector.

31.            This included Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, domestic financial system export incentive arrangements by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, as well as supportive duty rebates on imported capital equipment.

32.            The promotion of value chains, especially those linking agriculture and other extractive sectors to manufacturing, and construction sectors added impetus to the revival of the industry and with spillover effects on other service sectors.

33.            Resultantly, weighted average capacity utilisation improved from 34.3% to 47.4% in 2016 in sub-sectors such as foodstuffs, textiles and ginning, clothing and footwear, non-metallic mineral products and metals and metal products.

34.            The sector is, therefore, estimated to have grown by 0.3% in 2016 compared to 0.2% recorded in the previous year.

35.            In the outlook, activity in the sector is expected to improve on account of strong agricultural performance and related value chains, continued implementation of SI 64 of 2016, the use of plastic money and the ongoing doing business reforms to reduce cost structures.

CHAPTER 2: FISCAL REVENUE PERFORMANCE

36.            Mr. Speaker Sir, revenue outturn for 2016 wasUS$3.5 billion, reflecting an overall revenue shortfall of US$347.8 million from the Budget target of US$3.85 billion.

Revenue Performance: January to December 2016

 

Actual

(US$ mil)

Target

(US$ mil)

Variance

(US$ mil)

Variance

(%)

Total Revenue

3 502.0

3 850.0

-347.8

-9.0

Tax Revenue

3 237.0

3 607.0

-370.0

-10.3

Non Tax Revenue

264.8

242.8

22.0

+9.1

Source: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development

37.            A significant portion of tax revenue during 2016 was generated from Consumption Taxes i.e. Value Added Tax (VAT) and Excise Duty, as well as Personal Income Tax.

Contributions to Total Revenue

Source: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development

38.            During 2017, indications are that revenues will improve following various measures being implemented by ZIMRA in conjunction with other Government Departments on countering leakages.

39.            Specifically, VAT is expected to benefit from the rationalisation of the schedule of zero rated goods and services which will reduce the value of refunds and the associated fraud.

40.            In addition, the VAT withholding tax system, expansion of the fiscalisation programme to Category A, B, and D Taxpayers, increase in the number of licensed suppliers of fiscal devices and the on-going formalisation of SMEs as well as carrying out lifestyle audits, will all improve efficiencies in revenue collection as well as broadening the revenue tax base.

41.            On the other hand, excise duty on fuel will continue to benefit from the implementation of the electronic cargo tracking system and the alignment of excise duty on paraffin with diesel. This has limited revenue loss from transit fraud and unscrupulous trading of paraffin for blending with diesel.

42.            Corporate Income Tax collections should continue on an upward trajectory on the back of measures aimed at minimising base erosion and profit shifting by some associated companies and foreign business enterprises.

43.            Furthermore, the promulgation of Regulations to govern the activities of Clearing Agents and Tax Consultants in the second half of the year will assist in mitigating tax fraud to the benefit of the fiscus.

44.            On the back of the above measures, tax revenue performance during the first half of the year 2017 has been 1.4% above Budget estimates.

45.            By year end, revenues are expected to rebound to US$3.7 billion, in line with the National Budget projections.

CHAPTER 3: OVERALL EXPENDITURE OUTTURN

46.            Expenditures, at US$4.9 billion against a target of US$4 billion were however higher than envisaged, to give expenditure overrun of US$902 million.

Expenditure Outturn

 

Budget Estimate

Expenditure Outturn

Variance

 

US$m

US$m

US$m

Total Expenditure &Net Lending

4,000.0

4,902.2

(902.2)

     Employment Costs

3,191.0

3,209.8

(18.8)

Operations and Maintenance

384.0

604.8

(220.8)

Interest

110.0

120.2

(10.2)

Capital

315.0

967.5

(652.5)

Source: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development

47.            The major driver behind US$902.2 million overruns were interventions in support of recovery of our agriculture, which amounted to US$615 million, against 2016 Budget provision of US$66 million.

48.            Other expenditure overruns were on account of operations and Maintenance for Ministries and Government Departments: US$220 million; recapitalisation of our public enterprises; US$134 million, and compensation of former farmers.

49.            I would however like to inform Hon. Members that following Cabinet approved measures on managing the wage bill, Employment Costs, which are a major challenge, were in fact close to the budget at $3.2 billion.

50.            However, even at this level, the Wage Bill remains unsustainable as it still deprives other essential areas such as capital development programmes and social services in health and education.

51.            Therefore, riding on Cabinet approval in 2016 to reduce the employment costs bill, Government will continue to implement the recommendations of the Civil Service Skills Audit, maintain freeze on salary reviews and filling of vacancies and will undertake rationalisation of benefits and foreign travel.

52.            These measures are being buttressed by interventions on reducing consumption while prioritising development expenditures on stimulating production.

53.            Specifically, in June 2017, Cabinet directed the adoption of measures to address fundamental challenges besetting the economy, namely the fiscal deficit, low liquidity, market indiscipline, and low productivity.

54.            In this regard, all line Ministries and Departments are working on cost cutting measures whilst ensuring that expenditures are matched to revenue inflows and Budget allocations.

55.            Other details on expenditures by respective Ministries are in the main document.

CHAPTER 4: SOCIAL SERVICE DELIVERY AND POVERTY REDUCTION PROGRAMMES

56.            The Budget continues to prioritise social services spending in health care, access to education as well as other social protection services even under severe fiscal constraints.

57.            Equally prioritised were poverty reduction and empowerment programmes.

58.            Given the labor intensive nature of service delivery in these sectors, the bulk of the budget resources for these sectors were indeed on employment costs.

59.            For example, the education Budget, including allocations towards ensuring availability of the education service providers, i.e. the 148 449 teaching staff in our primary and secondary schools as well as tertiary institutions, absorbed US$1.11 billion during 2016.

60.         This notwithstanding, both primary and secondary schools across the Provinces continue to experience high teacher pupil ratios.

61.         In the same vein, the health care Budget, including allocations towards ensuring availability of health care providers, i.e., the 37 332 health care workers in our public health institutions, absorbed US$295 million during 2016.

62.            I am however, encouraged to note the positive contribution of the Health Levy on air time, which I introduced in the 2017 National Budget and is already beginning to prop up resources for the health sector, by an additional $4.8 million per month.

63.            Other social protection expenditures incurred under the 2016 Budget included provision of US$4.4 million towards drought mitigation cash transfers to food insecure households, as well as US$1.5 million in support of ensuring vulnerable children access to education.

64.            The budgetary resources for these critical areas were also being complemented by development partners, whose contribution in 2016 amounted to $471.2 million, covering areas of infrastructure as well.

CHAPTER 5: GOVERNANCE SUPPORT PROGRAMMES

65.            Budget implementation during 2016 saw various Governance and Institutional Building programmes and projects undertaken in the areas of aligning laws to the Constitution, supporting the rule of law as well as the electoral process.

66.            Non-wage Budget expenditures of US$22.9 million were incurred towards improving the justice delivery system.

Support to Justice Delivery

 

US$m

Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs

20.3

Judicial Services Commission

1.66

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission

0.31

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission

0.61

Total

22.88

Source: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development

CHAPTER 6: DEVELOPMENTS ON MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

67.            In view of budgetary constraints, Treasury has had to be much more innovative to ensure some reasonable funding for infrastructure projects and programmes.  Accordingly, the Budget resources of US$76.4 million was complemented by the following:

·                               Ring fenced Statutory Funds, US$163.5 million;

·       Loan financing, US$164 million; as well as

·       Development Partner support, US$28.6 million.

68.            Accordingly, US$347.7 million was channeled towards infrastructure development projects covering the sectors of energy, transport and communication, agriculture, ICT, water and sanitation as well as housing.

69.            As a result, Government managed to complete two major projects, whose development impact will be felt for years to come. These include the Victoria Falls International Airport Upgrading Project, that was commissioned on 18 November 2016 and the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam Project, which was also commissioned by His Excellency the President R.G. Mugabe on 18 May 2017 and in one season is already 73% full. On Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam civil works on a 15MW Mini Hydro power plant have already started.

70.            Positive strides were also recorded on ongoing projects such as:

·       Kariba South Power Extension;

·       Rural Electrification of private and public institutions;

·       Water supply projects for both urban and communal areas;

·       Irrigation development and rehabilitation;

·       Roads rehabilitation and;

·       Other ICT projects, etc.

Details on implementation progress of these various ongoing projects are in the Review document.

71.      Progress was also registered with regards to project development activities for some critical projects, with some now at financial close stage and details are in the main document.

CHAPTER 7: PUBLIC SECTOR BORROWING REQUIREMENTS

72.            Financing of the 2016 budget deficit was primarily through domestic borrowing, against the background of absence of external financing.

73.            In total, the Government deficit stood at US$1.4 billion, against an initial target of US$150 million. This was caused by a combination of inescapable expenditure requirements and revenue under-performance of US$347.8 million.

CHAPTER 8: PUBLIC DEBT

74.            Treasury and the RBZ continue to pursue the reengagement process in order to resolve the country’s debt of $11.3 billion as at end December 2016. Of this debt, public and publicly guaranteed external debt stood at US$7.3 billion, with domestic debt being US$4 billion.

Arrears Clearance

75.            Of the total external debt of US$7.2 billion, US$5.1 billion is in arrears. The arrears problem remains a stumbling block for Zimbabwe to access new financing at cheap borrowing terms.

76.            Government is, therefore, pursuing the Arrears Clearance and already the country settled its overdue obligations to the IMF amounting to US$107.9 million.

77.            The next step entails resolving arrears to the other multilateral creditors, namely the African Development Bank, US$642 million; the World Bank, US$1.402 billion; the European Investment Bank, US$294 million; and other multilateral institutions, as well as Paris Club and non Paris Club bilateral creditors.

CHAPTER 9: STRUCTURAL REFORMS

78.            Government is instituting a raft of structural reforms in order to improve the competitiveness of the economy.

These include the Ease of Doing Business, Public Finance Management Reforms, Special Economic Zones, and Public Entities Corporate Governance, among others.

CHAPTER 10: FINANCIAL SECTORDEVELOPMENTS

79.            The financial sector remains stable, notwithstanding the prevailing liquidity challenges. The ongoing efforts to promote financial inclusion, plastic money, e-banking services and broader use of multi-currencies are positive developments.

80.            Mr. Speaker Sir, Let me stress that the current liquidity and cash challenges are not unique to this economy but an expected temporary and transitional phenomena for a dollarised economy.

81.            These challenges, which include the proliferation of indiscipline of money changers, as well as foreign currency externalisation cases are being dealt with.

82.            Furthermore, a lot of efforts are also being expended in containing Non Performing Loans, now at 7.87% of the total loan book, against 10.82% of December 2016.

83.            The decline in Non-Performing Loans is largely attributable to enhanced credit management systems by banks during the year, coupled with disposal of some Non-Performing Loans to ZAMCO.

84.            The operationalisation of a credit reference system is also expected to improve information sharing, thereby, reducing credit risk and, hence, the level of Non-Performing Loans, which in turn improves the asset quality of the banking sector.

85.            Further details on performance of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and the state of our pensions and insurance industry, which are all qualified as stable are in the main document.

CHAPTER 11: BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

86.            With regards to the Balance of Payments, there has been marginal increase in exports to US$3.7 billion against imports of US$5.2 billion, to give a trade gap of about US$1.5 billion.

87.            The current account deficit as narrowed down to US$552 million from US$1.5 billion in 2015.

88.            The general improvement in the current account is largely attributed to import substitution, coupled with import compression measures introduced by Government in 2016 as well as the low uptake of intermediate imports due to the slowdown in manufacturing sector.

CONCLUSION

89.            Mr. Speaker Sir, economic performance in 2016 was generally subdued amid a number of challenges facing productive sectors, the public and financial sectors, as well as on the balance of payments front.

90.            However, the outlook for 2017 is very positive and there is need to acknowledge the substantial strides we have made in a number of areas including agriculture, infrastructure rehabilitation, as well as social services delivery, notwithstanding a difficult sanctions environment.

91.            In view of this reality, and given the fact that we are largely on our own and have to rely on our domestic resources, it is also prudent that our policies and strategies be aligned to this realism in order to optimise on our limited resources. It is incumbent on us to create an environment that is conducive for economic growth and such an environment is created by our own policies. The 2017 Budget has already set the tone for this direction, particularly in terms of fiscal management and importance of stimulating production in an environment of discipline.

The Hon. President of the Senate’s Panel led by the Acting President of the Senate left the Chamber.

– [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.

HON. DR. MASHAKADA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  As has become the tradition, after the Minister of Finance and Economic Development has tabled the Budget Statement, we as the official Opposition have to react to the Statement, highlight what we think are gaps and also compliment what we think are positive developments, and I am going to do just that.

Mr. Speaker Sir, from the onset, I must stress that the Minister of Finance has had a very difficult task.  In fact, we cannot envy him in the difficult task that he faces.  It is a difficult task because the fiscal space is so narrow and so limited.  He has to really be a new Bismarck who has to juggle around with a lot of expectations in terms of public expenditure measured against diminishing revenue.  This Budget Review should be judged from the point of view that the Minister did not have fiscal space in 2016 and still does not have adequate fiscal space in 2017. 

Mr. Speaker, let me highlight the gaps or the deficiencies that I think the 2016 budgetary review reveals.  The first problem is that from the revenue allocation of $3.5 billion in 2016, employment costs chewed $3.2 billion.  So we are still grappling with employment costs Mr. Speaker Sir.  From $3.5 billion revenue to $3.2 billion on employment costs, it is still a huge challenge because 90% of the budget is still going towards recurrent expenditure and leaving no room for developmental programmes or projects.  So, it is a structural weakness of our budget as reviewed by the Hon. Minister and facts speak for themselves that Government does not have the capacity of political will to deal with employment costs. 

For example, Mr. Speaker Sir, I expected the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to tell us that the ghost workers have now been cleared but as it appears, he has carefully avoided telling us what has happened to ghost workers because they continue to demand a lot in terms of fiscal resources.  So from a point of view of the balance between development and recurrent budgets, I think the 2016 budget continues to be skewed in favour of nugatory or recurrent expenditure at the expense of developmental or people oriented expenditure.  That is one structural weakness of the 2016 budget as reviewed by the Hon. Minister.

The second weakness of the 2016 budget and its out-turn is that capital expenditure (CAPEX) performed dismally bad from the figures presented by the Hon. Minister.  The budget for 2016 had set aside $967 million for capital development or Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) but from his report, the out-turn was only $315 million from an initial projected $967 million.  It means that developmental infrastructural projects are suffering and without addressing infrastructural projects which are growth enhancing, you also compromise the capacity of the economy to grow on the basis of infrastructural development. 

The other problem I noted in this Budget Review is the shocking level of deficit.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the total deficit out-turn for 2016 as the Hon. Minister pronounced is $1.4 billion against a projected budget deficit of $150 million.  It is really a shocking variance for me between expenditure and revenue.  So what happened is that in 2016, a big fiscal hole was curved to the tune of $1.4 billion and we have to cover that budgetary deficit because it is a problem as it compromises service delivery.

The other problem I noted from the budget is that we expected the Hon. Minister to dwell a little more on the cash shortages or the current liquidity challenges that is still giving serious problems to our people.  Mr. Speaker Sir, if you go out in the streets and banks, people are still queuing for their money as they cannot access their cash.  I would have hoped for the Hon. Minister to have gone deeper to unveil the measures that Government is putting in place in order to ease the cash shortages.  Yes, we appreciate that the use of plastic money has been increasing but there are certain basic expenditures that still require cash.  Our ordinary people will still need cash to board kombis, buy tomatoes and vegetables in the locations.  There are still basic expenses that require cash and I would have hoped that the Hon. Minister would tackle the issue of cash or liquidity challenges because this economy is stuck in a deflation.  Consumers have no spending power, firms are not spending and Government is not spending on productive expenditure hence the economy remains stuck in deflation.  Therefore, demand is very low and the issue of cash has to be resolved because without addressing the cash problem, you are not creating the necessary demand and stimulus for the economy to respond.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the other worrying problem from our point of view is that of corruption.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Why did the Hon. Minister avoid this subject yet it is the most prevalent topic in this country? Corruption, corruption and corruption because corruption is a leak to the fiscus or represents a leakage in the public resources – it was vital for the Hon. Minister to announce measures that the Government is putting in place to tackle this scourge called corruption.  I hope that in the 2017/18 Budget, he will be able to address the issue of corruption.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I also note that the Hon. Minister is pleased by the fact that the mining sector is on a rebound and is projecting a 5.1% output increase in the mining sector.  Fair and fine, gold is doing well because we are artisanal miners, coal, and diamonds and so on but the problem is, we are still using the old extractive mining model where we are still extracting raw minerals and exporting them as they are.  In the process, we are exporting jobs and losing revenue in the value chain.  It is high time we start seeing gold refineries being constructed in this country.  Processors to process our minerals, coal, diamonds and other resources have to be established.  Mining is the future of the country and if we do not address it, we will continue to lose the potential value that this sector contributes to foreign currency generation, employment creation and so on and so forth.  I think going forward, it is important to invest in a clear mining turnaround strategy.

The African Union (AU) has what they call, ‘An African mining vision’, which is basically a strategy on how mining should benefit the citizens of the country.  This country is not getting anything from mining.  The Hon. Minister says the whole of last year mining contributed only 2.2% of revenue.  This is sad because if you are talking about growth, you locate it in mining yet it contributed only 2.2% of revenue – that should not be the case.  We need to follow through the AU mining vision and try to see how mining can be used to achieve development and social economic transformation.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I also note that command agriculture is going to be rolled out to wheat, livestock, cotton, fisheries and other sectors.  Fair and fine, but we need to improve on the public financial management system for this very important programme.  I would rather have Parliament approve some of the financial arrangements that have been used to fund command agriculture because these are all public resources.  So, if Parliament can also have a look at those financial deals that can improve the thrust of command agriculture.  Indeed, we want agriculture to rebound because we want self food sufficiency but at the same time, we must also improve on the transparency of the scheme.  I also note that the expenditures that went to education and health in the 2016 Budget are too low.  If you look at the magnitude of health problems in this country, you reckon that the health sector on its own needs a $1 billion budget.  The education sector on its own, to deal with the crisis, we need about $1 billion, but what has been allocated to education and health in this 2016 Budget; less than $200 million.  It is too little.

          If you look at the health sector, cancer is killing more people than HIV/AIDS.  We need Government to put more cancer screening centres in our hospitals.  People are dying in the rural areas because they cannot access cancer screening and treatment. If you move in the rural areas you will find that there is a tragedy in our public hospitals.  Therefore, $200 million budget in the health sector is just too little.  We need the health sector as well as the education sector to grow to a billion dollars each so that we can take care of the welfare of our people.

          Hon. Chinamasa projects that 2017 GDP growth will be 3.7% from 0.7% in 2016.  I think he is being too optimistic.  With the budget deficit that I have talked about; the infrastructure development challenges that I have talked about; I think a projection of 3.7% is too ambitious.  We, on this side of the House would project a GDP growth of 1.9% for 2017 because of the structural constraints that we have highlighted.

          Hon. Minister, you seem to be buoyed by fiscal resources that are not sufficient and yet there is an avenue through promoting both domestic and foreign investment to boost our local investment.  I am glad that the Special Economic Zones are now being consummated; maybe there will be an avenue to increase the inflow of foreign financial resources.  That is an avenue because other countries that are surrounding us have Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) levels of between $3 -$5 billion.  That really complements domestic resources.

          As long as we shy from addressing issues of attracting FDI, we are not doing ourselves a favour because our budget will remain weak.  Yes, the ease of doing business that is taking place is okay but there is one elephant in the living.  That elephant in the living room is called indigenisation.  The indigenisation policy is not doing us a favour.  In the first place, no indigenisation is taking place.  Secondly, because it is still there and insisting on a 51% threshold, it discourages the inflow of new capital.

          If I ask you Mr. Speaker to tell me only 20 names in the whole country of indigenous Zimbabweans who have benefited from this Act on a large scale, the Minister will struggle to find the people that have benefited from the Indigenisation Act.  Yet it is doing so much harm as a red flag to new direct investment.  I would urge us to repeal this Act; revisit it and make sure that we attract more investment into the manufacturing, mining, agricultural and construction sectors.  We need to see cranes in Harare, that will show you that the economy is responding.

          China did three things to revamp their economy.  They said they were going to pursue industrialisation, modernisation and reforms.  These reforms….

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member you are left with five minutes.

          HON. DR. MASHAKADA: These reforms, you know China is a communist country; a command economy but they realised the value of investment.  So, they opened up to Foreign Direct Investment so that they would increase their productivity and infrastructural capacity.  So, they locked in all investments and investment came into China from America, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.  All those countries were investing in a communist country.

          The President of the day said, I do not care the colour of the cat, as long as it catches mice.  That is wisdom.  You do not block or lock away investment.  Let investment come.  Do you know that China went to the extent of inviting Singapore to build one of the best Special Economic Zones in China?  Just across Hong Kong, there is booming a Special Economic Zone built by Singapore.  China gave Singapore 30 years to run the Special Economic Zones; the local municipality and all the infrastructure that Singapore invested. 

          After 30 years, Singapore handed over everything to China.  Now, who is benefiting at the end of the day? It is China, that is why they are now the second largest economy.  Economic dirigisme does not work.  We need to pay attention to investment. 

          I am also encouraged that development partners, from what Minister Chinamasa said, poured in about $500 million in various projects in this country.  It speaks volumes to issues of bilateral and multi-lateral relations.  We need to continue to improve our engagement with development partners and multi-lateral organisations so that they can complement our developmental efforts.

          On public debt, I think we have performed dismally.  We have only serviced our debt with IMF, which is to the tune of $150 million.  Since the LIMA Agreement of 2015 and by the way, in LIMA Minister Chinamasa had undertaken to clear the debt, at least by end of 2016 but there are a lot of challenges.  We still owe African Development Bank over $600 million and the World Bank about $1.2 billion.  We are not making progress in our re-engagement efforts.  Why, because we have to deal with other toxic issues that affects our relations with European Union, the Paris Club and so on.  We need also to address these toxic issues. 

          What image does it give when we hear that the business premises of a Vice President of a party has been burnt – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Hon. Mudzuri’s enterprise has been burnt down – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – These are confidence issues that will affect the budget.

          In assessing the budget, you do not only look at the macro-economic things that I have been doing, you also look at the confidence issues as they affect the tenure and out-turn of the budget.  You can only ignore that on your own peril because an economy is a holistic entity, you do not have to be blinkered.  However, I would like to thank the Minister for continuing to make efforts to stay the course under very difficult fiscal conditions.  I hope that if other Cabinet Minister were going to be as hard working as he is, I think this country will be turned around.  Thank you.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: Hon. Members, I think it is advisable for us to first of all study the report that has been distributed to our pigeon holes by the Minister so that when we come here we make meaningful contributions.  I thought Hon. Mliswa you need to first go and study the report then you can contribute meaningfully.

          HON. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker, I object to that.  There are certain issues which I will talk about which relate to what the Minister spoke.  It is not all of us that are good in reading.  Some of us listen more, we cannot read.  In having to listen, that is the only time that we can be able to respond.  I am certainly not a good reader but I am a very good listener.

          THE ACTING SPEAKER: For the benefit of doubt, I will let you debate and then we will adjourn the debate to next week.

          HON. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker, let me thank you for giving me this opportunity to comment on the budget review of 2017.  Let me equally thank the Minister for the work that he is doing in ensuring that the country moves.  He does his job and he actually came here to give us this review.  The Minister is only a messenger, at the end of the day.  I am hoping what I will talk about has nothing to do with the person of the Minister, but the office that he holds.

It is important that the ordinary person and we, Members of Parliament, relate this to what is happening on the ground.  It would be remiss of us to come here and say the economy is great when the queues are still there.  Just the queues being there, it is tough.  I personally have experienced a problem where I could not access foreign currency when my father was ill.  I did not want to use my office as a Member of Parliament, but I wanted just to be an ordinary citizen and say to myself, how do they carry out their duties at the end of the day.  The truth of the matter is, the situation is not looking good.  No wonder why the review was very short – because there was not much that he could attribute to the success. 

We must not always believe that the documents that are written are really the answer.  We have so many documents written in Zimbabwe, but they have never produced anything.  So, this whole issue of being referred to a document by economists who are unemployed, who have nothing to do except give a clear picture of the economy from an academic point of view, is something that we are now used to, but the question is, what is happening on the ground?

I recall that when Parliament started, we had a time with the Minister on domestic resource mobilisation.  If you recall, Members of Parliament were invited to Bulawayo.  We were using taxpayer’s money.  We lived in good hotels, had everything good for us and the issue was domestic resource mobilisation to get the economy going.  I did not hear the Minister pointing out to our findings and our recommendations on the domestic resource mobilisation where the Speaker whipped us and said no, talk about this.  Talk about domestic resource mobilisation which is key to the growth of the economy.

I am looking at US$80 million being pumped into diamond mining again, but diamond mining – we are yet to be told how much money we have received from diamonds in this country.  We must be very clear because the Minister must not just tell us about how much money is put into a project, when he is not telling us what is coming out.  When you are a farmer and you are putting eight bags of maize per hectare, you are expecting five tonnes as Command Agriculture did; why is the Minister not simplifying things and saying, in the diamond industry, this is how much we have received. 

Let me talk about intellectual property rights, which are critical in investment.  The Government has gone on to take diamond mines belonging to people that they entered into a partnership with, including the Chinese, who are your all weather friends.  Anjin, you went and took.  In taking those diamond mines - even Mhlanga, who was a war veteran, came up with a good idea, went into diamond mining, did as much as he could and the next thing, he does not have a diamond mine, but he is one of our own.

It goes back to the point of, if you look at it, how many people have we empowered as Zimbabwean - when we still go and grab what we have given them because of self interest.  Someone wants to be corrupt, someone wants to eat.  Executives in these companies have been torn apart because the Minister coming in wants to eat, but he cannot eat if he does not control the people that he has put in there.

I go to the aspect of corporate governance.  It is non-existent in terms of us performing.  Corporate governance also has to do with the Government Ministries.  The Auditor General’s Report, which is critical and I want to applaud the Auditor General of this country who has done a remarkable job.  We are very quiet about it, we do not say much about it, but I want to kuvapasando dzavo like the saying goes – Auditor General vedu venyika.  She is doing her job.  She exposes Government.  She exposes Government where even the money is given to the Ministries, they cannot even account.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, itself, cannot account for the US$500 million of 2016.  We have the Minister of Finance and Economic Development telling us, yet his own Ministry cannot account for US$500 million.  This is serious.  We cannot be treated like children.  What has happened to the money from the fiscas which is going to every Ministry?  There is no response.  So, the recommendation from the Public Accounts Committee chaired by Hon. Mpariwa, which has done an amazing job, exposes all that.  It recommends all that.  So, before we even think of doing anything, while Parliament is doing its job in exposing all these things, the Executive must be able to support what Parliament is doing, but they do not do that.

You have got Air Zimbabwe today.  I do not care who the CEO of Air Zimbabwe is, but what we want is performance at the end of the day.  Whether it is my brother, that is not the issue – are they able to perform.  But you have an institution which the Auditor General has said cannot be run.  It has failed.  The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development clearly tells us in the report from the Parliamentary Committee chaired by Hon. Nduna that certainly, they agreed to that. 

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development equally in his parastatal’s report, which he does a good job, exposes and clearly says that parastatals are not performing, but you are putting US$220 million into parastatals which you yourself say are not performing.  When have parastatals ever made money?  Can he tell us how much money parastatals are expected to make from the US$220 million that is being given to them?  There is no way we should allow such as situation where money is put in and you do not tell us what comes out.  It has never worked like that.  This is the money that is then stolen; there is corruption and so forth, because it is not being accounted for.

So, you now have a situation where the very same airline that we all agree and say cannot be run - you then have a Minister and I do not think it is fair, going with the Chief Operations Officer and not the Chief Executive Officer to Malaysia.  So, the Chief Operations Officer, Mr Chikore, is number two to the CEO, but the CEO who is responsible for the running of the organization is not there.  So, who then signs? Now we have this that is happening and I am pointing out to issues of corruption. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I took off to tell the truth and I shall tell the truth as it is.  Those that know the truth and are sitting in these meetings must know that we are speaking the truth.  Even if you are not acting, it is being recorded that you are part of the demise of this country, allowing tax payers money to be going outside because you want to take care of certain people and positions so that you can keep your jobs as Ministers.  You want to appeal to the President.  Even if it is the President’s son in law, tell the President what Parliament has recommended, what Parliament has recommended is that we cannot put money into Air Zimbabwe.  Tell the President what the responsible Minister has said that we cannot put money into that.  For some reason, they disregard what we are doing.  It must be on record that Parliament is doing what it can but the Executive is not playing ball and we cannot be held accountable for that.

          We are also very clear in terms of the issues of Command Agriculture.  I am a beneficiary of Command Agriculture and the Minister is right to say that it has done well.  It is the first time we have addressed the aspect of domestic resource mobilisation.  We have resourced domestically and we have put it into production.  The funny thing is that there is policy inconsistency. Amongst yourselves in Cabinet, you attack it.  Others are saying it is working and others are saying it is not working.  Just the other day, I even read the Vice President, Hon. Mphoko saying it is not working but I equally hear the President saying that it is a beautiful programme.  So what is it about Command Agriculture?  Why are you confusing us?  What is it about Command Agriculture?  One minute the President says it is beautiful, the other minute the Hon. Vice President says it is not beautiful.  Professor Jonathan Moyo says it is not beautiful.  How can you expect investors to put in money?  How do you expect companies to put in money into a progamme which has distortions?  May Cabinet come up with a statement to say; is Command Agriculture working or not working? 

With all due respect Hon. Minister of Finance, you are right but your fellow colleagues in Parliament, as I speak and as you were speaking, somebody was busy tweeting saying that Command Agriculture is not working.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Mliswa, you are left with four minutes – [HON. MEMBERS:  Aiwaa aiwaaa!] – Order.

HON. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, there is the aspect of bond notes there so that we get enough foreign currency reserves?  Let me thank the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Reserve Bank for the discipline that you are showing.  Yes, you cannot do much with the black market that is now there but I also want to say to you that there is a lot of foreign currency that is leaving the country.

The First Lady buys a ring for US$1.4 million when we are saving.  You are not saying anything.  Are there no rings for US$1.4 million in this country?  We have diamonds in this country and we want to buy our own diamonds abroad and not to buy them here.  Can we not make a US$1.4 million ring and money stays in this country.  I am looking for a day when our own Executive and Presidium will be leading from the front and buying rings here and not abroad because the very same resource is coming from here.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - You are not even prepared to support the jewellery industry in this country.  In a way, that is externalization of foreign currency.

The Minister did not address the issue of Executive expenditure; flying out in big numbers.  To me….

HON. MUPFUMI:  On a point of order – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order!  What is your point of order?

HON. MUPFUMI:  The Hon. Member is now going off topic – [HON. MEMBERS: Aaaaaah!] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Munengami, I will ask you to leave the House. Order, order! You may continue but you are left with one minute.

HON. MLISWA:  I want to say that the Executive expenditure has not been spoken about.  How much is the Executive spending by going abroad?  Surely, when you are going abroad, you are going to look for money but you never tell us how much money you come back with.  All we know is how much money you spend when you go out.  We cannot continue like this.  It is the responsibility of the Executive to cut down on Executive costs. The Range Rovers you are driving, all the spare parts are foreign currency but we have got Willowvale Motor Industry which has now become a storage for maize instead of manufacturing vehicles.  We have Ford and Mazda and we can do it in this country.  How do we justify that?  Why cannot Ministers and the Executive cut down on costs by driving cars locally made until we get to a certain point where we can all enjoy what we enjoy? 

Members of Parliament are underfunded.  We are not even able to perform our jobs.  So, the aspect of expenditure is important. I like the fact that we have a relationship with the Chinese but what amazes me is that we seem not to learn from how China has improved its economy.  We seem to just focus on how China wins elections and not work on the economy.  We seem to be going to China for election lessons and not for lessons to improve the economy.  It is about time that when we go to China we engage the Chinese in how they run their economy and not how they run their elections and win.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Mliswa. Your time is up.

HON. MUNENGANI:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker, I propose that Hon. Mliswa’s time be extended by about fifteen minutes.

HON. MUKWANGWARIWA:  I object – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] -

THE TEMPORAY SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Munengami.  It has been objected therefore what ruling do you want from me.

HON. MATUKE:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. MAHOKA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 25th July, 2017.

FIRST READING

INSOLVENCY BILL (H.B. 11, 2016).

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E. D. MNANGAGWA) presented the Insolvency Bill (H.B. 11, 2016).

          Bill read the first time.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E. D. MNANGAGWA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day Numbers 3 and 4 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over, until the rest of the Orders of the Day are disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION BILL (H.B. 2, 2017).

          Second Order read: Committee Stage: National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill (H.B. 2, 2017).

          House in Committee.

          On Clause 1:

          HON. GONESE:  If you check in your notes, the last time we discussed on the preamble and we had not concluded, before we got to Clause 1, we started with the preamble.  I have amendments, notices of which are already on the Order Paper Madam Chair.  The last time before we adjourned and reported progress and sought leave to sit again, I had already motivated debate on the reason why I am proposing the preamble.  The Hon. Vice President indicated that they wanted to study my proposed amendments.  So, as of now we have not heard their response to the amendments to the preamble which comes before Clause 1.  So, you have actually jumped the gun by going to Clause 1 when in fact we are still on the preamble.  The notice of amendments is there on the Order Paper before you or the Minister, if she is the one who is handling this.  

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): Thank you Madam Chair and thank you Hon. Member for your contribution and suggestions to changing the Preamble and other Hon. Members who debated on the same subject. After considering your contributions, we would like to state that though valid, we are saying the purpose of the Bill is stated in the Constitution where the Commission was established.

This proposed Preamble may have the effect of limiting the functions of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission. The proposed Preamble also runs the risk of bringing in new content especially on human rights, yet this is not part of the functions of the NPRC as stated in the Constitution. The Commission is not yet fully operational as it awaits the finalisation of this enabling legislation that will allow it to conduct investigations, to hear the matters brought before it and to perform other functions conferred upon it by the Constitution. Thank you Madam Chair.

HON. GONESE: I am happy that the Minister from her response has indicated that the proposed amendment to the Preamble is valid. I would like to request that they reconsider the latter as I have indicated. I think the proposal does not subtract anything from the Bill as stated in the Constitution. I would want to urge the Minister to consider the amendment, which I think will be an improvement and this has been confirmed by her concerns that the proposal is actually valid. Thank you.

HON. KANENGONI: We really would not like to take the risk of going against what the Constitution has stated and we would like to stick to the confines of the Constitution in this regard. So, we will humbly reject your proposal.

HON. GONESE: For the sake of progress, although I do not agree with the reasoning of the Minister Madam Chair, we may proceed but otherwise I am not really in agreement. I am not persuaded by the arguments of the Minister.

Amendment to the Preamble put and negatived.

Preamble put and agreed to.

On Clause 1:

HON. GONESE: I move the amendment standing in my name that in line 47 on page 4 of the Bill, to delete “2017”. This one is just a simple suggestion for the removal of 2017 from the clause so that the clause simply reads National Peace and Reconciliation Bill. You do not need to add the 2017. I did not see the value of having 2017 added. That was the reason why I made that simple suggestion.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): Thank you Hon. Member. The year 2017 denotes the year when the Bill was brought before Parliament. Therefore, in legal drafting stating the year is in line with the citations of all Bills. So, it cannot be unique to just this one Bill.

HON. GONESE: For the sake of progress Madam Chair, I am not going to persist with the amendment. So, I am withdrawing it and we can move forward.

Clause 1 put and agreed to.

On Clause 2:

HON. GONESE: I move the amendment standing in my name

that between lines 12 and 13 on page 5 of the Bill, to insert the following definition:

human-rights violation” means an infringement of any right

protected as a fundamental human right by the Constitution or

customary international law or by an international convention, treaty

or agreement to which Zimbabwe is a party;”.

      My suggestion is really that human rights violation is what we are

dealing with in this Bill and it is my considered view that we must have at least a definition so that anyone who looks at the Bill and more particularly when it becomes an Act, understands precisely what we mean when we refer to human rights violations. I have attempted to give a definition which I think is in sync with international best practice.

      I believe there cannot be any objection to this addition which will

enable anyone; members of the public, people who are specialists in issues and matters which are dealt with by this Bill so that at a glance, they know precisely what we mean by human rights violation. On this one, I would really ask that let us have it included so that it enriches and improves the Bill, and also adds to the definitions which are already in the Bill.

     THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI): With all due respect Hon. Member, there is nowhere in this Bill where the term human rights is used. Therefore, we cannot define a term that is not used in the Bill at all. The terms that are defined are the ones that will be used in the document. In section 243 of the Constitution, in F and G that is where issues that the Commission are supposed to handle are defined but human rights is not a term that is used in the Bill.

           HON. GONESE: Yes, that is precisely the point that when we are dealing with matters of reconciliation and are covered by the Bill, surely when you look at matters of human rights they ought to be covered. You will find that this is precisely the point that we are making that it is important to have that incorporated in the terms which are going to appear in the Bill. When you look at the other amendments which I am going to propose, they actually go to the root of the issues which the Constitution attempts to deal with when it makes provision for the establishment of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission. I believe that it does not subtract but rather it does the exact opposite which is enhancing the value. I would have expected the Hon. Minister to, at least on this one, make a concession so that we improve the Bill collectively and move together in one direction.

           HON. MAJOME: Thank you Madam Chair. I rise to support the proposal by Hon. Gonese that since this Parliament is required by the Constitution to make laws for the order and good governance of Zimbabwe, any proposal or amendment that proposes to enhance statute should, in my very respectful view, be something that the Hon. Minister can take abroad. It does not harm at all. In fact, it enhances and it would be unfortunate if the Hon. Minister was to give the House and Zimbabwe the impression that she and the organ do not want to have anything to do with human rights, that they are going to do everything they can to avoid the very notion of human rights because they want human rights only to be dealt with by the Human Rights Commission.  That would be most unfortunate because it would not be in the spirit in which matters of peace and reconciliation are concerned.  The fact that the Bill does not say the word ‘human rights’ does not necessarily mean that the Bill does not deal with human rights.  I cannot imagine or think of any other Bill that has come before this House that deals with human rights more than this Bill.  It will also be good to remind the Hon. Minister that matters of human rights are binding and give obligations on everybody.  I want to specifically refer to the provisions of Section 44 of the Constitution which is on the declaration of human rights in the Constitution.

Section 44 provides that, “the State and every person, including juristic persons such as the Executive arm of Government where the Hon. Minister is, and every institution and agency of Government at every level which also therefore includes the Ministry and this House as it is considering the Bill - must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights and freedoms set out in this Chapter”.  I do not want to get into the rights and freedoms set out in this chapter but those very issues of peace and reconciliation that the Commission will deal with.  The complaints that will be brought will be complaints of certain people that will involve the violation of the rights of others and even the right to administrative justice that will allow everyone who has been wronged to approach the Commission to administer that. 

I want to believe that this august House as well as the Hon. Minister has a duty to promote the human rights of others and to fulfil.  In promoting that, putting, considering and adding this definition of what a human rights violation is, is something that would indeed comply with the provisions of the Constitution because it would indeed make the work of the Commission easier.  It helps if it knows what it is dealing with in terms of its jurisdiction and the issues that it will deal with.  It is my prayer that the Hon. Minister takes a warmer attitude to matters of human rights because they are universal and they apply to everything and help all of us despite of who or where we are.  Matters that we might think do not matter, on some day because we are all human, we will all need to be protected by these human rights.  In my view, it will do us good to adopt this very harmless but very beneficial proposal to define what human rights violations.  Zimbabweans will be coming to the National Peace and Reconciliation expecting that their issues are dealt with in a different manner of course from the Human Rights Commission, like violations that have an impact for the future.  I thank you. 

HON. CHINANZVAVANA:  Thank you Madam Chair.  Could I make a humble appeal on the proposed amendment by Honourable Gonese, for the Minister to reconsider that amendment that we need the words human rights violations in the Bill as it is in fact.  We cannot talk of reconciliation of a nation without talking of human rights.  What really are we reconciling on when we are not talking of the violations of human rights that have been perpetrated against society?  I thank you. 

HON. TOFFA:  Thank you Madam Chair.  I would like to stand in support of Hon. Gonese with regards to the inclusion of human rights because the people that are being affected will not understand that they as people are being considered on their human rights.  People out in the communities are waiting to hear that they are being considered. Therefore, I humbly ask that the Minister reconsider this. 

HON. KANENGONI:  Thank you very much Hon. Members for your humble suggestions.  The purpose of this Bill is to operationalise the Commission and the work that they will be doing.  Everything that extends to what you have all suggested comes with the work that they will then be doing and how they will be dealing with the people on a case by case basis.  The suggestion that has been given to include the term ‘human rights’ in the glossary has to do more with, when a person is reading the Bill and they understand what is inside the Bill.  That is why I was saying that the term ‘human rights’ itself is not in the Bill.  So putting it there does not really help a person to understand further because inside the document, the term is not used. 

The suggestion has to do with defining a concept that will be used in the Bill, for a person reading it to understand.  The issues you are talking about now have to do with when the Commission is doing its day-to-day duties, of which they will define how they do it;  the way they will be different from what we are talking about here; which is why we are saying we cannot define a concept that is not discussed in the Bill itself.  I thank you. 

HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much Madam Chair.  It does appear that we are appearing to be at cross-purposes.  The essence of the issues we want to address is that in the past, we have had certain situations that have occurred.  It is my understanding and belief that those issues really go to the root of the rights of the people of Zimbabwe but as it appears to me, the Hon. Minister’s attitude might be that it is like the Bill is cast in stone or cast in concrete.  I do not know how much more we can do to reach out to the Minister to say that I want to be on the same page.  We want to travel in the same direction but if the Hon. Minister is not amenable, it might appear that we will go round and round. 

For that reason Madam Chair, I may not persist with my amendment, although I feel that it was well intentioned.  The basis for the objection or the refusal to accede to that proposal arises more from the fact that the attitude of the Executive is that some of the Bills that they bring to us are cast in concrete to the extent that we are not supposed to give any input.  At the end of the day, we appear like a rubber stamp which is simply there to rubber stamp something that comes when in fact the idea of the Committee Stage, is to have certain proposals and suggestions that can be made in order to add value.  We will see as we go along what the responses will be to other issues that we have raised.  For now, I will not persist with this particular amendment.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Gonese, are you withdrawing your contribution?

HON. GONESE:  This is an amendment that I have made, is it not?  What we want to have is a situation where we can discuss but in the event that the Hon. Minister is piloting the Bill and already in her response, she has shown that she is not agreeable.  That is the reason why effectively I said I will not persist.  If I am not persisting, it means the import of it is that I am withdrawing the amendment.

HON. CHIRISA:  Thank you Madam Chair.  Maybe I am ignorant but the reason for bringing the Bills is for us to debate and agree.  When it seems that the Minister has come prepared to sail it through, whether it rains or not, it gives us the impression that we are here to rubber stamp what the Minister has brought.  You will find that as we go along on the clauses, she will still be saying, we cannot put this in the Bill but should be dealt with in the Commission’s terms of reference.  I think we should also consider other people’s contributions.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI):  Thank you Madam Chair.  I want to make it very clear that we are not here to disagree.  We have considered your submissions and that is why we took them, went back, looked at them and have come back.  So, it is not our intention to just come and say no.  We really have considered and we have consulted widely.  That is why we are here to give our feedback. 

          HON. GONESE:  Just to draw the Minister’s attention to the proposed amendment in Clause 3, if you look at Clause 3, there is also an amendment …

          THE HON. CHAIRPERSON (HON. DZIVA):  We are not yet at Clause 3.

          HON. GONESE:  I know but it actually answers her.  You remember when she responded, she had said that there is no mention of human rights violations in the Bill.  I wanted just to bring to your attention that in paragraph (d) of Clause 3, we actually have a proposal and I will read it, “to develop and operate programmes to provide support for victims of human rights violations …” In other words, we made a proposal for that definition to be incorporated in light of the other proposed amendments, which you were going to respond to that query.  

          You find that the proposal in Clause 3 is actually very comprehensive and for me, it would give a broader context and give effect to the constitutional provision itself.  When you look at the Constitution, which is quoted in the Bill, you will find that under paragraph (e), under the functions of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, 252 Hon. Minister, it actually talks of the Commission under its functions; to develop programmes to ensure that persons subjected to persecution, torture and other forms of abuse receive rehabilitative treatment and support. 

          In other words, even though the word may not be mentioned specifically that human rights violations, what we are talking about when we talk of forms of abuse, we are precisely talking about human rights violations.  Talking of torture, there can be no greater violation of human rights than torture.  As a result, I was of the opinion that if we look at it in its totality, that definition will be necessary, particularly in view of the fact that there is a further proposal under the amendment or the proposed amendment to Clause 3 to then define the term and to have it as part of the Bill.  That is why I would, for the last time, plead or ask the Minister to reconsider it. 

          HON. KANENGONI:  Madam Chair, he has made reference to Clause 3, which is two clauses away from the stages that we are going through, so I would prefer to go back to Clause 1 and we can get to where he is talking about when we get to it. 

          HON. GONESE:  Perhaps the Minister did not get clearly why I referred to Clause 3.  Clause 3 answers the point which she has raised that there is no definition or mention of human rights violations in the Bill.  If she were to accede to the amendment of Clause 3, it would then rectify that issue.  The main reason why she was not agreeable to have the definition of human rights be part of the interpretation clause was because it is not mentioned in the Bill. 

All I am doing Madam Chair is to point out to her that there is a proposal to have that included.  If it were to be agreed to, then it cures the anomaly which she has mentioned that you cannot define a term which is not mentioned in the Bill because that term would then be mentioned.  So, we cannot at this point say we cannot make reference to Clause 3 because Clause 3 is actually answering the query or the anomaly which she has pointed out.  There are also other proposed amendments, which will actually have the definition of human rights, or rather would have the name human rights being part and parcel of the Bill.  So, procedurally I am correct to make reference to that because it responds to a query.

HON. KANENGONI:  Thank you Hon. Member and Hon. Chair. As I have said before in my first response, we really would not want to seem as if we are trying to duplicate the job of another commission that already exists that deals with human rights.  So, we stand by our decision.

HON. GONESE:  I just need to respond finally.  Since my last appeal has not been acceded to, I can do no further than say that reluctantly and with a very heavy heart, I have to withdraw the amendment and then we can make progress.

Amendment to Clause 2 put and negatived.

HON. GONESE:  I move the amendment standing in my name that;

Clause 3

In line 38 on page 5 of the Bill, in paragraph (a) of subclause (2) to delete the words “to conduct” and to substitute “on its own initiative or on receipt of a complaint or at the instigation of any person, to conduct.” 

Again Madam Chair, this clause is proposing that in line 38 and on page 5 of the Bill, we delete the words “to conduct” and to substitute “on its own initiative.”  The main motivation for that suggestion Hon. Minister is really to expand and this is in conformity with what the Constitution provides for in terms of the functions of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.  It is just to broaden the scope of its operations. 

The amendment speaks for itself; it is very clear.  It is actually speaking to having the Commission to develop and operate programmes and provide support for victims of human rights violations and also to include issues of rehabilitation, counseling and medical treatment, which really go to the route of what the Commission is about.  It also allows the Commission to collect and preserve information, subject to any other law to ensure that the information referred to is accessible to the public.  Surely on this one, I just hope that we will have a situation where the Hon. Minister will try to take on board this very useful addition to the Bill. 

HON. KANENGONI:  Thank you Chair and thank you Hon. Member.  Hon. Member, as you were reading I was trying to keep up with the actual amendment that you gave.  It is in line 38 on page 5, is that so?

HON. GONESE:  Yes.

HON. KANENGONI:  It sounded like you then went on to talk about the two others that are after this one.  Can I just read it as you have submitted so that we agree that I am responding to the correct thing. That in line 38 on page 5 of the Bill, in paragraph (a) of subclause (2) to delete the words “to conduct” and to substitute “on its own initiative or on receipt of a complaint or at the complaint or at the instigation of any person to conduct.”  In response, Section 252 of the Constitution defines the 10 functions of the Commission.  The Commission is not being operationalised to conduct investigations only but it even needs to develop and implement programmes to promote national healing, unity and cohesion in Zimbabwe and the peaceful resolution of disputes amongst other functions. 

Going back to what you said in terms of enhancing the work of the Commission – there is nothing wrong with enhancing their work, however, moving outside of the functions that are defined in Section 252 would be very difficult for us to agree with.  Giving the Commission power to make its own investigations which have not been reported to it may lead the NPRC to a fishing expedition, which may result in wastage of resources and not yield the intended results.  The Commission has to focus on the given functions within its stated life span so that they do not focus on their own personal functions but stick to the ones defined in Section 252 of the Constitution.

          HON. GONESE:  I think what I want to emphasise is that the Commission is given specific functions by the Constitution but over and above that, we would want, within the spirit of what is provided for in the Constitution, to give some latitude to the Commission.  This will assist in a situation where, in terms of its broad mandate and sometimes the appreciation that there can be an overlap between the functions of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and that of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission.  That overlap is inevitable in view of the fact that the issues which they will be dealing with have some similarities and obviously there will be some differences.  What is being proposed in this amendment does not make the Commission do things which are outside the mandate of the Commission but rather it is actually giving the Commission more teeth and in terms of operationalisation, the Commission can be more effective.  If the Hon. Minister reads carefully what is being proposed, she will realise that the Commission is not being moved away – unfortunately she is being destructed by the Chief Whip and I am not even sure how much she has grasped from what I was saying.

          All the same, I was simply saying that the proposal does not result in the Commission going on a frolic of its own.  It is within the spirit of the functions which are already set out in the Constitution and that is the reason why I am not in agreement with her response when she said that it will then allow the Commission to go out on a frolic of its own.  If you look closely at some of the functions which are being proposed there, it is simply going to get the Commission having broader powers which are clearly spelt out.  For instance, when talking of arbitration and mediation and you look at the qualities of the Commissioners as a requisite set out in the Constitution, we look at people who are experienced in matters of mediation, negotiation and arbitration.  Those are precisely the qualities we looked at when we appointed the commissioners.  So, if we looked at those qualities, it was to enhance the work that they are going to carry out by incorporating the detailed functions which are now in the Act.  When operationalising the Commission, we are expanding what has been given in the Constitution as a broad framework.  When this Bill becomes an Act, it then sets out to broaden and I believe that in the process of broadening and expanding, we are actually making improvements to the Bill.  For that reason, I would say that perhaps the best approach might be for us to report progress and seek leave to sit again so that the Hon. Minister can have a thorough scrutiny of what we proposed.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI):  Thank you Hon Member, I accept your suggestion.  Madam Chair, can I seek leave to sit again while we further scrutinise the given suggestions.

House resumed.

Progress reported.

Committee to resume:  Tuesday, 25th July, 2017.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MPHOKO’S OFFICE (HON. KANENGONI), the House adjourned at Seven Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday 25th July, 2017.

 

 

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 20 JULY 2017 VOL 43 NO 78