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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 29 MAY 2019 VOL 45 NO 57

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 29th May, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

ZIMBABWE WOMEN’S PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS MEETING

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  I wish to inform the House that all female Parliamentarians are requested to attend the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentarian Caucus meeting scheduled for Thursday, 30th May, 2019 in the Government Caucus Room at 0845 hours.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  The following Hon. Ministers have applied for leave of absence:

·       Hon. Chitando - The Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

·       Hon. Kambamura - The Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

·       Hon. Muswere - The Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;

·       Hon. Simbanegavi - The Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation;

·       Hon. E. Moyo - The Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;

·       Hon. S. Nyoni - The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development;

·       The Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon.  Kambamura ;

·       The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Hon. S. G. Nyoni;

·       The Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Climate and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Haritatos;

·       The Minister of Home Affairs and cultural Heritage, Hon. Mathema;

·       The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon. M. Mutsvangwa;

·       The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. Dr. Kanhutu-Nzenza;

·       The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Hon. M. Madiro;

·       The Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. L. Mathuke; and

·       The Minister of State for Midlands Province, Hon. L. Mavima.

          Will the staff indicate the Ministers that are not here – I want the list. 

          HON. SIKHALA: On a point of privilege Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like this House to take notice that one of our Hon. Members of Parliament unfortunately lost his son yesterday, that is Hon. Peter Moyo.  I know how difficult it is to lose your child as I have learnt a lesson during the passing on of my daughter on the 20th December, last year.  It is with a heavy heart that I ask this Parliament to be in mourning with one of our Hon. Members of Parliament, Hon. Peter Moyo of Southerton.  This is my point of privilege Mr. Speaker Sir.  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  We acknowledge that point of privilege and, we extend our deep sympathies to the  P. Moyo family and ask that they may be strengthened in their tragedy, and that all the funeral arrangements go according to the plan of the family. 

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and good afternoon to you.  Mr. Speaker Sir, you did read the Ministers who are not here but I was alive to the fact that there was a State banquet last night and I also saw you there and I saw all the Ministers there.  I think that there are other pressing issues which need to be dealt with.  If the Minister is not present, at least the Deputy Minister must there. 

I say this because, in terms of the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, the Ministry has a lot to do in terms of the economic turnaround of this country.  It has to contribute 14% plus to the GDP.  There is the Hwange forensic report which I asked the Leader of the House and he has not responded to it.  There are also people dying in mines.  There is now a death in the Mazowe Mines and we need to ask the Minister in charge to say what is going on.  There was Eldorado Mine, there was the Cricket Mine and now there is Mazowe Mine where people are dying and we seem not to be getting the Ministers here. 

So I think that it is important that the Deputy Minister at least must be here because the Leader of Government Business at times is not conversant with some of these issues.  So we are actually prejudicing our people in terms of the representation that they deserve.  Thank you Mr. Speaker. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister Nzenza, you sent an apology, it says late attendance.  I have asked the Clerks-at-the Table to list those Ministers who have not come without any leave of absence and we will charge them accordingly – it is contempt of Parliament.

          HON. ZWIZWAI: I rise on a point of clarity Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  There was nothing that was stated that was not clear.

          HON. ZWIZWAI: If you could just allow me Mr. Speaker Sir.  It was stated during your absence Sir.  For the purpose of record and with your indulgence, please indulge me. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  If there was a ruling and whatever the ruling was done in my absence, it stands.

          HON. ZWIZWAI:  Please can you sit down. 

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTIECE

          *HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, my question goes to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  It is promising that this year, the ZIMVAC has done the checks in the rural areas, what is Government policy that people should share a 50 kg bag so that each one of the starving families receives a bucket from that 50kg bag.

          *THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank Hon. Matangira for that question on whether Government should allow families to share a 50 kg bag but what we know is that a bag is not enough for a family. However, in order for me to give a comprehensive answer, he should point the area where this was happening and I will also give an appropriate answer.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Matangira, can you clarify your question?

          *HON. MATANGIRA: The question is - a household is supposed to receive a 50 kg bag but because every family is suffering from hunger, that is why I am suggesting that families share a bucket from that 50 kg bag instead of giving it to one family because of the shortage.

HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA: My apology Mr. Speaker because I had misunderstood the question. Let me say Hon. Matangira has asked an appropriate question which is also a suggestion to say, instead of giving one family a 50 kg bag these families should divide that bag amongst two or three families so that each family receives something.

          ^HON. ZWIZWAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My supplementary question is - this issue of hunger kills everyone in the country. Everyone is about to die because of hunger, that is the issue I wanted to talk about. We are talking about minority languages and that must be captured by Parliament. That is what I am asking. I belong to the MDC Party which has people who are denied food because others are on the other side. I want to know from the Hon. Minister who is a woman and a mother what she is saying about her children. How is she going to do it in a way that everyone gets food because people are dying of hunger? They told us that everyone needs food.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, I hope you got the Shangani language.

          HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA: I heard part of the question. I did not fully understand the question. However, my understanding is that there is hunger across the country but I would seek some help in translation so that I can answer the Hon. Member of Parliament accordingly.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you clarify in the queen’s language.

^HON. ZWIZWAI: Thank you very much.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, just a second. Hon. Members, while we are advocates for – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – the recognition and use of our national official languages. Our gadgets at the moment do not have automatic translation so that if you spoke in Shangani or any other of those fifteen vernacular languages, there is no automatic explanation or translation. Until such time that we have, can we restrict ourselves to languages that are fairly understood by Hon. Members and Ministers; until we get to the new Parliament where that facility will be available. So Hon. Zwizwai, if you could assist by clarifying your question in English.

          HON. ZWIZWAI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. It is with a heavy heart that I now ask the question in a foreign language which does not favour a lot of our people who are affected by the drought in our beloved country. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to put on the table my salary as a Member of Parliament, if it helps in a way that this Parliament and the august House may employ interpreters to enable people to speak in these languages. I am prepared to have a stop order on my salary …

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I have ruled that the gadgets currently manipulate what we want done. It is a technical problem and so bear with us.

          HON. ZWIZWAI: I will now ask my question and the policy question is - when we you look at your left side, we have members of the MDC political party who are affected by starvation in our country because we started from the first into the second dispensation. Members of our party are denied these hand-outs from Government because of their political affiliation. I want to ask the Minister if that is Government policy that members of other political parties which are not ZANU PF are denied food hand-outs from Government because of their political affiliation yet this food is bought through the taxpayers’ contributions whereby 80% of them are controlled by MDC. We also have some food which is donated by other countries that have faith in MDC. Some of the food comes from China, some from my brother here, Hon. Mthuli but we are denied that food.  Is the President, Hon. Mnangagwa aware of this, even you as the Hon. Speaker, are you aware of this? What can be done to make sure that as Members of Parliament and Councillors, we are involved to ensure that the food that is distributed gets to the people who are at the bottom of the social ladder? This question is not political; it has to do with hunger.  We are pleading Mr. Speaker, that something be done, even a Ministerial Statement and a mechanism so that we are able to assist everyone in Zimbabwe.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Member, whilst you are still standing, can you withdraw the element that 80% of taxes are paid by MDC because you have no empirical evidence to that effect?

          *HON. ZWIZWAI: Hon. Adv. Mudenda, I withdraw and I stand guided.

          *THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I am shocked by the question that was posed by Hon. Zwizwai – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -  His question is mesmerizing because our policy as the Government does not discriminate on the basis of political affiliation.  As he stated that everyone has a stomach to be fed, therefore everyone gets hungry no matter which party they are affiliated to.  Everyone receives food rations whether they belong to ZANU PF or MDC. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, if the Hon. Member has an example where people were denied food rations due to their political affiliation, they should write a letter to me. In that letter, they should state where this happened, giving the exact district. 

          I will speak about Chikomba East as a Member of Parliament for that area, though here I stand for policy.  My Councillor for Sadza Ward is an MDC Member who distributes food to everyone despite their political party and her name is Mrs. Peta – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          *HON. ZWIZWAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me another opportunity to get more clarification on the issue of food distribution.  I would want to find out if the Hon. Minister would give us an opportunity to have a meeting at her Ministry as MDC people who are facing challenges – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Some of you Hon. Members are not Ministers and neither are you the Hon. Speaker. 

          THE HON SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Member, please address the Chair.

          *HON. ZWIZWAI: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I am sorry for being emotional because the issue of hunger is a challenge.    It might be an issue without procedures or other things but it is that people might starve to death in this country.  I would want to find out if we can come with our vice president, Hon. Biti, the recently elected leadership and some of us who lost at our recent congress so that we set down mechanisms of dealing with hunger –[Laughter.] -  It is a serious issue and not a joke.  Please set aside an appointment for us even if it is next month.  We do not want to write a letter because it has been a challenge even during the Mugabe era but we want a meeting – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Shut up you Hon. Members, you belong to G40.

          Hon. Zwizwai having been shaking hands with Hon. Members of the MDC party who were recently appointed at the MDC congress

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Order! I know there is some bit of humor but this is not the place for anointing people who have won elections at a congress.  What the Hon. Minister responded to initially does stand.  Let us have those Hon. Members who have facts; those facts must be delivered to her office. It is not an issue of positions in any political party, it should be according to the Constituencies where such things maybe happening.  The Hon. Minister said she is prepared to receive such information and act on that information.

          *HON. KARENYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Yesterday, a report from the Human Rights Commission was tabled in this august House.  It was cited in the report that there are areas where people are being denied food for reasons of political affiliation by traditional chiefs.  That report was not written by ZANU PF or MDC but it is a report which was written by an Independent Human Right Commission, clearly stating that food is not being distributed fairly in this country. Some people are denied food handouts because they belong to a certain political party such as MDC.  We kindly beg the Minister to read that report and go to the Human Rights Commission where they will tell her where these denials were taking place.  Hence there is no need for us to write a letter but I advise the Minister to read that report, approach the Commission and she will be given the exact places where food is being denied on partisan lines – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order.  Hon. Karenyi, order!  Hon. Member, do not hide, I have seen you.  Do not invite me to send you outside.  Thank you Hon. Karenyi, I will not discard the earlier ruling that if there are any other Members of Parliament where there has been partisan distribution of food can bring that information.  However, I am grateful to the Hon. Member who spoke last and I would like to refer the Hon. Minister of Public Service to paragraph 9 of the Human Rights Commission which was debated yesterday at page 19 so that you can also converse with the Human Rights Commission so that it can be – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Order!  So that in addition to what the Hon. Members will give you, you may also get information from the Human Rights Commission as per page 19.

HON. NDUNA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker.  I ask that you guide us in terms of the decorum and dressing in this Parliament so that we do not go to extremes as it relates to our tradition and our dressing.  I see the last speaker, he comes to the podium with a hat under his armpit.  Some come with Kippars and all that.  Mr. Speaker Sir, so that we get to be guided accordingly, some are now coming with plates on their heads and all that, guide us accordingly Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – 

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  That is a fine observation.  I think if the headgear conforms to African attire, which is in our Standing Orders, it is perfectly in order but what – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Order!  There is nothing wrong with his hat but if it does not conform – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Order!  The good thing is the Hon. Member next time, you should leave your hat on your chair so that you do not have to bring it up there – [HON. ZWIZWAI:  Hon. Nduna must leave his condoms in the room.] – Ooh, his condoms!  – [HON. ZWIZWAI:  Yaah, he is carrying some if you want to go for a physical check.  He is carrying condoms in his pockets; I am not wearing the hat.] – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –  Order, order.  Hon. Zwizwai, can you withdraw that statement?

HON. ZWIZWAI:  I withdraw Sir. 

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you.

*HON. CHIBAYA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I will start by being grateful to the leadership of MDC who were elected and won by landslide victory.  My policy question is to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  Hon. Minister, you informed us that when Government employees receive increments, you were also going to increase pensioners’ allowances.  The people who voted us into power, those pensioners especially in Mkoba and I are asking the question as to why is it that Government increases civil servants’ salaries but pensioners have received nothing?  How far is the process of fulfilling that promise?

*THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA):   Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I understand that question and I promised that there was going to be a review of pensions and I will so discuss with my colleague the Minister of Finance looking at ways of increasing the pensions for the pensioners.  At the moment, I do agree that prices are on the increase and I know it is tough for the pensioners.  What I can inform you is that we are still reviewing and we are holding talks with the Minister of Finance on the issue of pensioners. 

*HON. CHIBAYA:  Mr. Speaker, in this august House, when we are called honourables, it means you are a highly respected person.  People are suffering Mr. Speaker and a pensioner cannot survive on $80 per month. 

*THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, I am advising you to ask your question.

*HON. CHIBAYA:  When do we expect to see these pensioners getting salary increment?

HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I am not in a position to give a particular date when the increases for the pensioners can be implemented.  I cannot state the date because I am not the custodian of the national fiscus but I hold meetings with my colleagues.  When we have consulted with the relevant Ministers – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – 

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order.  Hon. Mliswa, please do not be judgemental.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order. Hon. Mliswa, please do not be judgemental. Hon. Minister, I think the import of the question is that there should be a sense of urgency to conclude the matters.  I think that is the message – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order.  If you could conclude your discussions with the relevant Ministers and then perhaps come back and advise the House.

          HON. CHIKWINYA:  Supplementary Mr. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I am not accepting any supplementary.  No point of clarification.  I have instructed accordingly.  Please sit down.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  My question is in terms of the Constitution Section 298 read together with Section 299 and 310 (3) which ...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Address the Chair please.

HON. T. MLISWA:  My question to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is in terms of these Sections in the Constitution – Section 298, 299 and 310 (3). Section 310 (3) is about the Auditor-General’s role.  Subsection 3 says that once the report is out, they have to comply.  The Minister.....

THE HON. SPEAKER:  What is your question?

HON. T. MLISWA: The Minister has not brought the NSSA Forensic Report to Parliament ...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Ask the question.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Why has the Minister decided to distribute the report to the lawyers that she spoke about during the press conference and not bring it to Parliament or comply with recommendations as in subsection 3?

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA): Mr. Speaker Sir, I am following a process that as a Minister, the NSSA Forensic Report has identified four key areas.  Among those four is ICT, Investments, HR – [HON. MEMBER:  Inaudible interjections.] – Those four areas are being deliberated by the board.   Based on the information and expert advice that will come from the board and the expert lawyers, I shall be in a position to come to this august House and present that audit report – [HON. MEMBER:  Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. T. MLISWA:  In terms of the Auditor-General’s Act, it is very clear that a forensic report on any audit must be laid before the Speaker and it has not been laid before you but it has gone to everyone.  That is what the law and Act says.  Are the processes and procedures above the law or not?  When is the Minister going to lay it before you Mr. Speaker Sir?

The Vice President Hon. Mohadi having walked into the House  -[HON. MEMBERS: VP! VP! VP!] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order. Order!

Hon. Bit having stood up - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Sit down - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order! Order! Order!

Hon. Minister, the question is very clear.  When are you going to comply with the constitutional requirements?

HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the board is deliberating and looking - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I want to give a time frame.  Let me give you the time frame.  Contrary to what the Hon. Member of Parliament has said, the report has not been distributed widely.  There are two copies; one with the Auditor-General - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Let me give you a time frame Mr. Speaker Sir.  I envisage that the report’s findings will be ready in 30 days.

HON. SIKHALA:  As has been indicated by Hon. Mliswa, in terms of the Comptroller and Auditor General Act, it says when a report is compiled; it must firstly be tabled in Parliament. It is not necessary for the Minister to tell us about having two copies.  The question is - when are you going to comply with the law and come to table this report in this Parliament?  We want to follow the rule of law and constitutionalism.  We will not allow her to get away with it. 

HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, the report is not complied with as yet and it is not ready for this House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. The report is out and there are one or two things that need to be checked. I have asked the Hon. Minister to reduce her timeframe and bring that report in the next two weeks.

          Hon. Sikhala having stood up on a point of order.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have ruled. There are issues that once the report is tabled, the Hon. Minister must be in a position to answer the queries from the Hon. Members. So let her distil that report so that when it is tabled, she is able to answer that report.

          Hon. Sikhala having stood up again

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Can you sit down! Whatever timeframe has been given, there will not be any change to that report. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - I am very clear the Hon. Minister will have to answer to this House in terms of that report as the Minister responsible. If she is studying the report, getting some views on the report that she is prepared to answer whatever you will raise on that report, I think it is fair.

          HON. ZWIZWAI: Mr. Speaker before you chase me out of the House, on a point of order.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order. I do not want to chase you out. Sit down. No, I have ruled.

          HON. SIKHALA: Mr. Speaker, when I asked the supplementary question, the Hon. Minister indicated that the report is not yet out when she has confessed in this House and also to you that the report is out. For you to allow her to sit down after she has misled this House without apology, I do not think you are making this House being respected. Can she withdraw her misleading statement that the report is not yet out so that we will respect this House? I thank you Mr. Speaker. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, we have clarified with the Hon. Minister that there is only one report. What she was referring to was an opinion and not the report. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          HON. MUSIKAVANHU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. What is Government policy on continuing to support academically gifted vulnerable orphans who have to leave social welfare homes on attaining the age of 18 years? Thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. It has been brought to my attention that Section 309 (3)has nothing to do with that. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA): Mr. Speaker Sir, the question regarding the children turning 18, I think it is a valid question and we are looking at it within the framework on the Amendment of the Children’s Act. Thank you.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. The children which have been referred to by the first questioner were benefiting through the Government Cadet System. The Cadet System, the Government is not paying that cadet scholarship resulting in those students failing to access their university transcripts and subsequently their certificates. What can the Minister do so that these children can further their education outside the country after accessing their transcripts?

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. KANHUTU-NZENZA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I will need to look at the question and the circumstances that the Hon. Member of Parliament has presented to me and I will be able to respond with an appropriate answer. 

          +HON. M. M. MPOFU:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  In the areas where we come from Mr. Speaker, people are suffering with the boreholes which are not functioning.  I would like to know which steps are being taken in order to assist with this challenge because people are suffering and they do not have water.  I thank you.

          THE VICE PRESIDENT (HON. K. C. D. MOHADI):  Mr. Speaker Sir, let me take this opportunity to thank the Hon. Member for the question.  We have a programme of sinking boreholes right throughout the country but the problem that we are having now is that we do not have adequate rigs to do that in the manner that we would like it done.  Definitely, as Government we are seized with that provision of water to our citizens.  I thank you.

          +HON. M. M. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  The boreholes that I am speaking about are there but the challenge that is there are the spares that are not available and DDF seems not to have them.  We want them to be fixed and we do not want them to be drilled afresh. – [HON. ZWIZWAI: Inaudible interjection.] -

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.  Hon. Zwizwai, I have been very indulgent with you. You cannot refer to the Hon. Vice President in the manner you have done.  Can you withdraw that?  You are an Hon. Member.  

          HON. ZWIZWAI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I wish to sincerely withdraw the statement that I have made, that the Hon. Member is continuously asking the Vice President the question that he has responded to the effect that you want the Vice President to be fired.  I want to sincerely apologise and withdraw everything.

          THE VICE PRESIDENT (HON. K. C. D. MOHADI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  He is an old colleague and he is allowed to do that.  In terms of the spares which we should be having, or which should be given to the ministries and the department that is responsible for the repairs of the boreholes, I will have to revert to DDF and find out as to whether they have those spares or not because I cannot give a categoric answer now.  Thank you. 

          HON. BITI:  Hon. Speaker Sir, my question is to the esteemed Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  On the 1st October 2018, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development assumed office.  He assured the country that within six months, he would have mitigated the economic challenges but ten months later, the economy is on a tailspin and there are many shortages. Given the runaway inflation which is now around 300%, given the serious implosion of the black market rate which I am told that today is trading at 1.1 to 8.2 – why as a matter of policy is the Minister simply not a) demonitising the RTGS dollar and the bond note; b) not reverting to dollarisation and the regime of multiple currencies.  Thank you Sir.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):   Let me begin by thanking the Hon. Member for the question.  There are three things in that question.  First of all, it is about when I assumed office and secondly, what I promised within six months; 3) demonetising the RTGS dollar and US dollarising by default.

          First of all, I did not assume office on the 1st of October.  I assumed office on the 7th of September.  On the reference to turning things around in six months, the fiscal position of the country has been turned around in six months in the sense that we have eliminated the deficits on month by month basis.  We have surpluses and now we will start focusing on how to deal with social protection issues so as to protect vulnerable members of our society from the vagaries of inflation including the drought and the cyclone – we are beginning to do that.

          On the third part of the question pertaining to demonitisation of the RTGS dollar and adopting the US dollar, what happened when the US dollar was adopted, basically as a de facto currency during the time that the Hon. Member was a Minister, what he did is - he destroyed this country’s ability to conduct its own monetary policy completely. So, the Central Bank was taken out of all monetary policy ability and what was left was fiscal policy only. Those are the facts and I have said that from the beginning that we need both legs for macro-economic management, the fiscal and monetary policy legs.

So what we did on the first of October last year was to begin the process of restoring monetary policy as an additional tool in our tool box to deal with macro-economic issues. That is what has gone on. Now, let me explain the issue of the use of the US$ further. Basically, on the US$ we do meet, Mr. Speaker Sir, challenges with transactions in US$ abroad and so forth, and perhaps members are not aware but I should make them aware that, we have had situations where we have been refused supply of US$ into the economy by certain banks who are complying with the US sanctions.

So, it is quite clear that we need to move towards having our own domestic unit account and the RTGS$ is the beginning of that. What is left now is for us to continue to fine tune the interbank market making it more efficient and also putting in place the micro institutions for making sure that monetary policy begins to work. One of the things that we have done Mr. Speaker in order to booster our balance of payment position, is to put in place a US$500 million facility which we have sourced from outside in order to deal with demands for meeting external payments from importers and others. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and the Hon. Member for the question. 

HON. BITI: Mr. Speaker, there are countries that operate without a Central Bank and without monetary policy, but my real question is - I hear the Minister talk about a surplus each time he opens his mouth. Mr. Speaker, two things to the Hon. Minister. Firstly, you cannot celebrate a cash surplus (cash-at-hand) when international accounting standards are accrual. You cannot say I have $5 in the bank. Yes, I have got surplus but you have not paid school fees. …

THE HON. SPEAKER: What is the question?

HON. BITI: The question is - you cannot celebrate a surplus on a cash basis when debts are accruing every day. So, Hon. Minister, your contention of a surplus is fictitious because you are not using international standards of accrual accounting. Secondly, to the question of the surplus Hon. Speaker, the budget of 2019 was expressed in US$. The accounting of Government from January has been based on the RTGS$ from 20 February, 2019. Are you recording a surplus in US$ terms Hon. Minister?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Again, I thank the Hon. Member for those two, actually its three questions. One; are we using international standards in our accounting procedure; accrual versus accounting standards. Then the surplus, is it fictitious or not? Thirdly, is the surplus; is it in RTGS or US$? Let me go back to the first question. The cash accounting in terms of the budget report is in line with international standards. Those are the facts. What is happening is that there are countries that are beginning to use accrual accounting and what we have started working on is that by 2022, we will move to accrual accounting.

Now, the steps required are as follows; what is required is for us to move towards a four balance sheet accounting, which means we have to value all Government assets and we have started doing that….

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, perhaps in your explanation, if you can simplify the issues so that people can understand what you mean by accrual, otherwise you will be asked the same questions again.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Mr. Speaker, the question as I understood it was not to explain the difference between accrual and cash. The question is on what we are using. At the moment, we are using cash accounting and I can confirm that. Now, as to whether we have got a surplus or not, the answer is yes, we have a surplus in both RTGS and US$. In RTGS currently and cumulatively, it is about RTGS$600 million. If you divide that with the current exchange rate you get about US$$100 million.

HON. GONESE: The Hon. Minister is always harping about this surplus. My question to the Hon. Minister is that of any real benefit to us as Zimbabweans. We look at the standard or cost of living for everyone which is deteriorating on a daily basis and we look at the spending capacity of all the Zimbabweans; it has been adversely affected. We look at the real wages in real terms, they have actually declined and my question to the Hon. Minister is - is that of any real benefit to us or is it something which is just meaningless and not of any meaning to us? Can he clarify how the people of Zimbabwe are benefiting from this surplus which he is always harping about?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: The benefits for the surplus are as follows; having a surplus stops growth in money supply which in the long run will contribute towards a stabilisation of inflation. Secondly, the surplus is being used to cushion civil servants in terms of higher wages. In January, we gave them a cushioning of $63 million from 1st April to December $400 million. Thirdly, we are using the surplus for social protection programmes starting with Cyclone Idai. We have allocated $100 million towards that process but also, we are using the surplus for the usual social protection programmes such as the food programmes in both rural and urban areas. We are also supporting other social services such as BEAM in the education and also, the health sector. In addition to that, we are going to use the surplus for importing food. We have already issued out a tender through GMB to import additional food to deal with the impact of the drought. So it is being used in these areas Mr. Speaker. I thank you.

HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister on the economy is - in his quarterly address to us, he mentioned that he had received income of 8, 2%. In the very next breath, he mentioned that there was 66% inflation.  How can he claim to have a surplus when all those were figures of collection, 8% versus 66%?  What I asked is very simple and I would like the Minister to answer in a simple way like I asked.  If you are receiving a salary of $2 000 and you have got the exchange rate moving by 8, that means your salary is now $250. 

          Secondly, if you are on the lowest scale and you are getting $300 and you divide by 8, it is less than $40.  Now, if you have got a surplus, why have you not given the civil servants a very meangful increase, $29 is what the average civil servant got not the millions he is talking about.  It is $29.  Can the Minister answer in simple language for us?

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE; First of all, when you think of salary adjustments, we never benchmark to an exchange rate to the USD in which case he has used a parallel market rate of 1:8. We do not do that.  We try to bench mark salaries to the inflation level and that is how it is ought to be done.

          Secondly, should we give civil servants an increase in line with the exchange rate which the Hon. Member mentioned -  the answer is no.  We will continue to engage them, it is an increase that begins to ameliorate against the current levels of inflation and we will continue to engage them so that we can adjust their emoluments both in monetary and in non-monetary terms.   I thank you.

          HON. J. SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          Two Hon. Members having stood up both claiming to be Hon. J. Sithole.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. J. Sithole is the one that is on the side of the Chief Whip for ZANU PF.  So there is no confusion there.

          HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is addressed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education but in his absence, may I be allowed to address it to the Leader of the House.  What is the Government policy on the teaching of composite primary school classes considering teacher effectiveness and the quality of learning?
          THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister is not there.

          HON. CHOMBO: My question is directed to the Minister of Youth. What is the Government policy on accessibility of financial assistance to the youths who want to start up new businesses?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AND COURIER SERVICE (HON. KAZEMBE) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF YOUTH, ARTS AND RECREATION (HON. COVENTRY): Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to start by thanking the Hon. Member for such a valid question.  Government appreciates that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow and as such, we really have to do our utmost to try and empower them.  In that regard, the Government has set up a bank specifically meant to assist youths.  Empower Bank was specifically set up for that purpose and in fact, today I was told that about $2, 7 million has so far been accessed by our youth. I thank you.

HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you Hon. Minister.  The Empowerment bank is there but it is operating just like any other bank.  It is not giving special conditions to the youths whom we know right now that they do not have any collateral.  How can you be able to set up a bank specifically for the youths and you let it operate on the same conditions which the youths cannot meet?  Thank you.

HON. KAZEMBE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for the additional question.  What I know for a fact is that some of these cases are being treated case by case.  I cannot categorically say people are being asked for collateral, I will have to check that.  Madam Speaker, what I understand is that cases are being addressed case by case depending on each individual’s situation but I will need to check and see if what the Hon. Member is asking is really happening.  If it is, we will do our utmost to try to address that.  I thank you.

HON. T. KHUMALO:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  The Hon. Minister said the youth are the future leaders.  I want him to explain to us what he means because it is a generation that is going to take over from us. What does he mean by them being the future when they are already in their forties and we have already destroyed their lives? 

HON. KAZEMBE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I will respond to the question since it is arising from what I said regardless of the fact that it is not a policy question. I will attempt to answer.  What I meant when I said ‘future’ Madam Speaker, future can even be tomorrow or the next minute from now, it is still future. I thank you.

HON. T. KHUMALO:  Madam Speaker, I think it is absolutely important and paramount that we take these things seriously.  If you are talking of the youth, the youth outside there are unemployed and he is telling us that they are the future leaders.  He must change his words because we have to incorporate these youths whether we want it or not, nature does not allow for a vacuum.  We are going to grow old and the youth are coming in. 

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  The unemployment rate is 95%.  The youth are 70% of the population.  Can you tell me Hon. Minister that allocating them $2.7 million is success and empowerment?

HON. KAZEMBE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question.  Of course, $2.7 million is not adequate in any language.  Our wish would be to give the youths as much as we can but obviously, this is as a result of the situation we find ourselves in.  In fact, it does not mean there is not more than $2.7 at the moment, it is a process and some youths are still continuing to access the funds but I do agree that $2.7 million is not enough Madam Speaker.  Thank you.

HON. MAVETERA:  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  My supplementary question goes to the Hon. Minister.  We wanted to find out what it is that Government has managed to do in terms of the previous Kurera/Kukhondhla Fund, the Old Mutual Fund which was also another empowerment model that has been put in place?  What is it that the Government has managed to do currently for the young people?  I believe that of the $10 million that had been proposed for the young people, part of it was paid and part of it was not.  What happened to it?  Thank you.

HON. KAZEMBE:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  To be perfectly honest, I do not exactly know what is being done at the moment but I am not saying nothing is being done.  If I may be allowed to check and revert back – [HON. MEMBERS:  Yakarohwa, yakadyiwa kare nanaLumumba.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Members.  It is okay.  Hon. Mavetera, you can put your question in writing – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] - He is the Acting Minister, you have to understand him.

HON. J. CHIDAKWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development.  Electricity outages are impacting the economy and livelihoods.  What steps by way of Government policy is Government taking to ensure adequate electricity supply in the country?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA):  Thank you Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS:  Huyai pakati apo ambuya tinyatsokuonai.] – I think I am very visible.  Thank you Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Biti.  Uri kuda kuvaonera chii? – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

HON. MUDYIWA:  Madam Speaker, I am being abused here, can I be protected?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAEKER:  You are protected Deputy Minister.

HON. MUDYIWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question about the shortages of electricity in the country.  It is true, we have a serious shortage of electricity at the moment resulting from the fact that the level of the water in the Kariba Dam – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  May you speak up a bit Hon. Minister?

HON. MUDYIWA:  The level of the water in the Kariba Dam has gone very low and we are not generating to full capacity at the moment.  We also have a challenge with our units in Hwange which are very old and have constant breakdowns.  As a result, the total generation of electricity is very low.  However, we have plans to import from Cahorra Basa Dam and from Eskom but we are limiting our imports because we have debts that have to be cleared so that we can increase our imports of electricity.  We also have plans to upgrade some of our thermal power stations at Munyati, Bulawayo and Harare.  These are not fully functional at times.  At the moment, one of these is down and we are having constant breakdowns as well.  Our only way out is to import electricity so that we meet the electricity demand in the country.

HON. CHINANZVAVANA:  My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is, considering the load shedding, may we have a definitive mechanism with a timeline on how we are going to rescue the nation because this is the winter season where we are supposed to be having winter wheat.  Without a real answer, the nation is going to perish.  May we have a real mechanism on the ground? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hatisikuzvinzwa!] -

HON. MUDYIWA: I need your protection Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order! Order Hon. Members.

HON. MUDYIWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  At the moment, we are taking care of those areas where we need electricity most. We are advising our farmers to take advantage of irrigating crops at night when there is low demand of electricity.  We are also encouraging consumers to switch off switches whenever there is no need for electricity so that we save and divert it to where it is needed most.  I think it is the duty of everybody here to save the electricity that we have at the moment.  All of us have to save that electricity that we have at the moment – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order!

HON. MUDYIWA: Yes, we have got load shedding but the whole country is not load shed at the same time.  We load shed in different areas at different times and we divert that electricity to where it is needed most, particularly where there is winter wheat irrigation.  We are serving those farmers who are into winter cropping.

HON. MATANGIRA:  My supplementary question is – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Matangira. What is your point of order Hon. Chikwinya?

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Madam Speaker, it is important that the Hon. Minister must address the import of the question.  The question was clear.  What are the mechanisms which the Government is undertaking with a definite timeline to rescue the situation with regards to farmers?  The Hon. Minister did not attempt to get there.  Can she come back to the mechanisms which the Government is undertaking? – [HON. BITI:  Huyai pamberi apa.] -

HON. MUDYIWA:  I think the Hon. Member is abusing me – [HON. SIKHALA:  Haa! You are abusing us!] -

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Sikhala.

HON. MUDYIWA:  I think the Hon. Minister of Energy is preparing a detailed Ministerial Statement which will be presented in this House tomorrow.  I do not want to pre-empt the presentation that is coming tomorrow. Hon. Members can wait for the detailed presentation which is supposed to come in tomorrow.

 HON. SIKHALA:  Madam Speaker Ma’am, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development is developing a very bad culture in this House.  We asked them about fuel, they told us about a Ministerial Statement.  We are asking them about electricity, they are telling us to wait for a Ministerial Statement.  For how long are we going to wait for Ministerial Statements that are not coming into this House?  The issues that are being raised in this House are urgent matters of national importance.  People need electricity outside there.  People need the fuel situation to be solved outside there.  Can she tell us when she is going to bring the Ministerial Statement concerning this urgent issue of electricity because she is now referring us to the Ministerial Statement?  That is my point of order Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I think we all know that the Minister promised to give a Ministerial Statement tomorrow, Thursday.  Let us wait for the Minister.

HON. SIKHALA:  If it is tomorrow we will wait for.  Thank you.

HON. GONESE:  On a point of privilege on that issue Madam Speaker.  If you recall yesterday when you were in the Chair, I raised the issues relating to both fuel and energy.  The Hon. Minister of Energy and Power Development Hon. Fortune Chasi indicated that he was prepared to answer questions even yesterday although there was no question time.  Today he has walked out – he is not in the House at the present moment. Ministers and Deputy Ministers have got collective responsibility.  We expect that if the Hon. Minister is not there, the Hon. Deputy Minister can do justice to the issues which are confronting the people of Zimbabwe.

Before I sit down, I have to ask – why is it that we are having incompetent people being appointed to this very important Ministry?  All of them are failing to answer....

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Gonese!

HON. GONESE:  Before you intervene and before I sit down Hon. Madam Speaker, I just want to reiterate that the Hon. Minister indicated that he was prepared to answer questions. What it means is that before the Ministerial Statement comes, they are ready to answer any pertinent questions which we can pose.  They cannot approbate and reprobate Madam Speaker. 

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I hear you Hon. Gonese but let us wait for the Ministerial Statement which the Minister will present tomorrow.

*HON. B. DUBE: Madam Speaker I need your assistance.  Are we saying the promise that we are going to get a Ministerial Statement mean that we are not going to receive any statement today?  Are they not going to respond to our questions today? Are we saying the Ministerial Statement is barring us from asking questions in this House?

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Let us wait for the ministerial statement tomorrow. It is not written anywhere but let us wait for tomorrow. Order Hon. Members!

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

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

CHANGE OF BANK BALANCES FROM ONE CURRENCY TO ANOTHER

          27.   HON. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development whether it is Government policy to change bank balances from one currency to another taking into consideration that foreign currency accounts opened in 2009 were in US$ and were pegged 1:1 with the bond note.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Madam Speaker. Thank you for the question from Hon. Chidziva. Inconsistency and instability are not Government policies. The development affected and eroded people’s savings and it is very unfortunate. This was caused by fiscal imbalances which we started building in 2014 and we created these imbalances through the creation of electronic balances above US$ balances. Therefore, the TSP Madam Speaker Ma’am that is being implemented through the 2019 budget which was approved in this House together with the monetary policy statement for October 2018 and February 2019 precisely seeks to correct these distortions and imbalances. I thank you.

BUDGET DEFICIT BETWEEN JANUARY AND AUGUST 2018

          28.   HON. BITI asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to update the House on the following-

(a)     the budget deficit between January and August 2018;

(b)     the amount of money borrowed and from where during the same period;

(c)     the amount of Treasury bills issued and what they were used to finance;

(d)     the amount of  money spent on wages and pensions during this period;

(e)     the percentage of the total expenditure of the wage bill;

(f)     the amount of money spent on loan repayment and interest;

(g)     the amount of money borrowed from the Central Bank  from 2014 to 2018;

(h)     the size of the domestic debt and its breakdown; and

(i)      the amount spent on and recovered from Command Agriculture from 2016 to 2018.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I thank the Hon. Member for the question. First of all on the budget deficit between January and August 2018, in US$ is as follows: January 2018, it is $26 million; February 2018, it is negative $61.5 million; March 2018, it is negative $146 million; April 2018, it is negative $264.6 million; May, 2018, it is negative $361.4 million; June 2018, it is negative $402.1 million; July 2018, it is negative $593.8 million and August 2018, it is negative minus $600 and I have broken it month by month. I am sure someone can add up very quickly using a calculator.

          On question (b) regarding the amount of money borrowed and from where during the same period of January and August 2018, the total borrowed during that  period in terms of the Reserve Bank overdraft facility is $929.09 million and the amount borrowed by the Central Bank directly is $55.96 million and other loans it is $174.17 million. So that is it.             

          On (c) the amount of Treasury Bills issues and what they were used to finance. The total Treasury Bills issued for the period under review is $2.5 billion and was issued for budget financing, for capitalisation of Government institutions and for dealing with legacy debts. The holders of these instruments are banks, insurance companies and pension funds. The split of that $2.5 billion in terms of budget financing is $343.39 million was used for budget financing for dealing with legacy debts it is $1.5 billion, capitalisation and recapitalisation of State institutions it is $643.14 million and the total is $2.5 billion.

          I now move on to (d). The amount of money spent on wages and pensions during the period January to August 2018. The expenditure outlay on employment costs for the period January to August 2018 stood at $2.48 billion and it is broken down as follows: Civil wages bill $1.6 billion, PSMAS $90.6 million, NSSA $23.2 million, funeral expenses $0.3 million, grant aided institutions $317.3, pensions $369 million and the total is $2.48 billion.

          I move on to question (e), the percentage of the total expenditure of the wage bill. Employment cost accounted for about 86% of total expenditure and net lending over the eight months ending August 2018, and I repeat, it is 86%. The amount spent on loan repayment and interest, in January 2018, it was $9.7 million, February $9.6 million, March $27.8 million, April $9.7 million, May $717.9 million, June $29.9 million, July $47.1 million and August $33.4 million.

          In terms of loans from the Central Bank, we paid interest in May 2018 of $89.8 million, July it was $3.2 million and in August it was $195.8 million. The Hon. Member also has another sub-question pertaining to the amount borrowed from the Central Bank from 2014 to 2018. I thank him for that question and he refers to the overdraft facility. In 2014, it was $126.4 million, 2015 it was $152.4 million, 2016, $663.1 million, 2017 it was $427.5 million and in 2018 it was $929.1 million and it is up to August 2018 as posed.

          Then the total domestic debt at the end of August 2018 is $9.5billion and is broken down as follows: for budget financing - $429 million; legacy debt - about $4 million; RBZ debt - $266 million and for capitalisation - $1.4 billion; RBZ recapitalisation - $110 million.  Then there were TBs that were authorised for issuance by the RBZ by those who will not follow through and in the end they were cancelled.  It is about $38.3 million.  Then the arrears -$116 million; overdraft facility cumulative is $2.3 billion, I am rounding off.  So, that is the sum of the figures that I gave earlier.

The Central Bank loans - $623 million; loans from the private sector - $188 million and the total is $9.5 billion. 

That is the amount spent and recovered from command agriculture from 2016 to 2018. 

Basically, the amount recovered for the season 2016 to 2018 is, out of 44 617 farmers is $50.2 million.  For the season 2017 to 2018 for maize again, we had 35 756 farmers and the amount recovered was $19.7 million.

Then for the wheat planting season of 2017, we have 2 270 farmers and what was recovered is US$13.7 million.  Then for the wheat planting season for 2018, we have 74 847 farmers.  Then for soya beans for the season 2017/2018 from 2 041 farmers, it is US$1.5 million.  Thank you Madam Speaker ma’am. 

HON. BITI:  Hon. Speaker ma’am, I would like to ask the Minister, the esteemed Hon. M. Ncube to assure this august House that he is going to bring Bills of condonation and supplementary estimates to cover the budget deficits from 2014 to 2018 – a period where the Government was overspending outside the budget approved by this august House.  If so, when is he going to bring those supplementary statements and the Bills of condonation?

Secondly Hon. Speaker ma’am, in respect of the overdraft maintained by the Government with the Central Bank, the law is very clear in terms of Section 11 of the Reserve Bank Act that overdraft should not exceed 20% of the previous year’s revenue and you can see from his figures that the Government has been over-borrowing beyond the statutory limit provided for in the Reserve Bank Act.  Can the Minister also assure this august House that he is going to bring a Bill of condonation in respect of that overdraft from 2014 to the present day?  I thank you Hon. Speaker ma’am. 

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  I thank the Hon. Member for those two questions.  I confirm that I will bring to this august House, Bills of condonation and supplementary statements to basically condone the overspending that took place between the periods 2014 to 2018.  I also confirm that I will bring to this House, again Bills of condonation for the violation of the rule for the overdraft facility of 20% of the previous year’s expenditure to this House for condonation.  I thank you. 

HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My supplementary question emanates exactly from the recent answer by the Hon. Minister to the extent that he will bring Bills of condonation and supplementary statements. 

My question is - why is Government therefore in a habit of breaking the law?  Why is the Minister simply comfortable in breaking the law and not bringing Bills of condonation since 2014?  We are almost five or six years down the line with the Minister breaking the law, only to be reminded by Members of Parliament to bring in Bills of condonation.  The import of the law Madam Speaker, is not that the Minister must break the law then seek condonation but we must be able to respect our own laws first for us to be able to attract any other FDI if we are going to be serious.  Thank you. 

HON. NDUNA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.  Even though kamba isingavhari nekufa kwe mujoni, the Hon. Member of the National Assembly Hon. Chikwinya, alludes to a period way before the Minister’s appointment.  I ask Madam Speaker ma’am that you guide the House accordingly.  The man speaks with so much verve and energy and again the Minister has just come into office.  I ask that you protect the Hon. Minister from this delinquent behaviour by the Hon. Member who is castigating him with impunity, even aware that the Hon. Minister has just gotten into office.  Madam Speaker ma’am, protect the Hon. Minister.  I pray that.  Thank you. 

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  I certainly have no intention of breaking the law and the Hon. Member is right that we should not break the law.  So, I intend to comply with it and bring for condonation before this House a Bill and supplementary statements to deal with the overspending that was incurred between the period 2014 and 2018.  Thank you very much. 

HON. B. DUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker ma’am.  On 28 (1), the Minister made it clear that it seems that the amount spent on command agriculture is more than the amount recovered.  Is that a deliberate Government policy to just put money in the trench?  Could we know what is happening to the amounts not recovered from those people?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  I thank the Hon. Member for that supplementary question.  It is true that certainly there is a delinquency rate of the order of 30%.  So, basically we are recovering 30%.  We are blacklisting those who are defaulting for a start so that they are not getting loans and support going forward. 

Secondly, we are continuing to recover our money – we want our money back.  That is the process that we have been following but they are also being blacklisted as well.  There will not be beneficiaries going forward.  I thank you. 

HON. B. DUBE:  I want clarification.  He has actually given a percentage which gives a wrong impression.  You are talking of 30% recovery but if you had told the House that it is 70% default Minister   and are we sure that what you have explained as a remedy is adequate to protect the people of Zimbabwe to say 70% default, then we are just blacklisting and continuing with the process. Does it not tell us that this is a failed project so that if there is need to advise, reform and come up with something different; so be it.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Let me clarify. I may have expressed that in a confusing manner. What I said was, we are recovering 30% less which really means that the default rate is 30% and the recovery rate is 70%. So, I agree with his interpretation. I put it the other way. We are only blacklisting those within that 30% from whom we have not managed to recover anything at all. I thank you.

SOVEREIGN DEBT OF ZIMBABWE

29.  HON. S. BANDA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic

Development to state the sovereign debt of Zimbabwe.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): As at December 2018, Zimbabwe’s total debt stood at US$16, 649 billion made of US$8,162 billion in terms of the external debt and US$8,488 billion in domestic debt. The external debt is made up of US$5,6 billion in terms of bilateral creditors and US$2,562 billion from the multi-lateral creditors. The domestic debt is made up of Treasury Issuances, capitalisation, bank overdraft and arrears. I have tried to explain some of these issues in earlier responses to other questions. Thank you.

          HON. BITI: Given this huge sovereign debt which is clearly unsustainable, we do not see any concrete moves on the part of Government, particularly the new dispensation after 17th November, 2017, of taking measures to liquidate and eliminate the sovereign debt. We know Hon. Speaker, that the LIMA process of 15th October, 2015 collapsed. What is the Minister doing to address the issue of the debt overhang which is stifling the development of this country?

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank the Hon. Member for that question. We are taking measures to reduce the debt. On the domestic front, between January and April, we have paid off part of the domestic debt. We have spent about RTGS$300 million to pay off the domestic debt and we will continue to reduce it. On the foreign debt, I must say that we have begun to make token payments to the World Bank, European Investment Bank and African Development Bank.

Secondly, again for external debt, we are on a roadmap towards arrears clearance. That roadmap is in three stages; the first stage was to get the TSP Economy Reform Agenda approved and endorsed by the external creditors. They did that in Bali in October last year, 2018. Thirdly, was for us to sign up on a Staff Monitored Programme with the IMF. The Staff Monitored Programme is the only door through which we have to walk in order to deal with our arrears clearance programme.

The LIMA Plan that was put in place was not accepted by the creditors as it was in terms of structure and architecture, so we have a new plan now which involves the Staff Monitored Programme. So, in terms of the Staff Monitored Programme we will go through the first test date end of June. The second test date, end of September and the last test date will be end of December. Then, they will produce a report at the end of January. At that moment, we will then seek a bridge loan from the G7 community for us to breach the gap because we are short of $1, 3 billion. We will seek a bridge loan so that we can clear the arrears for the World Bank, African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.

Once we have done, we will immediately move to the last phase of the arrears clearance programme externally, which is the bilateral creditors in the Paris Club. I have engaged them extensively and I really mean extensively and again we are clear on that. Once we have done the IFIs clearance, it will even be easier to deal with the second stage because the main shareholders controlling these IFIs at that stage are the same creditors who sit in the Paris Club and again, we will be able to restructure the debt at that stage. So, we have a plan. We are clear and I think that the first trigger point in terms of actual clearance is January 2020. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

FAILURE TO REPORT TO PARLIAMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ON THE PERFORMANCE OF LOANS RAISED AND GUARANTEED BY THE STATE

30.   HON. S. BANDA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic

Development to explain why the Minister has not been reporting to Parliament since 2014, on the performance of loans raised and guaranteed by the state in accordance with Section 300 (4) (a) of the Constitution.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I want to thank Hon. Banda again for his question. The Ministry has been reporting to Parliament through the respective Budget Statements and there is also Schedule 1in the Blue Book that contains the requisite information. I thank you.

          HON. BITI: This is a serious question Hon. Speaker. Section 300 (4) of the Constitution says, the Minister has to report twice a year on the list of debts contracted by the Government in that particular year and that has not happened. So, it is not sufficient to say we have given the Blue Book, but even in the Blue Book Hon. Speaker, you will recall that during the debate on the Budget Statement on the evening of the 20th December, 2018 last year when we slept in this august House, we raised the point that there were two contradictory Blue Books with two different sets of debt figures. So, the Minister cannot be lackadaisical, indifferent and pedestrian to such an important question.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I will be very happy to report to this august House on the state of our loans and guarantees on a quarterly basis. That is not a problem at all. In fact, in a follow up question again from Hon. Banda, I will be able to let him know exactly what was contracted and guaranteed both domestically and nationally. However, that is only to deal with his question but in terms of the formal reporting, I am happy to do that and I will be doing that going forward. Thank you.

          HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, I just want to bring us forward to the $500 million which the Minister referred to. Is that the total amount available or is there a limit to how much of that $500 million we can access? I asked the question because eventually the Minister is going to have to bring this to Parliament for us to see. Have we accessed the full $500 million as we speak?

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: The $500 million refers to the recently announced facility that we sourced from Afrexim Bank. The aim of this facility really is for us to stabilise our balance of payment situation and be able to meet the demands for US$ and for external payments. That is what it is for and in so doing, that will continue towards stabilising the issues that impact our currency. So, we will begin to access these resources as is required. Again, I will be happy to report on the utilisation of these resources to this august House or indeed, any other resources that we source externally in terms of the law. Thank you.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: The loans which are being referred to in terms of Section 300 (4) (a) are borrowed and are supposed to be reported to Parliament in terms of Section 327 of the Constitution. We have a situation whereby Government is continuing to borrow without Parliament approval. When are we going to see a stop in the culture of Government borrowing and guaranteeing loans without parliamentary approval in terms of Section 327 of the Constitution?

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: The answer is soon Hon. Speaker.

          HON. BITI: The Minister of Finance has alluded to a loan of US$500 million that they have contracted from the African Export Import Bank (AFREXIM BANK) to ameliorate and mitigate the current economic challenges.  We thank him for those efforts, we also thank the RBZ Governor for the efforts too but the law is very clear that you cannot contract a debt with an international organisation which imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe before Parliament has approved.  If Parliament has not approved, that debt is invalid. For the avoidance of cdoubt, I will read Section 327 (3) of the Constitution.  It says, “an agreement which is not an international Treaty but which (a) has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority with one or more foreign organisations or entities”, of which AFREXIM BANK is one and “(b) imposes fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament”.  Why does the Government keep on borrowing money from the African Export Import Bank without Parliament approval?

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: It is not immediately obvious to me that when he was Minister of Finance, he brought every loan that he contracted abroad to this Parliament’s approval, I do not recall that.  What I agreed to is that I will bring a report on whatever loans has contracted to Parliament as the law demands.

          Let me add a second point to complete the answer that some of these transactions are structured and structured means that certain proceeds of commodities are attached to servicing the loan. So, the risks around the loan are completely ring-fenced and this is a normal loan structure. In fact, it is smart when you do that because you are sure you will be able to pay off the loan.  I thank you.

          HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order! The Hon. Minister is misrepresenting facts.  I was a Member of Parliament in 2008 to 2013 when the hon. vice president was the then Minister of Finance.  The Defence loan…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chikwinya, with all due respect, may you rephrase your statement

          HON. CHIKWINYA: The former Finance Minister here brought the Defence College Loan of $400 million from China and it was approved by Parliament.  So, you are misrepresenting facts when you say you do not recall any loan being approved by Parliament.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I said I do not have it in my record that this was brought before Parliament. So, therefore, I did not mislead this House because I do not have it in any of the Finance records and that is how I put it.

UPDATE ON LOANS RAISED AND GUARANTEED BY THE STATE

31.   HON. BANDA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to update the House on loans raised and guaranteed by the State.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you.  Now the state of loans and guarantee debt for Government of Zimbabwe as at December 2018 is as follows: - In terms of total public debt from Central Government, it is $15,225 billion.  For public enterprises, it is $1,425 billion and the total is $16,649 billion and that amounts to 67, 7% of GDP. 

Looking at the external debt, it is $6,737 billion and for parastatals, public enterprises - $1,245 billion, total $8,162 billion which is 33,2% of GDP.  In terms of bilateral creditors, it is $4, 7 billion. Then in terms of multilateral creditors, it is $2 billion.  Now on domestic debt, it is $8,488 billion.

In terms of list of guarantees provided from 2014 to 2018, it is as follows:- there is a facility amount of US$100 million for XCMG. This is to the borrowers. There is Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation ZMDC and the creditor is Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (CMG) of China and the purpose was for the purchase of mining equipment for small scale miners.  This guarantee was issued on the 8th  of December 2014. 

The next guarantee which is domestic is US$13, 09 million to the Hwange Colliery Mining Equipment Project.  The Creditor is the India EXIM Bank and it was for the purchase of Mining equipment for Hwange Colliery and the guarantee was issued on the 15th February 2015.  The last domestic guarantee is for GEMCORP Capital LLP, which was for a revolving facility agreement for US$250 million and the borrower is RBZ, the creditor is GEMCORP Capital LLP.  The purpose was for financing the purchase price of commodities by importers from the sellers and its guarantee was put in place on the 12th of September 2018.

Now, there are additional guarantees for example, guarantees to IDBZ pertaining to Zimbabwe Power Corporation, for Tokwe Mukorsi, NRZ.  For example, ZPC it was $50 million, Tokwe Mukorsi - $50 million and for NRZ - $25 million.  The ZPC guarantee expires on the 18th December, 2019 but was issued on the 17th October, 2014.  The Tokwe Mukorsi IDBZ guarantee was also put in place on the 17th October 2014 and expires on the 9th December, 2019. 

The IDBZ, NRZ guarantee was put in place on the 17th October, 2014 and expires on the 9th December 2019.  The Other guarantee for Homelink was put in place on the 23rd January, 2015, for $15 million and expired on the 17th May, 2017. There is another guarantee for FBC Bank put in place on the 30th October, 2015, the creditor is PTA Bank for $20 million and it expired on the 30th October, 2016.  A guarantee for Agri- Bank in 2016 put in place on the 30th November, 2016; creditors were various institutional investors for the amount of $5 million and that expired on the 30th November.  I thank you.

HON. S. BANDA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, we have heard through rumours that there were some guarantees using minerals from Chiadzwa and several other gold mines and platinum mines.  The Minister has not spoken about any of them.  Can the Minister clarify on that because even the World Bank itself told Zimbabwe at one point in time to say that do not securitise commodities.  May the Minister tell us all the guarantees that were made?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:    Mr. Speaker Sir, as the Hon. Member said that they are rumours, I would have to check the veracity of these rumours first before I can come back to them.  I am not so sure that such commodities were used as guarantees.  The institutions that can give guarantees are banks, the Central Bank and the Government itself through the Ministry of Finance.  That would be the guarantee mechanism that one is aware of and that is what I would also authorise as the Minister of Finance.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My supplementary question to the Minister is that he has clearly told us of all the guarantees.  What I would want the Minister to respond to is what then happened of the money?  The issue is that yes, you must give the guarantee, what happened of the money?  The reason why I am saying that Mr. Speaker Sir, is the Hwange money that he is talking about, the forensic audit which was done clearly talks about the former chairperson who is the current Minister of Mines, somehow misappropriating over $111 million.  This is money belonging to people.  What can he say about this money which has been given out? It is not used for that and a forensic audit then implicates the Minister.  What confidence can he instil in the people because guarantees are done for what, what has come out of that?  The companies he is talking about and the projects that he is talking about are no longer functional.  I am not blaming this current Minister but this current Minister, whether he likes it or not, has to deal with legacy issues which have made this country not dependable on.  In trying to deal with that, he must also tell us the course of action he is going to take to recover the taxpayers’ money which has been misappropriated.  For example, the forensic audit of Hwange which implicates the current Minister of Mines, Winston Chitando when he was chairperson of Hwange Board, appointed by Chidakwa who was the then Minister and a cousin to the President.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:    Thank you very much.  The Hon. Member has been very specific about the case of Hwange.  I do not have the full facts.  There is a line Minister who is going to be handling this issue.  I hope at some point, he can be engaged properly so that he could give a full answer.  I am not close to the issues but even I will certainly take an interest and investigate to find out the exact facts but I do not have the full information, as I am not the line Minister for that specific issue.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. BITI:  Mr. Speaker Sir, we are very grateful for the full disclosure by the Minister of the guarantees provided by the State since 2014 but I have two questions and the first one is, why should a sovereign Government issue a guarantee to a private company?  One of the debts he mentioned and one of the guarantees is a guarantee given to Hwange Limited which is a private company listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.  Why should we issue a guarantee?   One of the debts he mentioned Mr. Speaker, is a debt guarantee given to a company called Pharmacy World, which I know belongs to a former Hon. Member Raradza.  Why should the State issue a private guarantee?   As a matter of principle, the State should not expose the consolidated revenue fund to private individuals.  They should seek private funding from private sources.  Mr. Speaker Sir, you are a businessman, you know what I am talking about. 

The second question Mr. Speaker is that both the Public Finance Management Act and the Constitution of Zimbabwe obliges the Minister of Finance to present these guarantees before Parliament to make full disclosures because at the end of the day, it is the taxpayer of Zimbabwe who is going to pay for this money.  Why has that not been done since 2014 to date?  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. 

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:    I thank the Hon. Member for those questions.  Certainly, it is not my intention to guarantee or to issue guarantees to private individuals or private companies.  I suspect what happened in the past is that these guarantees were issued to entities in which Government has some shareholdings, not all the shareholding.  These were deemed to be strategic companies.  For instance, the issue of Hwange is about energy security because they produce coal for burning by ZESA to give us power that we need.  I suspect that is what is going on here, strategic assets in that sense but I have no intention of issuing guarantees to private individuals. 

The Hon. Member has a second question about disclosing the guarantees in this House.  He is right about that because a guarantee is also a contingent liability on Government on the central revenue fund.  Within my watch, I will disclose these guarantees fully before this House as I committed before.  I thank you.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Minister is on course in terms of responses but he must also realise that he belongs to an institution which has records.  He cannot then say, I am Minister today I cannot deal with this.  The question which I needed him to respond to is what action or what measures are being taken to ensure that the guarantees given, how was the money used?  He rightly said that Hwange – but then he came right to say Government had a shareholding there.  It was strategic.  There is a forensic audit which talks about $111 million which was misappropriated by the now Minister of Mines when he was the chairperson of Hwange, appointed by Chidakwa.  The reason I am saying that is the issue of corruption was always there and it gives the Minister an opportunity to clean out and know where this money went.  This is where we now expect him to be able to come in the clear.  It is an opportunity to now say yes, we are moving forward, we will look into it and let him report to Parliament on how that money was used so that the taxpayers know and recommendations are made to arrest those who have been stealing money.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:    Mr. Speaker Sir, I think it is quite clear, I am not the Minister responsible for the issue that the Hon. Member has raised, I have said that before – [HON. MLISWA:  Inaudible interjections.] – No but the guarantee is not the issue.  You talked about – let me explain. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, give him an opportunity to respond. 

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:    There is a Minister responsible and I think that should be directed to the Minister responsible; in all fairness.  Secondly, we have the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and I suggest that committee deals with the issue as well as part of that process.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I am totally in agreement with what the Minister is saying pertaining to the investigation of the Hwange forensic audit.  My issue is the guarantee.  It is the Ministry of Finance that issues the guarantee.  How is the money going to be recovered?  The guarantee is not issued by the Ministry of Mines.  It was a guarantee given to an entity which Government has a shareholding.  These are guarantees which they do.  The guarantee means that if anything goes wrong, they are responsible because you are the guarantor.  This is my point. This is my simple language.  As guarantor, tax payers’ money cannot go unaccounted for and this is my point.  My fellow colleagues can clap because they have a culture of being corrupt – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -  It is embedded in them.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA):  Order Hon. Mliswa – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

HON. K. PARADZA:  On a point of order, he must withdraw.  We are not corrupt.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Paradza.  I have not recognised you.  Do not invite me to send you out of the House.

Hon. Paradza, you were supposed to stand and raise a point of order. That is procedural.  Can I give you that opportunity now?

HON. K. PARADZA:  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir.  Can the Hon. Member please withdraw the statement that we are corrupt? – [HON. CHIKWINYA:  Inaudible interjections.] - 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Chikwinya, do not invite me to send you out of the House.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. DUBE:  Inaudible interjections.] - 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Dube, I do not want to call your name again.

HON. T. MLISWA: They want me to apologise but they are busy making noise.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Just withdraw.  It is not apologising.

HON. T. MLISWA:  They must be silent.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa!  You are speaking to the Chair.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Yes, they are making noise.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Can you withdraw that statement?

HON. T. MLISWA:  I said I withdraw…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:   There is no need for you to….

HON. T. MLISWA:  I withdraw and replace with corruption is embedded in the culture.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Thank you.

BREAKDOWN OF AMOUNTS ALLOCATED TO PROVINCES AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES

32.   HON. S. BANDA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to give a breakdown of the amounts allocated to provinces and local authorities as stipulated in Section 301 (3) of the Constitution from 2014 to 2018.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  I understood this to refer to the devolution that has started to be implemented in the 2019 Budget.  I have got the breakdown of figures here.  We allocated US$310 million towards devolution and this House endorsed it.  At provincial level, we have allocated US$74.4 million.  I can go through all the ten provinces if need be, but I suspect it may not be necessary but I have all the documents.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  No.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Then the remainder was 25%, 75% has been allocated at rural district level and again I have got the full breakdown of figures.  I can go through them but I am happy to submit these. 

In terms of the allocation formulation if that will be of interest to members, we used three variables which are poverty prevalence, infrastructure deficit situation in the district and the levels of population.  In terms of weightings, we gave 30% to poverty levels, 50% to infrastructure deficit situation and 20% population.  The total is 100%. 

Our reason for giving a bigger weight to infrastructure deficit is because we like these funds to be used for projects that will alleviate the infrastructure and create jobs rather than simple consumption which will not take us anyway.  I thank you. 

HON. CHINYANGANYA:  My supplementary question is - [HON. T. MLISWA:  Inaudible interjections.]

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa.

HON. CHINYANGANYA:  Which province got the largest chunk of the allocation and in percentage terms, what is the allocation to provinces and local authorities in terms of the national Budget because the Constitution requires an allocation of 5% or more.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  In terms of the percentage allocated, we stuck to the 5% allocation as stipulated.  Thank you Hon. Member for that. This amounts to US$310 million.  We have not moved from that figure.

In terms of the provinces that received the most amounts in terms of ranking; we have Manicaland and Midlands being the two top ones.  We then have Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Mashonaland East.  The lowest receivers are Harare Metropolitan, Matabeleland North and Bulawayo Metropolitan. 

 

MONEY OWED TO THE AFRICAN IMPORT AND EXPORT BANK BY THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE

33.   HON. S. BANDA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to state the amount of money owed to the African Import and Export Bank by the Government of Zimbabwe.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): When the question was posed, the figure was US$753 million and then you add the other US$500 million so that takes us to US$1.25 billion.  I thank you.

          HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker once again, we ask the Hon. Minister why Section 327 of the Constitution is not being complied with. These African Export and Import Bank loans, the Afrexim loans;why are they not being brought to Parliament for approval? We also ask the wisdom of why a bank with a balance sheet of $2 billion lends to one country $1.2 billion. What is happening? Are there private deals, incest - and what is so special about the African Import Export Bank?

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I thank the Hon. Member Biti for the question. In terms of this, he has already asked this question before, and so have others and I have agreed that these loans in future will be reported in this House so that we comply with the provisions of the law. In terms of how this bank structures loans to Zimbabwe, frankly, that is their business. We do not go into the issues of their balance sheet. They have a CEO, board, processes and they have credit rating agencies that rate them. So, there is governance structures around them and we are not really party to how they make decisions.

          Our job as a borrower is to borrow and we can be turned down or accepted. I am happy to say on this occasion, they have accepted our request to lend us and we are very pleased that they were able to do so. This will go a long way in assisting Zimbabwe. I think the Hon. Member will agree with me that this is a most welcome development, given that it is very tough out there to raise funds globally to support the economy, the recovery story, recovery agenda and we should be very pleased as this bank has come forward to assist us in this manner when many will not. I thank you.

          Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 64.

          HON. T. MLISWA: I think it is important Mr. Speaker Sir to really commend the Minister of Finance for being here throughout and starting to do his job by answering the questions. He was missed for a long time and he is now executing his work and I think he must be applauded for that. So, good is good [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  With leave of the House, I move that Order of the Day, Nos. 1 to 30 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 31 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

MICROFINANCE BILL [H. B. 11, 2018]

          Thirty-First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Microfinance Bill [H. B. 11, 2018].

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank this Committee for Budget, Finance and Economic Development for presenting their Committee report here and for the whole debate that took place. In terms of Clause 2 for terminologies and definitions, the Committee’s support for the amendment in Clause 2 of the Bill is appreciated and accepted as is.

          In terms of Clause 7 which pertains to the renewal of registration, the Committee’s recommendations that perpetual licences be awarded for both credit only and deposit taking Microfinance Institutions to promote the ease of doing business in the economy is accepted. This means that microfinance licences will only be terminated when the institutions concerned fail to comply with requirements of the Microfinance Act.

          On Clause 12 pertaining to requirements for agreements, I wish to thank the Committee for accepting the provisions in the Bill. The provisions are there to protect borrowers.

          On Clause 29 pertaining to requirements for lending by Microfinance Institutions again, I wish to thank the Committee for agreeing with the provisions of this Clause whose intention is to protect the borrower. In terms of the Disciplinary Committee on Clause 29, Mr. Speaker Sir, Clause 29 of the Bill covers all the issues that were not addressed by the principal Act. The Committee is in agreement with Clause 29 of the Bill.

          On Clause 4, the Microfinance Advisory Council (MAC), I concur with the Committee that the Advisory Council should not be bloated. Therefore, I cannot see the need for additional members to the Council. With regard to the recommendation for a neutral person to chair the Council, I will propose rotation chairmanship. I feel that rotating the chairmanship of the council addresses the reservations about the Registrar chairing the Advisory Council.

          On the Microfinance Wholesale Fund, I decline the recommendation on Microfinance Wholesale Fund by the Committee. The reason is that it seems difficult to implement because it would require the regulatory authority to licence and to supervise all sources of wholesale funding to Microfinance Institutions. It is proposed to allow Microfinance Institutions to access whole funding from as many sources as possible. The proposal to licence wholesale funds will increase the categories of regulated Microfinance institutions, which defeats the objective of Clause 2 of the Bill.

          On Clause 27 regarding the expense of investigation, I concur with the recommendation of the Committee and the Bill will be amended accordingly.

          On Clause 24 Mr. Speaker Sir, with terms of limits of shareholding and transfer of shares in Microfinance institutions and Corporate Micro financiers, I take note the recommendations of the Committee, but I still believe that the Registrar should be allowed to stipulate the shareholding limits.

          In terms enhancing sector wide coordination, I decline the recommendations of the Committee that all Microfinance Institutions should be compelled to become members of an association. The reason is that it is contrary to the Constitution of Zimbabwe which guarantees freedom of association. However, the Government and the regulatory authority have encouraged Microfinance institutions to be members of the relevant associations.

          I move on to consumer education protection and financial literacy. I agree with the recommendation of the Committee. On interest rate setting, I concur with the Committee about the need to protect borrowers. On legal liquidation of place security for Microfinance Institutions, I agree with the recommendation of the Committee to maintain current provisions.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank the Committee for their comments and recommendations and I would appreciate that I have accepted most of the Committee’s recommendations and hope that the few errors of divergence, the Committee will find them acceptable. Let me thank the following Hon. Members for their contributions. Hon. Gandawa, Hon. Nduna and Hon. Phulu. I thank you.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the Bill be now read a second time and then we will incorporate all the amendments and bring the Bill to the Committee Stage.  I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee Stage: Thursday, 30th May, 2019

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

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 29 MAY 2019 VOL 45 NO 57