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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 29 SEPTEMBER 2015 VOL. 42 NO. 06

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 29th September, 2015

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

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

SECOND READING

GENERAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL (H.B. 3, 2015)

First Order read: Second Reading: General Laws Amendment Bill (H.B. 3, 2015).

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Madam Speaker, I am being advised that the Committee is sitting just now. I have been waiting for the Committee to make their report but I am willing to extend to Thursday this week so that I proceed with the Bill. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st October, 2015.

SECOND READING

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND EVIDENCE AMENDMENT BILL 2015, (H.B. 2, 2015)

Second Order read: Second Reading: Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill 2015, (H.B. 2, 2015).

THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Madam Speaker, I really feel disappointed. I am advised again that the Committee is sitting, despite the fact that the Bill has been with Parliament for a very long time. I understand they are sitting now and they have not been able to produce a report. I move that the debate be adjourned to Thursday this week so that I deal with both Bills on Thursday. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st October, 2015.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

MR. CHIDAVAENZI: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to debate and contribute to this very important developmental address by the Head of State and Government, the Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde. Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

Madam Speaker, the alignment of our legislation to the new Constitution is not an event but a process which requires due diligence, hence, I would like to thank the Executive for the work done so far so good. However, an accelerated effort towards its total accomplishment is certainly greatly appreciated but must not compromise quality because the adverse effects are far reaching and long term.

Madam Speaker, I would like to comment on the ease of doing business as a tool and catalyst for economic recovery and social welfare emancipation. A better Zimbabwe for all Zimbabweans is a product of our collective dream, agenda, effort, thrust and responsibility. Therefore, we must collectively stimulate fresh capital injection, Direct Foreign Investment and local market liquidity.

Madam Speaker, the proposed One Stop Shop Investment Centre will go a long way in creating a conducive and attractive business environment and practice by eliminating bureaucratic delays, red tape and brown envelopes. The One Stop Shop concept is an effective corruption check point, hence, it must be implemented at all entry points, national border posts, taxation avenues and business interface. Madam Speaker, this will expedite confidence building and the establishment of Special Economic Zones. Special Economic Zones promote value addition, accelerated industrialization, technology transfer, skills development and deployment, employment creation and vast downstream opportunities.

Madam Speaker, all these efforts illustrate the Government’s commitment to fulfill its election manifesto and ZIM-ASSET in particular. The President’s 10 Point Plan is a sanctions buster. Sanctions have caused untold suffering to our people irrespective of their political, social, spiritual and cultural affiliations.

Madam Speaker, conformance and compliance to the 10 Point Plan in terms of timeous implementation will certainly change lives for the better. A better economy translates to a better people, a better people is a better life, a better life is a better Zimbabwe and a better Zimbabwe is a better buy Zimbabwe. The more we buy Zimbabwe, the more we can export and compete on the global village and strengthen our financial anchor institutions like commercial banks and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe has an agro-based economy; not by choice but by nature. We cannot fight nature. God given nature is actually a blessing. Madam Speaker, agriculture needs a new life, capital, technology and methodology. Without a vibrant agricultural sector, all our efforts are in vain. The already existing title deeds that new farmers surrendered to banks and are being held as non-performing loans must be given a new lease of life, so that they can start performing and add value to our economy now. They must provide national agricultural financial relief and space.

Madam Speaker, I hereby propose and recommend the urgent establishment and tabling of a National Agricultural Debt Assumption Bill as an enabler for a new start. We also need a comparative and competitive utilities cost structure that will leverage and lower input costs, increase capacity utilisation and product output.

At this juncture, allow me to conclude by emphasising that we must collectively …

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. members, could you please allow the hon. member to be heard in silence. Please lower your whispers. I know you can whisper to each other but please there is a debate taking place. Hon. Member, you can continue.

MR. CHIDAVAENZI: Madam Speaker, at this juncture, in this fashion and manner, allow me to conclude by emphasising that we must collectively interrogate and consider issues to do with:

· Value addition and beneficiation;

  • Value for money on local goods and services;

· Purchasing power parity (internationally);

· Consistency and persistence in policy formulation and implementation;

· Projects and programmes continuous evaluation;

· Value for money audits; and

  • Corruption eradication.

Long live our economy, long live our motherland, long live our President, Comrade Robert Mugabe. I thank you.

MR. MUDEREDZWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution. I would like to first thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Mutomba and Hon. Dziva for seconding this motion. I would like to thank the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe for officially opening the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe on the 16th September, 2015.

Before I delve into issues that the President raised in his Speech, I would like to address issues of misconception that have been raised by other hon. members during the course of the debate. When Hon. Khupe, was making her contribution to this debate, she alluded to the fact that the President’s Speech was empty and had nothing for the people of Zimbabwe. Madam Speaker, I view that as a misconception because the speech that was presented by the President was made in context. Remember, the President came to this august House prior to this address and he was giving a State of the Nation Address. In his State of the Nation Address, he came up with the 10 Point Action Plan that was looking at addressing economic issues to do with this country and what the Government was doing to do in order to address the economic situation of this country. Those people who would have wanted the President to address these issues during his last address ended up mixing those two speeches. On the second aspect of his address on the 16th September, 2015, the speech that was made by the President was in context. He was addressing issues to do with alignment of laws to the Constitution. He was addressing issues to do with amending the laws that are impediments to investment. He was addressing issues to do with laws that make it difficult to do business in Zimbabwe. These are the Bills that he was coming up with to Parliament and said in terms of Section 116 and 117 of the Constitution, the office of the President and Parliament have got a responsibility to make laws. In other words, the President was coming up with a task or job for Parliament to do. These are the issues that Hon. Khupe should have realised. So in my view, the speech that was made by the President was job specific and it was highlighting the nature of the job or the task that was at hand.

Looking at the aspect of the issues that have been raised by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, she is always raising issues to do with northern/southern region arguments purporting that the southern region is less developed than the northern region which is a misconception. For people who have travelled this country, you will realise that across the nation, we have areas that have not been developed enough throughout the country. I were to give examples Madam Speaker, if you go to Manicaland, you find areas like Buhera, Nyanga and Ruwangwe, there are areas that are under developed.

If you go to Mashonaland East, in Mudzi, Mashonaland Central, in Rushinga and parts Mount Darwin, you will realise that there are areas that are under developed. Mashonaland West and the area around Kariba are under developed. In Midlands, some other parts of Gokwe, are under developed. Masvingo and Chikombedzi areas are also under developed. Matabeleland South, Mpoengs and other areas down south of that province, there are areas that are under developed. Matabeleland North, Binga and Tsholotsho, there are areas that are under developed. This is why the people of Zimbabwe …. –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order, hon. members!

MR. MUDEREDZWA: This is why the people of Zimbabwe in their wisdom, in the new Constitution came up with Section 13 that talks about balanced national development and Section 18, that talks about fair regional representation. The worries that are being raised by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga are being addressed by the nation. So, she should not always come up with the argument about north and south differences. –[Inaudible interjections]-

Madam Speaker, Hon. Cross was worried that we are having more universities in this country and he wanted universities to be places for the elite. His assumption was that if somebody comes from the university, he should get some employment somewhere outside the country. We are training people to live in this country and develop it and not to export them. –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- People whom we are developing at our universities should be there to develop Zimbabwe and not to go to Europe. This is why we are saying we need more universities. We need each and everyone to have access to university education. It should not be a preserve of the few. This is why we came up with other universities like the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU). It has done a lot in this country to develop those people who could not ordinarily get university education. What I can agree with Hon. Cross to an extent is that our universities are for academics. We are not planning our education to be based on action research and innovation.

Our universities should come up with people who are skilled and able to do something, not people who are always writing some thesis because thesis alone do not help us as a nation. I am saying our universities should have a re-orientation so that we do things rather than talk about things or write them. Madam Speaker, I thought it is important for me to correct those misconceptions because they are already on record in the Hansard.

I would now like to raise the issue that was addressed by His Excellency, the President to say we need a law that should overhaul the Companies Act and its appended pieces of legislation so that we are able to do business faster in this country. We do not need such complicated laws for a person to form a company. We should simplify our laws so that we are able to facilitate each and everyone who would like to come up with a company to form his/her own company. So we applaud the President for coming up with such an observation.

Madam Speaker, I noted that the President was talking about the need to amend the State Procurement Act so that the processes are simplified and that ministries are able to purchase requirements without any problems. Right now, the system is very bureaucratic and it is giving authorities problems. I have realised lately that ZESA was given an assignment to ensure that we develop solar energy in this country. There are certain companies that had come up to create such industries in Plumtree, Gwanda and some other places, but it is two years now and nothing has happened.

The State Procurement Board is still working on those issues that should have been solved long back so that we at least have alternative sources of energy. We are saying there is need for a law that is going to simplify the processes of procurement so that the respective ministries are given leeway to do things in time. Madam Speaker, the President talked the need for the nation to come up with a Land Commission. I applaud him for that and I am hoping that once the Land Commission has been put in place, it is going to deal with very contentious issues of multiple farm ownership and farm sizes.

We have people who have got big farms in this country whilst others do not have any. It is unfair. We are saying that once the Lands Commission is put in place, it is going to move with speed to look at such issues and address them as a matter of urgency. We have people who are also having problems with double allocation of pieces of land, especially the A1s and A2s, and it is my fervent hope and conviction that once the Commission has been put in place, it is going to address such issues.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, the President talked about the need to have a law that is going to combine the War Veterans Act with the Ex-Political Detainees, Restrictees and the War Collaborators into one piece of legislation that is going to look into the welfare of that category of people. I want to applaud the President for that and remember that during the past sessions…

An hon. member having passed between the Chair and the hon. member speaking.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order hon. member, just proceed but next time you are not supposed to obstruct the vision between the Chair and the one who is debating. Can you proceed?

MR. MUDEREDZWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I was thanking the President for coming up with this observation because during the past sessions, we came up with a motion in this august House that was highlighting the plight of war veterans. We are happy as war veterans that our cry has been heard and our issues are now being addressed. We have a fully fledged Ministry that is going to look into the affairs, the welfare and other challenges that have to do with war veterans. We would like to see the consolidation of those pieces of legislation put in place as soon as possible.

Madam Speaker, the President also touched on the rationalisation of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act. Yes, as a country, we are geo-located with other countries around us and we are competing for foreign direct investment with these other countries. I think that it is prudent for us to see what it is that is causing visitors to go to Botswana, Zambia and South Africa and leave Zimbabwe which is endowed with a lot of resources. We need to do something around the laws so that we make them flexible so that we attract investment as well.

Madam Speaker, I will conclude my debate on the aspect of corruption. I think that in this country, we have talked a lot about corruption and we are not acting. We are not action-oriented in that regard and it is making people get tired about this word ‘corruption’. There are a lot of bad things that are happening across the nation. There is corruption in Government, in the private sector and even in communities. We need to find out how other countries have done it. China and Rwanda have dealt effectively with corruption and what is the missing link? What is it that we are not doing? We need to expose corruption. Once we have exposed it, let us ensure that those who are corrupt are punished despite the fact that they are in high offices. I am reminded of the Sandura Commission; how it worked around corruption and this is exactly what we need in this country. The President said that Government is going to ginger up its systems to deal with corruption and I would like to believe that it is going to happen.

Madam Speaker, I would like to urge hon. members who are in this House and the Executive to say now is the time to act. Let us not just talk about things but let us do them. Let us be doers and not researchers or talkers. I am influenced by observations that were made by Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman, renowned researchers in the field of productivity. They came up with a research on a topic entitled, “In Search of Excellence”. They came up with eight attributes of effective management of productivity and I am just going to take three out of the eight and highlight them to this House.

They were concerned about bias towards action. They were saying it is better to do things rather than to talk about them. People believe in what they see and not what is being talked about. They also talked about staying close to the customer and that we should listen to what people are saying. People who are in the rural areas are clamouring to be supported in the area of electricity, water and drought relief provision. These are the issues that we should be sensitive about and address because that is where the majority of our people are staying.
The researchers were concerned about being hands-on and value driven. They said top management should know what is happening at the shop floor. Being high up there does not mean that you should not be knowing what is happening. Even ourselves as hon. members, we should be in the know of what is happening in our communities so that we are able to address the issues that are in our communities.

In conclusion Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the President. He was very specific, accurate and to the point on the issues that he wanted to put across to Parliament. He wanted Parliament to be aware of the fact that there is a job to be done during this session – to make laws and I would like to appeal to each and every one of us, let us be equal to the task in this regard. I thank you Madam Speaker.

*MR. MAPIKI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Firstly, I would want to thank Hon. Mutomba for raising such a motion on the Presidential Speech. Before I go any further, I would like to do a review of the First and Second Sessions from what the President had put before us, looking at the construction of roads, schools and electricity provision. It shows that before this session, there is a lot of progress when it comes to the construction of roads on which we got help from China and Brazil. Looking at our roads, many of them are now tarred and are in good shape. Only Harare-Chirundu and Harare-Beitbridge roads need regravelling and expansion. This shows that when plans are put in place, we look forward to the help that we are getting from these other countries. Even looking at agriculture and food security, you will find that when it comes to irrigation, we have countries like Brazil where we expect them to fund us in that area. We got a lot of equipment from that country to enable us to carry out irrigation and we have received US$125 million for digitalisation. From the way we have been progressing, this shows that the President is doing very well. Madam Speaker, even looking at our minerals, we are doing value addition and beneficiation, which means that we are doing something. In this Third Session, I think we are going to progress very well.

Looking at the speech, it shows that where we are going now, it is not about money only but it is for the people who are doing the work, the commitment of the Minister and the employees. Employees should work hard so that our country can go forward. The Minister can only do so much but you find that there will be a bottleneck when it comes to approval, and investors will go away. This is our benchmark.

Looking backwards, you find that many people ran away from Zimbabwe because there was a lot of bureaucracy. A person will be referred from ministry to ministry until they give up and go away without doing any business in Zimbabwe. I made a research on Cuba which was under sanctions for 50 years but they survived. They said that if people in Zimbabwe are committed to their country and their work ethics change, we will progress. We can complain that there is no money in Zimbabwe but what we do not have is the attitude for investment. If you go to Highlands, you wll find there are mountains there where people are building houses in those mountains which do not match with their salaries. So, if we can channel those monies to better use, I think we can go somewhere as a nation. I think what the President has put forward is that all of us should work hard for the betterment of our country, not for individualism.

Referring to the Presidential Speech, the President touched on the Water Authority Bill. There is a lot of corruption going on in many local councils in the rural and urban areas. They are awarding themselves huge allowances which do not correspond to their educational qualifications. The Minister in charge of the local authority should abide by the law. People who are being given the money are awarding themselves huge salaries and this is impeding the progress of councils.

Looking at the local authorities especially the rural ones, you find that ZINARA can give them funding for road maintenance but instead of using that diesel, they take it and channel it to wages. When ZINARA makes a follow up, they are given bribes and then they come up with good reports yet the diesel would have been channeled to the wages. So, that the money is not being used for the intended purpose. There should be a good law for monitoring these local authorities. If people are guilty, they should be charged.

Madam Speaker, this is emanating from the fact that if you look at the Auditor General’s report, there is a lot of corruption which is happening in local authorities. We came up with the Anti Corruption, instead of the Anti Corruption looking at those reports, we do not know what they will be investigating. If this Anti Corruption Commission was working on those reports, many people would have been convicted. There is a lot of evidence and if you make a follow up, you will hear the police saying that no one reported and it is the Government which is being robbed yet people are silent about it. Even if you look at the targeted funds that were channeled to health, those who were in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development just folded their hands and the money was channeled to the wrong people. In order for us to see anyone being convicted, it is just a story. What we are saying is that we should be able to manage our own resources without involving outsiders.

Madam Speaker, Ministers and the ministries should be committed to work for the betterment of the country because we can talk and talk but if people are not committed, we will not go anywhere. If we look at the issue of SMEs, here in Zimbabwe, we are not looking at people who are going to invest like Cone Textiles. Worldwide - you will find that SMEs are doing very well. It has to be supported. Banks should change their attitudes towards SMEs. If you look at the survey which was done by FINSCOPE in Zimbabwe, it says that US$8 billion is circulating without finding its way to the banks. If we have eight million SMEs, you find that big industries are very few. So, it is a dream that we are going to have these big industries. From what the President said, I think the banks should help SMEs because there is no one who can assist the country. No big industries are going to come to Zimbabwe. If you look at Ghana, it is doing very well in terms of SMEs because the Government urged the banks to give money to SMEs.

Madam Speaker, the ball lies in our court because I am looking at what people were talking about that there are no jobs in Zimbabwe and that we should look for big companies. When I went to Matebeleland, I observed that the youth in Matebeleland are given money so that they come up with hay, and they consider this to be a job. I also went South Africa, I looked at leather, you find that the materials are used for making boats. In South Africa, if you buy material that is made from those animals, you find that they are sold at exorbitant prices. You see that here in Zimbabwe, we should do something as Zimbabweans so that we promote the small to medium enterprises and we do not have to look for employment from other people. If we could get capital from banks, people can access loans to make clothes, the machinery can be imported duty free; you will find that we are concentrating on second-hand bales but we should channel our attention towards the importation of duty free equipment. Even the loans that come, I think we should lend machinery to each other, so these SMEs should be closely looked at.

Looking at agriculture, it shows that we are making strides but looking at Matabeleland where we do not have sufficient rainfall, their boreholes can be sunk up to 80m. If they can buy a solar pump worth $470.00, a borehole can cater for 20hectares and it will work out that if we can yield 10 tonnes of maize per hectare then one borehole will irrigate the land and many people will get food and value addition will be realised.

I think we should focus on Zimbabwe rather than outsiders because we have a lot of things that we can do as Zimbabweans. Looking at the Zimbabwe National Defence University, these days there is a lot of terrorism taking place, even if you look at the Middle East where there is the ICC, Boko Haram and even close to home in Mozambique, the Matsanga. We really need that intelligence because nowadays, terrorism is becoming more sophisticated. Some people think that terrorism is only when a person is wielding a gun but it is all in the mind – that is the terrorism that we are currently faced with. So having such universities will afford people to be trained in intelligence and if there is hunger in the country, an uprising can be averted. The colleges should not look at the army only but also look at our national security, including food security so that people live safely.

The other issue that he touched on was that of corruption. I do not know how we can address the issue of corruption because we have the Anti-Corruption Commission but I heard that they were also withdrawing money and using fuel whilst they were not working. So who is going to reprimand them if they are involved in shoddy deals as well? They can convict a lot of people if they perform their duties well.

In the Zimbabwe Republic Police, we have a unit called, ‘Gold Squad’. In Bindura and Zvishavane, you will find that people are buying gold from homes and exporting it yet the Gold Squad and the Anti-Corruption Commission are there but no one is working towards curbing that. So I think that Bill should also address that those who are incorporated into the Anti-Corruption Commission adhere to their mandates, failing which the Commission is dissolved because they are awarding money to themselves, being involved in bribes and corrupt activities.

A few days ago, we read that gold worth US$950 000.00 and 50kg worth of gold was exported whilst we are in difficult situations. Even if you look at diamonds, you will find that it is being lost through rivers yet there are ministries that should be looking into this. Madam Speaker, when it comes to corruption, we do not know where to run to because corruption is everywhere. Even in Parliament, there is corruption and the same applies to the ministries. That is why we are pleading that the Anti-Corruption Commission is now like a toothless dog since they cannot reprimand people who have been singled out in the Comptroller and Auditor-Generals’ report.

A few days ago, it was reported that the employees at the DDF misused some funds but no one was held accountable. Even in the health department, you will find that funds were abused and if you call the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, they will have their own story and the Ministry of Health and Child Care will have their own story as well and in the end, you do not know what is happening.

Looking at the awarding of tenders, we queried as to why it was that people who were awarded the tenders were not attending to roads construction? We discovered that the people there wanted bribes in order to win the tenders and this only bleeds our country because people...

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Mapiki, you have two minutes to wind up debate.

*MR. MAPIKI: Madam Speaker, I think the President was articulate on corruption but we really have to enforce tough measures so that people who are found on the wrong side of the law are convicted. Ministry officials should be convicted as well as several people who committed crime in ZESA and this issue should be dealt with once and for all. I want to thank you Madam Speaker, for affording me this opportunity.

MS. MANGAMI: May I take this opportunity to thank the movers of this motion, Hon. Mutomba and yourself, Madam Speaker. Secondly, I want to applaud the Presidential Speech that was presented by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. It was a brilliant speech and the most important thing that I thought I should talk about first is the Company’s Act.

I think if the Company’s Act is looked at and most of the things are amended; it will improve the ease of doing business because as it is, you will find that most people are unable to access it especially the informal sector. I also looked at it and said, why should they remain informal if they are able to use the Company’s Act? Maybe, they decided to be informal because of the measures involved when one wants to register a company. Since our informal sector is the one that is actually responsible for most of the income that we have to run our economy at the moment, it is important that the Company’s Act is looked at with urgency.

Madam Speaker, it is important that we also recognise the informal sector because in their small capacity, they are contributing that little to sustain a living for themselves and also, as a country to earn some revenue, even if the revenue realised is not much. This means a lot because even if they are small and quite a number of people are in the informal sector, then their monies are actually being utilised by our economy.

Madam Speaker, looking at the Company’s Act alone and without looking at the taxes that are being charged by the different ministries, it may not make much sense because it will not improve the ease of doing business. I would like to ask the ministries that are responsible to harmonise these taxes so that they speak to one thing. For example, one would be surprised that some of the taxes which are being charged by other ministries, ZIMRA is not aware of them. For example, the departure tax being charged by Air Zimbabwe….

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order hon. member, can those who are moving in and out move silently?

MS. MANGAMI: I was actually saying there is need to harmonise the taxes that are charged by different Ministries. I gave an example of the departure tax charged by Air Zimbabwe which is not known by ZIMRA. One wonders what form of tax could be charged without the umbrella department knowing. It is causing inconveniences to the foreigners who would have come to Zimbabwe to do business. On top of overhauling the Company Act, they should also harmonise the taxes that are charged and fares charged by other ministries for that same person to do business with us.

Madam Speaker, I also would want to look at the second issue which our President talked about in his speech, the issue of the Procurement Amendment Bill. Our President talked about the decentralisation of this. I think this is a good idea because when done, it will improve the ease of doing business. When people tender, at times it takes time to know who has won the tender and who has not. In most cases when one actually wins the tender, the problem also with the procurement board is that they do not announce in time but they do it secretly. I think within these amendments, such things should be taken care of. When our small businesses tender, they are not given adequate attention. Attention is only given to those company that have already grown and one wonders how these small companies are going to grow if they are not given a chance. The SMEs stand a chance if the decentralisation…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, there is a cell phone that is ringing, can the hon. member leave the House with the cell phone?

MS. MANGAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker, in the Procurement Bill it will be important also to include a clause where one would be paid promptly so as not to go out of business. We have seen that those who would have won the tenders go for a long time without being paid. Big companies have closed down because of not being paid on time especially by Government. I think by decentralisation, this will improve the ease of doing business.

I also would want to look at the Cooperative Society Act which will be brought to this House by the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises. I think there is need for this Corporative Act to be improved so that it gives the Ministry teeth. At the moment those that go against the law cannot be dealt with effectively because the Corporative Act does not have teeth. I was looking at the issue of the Hebert Chitepo Cooperative which is in Harare. They have been going against the Cooperative Act by not holding general meetings and have been like that for about 10 years, with no change of leadership. If the Cooperative Act is reviewed and the ministry is given some teeth, the problems within these cooperatives will improved.

Lastly, I want to look at the issue that the President raised in terms of those that are raping our children. The mandatory sentence which I am suggesting for such people is 20 years for each account. If people are given a prohibitive sentence then there will be less people who will be indulging in rapping children. Madam Speaker may I thank you again for the opportunity which you have given me.

MR. MARIDADI: Thank you Madam Speaker. In 2009, I had reason to visit South Africa on wholesome Inclusive Government business. While I was in South Africa I had occasion to go through their radio stations and I came across a radio programme in which they spoke about four speeches that they called ‘speeches of our time’. I will give the four speeches not necessarily in the order of their importance. They played excerpts of the speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Junior called ‘I have a dream’. They also played excerpts of a speech delivered by Comrade Nelson Mandela in which he spoke about “A cause that I am prepared to die for,” at the Revonia Trial. They also played a speech by President Barrack Obama at his inauguration, the speech called ‘Yes we can’. Most importantly they played excerpts of a speech by one Comrade R. G. Mugabe in 1980 when he became Prime Minister of this country. For purposes of this debate I will call it “The Reconciliation Speech”. Madam speaker, in just one sentence President Mugabe captured what Zimbabweans were standing for, what he stood for, what Africa stands for and what the world was expecting. He said, ‘Let us embrace those that we were fighting against and turn our guns into hoes and ploughshares”. In that one sentence Comrade Mugabe addressed the issue of food security, reconciliation, peace and the issue of how the country should go forward. Fast-forward to last week when this speech was delivered in this hon. House. I say what has gone wrong in these 34 years.

The President, on page 13 of his speech says and I quote, ‘ the country takes pride in having been awarded the opportunity to host Africa Union Sports Council Region 5 under 20 youth games from the 5th to 14th December 2014.” The President is celebrating hosting youth games and yet Zimbabwe has just been kicked out of the most prestigious tournament in the world, the World Cup, because we have failed to pay US$61 000 contractual obligation to the coach that we hired. This has happened under President Mugabe’s charge. This is an issue that I thought the President should have brought forward.

Madam Speaker, soccer is the most followed sport on earth and yet Zimbabwe becomes the first country in the world to be kicked out of the World Cup.

On page 12, the President speaks about, as part of efforts to address the huge housing backlog Government recently launched the national housing delivery programme which will deliver 313 000 houses. Madam Speaker, here lies a problem, Hon. Mapiki raised it, we have two Zimbabweans. One is a Zimbabwe where people are given stands and the way people are given stands is that we have a youth who goes and declare that this portion now belongs to them. All they do is put a billboard which communicates about ZIM ASSET, the President or the President’s wife. As soon as there are names of the first family, the youths become untouchable. The way people are allocated stands – somebody will simply count 25 yards going either way and that’s it, a stand has been allocated.

In the same economy, we have Ministers who sit in this House who are building 50 bed-roomed houses, Hon. Mapiki alluded to that. Where does a person get money in this economy which is tattered and torn, to construct a 50 bed-roomed house all with ensuite and will cost US$15 million when it is complete? Those are the issue…

MR. HOLDER: On a point of order hon. Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! Can you please switch off your microphone?

MR. HOLDER: Madam Speaker, I was asking if the Chair could direct the member to stick to the debate because I think he is debating the wrong speech. That is actually the State of the Nation Address. So he has actually gone – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order hon. members. I want to hear the point of order. Hon. Holder, can you give me the point of order.

MR. HOLDER: Madam Speaker, thank you for that protection. I was saying that the hon. member needs to be guided; he is debating a speech which the President made in address to the nation, not the Presidential Speech. So I think he needs to be guided there.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: There is no point of order, but the hon. member should substantiate evidence of any allegations that he is going to make in his debate.

MR. MARIDADI: Madam Speaker, the speech that I am referring to is here which reads; Address by His Excellency the President; it could be wrong I do not know if again the President issued a wrong speech …

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! Order! I have already given a ruling on that matter. I said there was no point of order but on anything that you are going to allege on any Member of Parliament or any Minister, you should give evidence. You may continue with your debate.

MR. MARIDADI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I was saying, in this economy, you go to some of these leafy suburbs and you see four –storey buildings, houses that are being built, as what Hon. Mapiki said; “Vanhu varikutsemura makomo to construct houses.”

In this economy which is tattered and torn, whether the person is a Member of Parliament, a Chief Executive Officer of a private company in Zimbabwe or a Government Minister, where do you get money to construct such as house? Those are the issues of corruption that we think must be investigated and that is what the President should have addressed.

On the same page, the President said, the provision of adequate water and sanitation services remains a problem in some of our major urban centres. He spoke about the Mtshabezi…

MR. MANDIPAKA: On a point of order hon. Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! What is your point of order Hon. Mandipaka.

MR. MANDIPAKA: It is unfortunate hon. Speaker; we stand to be guided in this House. I do not believe the hon. member is looking at the speech that was presented in this House. We stand to be guided by the Chair.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mandipaka, the debate varies from how one presence their facts and how they view the speech. However, we will also give an opportunity to those who feel that the ideas put across are not correct to debate the Presidential Speech. May the hon. member continue with the debate?

MR. MARIDADI: Thank you Madam Speaker for protecting me. I will continue with my speech. The President spoke about ease of doing business. The problem that we have on ease of doing business is that, we need a legal framework which guides on the ease of doing business – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – I have been so much disturbed Madam Speaker, I think I need protection.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mutseyami and Hon. Holder, may you please behave yourselves. We want to hear the hon. member debating the Presidential Speech.

MR. MARIDADI: Madam Speaker, the President talked about the issue of sanctions. I have this book here, the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review Statement which was presented to this honourable House by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. If you open this book, you read from page 165, the Minister talks about water and sanitation and health issues – how Zimbabwe has benefitted from the Global Fund to the tune of more than US$100 million and how it has also benefitted from the European Health Transitions Fund that have put money into a kitty for Zimbabwean’s health sector.

What it means is that Zimbabwe is under no sanction regime because it continues to get money from the United States of America and Europe. I will leave that aside. That information is contained in this book that was delivered by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development who happens to be sitting here.

Madam Speaker, there is a problem of electricity in this country and yet someone must have misinformed the President that Zimbabwe will be able to generate 5000 mega watts by the year 2020. Madam Speaker, the year 2020 from now is only five years from today. For an electricity generation project to be realised, you need no less than seven years after the initial capital injection. What is happening in Zimbabwe is that we have 2 major power stations, Kariba and Hwange.

Zimbabwe is not endowed with a lot of water; the water that we use on Kariba Power Station is shared between Zimbabwe and Zambia. That is why today we have the problem of power cuts, because Zimbabwe is only dispatching less than 300 mega watts from Kariba Power Station due to the low level of water. For us to be able to get 5000 mega watts, we must be able to construct another power station twice the size of Hwange and another hydro power station twice the size of Kariba. Only then will we be able to realise 5000 megawatts and never by 2020.

In any case, a hydro power station in a country without its own water like Zimbabwe, does not generate electricity for base-load, it is only used for picking up load. Engineers in this House will help me to explain what that means.

Because we do not have base power stations in Zimbabwe, that is why we are using Kariba Power Station as a power station that picks up load – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – the point I am raising is that, the person who gave the President that information misled him because we will not be able to generate 5000 mega watts by the year 2020. It takes more than 7 years after initially putting money for us to be able to realise the fruits from the power station. Even Kariba where we have put in more than US$350 million, we will not be able to realize the 300 megawatts that we are talking about before 2020. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development who has been seized with that matter on Kariba Power Station can vouch for me.

Let me move on and talk about other issues which were raised. The issue of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Madam Speaker, the issue of FDI is linked to two things; firstly, the political environment that exists in the country and secondly, the legal framework. Nobody is going to bring money into Zimbabwe unless they must have their heads examined; you bring your money into Zimbabwe where there is indigenization and economic empowerment. What that law says is that the moment you bring in your money, 51% of that money is not yours. Who is going to bring money into an economy like that? What should have been done is, 51% should have been aspirational. We should have started from a low position knowing that Zimbabwe needs Foreign Direct Investment and then incrementally get to 51%. We cannot expect somebody to bring money and all of a sudden we take 51%.

Last week, there was this hullaballoo and celebration of the coming in of Dangote as if it was the second coming of Jesus Christ. Let me tell you, Mr. Dangote is worth $1 billion and if somebody is worth $1 billion it does not mean that he has $1 billion cash in the bank; that is $1 billion of assets, investments, cash at bank and many other ancillaries. Madam Speaker, we have the second richest family in India which has invested in this country in 2010 and they have put straight into our Treasury coffers $900 million. I am talking of ESSAR and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development knows that. $900 million has been put by ESSAR into the coffers of this country but ESSAR are still to get a licence to operate. Who is going to put money into Zimbabwe when another investor like ESSAR, five years down the line has not been given an operating licence? The investment environment is just not conducive, it is not enabling.

Madam Speaker, if ESSAR is given a licence to operate and ZISCO Steel comes on stream, directly ZISCO Steel is able to employ

5 000 people. Downstream, Lancashire Steel is able to operate and employ another 3000 because it feeds out of ZISCO. There are many other companies or downstream industries that benefit directly from ZISCO, so if ESSAR is given a licence to operate directly in the Midlands Province, especially in the town of Kwekwe, you create about 10 000 jobs. Here we are, seated here, ESSAR has put in their money and they have not been given a licence to operate and God knows why they have not been given a licence. We are then talking about Dangote, another investor; he comes here and everyone celebrates as if Jesus has come for the second time. It will not happen, he will not bring money under these conditions.

Madam Speaker, the other issue that the President should have hammered on is that of corruption. The issue of corruption has cost us 75% of our economy and corruption comes in many forms. The President came here and delivered a wrong speech. For me that is corruption because as alluded to by Hon. Mutseyami in his debate, somebody deliberately took out the correct speech and put in the wrong one and the reason I am raising this issue is because of the cost of that boob to the nation. Members of Parliament and senators were told to stay put in their hotel rooms, each hotel room costing $120 for accommodation only. Secondly, they had dinner, breakfast, lunches and subsistence allowances. If you calculate all that money, it will come to no less than half a million dollars. That money could have sent to school more than 500 children who are on BEAM in my constituency of Mabvuku and Tafara and yet nobody gets fired. Actually, that person should not have been fired; they should have left on their own. That person is still in the office and I call that corruption because he or she is related to someone in a high office who is protecting them.

Madam Speaker, let me go on and talk about the issue of tourism. We hear that tourism is on the mend and it is going to create so many jobs. I have some interesting statistics here which says Tourism trends and statistics report – Zimbabwe a world of wonders. It is a world of wonders for real.

Madam Speaker, we have Air Zimbabwe. According to statistics compiled here, the market share of Air Zimbabwe is only 9.6%. South African Airways’ market share is 35%. Air Zimbabwe comes number 4 and I am talking of the market share on the route between Harare and Johannesburg. Harare-Johannesburg is the second most lucrative route for SAA; an airline with almost 65 aeroplanes and yet Zimbabwe cannot utilise that route. We only have 9% of the market share. On top, British Airways, Comair comes second, Emirates third and Air Zimbabwe comes a distant fourth. What is happening? It is because of corruption because somebody appointed people at Air Zimbabwe who are nieces, nephews and cousins who are sitting there and cannot be fired even if they are incompetent.

The last one Madam Speaker which I think the President must deal with is the issue of instability as a result of his executive appointment. We cannot have a country which appoints ministers everyday. Ministers are fired left, right and centre and are appointed left, right and centre. We have more former ministers between 2013 and 2015 than we had between 1980 and 2014. Some of the ministers are not even given letters of dismissal. Whilst he is seated in his office, somebody will come to whisper to him and say, ‘Minister murikutodzingwa basa pane munhu who is being sworn in.’ What is that? That is cause for instability and now we do not even know who are ministers and who are not. Can we not have the decency of appointing people correctly and firing people correctly? Firing and hiring people willy nilly is a source of instability and the President must address it. Thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Maridadi, I would want to put across that we cannot question the constitutional mandate that was given to the President to appoint or dismiss ministers in relation to the mandate that he was given by the Constitution. So, your debate should remain on the Presidential Speech, which does not interfere, you cannot interfere Hon. Maridadi …

MR. MARIDADI: Madam Speaker, on a point of order, I think as Parliament we are allowed to debate that. Ministers are appointed from this House and as Members of Parliament we are allowed to debate that because tomorrow I could be appointed minister …

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Maridadi! You can debate whatever you want based on the Constitution but you cannot debate on his duties and mandate that he was given by the same Constitution. He was given the mandate by the Constitution to appoint and – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

MR. MARIDADI: Madam Speaker, I beg to differ. Hon. Langa seated there was not given a letter of dismissal, Hon. Nhema and Mudarikwa were not given letters of dismissal; they only heard it on radio that they have been dismissed and I think we cannot allow that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order hon. members! Hon. Maridadi, I never gave you a chance to speak. You can only speak when I recognise you. As I have said, the President has the constitutional mandate to appoint and dismiss ministers in relation to the duties that he was given by the Constitution.

MR. SARUWAKA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me an opportunity to add my voice. Before I proceed with the debate, I probably want to check with you Madam Speaker whether we are guaranteed that indeed the speech which was presented by the Deputy President is the President’s Speech. Other than the President’s picture which was probably taken in the 80s, I do not see anything else that can assure me that what we are debating is indeed the President’s Speech. However, because other Members of Parliament have debated this speech which is supposed to have been delivered by His Excellency, as the President’s speech, I will probably follow suit, but I want it recorded that I am not very sure that what we are going to read is associated with His Excellency.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Saruwaka. I want to assure you that the speech that you are debating is the correct text that was replaced by the Hon. Vice President Mnangangwa.

MR. SARUWAKA: Thank you for that clarification because there was good reason for me to doubt. When debating the speech which was presented, let me say I have got an area that I wish in future, the President must correct in as far as the protocol of the Parliament of Zimbabwe. My understanding Madam Speaker, is that Parliament of Zimbabwe is headed by the Speaker and our President of the Senate is the Vice Chairperson of the Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC). So I would expect that when the President is addressing the House, he should start by recognising the Speaker, not to start with the second in command. That mixes up a lot of issues. As far as I am concerned, this is why some of our things do not fall into place. They appear small but in terms of protocol, I think our President must be guided and corrected in that regard.

In the speech which was presented by the President where he was supposed to put the legislative agenda for Parliament, I want to say he was very bold in one of his first paragraphs, to talk about his efforts to stimulate foreign direct investment so that there is growth in the economy. My comment is that I do not think what Zimbabwe needs is any big document or high sounding words, but the environment which we create for business is more important than what we say in any document. I want to say the politics of this country has caused and scared away capital. Remember, we are competing for capital with other countries which have managed to deal with their succession issues, and managed to implement policies that attract and not scare away investors.

An investor from anywhere in this world has a choice of putting his/her investment in Zimbabwe, Qatar or Mozambique. When you look at our competition, you would realise that we are not a very attractive destination. As we speak, there are a lot of issues of uncertainty about the future of this country as far as the leadership is concerned. There are a lot of fights at Government level. A number of Ministers have said it out where the confusion between warring factions in the ruling party have caused problems with the discharge of duty - so I want to say that the environment does not bode very well for the attraction of any investment.

So my advice to the President is that he must address the issues around the stability of this country beyond his tenure, because investors are going to put money not for a year or two years, but some investment will probably yield benefits after ten years and they want to be sure that there will be stability beyond his tenure. I think that is one area that must be handled by his office very well so that people know that there is future stability after his departure. I want to say in his speech, the President spoke about Special Economic Zones. I want to tie his contribution with what the Minister of Finance and Economic Development brought during his Mid-Term Policy Review, where he indicated that Manicaland and Harare were going to be a special economic zone for diamonds.

I particularly want to speak about diamonds because I come from Manicaland. I believe we were short changed as a zone by how the diamond issue was handled in the past. I want to believe that when this Bill is going to come into the House, there is going to be efforts to make sure that when we speak about diamonds, we associate diamonds with Mutare and Manicaland, and not to try to sneak in Mt. Hampden and Harare so that at the end of the day, they benefit unduly whereas any development to do with diamonds must be directed and must reside in Manicaland as a special economic zone. As long as we put up policies which we do not want to follow through sincerely, then these documents tend to lose value. So, I want to believe that when the special economic zone area is done, the diamond thing must be done for Manicaland.

Madam Speaker, I want to talk about the President commenting on the Labour Act. He was celebrating that Government intervened to stop job losses. My comment is, I do not believe that jobs can be protected by enacting laws. The common law that was used to dismiss workers giving them three months notice was only effected this year, but Zimbabwe has been losing its industrial capacity for the past fifteen years. So for us to say all those workers who lost their jobs from the late 90s to this year was as a result of the interpretation of that law, will be telling lies. I think what is going to protect workers and jobs, is policies that encourage economic growth not labour laws that seek to protect a few workers against millions that have been thrown into the streets because of poor economic policies that have been advanced by this Government of our President.

Madam Speaker, I want to talk a bit about the mining sector which was indicated by the President as one of the areas where Zimbabwe will hopefully come out of the abyss. I want to say our experience with diamonds has not been very good. When the diamond fields were discovered in Chiadzwa, we were given so much hope, but if you go to Manicaland and anywhere in Zimbabwe, there is no evidence that we have got diamond fields which were said at one point accounted for about a quarter of the world’s diamond deposits. My point is when we have got minerals of high value in our land, I think we must stop politicising the exploitation of such resources. What we experienced in Manicaland and during the diamond rush was that there was a lot of politics around the mining of diamonds, not economics but the politics led the day to such an extent that, as a member of the Environment Committee, we were unable to visit the diamond fields to ascertain whether the mining was being done according to the laws of this country. So, you will also realise that there were a lot of human rights abuses at the diamond fields when a number of locals were forcibly removed and relocated to places far away from their motherland. The beatings and killings do not help this economy to grow.

Madam Speaker, I want to talk a bit about the Land Commission which the President was saying there is going to be a Bill to introduce that. My question is, what is it that we do not know about land in Zimbabwe? We know that there are multiple land owners and any other audit is going to be just a repeat. We do not lack the information but what we lack as a country is action to deal with the multiple land owners. It is known and a number of MPs from both sides of the House have said it here that there are multiple land owners. There is evidence even in the courts where especially during divorces – I can quote when the President’s nephew Mr. Leo Mugabe was divorcing, a number of farms were identified. There were at least three farms and that is a point to start from. Take away those farms that Leo Mugabe has because that is multiple land ownership.

When the hon. Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Chombo was divorcing, there were also issues of many farms that had been allocated to one person. We are saying, we are going to have a Land Commission Bill which is going to result in us getting right our land reform programme. I do not believe that we lack information but what we lack is implementation and taking the corrective measures.

Madam Speaker, let me talk about the corruption where a number of MPs have said, indeed this is where our country is getting it wrong and I totally agree. But I want to say, a fish rots from the top or from the head. The reason why corruption is flourishing in this country is because there has not been any action taken by the President of this country to stop corruption. What we have seen is corrupt people being rewarded with ministerial positions. I will use the example of the divorce case between hon. Minister Chombo and he can come and defend himself. When his case was in the courts, he had more than 80 stands and he was the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. How does one acquire so many stands in a country with thousands on the waiting lists? We have people who have been on the waiting list for more than ten years yet one person who is correctly positioned in the corruption machinery has more than 80 stands to his name.

What do we see? When there is a reshuffle, that individual is given the position of Minister of Home Affairs to deal with the police and we think that that is a way to fight corruption – by putting the thief to guard the granary. I think that we must be more serious.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Saruwaka. You cannot use languages like ‘thief’ in the National Assembly. May you please withdraw that statement and as well any evidence of any corrupt activities dealt by the same department of Home Affairs. The courts of Zimbabwe are the ones that can actually give decision on one’s conduct to their work. So, I would want you to withdraw the word ‘thief’ from your debate.

MR. SARUWAKA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I withdraw the term ‘thief’ on the Minister and I will then say, I am worried about the lack of action taken by our top leadership in dealing with corruption.

Corruption is also closely linked with nepotism. I do not want to believe that it was by coincidence that when Cabinet was recently reshuffled, we found the name of the President’s nephew coming back as a minister in this Government. Corruption and nepotism will not get this country far. So, it is known that even when there were appointments in this House for Members of Parliament who are supposed to serve on international Parliamentary bodies, we were surprised that one of the most recent MPs, because that hon. member is probably a wife to the Vice President of this country, was then appointed to ACP.

MR. J. TSHUMA: Thank you Madam Speaker. On a point of order, I think that the hon. member here is getting a bit lost with his debate. There is a difference between the Presidential Speech debate and what he is talking about now. I think if he wants to speak about all these other things, he must come up with his own motion and move it at a separate time. My point of order is that he is out of order.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Saruwaka, I think that I have alluded to this complaint before when it was raised by Hon. Maridadi. The ministerial appointments are a mandate that is given by the Constitution to His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Cde. R. G. Mugabe to appoint whoever that he sees fit to acquire those appointments as well as to dismiss ministers from any offices in accordance to the duties and mandate given by the same Constitution. As set forth, the President has his own five ministerial appointments that he can do outside Parliament if he sees the professional work that one does. So, we cannot question the appointments that were given by the President because it is a constitutional mandate.

On the second note of Parliamentary delegations by political parties in the National Assembly, it is a mandate given to political parties to appoint and nominate their preferred Members of Parliament to go in any leadership of Parliament or delegation of Parliament. As well, we cannot stop any Member of Parliament who is a Member of Parliament because they are relatives or wives to any other people in the Government leadership because they were voted for and they have the same mandate as any other Member of Parliament who is not related to the person that is in leadership.

So, we would also want to make sure that we do not take issues of nepotism and favouritism to also disadvantage those who are also Members of Parliament and have capacity. As far as I am concerned, most of those people also have academic qualifications which can also defend their appointments to certain portfolios. May you please continue your debate on the Presidential Speech? [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Madam Speaker, let me proceed and say I was not happy when I was going through the President’s Speech that there was nothing he spoke in relation climate change. I thought the President was supposed to direct this House to come up with responses climate change. I think as a country and the world over, the impact of climate change has been so devastating that we must be able to come up with policy positions that will help us mitigate against climate change effects.

Madam Speaker, let me talk about a proposal which was introduced by the President where he wants us to talk about the War Veterans Bill. I am very worried, every time we speak about war veterans, that my understanding is that these men and women, gallant as they were, went to fight for this country selflessly so that we can have equal opportunities. They were not mercenaries; they were people from this country who really wanted every Zimbabwean regardless of race, position or party affiliation to benefit from the resources of the nation. But what I see from the late 1990s, is worrying the same group of ‘selfless’ people tend to be selfish in that they are now being treated as more equal than other Zimbabweans and I want to believe that we must be guided by our Constitution in dealing with the veterans issue. I will quote the Constitution on Section 84 where it speaks about the rights of veterans of the liberation struggle. It defines who these veterans are and these are those who fought in the war of liberation and those who assisted the fighters in the war of liberation …

[Time Limit]

MR. SARUWAKA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I will rephrase, the Constitution says veterans of the liberation struggle are those who fought in the war of liberation and those who assisted the fighters. We have got thousands of such people in this country who deserve to be taken care by this economy. Those who were in prison, detained or restricted for political reasons are entitled to due recognition for their contribution. So when we deal with this Bill, we must define our war veterans correctly not just to pick on those that were holding the guns but take care of everyone who participated in the struggle because there are thousands of elderly people out there who have not benefited from this country yet the war veterans that are being defined by our President have already got the packages, have already received farms, getting mines, we cannot continue on that route. That is mercenary behaviour and I want to say true war veterans must be ashamed of being treated better than any other Zimbabwean.

The last contribution is that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development did very well by advising this country that on ZIM ASSET issues what we lack are bankable projects. On paragraph 88, of his Mid-Term Review Policy Statement, he said a large number of project in our ZIM ASSET Strategic Plan do not have feasibility studies and hence provide very little information for Government and potential private sector investors to make sound investment. So I want to say Madam Speaker, when we speak about ZIM ASSET, I think people must be guided by what our Minister of Finance and Economic Development said that a lot of the ZIM ASSET projects are not bankable and nothing has been done by this Government to make sure that they are. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 30th September, 2015.

Hon. Mutseyami having referred to other hon. members as vana vamai and vana vababa.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, I want Hon. Mutseyami to withdraw the unparliamentary language which is kunababa because here it is a Parliament where we have the President of the country, the Speaker of Parliament, Members of Parliament, ministers and so forth.

*MR. MUTSEYAMI: Words like kuna baba, kuna mai are awash in newspapers and text messages. However, I withdraw. We do not have words such as vekwamai or vekwa baba. Thank you.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that I have received a Non-Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Finance (No. 2) Bill [H.B.5, 2015].

Second Reading: With leave; forthwith.

SECOND READING

FINANCE (NO.2) BILL [H.B.5, 2015]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, the purpose of the Finance Bill is to give effect to revenue measures announced in the 2015 Mid-year Fiscal Policy Statement which I presented to Parliament on 30 July, 2015.

The Bill, therefore, seeks to legislate for revenue measures which are aimed at:-

- Enhancing industry productivity

- Raising additional revenue

- Providing tax relief and

- Enhancing efficiency in tax administration.

Madam Speaker, in support of the industry, I have proposed to legislate the following measures: - to remove the Tax Free Export Quota of 25% on raw hides and skins. Consequently, all exports of hides and skins will be subject to an export tax with the exception of crocodile, goat and sheep skin and also the Bill seeks to vary the rates of export tax on exports of un-beneficiated raw hides to attract 15% or US$0.75 per kg, whichever is higher.

Madam Speaker, in order to raise additional revenue to finance inescapable expenditures, I have proposed to legislate the following measures:-

(i) to amend the income tax legislation in order to specify income and accruals of ecclesiastical, charitable and educational institutions of a public character that is eligible for exemption. This will ensure that other income derived from profit oriented businesses undertaken by these organisations is subject to income tax;

(ii) to extend VAT to financial services, specifically short term insurance that includes motor vehicle insurance;

(iii) to increase the royalty rate on exports of chrome ore and fines from 2% to 5% as a quid pro quo for lifting the ban on exports of the same;

(iv) to levy fixed land rentals of US$3.00 per hectare per annum for Model A2 farmers and US$10.00 per annum for Model A1 farmers;

(v) to charge a Developmental Levy of US$2.00 per hectare per annum for Model A2 farmers and US$5.00 per annum for Model A1 farmers;

(vi) to appoint the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement to collect both the land rentals and development levy which will be deposited into the Consolidated revenue Fund and disbursed to the beneficiaries in line with Treasury Instructions;

(vii) to extend the scope of the tobacco levy beyond tobacco sold on the auction floor, to include sales of contract tobacco and finally;

(viii) to fix the minimum clearance fees per Bill of Entry at US$50.00 for VAT purposes in order to minimize revenue loss to the fiscus arising from invoice undervaluation by Customs Clearing agents.

Madam Speaker, in order to provide tax relief to taxpayers and also raise aggregate demand for goods and services, I have proposed to legislate the following measures:-

(a) to abolish the 15% export tax on exports of unbeneficiated chrome and diamonds;

(b) to reduce the royalty rate on gold mined by small-scale miners where output does not exceed 0.5kg per month from 3% to 1%;

(c) to extend the tax amnesty period by a further three months from 30th June, 2015 to 30th September, 2015 that is tomorrow and

(d) to exempt from stamp duty the registration of bonds issued by the African Development Bank and the African Export-Import Bank in fulfillment of their mandate to provide development finance.

Madam Speaker, in order to enhance efficiency in the operation of ZIMRA as well as improving compliance to legislative requirements by taxpayers, I propose to amend the legislation to provide for the publication of names of convicted tax offenders.

Madam Speaker, the Bill also seeks to invoke the provisions of the State Liabilities Act in order to protect Air Zimbabwe Corporation’s assets from attachment by its domestic creditors. The protection will expire on 31st July, 2018 by which time we hope that the Air Zimbabwe Corporation will be back on its feet.

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

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee: With leave; forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

FINANCE (No. 2) BILL (H.B.5, 2015)

House in Committee.

Clauses 1 to 24 put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported without amendments.

Third Reading: With leave; forthwith.

THIRD READING

FINANCE (NO. 2) 2015 BILL (H.B. 5, 2015)

THE MINISTER OF FINCANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): I move that the Bill be now read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

SECOND READING

BANKING AMENDMENT BILL (H. B. 6, 2015)

THE MINISTER OF FINCANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker, I hereby present the Banking Act Amendment Bill, 2015 for consideration by this august House.

The principal objective of this Bill is to enhance the integrity of the banking system by addressing vulnerabilities which threaten the stability of the banking sector.

To this end, the Banking Act which is the foundation of the regulatory framework for the banking sector will be strengthened to address weaknesses that have been identified, when benchmarking with Basel Core Principles for effective banking supervision and regional best practices. Focus of the amendments are on the following areas;

· Good Corporate Governance;

  • Credit Risk management;
  • Consumer protection and

· Troubled Bank Resolution Framework.

Good Corporate Governance

Madam Speaker, poor corporate governance has been identified as a major cause of bank failures in Zimbabwe. This is due to the fact that the quality of decisions and the implementation of the decisions affect the performance of institutions.

The role of banking institutions as financial intermediaries and the prudential considerations for these institutions require that corporate governance standards for financial institutions be rigorous. The corporate governance standards are based on recommendations set by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision which sets standards for the regulation of banking institutions.

The objectives for promoting good corporate governance in the banking sector are based on the Principles for Enhancing Corporate Governance of 2010 set by the Basel Committee, which are as follows:

· To protect depositors’ funds;

· To reduce the incidence of bank failures;

· To enhance public confidence in the banking system and

· To enable the public to analyse the performance of banking institutions to make informed investment decisions.

Proposal on Good Corporate Governance

Madam Speaker, the Bill requires banking institutions to comply with all good corporate governance requirements of the Regulator before commencing operations and on an on-going basis. This will prevent banking institutions from operating if they have not instituted the requisite corporate governance systems.

The Bill enumerates the fiduciary responsibilities of the board of directors and senior management of banking institutions to enable the officers to understand their fiduciary responsibilities. The intention is to inform directors about their responsibilities and the consequences of their failure to fulfill those responsibilities.

To reduce conflict of interest arising from multiple and interlocking board memberships, the Bill will restrict the number of board memberships for directors of banking institutions. Non-executive directors of banking institutions will not sit on boards of more than five registered companies, including the board of the banking institution on which the director sits. A director with executive functions in other companies should not sit on the boards of four registered companies, including the banking institution on which the director sits.

The majority of board members will be non-executive independent board members so as to enhance independent decision making. This is in line with the above mentioned Basel Committee Principles on Corporate Governance that recommend that boards of banking institutions should be dominated by non-executive board members. The principles also mention the danger of shareholder representatives who exert inappropriate pressure on the board and undermine the independence of the board. The board should have the capacity to make independent decisions that serve the best interests of the banking institutions and the depositors.

Madam Speaker, the Bill will penalise shadow directors like shareholders who direct board decisions behind the scenes when they are not part of the board. These shadow directors compromise the independence and objectivity of board decisions.

The Bill also gives the regulator oversight over controlling companies of banking institutions. Directors and officers of controlling companies and of banking institutions will therefore be approved by the Registrar.

Madam Speaker, shareholding limits for individuals in banking institutions will be reduced from 25% to 10% of share capital. This is aimed at reducing the risk of bank failure arising from undue influence by individuals through a diversified shareholding structure.

Shareholding limits for non-financial corporate entities shall be raised from 10% to 25% of share capital. Regulated financial entities will continue to establish wholly-owned banking institutions with the approval of the Registrar. The level of significant shareholding to be approved by the Registrar will be 5% of share capital.

The Bill will provide for independent Risk and Audit Committees. This is in line with the Basel Committee Principles that banking institutions should have Risk Management and Audit Committees that possess sufficient authority, stature, independence and resources.

The Bill also provides for the mandatory appointment of a Compliance Officer as a principal officer of a banking institution to enhance the compliance function.

Madam Speaker, in line with regional Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) recommendations for the enhancement of cooperation among financial sector regulators, a Financial Stability Committee will be formed to coordinate their activities to minimize regulatory arbitrage by financial conglomerates.

The Financial Stability Committee will perform the following functions:

(a) Facilitate early identification of sources of risk (to stability) and of potential vulnerabilities that could threaten financial stability;

(b) Promote rigorous, accurate and systematic assessment of the present degree of financial stability as well as the outlook ahead;

(c) Evaluate the ability of the financial system to absorb shocks, should risks identified materialize;

(d) Recommend appropriate policy responses for identifies risks;

(e) Promote adoption of preventive and timely remedial policies which foster financial system stability;

(f) Prepare financial stability reports; and

(g) Harmonise legislative frameworks.

Madam Speaker, credit risk is a major threat to the stability of the banking system in Zimbabwe. The Bill will strengthen the regulation of insider loans whose proliferation has been a major cause of bank failures.

The Bill also provides for the credit rating of all banking institutions operating in Zimbabwe. Credit ratings by an accredited rating agency will be done at least once a year and the ratings will be published. Credit ratings promote transparency in the banking system and improve the performance of financial institutions through market discipline.

Madam Speaker, the Bill will empower the Reserve Bank to regulate the Credit Reference Bureau. The Reserve Bank will establish a Credit Reference System Unit to promote efficient, timely and accurate credit information sharing, thereby enhancing credit risk management, governance systems and fostering credit discipline in the market. Banking institutions need access to dependable information on the borrowing history and repayment patterns of borrowers to create profiles of borrowers.

Fragmentation and lack of standardization in the provision of credit information has prevented banking institutions form realizing the full potential from existing information registries. In the long to medium term, the use of accredited Credit Reference Bureau will stabilise the banking system by improving the risk management capabilities of banking institutions.

The Bill proposes the establishment of the Zimbabwe Asset Management Company (ZAMCO) to acquire eligible and collateralised non-performing loans in the banking sector to cleanse banks balance sheets of toxic assets, which have hampered the institutions’ underwriting capacity.

The acquisition of non-performing loans will help strengthen the banks balance sheets and provide them with the liquidity to make them attractive to access cheaper sources of funding. This is expected to reduce the cost of funding concomitantly translating into reduced lending rates.

Madam Speaker, hon. members are aware that the public has complained about poor service delivery by banking institutions. There is need for a transparent dispute resolution system to facilitate consumer protection and to encourage amicable dispute resolution between banking institutions and their customers.

Banking institutions will be required to make available in writing to their customers, procedures for dealing with complaints made by customers and to designate an employee to be the Customer Services official at all branches.

The Bill proposes the establishment of the Office of the Public Financial Protector to enable bank customers/clients to seek redress for their most common complaints against banks. This office will be funded the by Reserve Bank.

The office will provide a cheap, expeditious and transparent service to customers of banking institutions for the resolution of complaints relating to the quality and delivery of banking services.

Madam Speaker, an important factor in minimising bank failures is the ability of the regulator to act at an early stage to address unsafe and unsound practices or activities that could pose risks to banks or to the banking system. The supervisor should have adequate supervisory tools to bring timely corrective actions.

In line with the above, the Bill enhances the bank resolution framework by empowering the RBZ to restructure and merge troubled banks in line with international practices.

Other proposed amendments

Some of the proposed amendments relate to matters that address shortcomings in the legislation.

Madam Speaker the Bill intends to extend immunity to persons acting under the authority of the Registrar for actions done in good faith. Currently, immunity from prosecution is provided only to officials of the Reserve Bank. Curators, liquidators, auditors and others appointed to work for the RBZ will also have immunity from prosecution in the performance of their duties and when discharging their responsibilities in good faith.

The Bill will also addresses matters of duplication and overlap of functions between the RBZ and the Deposit Protection Corporation (DPC) regarding supervision of banking institutions.

Concluding remarks

Madam Speaker, this Bill recognizes that the Banking Act is lagging behind market developments and regional regulatory standards. Most of the Bill’s provisions reflect best practices in banking legislation.

The Bill will strengthen the Banking Act by ensuring that the Act contains the minimum regulatory standards that are necessary for effective regulation of the banking sector.

Submission of the Amendments

I, therefore, move that the Banking Amendment Bill 2015 be now read for a second Time.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May I take this opportunity to remind Members of Parliament that use of cellphones in the House is not allowed either the use on texting messages or actually putting them on loud but you can put your phones on silent so that we can continue with our business.

MR. CROSS: Madam Speaker, we in the Finance Committee we discussed this Bill on Monday in Committee. We just want to inform the Minister that in our opinion it is going to take us at least six weeks to consider this Bill in all its different aspects and to take evidence from the public. We have already had written submissions from the banking industry. This is a major piece of legislation, very welcome I think it is extremely important. What we ask for is a bit of time before we can come back to the House with our position prior to a general debate on this subject.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, this Bill has been with the Committee for a long time and I am surprised that it has taken time and that they only started considering it on Monday. My own view is that you cannot hold the process of legislation by your own lack of commitment to the work of Parliament. I would respectfully beg the House that I, be allowed to move for the second reading speech and then I was going to postpone further debate anyway for the Committee Stage because I am going to introduce some amendments. I think that there will be no problem if during the Committee Stage any comments that you want to raise can be raised during Committee Stage. There is not going to be consideration of this matter for another week or so as I am going to be away. So, that should give the Committee sufficient time. But, as of now Madam Speaker, let me be allowed that I move that the Bill be read for a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee Stage: Wednesday, 30th September, 2015.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA), the House adjourned at Ten Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 September 2015 11:28
National Assembly Hansard Vol. 42 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 29 SEPTEMBER 2015 VOL. 42 NO. 06