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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 14 MARCH 2017 VOL 44 NO 47

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 14th March, 2018

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have received the following apologies;

          Hon. V. P. Chiwenga, the Vice President; Hon. K. Mohadi, the Vice President; Hon. Parirenyatwa, Hon. S. G. G. Nyoni, Hon. Chinamasa, Hon. S. K. Moyo, Hon. Mupfumira, Hon. O. Mpofu, Hon. J. Moyo, Hon. P. Shiri, Hon. O. Muchinguri-Kashiri and Hon. Ziyambi-Ziyambi.  I am advised that the other Ministers must be on their way, they might have been caught in the traffic. The Minister of Mines and Mining Development I think he is in London.

CHANGES TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House of the changes to the Membership of Committees where Hon. T. Saruwaka has joined the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy.

SUBMISSION OF CDF RETURNS

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Following my announcement on the 7th March, 2018, on the requirement by Members to comply with Article 5.2.4 of the Accounting Officers Instruction which provides for submission of returns for CDF, Hon. Eng. Mudzuri and Hon. Matangira raised two points of orders in relationship to the employment of an accounting officer for the constituency development fund to manage the fund at the constituency level and the scrapping of the requirement to submit job cards.

          The objective of the Fund is to allocate monies equitably to constituencies for the purposes of constituency development and poverty eradication.  The Constitution does not provide for the employment of staff to manage the fund or the payment of allowances for Committee members, hence the requirement in Article 9 (3) of the CDF Constitution as read together with Article 5.1 of the Accounting Officers Manual. 

          In terms of these provisions, the Constituency Development Fund Committee shall consist of any other three members co-opted by the Committee and must, within that Committee, establish a Sub-Committee on Finance and Procurement which consists of three members with one of the three members having an administration or accounting background.  The duties of the Sub-Committee are listed in Article 5.2 and Article 5.2.3  states one of the duties as follows and I quote “maintaining cash book and other relevant records.  The Committee shall delegate this responsibility to one of the members with an accounting or administration background”. 

          Let me also remind you Hon. Members that the Member of Parliament who is the Chairperson is the accounting officer of the funds allocated for his or her constituency and must, for purposes of accountability, comply with the requirements of submission of returns as stipulated in the Accounting Officer’s manual for tabling to the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders annually by the Clerk of Parliament.

The requirement for submission of job cards is a requirement of the CDF Constitution and must be complied with, even for small jobs as referred by the Hon. Members. The purposes for accounting for the allocated funds - the CDF must also be audited by the Auditor General at the end of each financial year. The job cards may be purchased from Printflow, former Government Printers and charged to the CDF.

Members who have not submitted any documentation are advised to do so by the close of business on 31st March, 2018. This is to allow for administrative purposes to be completed before the end of the Eighth Parliament and for all members to account for monies allocated for their constituencies before the dissolution of Parliament. No member will be allowed to claim for fuel allowance for purposes of submission of documents if they choose to submit during the period when Parliament is adjourned. The names of members who have not submitted any documentation of projects or claimed their allocation will be submitted to the Chief Whips or named after the cut-off date, which is 31st March, 2018.

INVITATION TO ATTEND A MULTI-STAKEHOLDER CONVERSATION

THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to advise the House that the Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa and the Zimbabwe Institute are inviting all Committee Chairpersons and the Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus to a multi-stakeholder conversation with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. The objective of the dialogue is to enhance national consensus on essential factors conducive for promoting investment and economic development in Zimbabwe. The dialogue session will be held at Rainbow Towers on Thursday, 22nd March, 2018 from 0830 to 1300 hours. All Chairpersons must attend.

ACTING LEADER OF THE HOUSE

THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Dr. Gumbo has been anointed the Acting Leader of the House today. With that elevation, I noticed that when he entered he did not even make any obeyance to the Chair. Although I was reading I could see with my right eye that he just walked in. Hon. Gumbo, I had advised the House that other Hon. Ministers were on their way, they might have been caught up in the traffic. Thank you.

*HON. CHINOTIMBA: My point of privilege is that yesterday I spoke about murderers but today the issue was in the newspapers that children in Binga, Masvingo and part of my constituency, Buhera and Midlands are not attending school because of the murders. It is not newspapers only, even the police have accepted that children are not going to school. …

THE HON. SPEAKER: In terms of our Standing Orders, we cannot rely on newspaper articles, unless there was evidence from an institutional source that can vouch for you, but not newspapers.

*HON. CHINOTIMBA: No, Mr. Speaker. I am not referring to the newspapers but I am referring to the issue that the police and administrators have vouched that those places are no longer habitable because of murderers. So, now that is the situation on the ground, what are the security forces supposed to do because there are murderers and the countryside is not safe. I was forced to withdraw that there were no murderers out there but they are there and instead of the Members of Parliament going there to investigate the people are saying their places are safe yet there are murderers.

My constituency is also affected. I agree that at Birchenough, murderers were found. In Midlands and Binga, the murderers were nabbed. Soldiers and the police are supposed to defend the people’s lives. If they are there, they should defend the nation and not engage in politics. So I wanted it to be on record that there are murderers out there and what should we do.

*THE HON. SPEAKER: The evidence of murderers - where did you get it, from newspapers or the Police Commissioner General?

*HON. CHINOTIMBA: I got it from the police where I come from and the Binga Administrator. In fact, they are my police and I guard Binga Administration office. I have the proof that children are not going to school because of murderers. So, I want to add on that and because I withdrew it yesterday, I am resuscitating it that these MPs are not on the ground. They are not going back to their constituencies. Thank you.

          *THE HON. SPEAKER: If you are speaking in Shona, I do not want you to code switch.  You should stick to one language, either Shona only so that we encourage our Shona language.  With that, I want to thank you for your investigations on the issue which was raised yesterday. I thank you.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Finance, but it looks like he has gone out.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: He has gone to the Senate.

          HON. GONESE: Oh, he has gone to the Senate.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes.

          HON. GONESE: Perhaps I will direct it to the Leader of the House since Hon. Dr. J. Gumbo who has been designated as the Acting Leader of the House. Last year in the presentation of the budget, the Minister of Finance gave an indication that companies and enterprises which owe money in respect of taxes and which will then pay the principal amounts by the cut-off date of the 30th June, 2018 would have penalties and interest waived on condition that they pay off the principal amounts. I would like to find out from the Acting Leader of the House as to whether the necessary administrative steps have been put in place to enable compliance with this policy thrust?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT on behalf of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank Hon. Gonese for that very important question but it would appear that the question is generally not really a policy question to which I can respond to comfortably. It really needs a substantive Minister to respond to because it requires some information that was already passed which needs implementation through the administration. I will ask the Minister responsible to come next time and respond to that question. I thank you.

          HON. CROSS: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Minister, on what basis was the firm Geiger International appointed to be responsible for the road construction from Beitbridge to Chirundu?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you Hon. Cross for that very important question. Mr. Speaker Sir, Geiger International was awarded a tender that had been flighted by Government for the Construction and dualisation of the Beitbridge/Harare/Chirundu road. This was done and they were awarded in May, 2016. After the award, that road from Beitbridge/Harare/Chirundu was split because the award by the SPB was not only to Geiger International, but it was to Geiger International and a company called China Harbour which is a Chinese company and short named CHEC.

The two were working together and were jointly awarded the dualisation of the Beitbridge/Harare/Chirundu road. They further on decided to split that road into two because the section from Beitbridge to Harare is a PPP and then the section of Harare ring road to Chirundu is a loan section. Therefore, the loan section was separated from the PPP section. That is the arrangement. It was awarded to the two companies on a response to a tender which had been flighted by Government and the SPB Number, I cannot remember it by head but it is clear and that is what really happened. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. CROSS: Hon. Minister, on what basis will the actual contracts for the construction of the road be made? Will Geiger International go out to public tender for each section so that the price is determined under open competition?

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I do not think I understand what the Hon. Member wants me to respond to.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Can the Hon. Member explain?

HON. CROSS: Hon. Minister, you have awarded the tender to two companies but they cannot be in a price...

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you address yourself to the Hon. Speaker.

HON. CROSS: Sorry Mr. Speaker, I hope you understand it. The tender was awarded to these two companies but on what basis could they have possibly come to a price because there was no design, no route, no public provision of documents and neither company is a construction company. So, I am asking the Hon. Minister to explain how will this project now go to tender because I assume that the Chinese partner was the financier and Geiger, we must suspect is not a major construction company because I cannot find any record of it in Austria and all, none at all. It has an address in a small Austrian village but that is the only thing I can find. So, I want to know from the Minister how these elements in the project can be awarded from a tender point of view? 

THE HON. SPEAKER: With that explanation Hon. Minister, I am sure you can answer now.

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker and thank you for the explanation. Just a bit of some background to the issue on the company that is being talked about - Geiger International is not a construction company, they are a financier. They applied or intended to come to do the road as a financier not a construction company, that is allowed. They provide the finances and they have got offices in Austria and in China. They are really a very big company for the information of the Hon. Member of Parliament.

Secondly, the feasibility study for the road from Beitbridge to Harare had already been done. The Ministry was already seized by the requirements for the road. When the companies that tendered for this road made their submissions, there was already a feasibility study which had taken place and it is on the basis of that feasibility study that Geiger International won the tender because by that time, they actually provided a submission that had the affordable rates at 2% to the loan that was required and the other companies actually had their interest rates which were higher than the 2% that Geiger International provided. So, it was really above board. It was really professional; a feasibility study had been done.  So, it was on the basis of the feasibility study that had been done by the Ministry that Geiger international was awarded the tender.  I thank you.

          HON. CROSS: Mr. Speaker Sir, may I follow that up.  Mr. Speaker, the Minister has still not given me a clear explanation, I accept that maybe Geiger is a financier, but the question is; how are they going to award the actual construction tenders?  Will Geiger go at international tender or have they agreed a price on a cost price basis?  This is because, unless we go to tender on an open tender, transparent basis, there are at least five of six companies in Southern Africa which can do that job with their hands tied behind their back.  I heard you have various prices - $3 billion, $2 billion, $1 billion, I do not know what they are talking about, I do not know how these prices were established. 

As far as I am concerned, the critical element is that when we go to award the actual tenders for these specific construction elements, that should be done by open public tender within the region.  I just want to know what is the Minister’s intentions regarding his policy towards that specific aspect because I do not see otherwise how we are going to get a price.  This is a major project.

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think it is very important that even all Members of Parliament know what exactly is happening because at the end of the day, it is a loan to the Government.  I am very grateful that the Hon. Member continues to probe for more information.  Mr. Speaker Sir, an open tender was flighted it was not a closed tender. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, a tender was made international and all our ambassadors got the tender and companies, not only Geiger responded to that tender.  It was an open tender.  Maybe I can give more information, the section from Beitbridge to Harare, for Geiger, they offered a $984 million, but what we had as a reserve was actually about $1 billion for that section.  Then the section from Harare ring road is quoted at $368 million, then the section from Harare to Chirundu, $686 million.  So, those figures are there.  It was on that basis and also on the feasibility studies that had been done, that it was found fair to accept Geiger, which had offered a lower figure than what was offered by other companies and also what the feasibility study had asked for.  So, it was really an open tender and not a closed one. 

HON. MAONDERA: On a point of privilege Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER: No, you cannot do that, you better ask a supplementary question.

HON. MAONDERA: Alright, I can ask a supplementary.  Thank you.  Hon. Minister, sometime in May last year, there was pomp and fanfare at Chaka there, with the former President ground-breaking that road that was going to commence in three months time.  Can you tell this House why it has taken so long to start the road, given the fact that people are dying, it is so horrendous.  People are dying every day in that road.  The image that the road is giving to Zimbabwe is so bad because it is a link road with most trucks coming from Zambia to South Africa.  Why has it taken more than a year now to commence work on that road?

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  It is very true that a ground breaking ceremony was held on the 17th of May, 2017 at Chaka Business Centre, it is a fact.  However, it remains for Hon. Members to know that on projects of this magnitude, they are not done overnight  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, when the ground-breaking was done, the contractor and the financier were present and they made the promise that they would be starting their construction in three months, they did mention that.  It was not because of me, it was because of the contractor.  The contractor mentioned that information to all of us and it is only fair that I could speak on that because I was the Minister responsible and that is acceptable. 

The point I want to make Mr. Speaker Sir, is that having said that, there were other issues precedent to the implementation of the project and that could not be primarily be blamed on the Geiger company and its contractor.  There were also issues on our side which were to be met or issues precedent - declaration of project national status, the opening of the accounts – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I think you want me to give you information, is that so?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you allow the Hon. Minister to answer.

HON. DR. GUMBO: That is the correct information that I am giving you and from both sides, I think colleagues are aware that, that is what happens.  However, that does not also exonerate the fact that the company has delayed and I am happy to say that the Government is seized with that issue and are taking steps to make sure that it is corrected because the delay has now become too long.  They have their reasons and Government has now taken its position.   That will be announced very shortly.

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

THE HON. SPEAKER: On a point of order or supplementary question.

HON. MARIDADI: I would rather call it a point of order because Mr. Speaker, I think to save the Minister the pain that he is going through to explain this thing which cannot be explained, which is very difficult to explain, can he bring a Ministerial Statement so that he is able to put it before the House and let the whole world know that the Government of Zimbabwe are bad at negotiating contracts.  What the Minister has just said is a clear testimony that as Government, they are very bad at negotiating contracts and they should leave this job to people who can do it.  So, if he brings a Ministerial Statement, we are then able to assist Government; that is the job of Zimbabweans to assist people who cannot do it.  They need a lot of hand-holding.  We are prepared to assist Mr. Speaker.  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I was going to ask whether the Hon. Minister would acquiesce to the request of a Ministerial Statement that can give more details.

HON. DR. GUMBO: I was going to stand up to say that I have no problem in doing that.  The issue Mr. Speaker Sir, is that when we give or award a tender, we do that on the response made by the bidder and you would not know whether they would have money tomorrow or not.  So, I will come and give a Ministerial Statement.

HON. MADONDO: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport, Hon. Minister Gumbo.  Is there any Government policy that takes urgent attention to areas that need urgent attention, particularly in reference to Mbudzi roundabout where people take two to three hours for one to pass through during peak hours.  I know they are taking an effort to dualise and attend to that area. Is there anything that can be done earlier before they dualise?  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: That appears to be a specific issue although you couched it in the sense that is there a policy?

          HON. DR. GUMBO: Mr.  Speaker Sir, I can because it is really an issue that is worrying everybody who drives along that road.  I will answer but it is actually in the urban area but roads are roads.  As we are going to dualise, we are going to make sure that we attend to the question that the Hon. Member is asking. 

          However, at this interim stage, we have already come up with a proposal of working together with City of Harare that we widen the road at that section, remove some of the vendors and also that side which turns to Chitungwiza so that we open up the roads.  I think very soon, the Hon. Member will see that there will be people working on the road trying to open it a little bit.  It is really an eyesore for everybody, I am aware of that.  In the meantime, that is the interim solution that has been proposed by the Ministry of Transport and City of Harare to open it up.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Chinotimba, we do not say yaaa, aiwa tinofanirwa kuremekedzana, handiti?

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA: My supplementary question is a question or an addition that you want to dualise the road but is it not possible to construct a flyover because in other countries, they construct flyovers instead o widening the road.  If you widen the road, the situation will not have been solved.  Other countries like South Africa have constructed flyovers so that traffic coming from the town will go over the flyover then those coming from Chitungwiza will go under the flyover.  So, I think the Minister and the Council should do away with the widening of the roads but erect flyovers. 

          *HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.   I had said now, it is for the interim so that people can travel smoothly but the plan there is to erect flyovers.

          HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question was going to be directed to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare but since she is not in, may I direct the question to the Acting Leader of the House.

 I would like to find what is the Government policy on the cancellation of terminal benefits for pensioners who worked during the Zimbabwe dollar error and the post Zimbabwean dollar era; if he cannot answer that, could I probably indulge him to ask the Minister responsible to probably come and give us a Ministerial Statement.  We have got a lot of pensioners especially in Bulawayo who did not get their money ever since they left employment.  So, I would like to find out what the policy is on the calculation rate from the Zimbabwe dollar era to the multi-currency era.  I thank you.

          HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  His Excellency, the President appointed a Commission to look into this matter that the Hon. Member is referring to.  That Commission gave its report to Cabinet on Tuesday, 6th March, 2018.   The report was interrogated and analysed by Cabinet yesterday.  So, there is something that is coming up in order to address the question that the Hon. Member has asked.  It is a very important question which is affecting quite a number of people including all of us here about what happened with our money in the banks.  So, all those issues are being addressed by the Committee that was appointed by His Excellency. 

THE HON. SPEAKER: I think the Hon. Ministers response was comprehensive.  So, let us wait for the report.

HON. GUZAH:  My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.  In line with the current political and economic dispensation, Zimbabwe is now open for business.  What is the Government policy with regards rejoining the Commonwealth?

THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. S. B. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for the Hon. Member’s question who intends to find clarity about Zimbabwe’s position in as far as its membership to the Commonwealth is concerned.  First of all, let me give a bit of background on that aspect. 

There were reasons which led Zimbabwe extricating itself from the Commonwealth.  It was a resolution which was taken during a ruling party’s conference.  That conference informed the Government then and it was as a result of that, that there were issues of disagreement between the issues of certain values of the Commonwealth and what were the priorities of the national interest of the country at that time.  As a result of that, the country withdrew itself from the Commonwealth after a suspension. 

However, the current position is that there is no impediment whatsoever why Zimbabwe would be averse to rejoining the Commonwealth.  In fact, the process which is there at the moment is that there are necessary processes and consultations which are taking place.  These consultations should again inform the Executive, so that the processes of then rejoining the Commonwealth could then be undertaken.  I thank you.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.  I am advised that the Commission’s Report which the Hon. Minister Gumbo referred to was published last week in the Government Gazette, so you can download that report and you can read it at your leisure and raise whatever questions that you think were not covered by the Commission’s report.

          HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Hon. Minister, what is Government policy with regards to repairing and construction of roads in Zimbabwe?  If you could also shed light on the roads, your Ministry is looking into at present.  I am asking this question taking cognisant of the roads which are in bad shape in Matabeleland North, South and part of Bulawayo suburbs.  Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I used to be Chief Whip, so I think I am very popular and questions are all coming to me.  Mr. Speaker Sir, that question from the Deputy Chief Whip from MDC is very important.  In order to make sure that I give all the information that is relevant to all areas, provinces and districts, I request, with the Hon. Speaker’s indulgence, that I bring in a comprehensive report of all the roads that we are doing nationally; the roads that we are advertising for dualisation, tarring and those we want to gravel throughout the country.  I am free to bring in a comprehensive report next week on Wednesday for publication so that all our Members of Parliament can have that information and see which roads are going to be attended to by the Ministry of Transport.

          Regarding the areas that the Hon. Member has asked for, we are already going to be working on Bulawayo-Nkayi road, Kwekwe-Nkayi-Lupane road and Maphisa road.  We are going to try and dualise those and also other new roads that we are going to be working on.  We are also doing the same in other provinces and districts.  So, I will bring a comprehensive report for publication in the Hansard so that all colleagues can have that information as they go to their constituencies, particularly now that there is interest for campaigning purposes.  Thank you.

          HON. TOFFA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Acting Leader of the House.  Is it Government policy to allow Government and private owned vehicles to operate on the road without licences?  If it is not, would the Minister instruct or advise the Minister of Home Affairs to correct the situation and enforce the law.  Mr. Speaker Sir, it is almost like having masked people driving around the country and also promoting criminal activities.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for asking that very important question.  Government policy is that those who drive along our roads must have a driver’s licence which is not fake but a true driver’s licence issued by the Government of Zimbabwe.  Also those who might be driving other vehicles on the roads, like buses and combis, they must have a road permit which is issued by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

          I take the point that there are many people who are possibly driving along the roads without the requisite licences or number plates for their cars, et cetera, I think the point and suggestion made is well taken.  I will liaise immediately with the Minister of Home Affairs to make sure they police the roads and make sure that they arrest the situation.  It so happens that I am the Acting Minister of Home Affairs, so I will act on that as soon as I leave here.  I thank you.

          HON. TOFFA: May the Hon. Minister please confirm that it is illegal to have a vehicle without number plates on the road?

          HON. DR. GUMBO: Mr. Speaker Sir, number plates for a vehicle is a requirement that you must always have them on your car but if you have lost your number plates or the car is still to be provided with number plates, you are  given a period by which time you should have the number plates put on the car.  Going around without number plates is unlawful.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My supplementary is there is 1.5 million vehicles on our roads, of which 22 000 are Government and quasi –Government vehicles.  There is about 120 000 Public Service vehicles of which 65% of those are not licenced in terms of Public Service permits.   Is it not prudent to expedite the issue of computerisation of the transport management system so that effectively, the Minister could know which of those are not licenced; which Public Service vehicles do not have any permits because if they carry people unsuspecting; innocent passengers, if they are not licenced, they tend not to get any compensation for those that would have been bereaved and for those that would have been injured in those Public Service vehicles?

          HON. DR. GUMBO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I think the

Hon. Member who used to be the Chairperson of the Committee

of Transport and Infrastructural Development is fully aware of what

processes we are taking as a Ministry; together with their

Committee because he still remains a Committee member to address that

 issue which is very critical and important?  Therefore, plans are already

 underway Hon. Member and through you Mr. Speaker Sir, to address the issue of concern by the Hon. Member.  I thank you.

          HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question

 is directed to the Acting Leader of the House, Hon. Dr. Gumbo.  At one

time, Hon. Minister, the Government made us believe that they were

moving swiftly to de-congest the city but up to now, nothing has been

done.  Is Government contemplating to decongest the great city of Harare and other cities? 

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to thank Hon. Mandipaka for that very important question.  It is true that Harare needs to be decongested.  The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing working together with the City of Harare are planning to decongest Harare.  In the past week or so they have tried to do that and found that it was premature to have done so because other logistics had not been attended to.  At the moment, I think City of Harare is working on areas where the pickup points are going to be located.  When those places are in shape, the City of Harare, working together with Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing will make sure that people are dropped outside the city centre and only the vehicles that will be licensed to come into the city will be allowed to ferry people in and out of the CBD.  Those logistics are being worked on.

          Also, it is not fair for us and Government and City of Harare to just say let us not have “mishikashikas” or kombis when we have not arranged for alternative transport system to cater for our people as they travel in and outside Harare.  The City of Harare and the Ministry of Local Government are working on the logistics of decongesting the city as we speak.  I thank you. 

          HON. MANDIPAKA:  As a follow up to the traffic congestion in the great city of Harare, is it Government policy that untrained touts work at intersections to control traffic whilst the Police stand aloof, doing nothing? 

          HON. DR. GUMBO:  Mr. Speaker Sir, although that is not a follow up question, I still can respond to say that the issue of touts and other people is an issue that is not very easy to deal with.  It is easy to deal with when the logistics that I have spoken about are in place.  We can then be able to separate those who are touts and those who are not; those who are doing what is legal and those who are not.  I plead that the Hon. Member gives time to the City of Harare and the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to look at the decongestion of the city through the plans that I have already alluded to.  That will also address the issue of touts.  I thank you.

          HON. T. DUBE:  Hon. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Ministry of Health and Child Care through the Leader of the House.  I am raising a question which overrides most of the questions that have been asked this afternoon.  What is happening is that there is a very serious health workers strike which is taking place.  Yesterday I received a message from the Minister of State in the President’s office from Bulawayo who had visited Mpilo Hospital, which is a referral hospital for five provinces.  She was crying just like a little girl that people there are dying like it is a war. 

Just before I came to this House, there is a doctor who phoned me and asked me not to mention his name.  He said he was carrying out some post mortems and the situation is getting worse by day.  I am told tomorrow, the nurses are joining the strike.  What is happening is that only the nurses were running the hospitals when the doctors were already off but tomorrow the nurses will be joining the doctors.  I thought our duty is to make sure that we look after the lives of those people who elect us to this place but we do not seem to put out priorities.  We have not heard any answer from the Ministry of Health and Child Care on what is happening.  Nobody has said anything and the people continue to die.  Are we going to just let these people go on dying and nothing is said or done?  I believe that saving lives is priority number one.  I wish to hear from the Leader of the House since the Minister is not here.  What is being done since Cabinet met yesterday?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  Thank you Mr. Speaker. It is a very sad story and situation that we have in the country for now.  It is a very emotive one which requires a response from the responsible Minister.  All I can say for now Mr. Speaker Sir is that Government is seized with the issue and that the Minister of Health and Child Care made a presentation yesterday and that he was nearly at a situation whereby he will be able to come to a closure of the situation.  He was in negotiations with the doctors, mostly who were junior doctors but also that the other sections like senior doctors and nurses would be joining.  The discussions are going on and Government is seized with the matter.  As far as I know, from yesterday, the Minister responsible was in serious discussions with the concerned medical staff. I do hope that very soon they will come up to an understanding. I will convey the matter that has been raised to the relevant Minister so that he can make a Ministerial Statement so the nation can know where we are going.  I thank you.

HON. CHIMANIKIRE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Why has Government not invoked a state of emergency and called in Army doctors to assist?  This has happened in the past.  What is happening now?  We are under a new dispensation.

HON. DR. GUMBO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I take very seriously the very wise advice given by the Hon. Member.  I will convey to the Minister responsible. 

HON. KANENGONI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  What is the policy of your Ministry in terms of pushing other Ministries to comply with International Conventions such as the SADC Protocol Agenda so that  they can push for gender mainstreaming since these are protocols we have ratified as a country.

THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION (HON. RTD. LT. GEN. DR. S.B. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for the Hon. Member’s question. Yes, it is generally Government policy and I am sure all political organisations, and it is a constitutional provision that gender mainstreaming is a priority in terms of attempting to be compliant with the gender protocols within the SADC and also within the African Union. These are matters which we are continuously keeping all the other ministries up to speed in terms of undertaking and complying.

HON. KANENGONI: Hon. Minister, do you have any mechanism in place that can push ministries to comply or it is up to the ministries to do it laissez faire fashion?

HON. RTD. LT. GEN. DR. S.B. MOYO: I believe the Hon. Member’s question is seeking to clarify the matter of gender mainstreaming within the ministries and also in other official agencies of Government, including other international organisations where Zimbabwe is allowed to appoint members in those particular posts. Yes, the whole structure of employment in Government particularly, is now centralised under one agency which is the Public Service Commission. Therefore, it is the one which is responsible and charged with the responsibility that any vacant post which arises within any of the ministries must consider filling, with consideration of the gender mainstreaming and issues.

*HON. MAPIKI: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. What is the Government policy in terms of graders which were bought by Government and given to the local authorities that need servicing after doing one job?

 THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker for the question which was asked by Hon. Mapiki. I have not come across all those graders but what I am aware of Mr. Speaker, is that if the Hon. Member can put his question in writing so that I can consult the local authorities to investigate where we have those many graders. What I know is that all vehicles that work are supposed to go for service and they can be grounded but they can be serviced. I would be happy if I were to come across those graders, because no one told me that there are many lying idle. I know that the graders that are working - some of them need servicing and it is taking time.

The graders that we had in local authorities were taking a long time to be serviced as they were waiting for a company called Univern Enterprises, which supplied the graders through ZINARA. It was taking a lot of time waiting for a person to come from Harare to service a grader which is in Muzarabani; but the Hon. Member is aware that from the 9th – 12th of January, 2018 I toured all the provinces and told all the councils that the graders are now theirs. They will be serviced by ZINARA because we have a fund of up to $3 million. Probably where he comes from, the council there is not following the procedure that we told them to so that the graders are back on the road. I think you should go back, consult and see whether people in your constituencies are doing the proper thing.

*HON.MUFUNGA: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Minister, what plans do you have as a Government to rehabilitate the road that comes from Koma to Chiundi going to Kairezi which is 70 km after 30 years?

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Hon. Member, it can be difficult for the Minister if it is a particular road. I do not think he can give you any help if you are referring to a particular road.

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker. You have helped me because I had said I will bring a brochure into the House so that you can see where your roads are. That one is not a specific question but a policy question which I must go and consult my officers. You should put your question in writing so that the Minister can answer you adequately.

HON. MATANGIRA: My question goes to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. We have tollgates that were built by the past dispensation Government. Masvingo/Mutare road, we have got one tollgate that was built there. Masvingo/Mutare road again, another tollgate was built. Chiredzi/Ngundu road 15 km after Triangle, we have got a toll gate that was built there. Chivhu/Murambinda road, we have got a tollgate that was built. Bindura/Mt. Darwin road, we have got a tollgate completed, that was built. We have got one in Bulawayo that goes to Gwanda. These tollgates are not working. What is Government policy on money that was spent? Those tollgates should be generating money to repair those roads. What is Government policy and why are they not functional? I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Hon. Matangira for asking that question. Mr. Speaker Sir, the 12 plazas or tollgates that the Hon. Member is referring to were advertised for use and the State Procurement Board then could not award because there was an issue of synchronising the operations of ZINARA and other companies to make sure that the systems agree. Members may want to know that the Plumtree/Bulawayo/Gweru/Harare/Mutare Road operates on a different system from these other roads like the Bindura one and the Masvingo Road. They operate differently.

          So, what is being worked out in order to make sure that we arrest the situation of corruption and compatibility is that the systems must talk to each other. That is the system that is delaying the operation of the tollgates that the Hon. Member is asking for and that is what is called ZIMTIS, which is the system that Government is trying to implement. As soon as that system is put in place and the synchronisation is done, those tollgates will be operational. That is the delay which is the implementation of the system that it must be used in the operationalisation.

          HON. MATANGIRA: In Shona, we have got a saying which says and I quote: “Mumba mukapinda nyoka haupazi imba nokuda kwekuti mapinda nyoka, unorova nyoka yobuda”.We cannot have a situation where we have got very bad roads from Chivhu to Murambinda and subsequently, to Mutare Road because we are afraid of corruption. We should route out whoever is corrupt and the country must march forward. Why can we not do it Mr. Speaker Sir, through the Minister?

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER; Order Hon. Member. I think you did not get what the Minister was saying. It is not entirely corruption. There are other things as well. You should have listened very well since you are the questioner.

          HON. ZINDI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary is based on the rationale. I need to understand in terms of policy direction. What was the rationale in terms of setting up the tollgates? I am asking this because if you are driving from Manicaland, particularly from Mutare to Harare, we have two tollgates. The first one is just before Irene Township and the second one is in Rusape. Again in Manicaland, we have the Harare/Masvingo tollgate. In other words, we have a total number of three tollgates.

          On the Bindura/Harare Road, there is only one. I am just giving that as an example and there are quite a number of other highways where you find that they only have one tollgate. My question is - what was the rationale of coming up with a number of tollgates given the disparity that we are observing today? Thank you.

          HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The rationale for putting up tollgates is determined by the length of the road. That is the rationale that is given. So, I do not know what else I can say but it is the rationale, normally less than 100 kilometres in between. That is what we use. I thank you.

          HON. GONESE: My follow up question to the Hon. Minister is related to the issue of the timeframe. He has given an indication that there are certain issues which are being ironed out. I do not know whether the Hon. Minister is in a position to give an indication as to when we can expect these to have been sorted out and when we may expect the tollgates to become operational?

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker and thank you Hon. Gonese for that question. Initially when I responded to the question, I said that the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development had already advertised for operationalising these tollgates, that means as far as we are concerned as a Ministry, it was urgent and still it is very urgent, but there are other stakeholders who are involved. The synchronisation is the coming up with a system that I have called ZIMTIS, which actually gives us that constraint which I am not really at liberty to say when. All I can say to the Hon. Member is that I keep on pushing that this thing be done as soon as possible but as it is, it is outside my jurisdiction. I thank you.

HON. BEREMAURO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Can you update this House on progress made so far with regards to the construction of Zimbabwe Dry Port in Welvis Bay in Namibia bearing in mind that similar projects for Zambia and Botswana started operating seven years ago. Can you update this House on the progress made so far?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker and thank you Hon. Member for asking that question so that I can update the House on the Walvis Bay Dry Port project. The Walvis Bay Dry Port Project was awarded to a Namibian company to do the construction and midway we had problems with that contractor. They just absconded and we had problems of completing that project. It should have been opened long time ago. Our Dry Port is different from the other Dry Ports that the Hon. Member is referring to in the sense that on ours, we started constructing a proper Dry Port in Namibia as opposed to what other countries did.

The Hon. Member wants to know at what stage we are at the moment. We are now at 95% completion and so, we hope to commission that Dry Port as soon as possible. The new contractor that we have now put in place is working flat out to make sure that we can now commission and start utilising the Dry Port. I thank you.

*HON. MUPFUMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is directed to the Leader of the House Hon. Dr. Gumbo. What is Government policy in connection with a disease in South Africa which is faced with listeria which comes from a bacteria called listeria monocytogenes which has killed a number of people in South Africa.  As we are speaking, the disease is now in Namibia.  We have our people in South Africa, what is Government saying about this issue?

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I want to thank Hon. Mupfumi for his question.  The Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr. Parirenyatwa talked about this issue yesterday, that in South Africa this disease has killed about 180 people and it started in Polokwane which is closer to Beitbridge.  However, he said that as Government we had put an embargo that cold meats coming from South Africa are not getting through our borders because that is where the disease is emanating from.  So, the Government policy as the question has been asked is that they are trying to make sure that meat from South Africa is not imported into the country.  They are also investigating those who are showing any signs of the disease so that they get assistance quickly.  However, they are saying that right now no one has died or shown any signs and symptoms of that disease.  Thank you.

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

PENSION FOR MR. LUKE CHITSIKE

          19.  HON. GONESE on behalf of HON. MACHINGAUTA asked the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare to indicate when Mr. Luke Chitsike whose National Identity No. 63-053618 O42 and was formally employed by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation from 1974 to December 2003, would receive his pension after submitting the application in 2004.

          THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. KAGONYE): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Thank you Hon. Member for asking the question.  In response to that question; NSSA contributor, Luke Chitsike, National Identity Number  63-053618 O42 passed away on 3rd September, 2006.  The widow, Tropia Chitsike submitted her claim for survivor pension on 11 January, 2007.  Funeral Grant benefit was paid on the same date.  The survivor’s pension and children’s allowances were processed and paid with effect from the date of death.  Both survivor’s pension and children’s allowance payments are up to date.  The payments are being made through the widow’s POSB Account Number, 10653002633.  Thank you.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISE AND COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT ON THE STATE OF FINANCIAL INCLUSION OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES, COOPERATIVES AND OTHER CHALLENGES

          HON. MANGAMI: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprise and Cooperative Development on the State of Financial Inclusion of Small and Medium Enterprises, Cooperatives and other challenges affecting this sector in Zimbabwe.

          HON. KWARAMBA: I second.

          HON. MANGAMI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am going to give a report for the Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development.  We are aware that the Ministry no longer exists so I need to dispose this report. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the Committee on Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development carried out some findings concerning the state of financial inclusion of Small and Medium Enterprises Cooperatives and other challenges affecting this sector.

1.0   INTRODUCTION

Mr Speaker Sir, financial inclusion is widely recognised as a critical development issue and aspect of formalisation of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector. The International Monetary Fund (2016) acclaims financial inclusion as the bridge between economic opportunity and outcome which not only opens doors for families to smooth out consumption and invest in their futures through education and health, but enables businesses to expand, creating jobs and reducing inequality. The concept of financial inclusion generally entails delivery of financial services at affordable cost to sections of disadvantaged and low income segments of society.

SMEs and cooperatives play a key role in Zimbabwe's economic development. The Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) and Ten Point Plan outlined in the 2015 State of the Nation Address accentuate the importance of SMEs and cooperatives in poverty alleviation and employment creation. The FinScope Survey of 2012 indicated that the SMEs sector employed approximately 5.7 million people and according to the 2017 Monetary Policy Statement it is estimated to contribute more than 60% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Thus, the Portfolio Committee on SMEs and Cooperative Development conducted an inquiry into the state of financial inclusion of this economically strategic sector.

2.0  OBJECTIVES

The major objectives of the Committee were:

a) to assess efforts being made by the Government to provide affordable capital to SMEs and  cooperatives;

b) to ascertain barriers to the financial inclusion of SMEs and cooperatives, including access to loans and banking services;

c) to establish the impact of cash shortages and use of plastic money on small businesses and cooperatives;

d) to find out the effects of using United States dollars, alongside Bond Notes and mobile money transfers as mediums of exchange on SMEs and cooperative sectors; and

e) to establish challenges affecting operations of SMEs and cooperatives.

3.0   METHODOLOGY

Mr Speaker Sir, your Committee used the following methods to gather information:

a)   Oral evidence and written submissions from the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development on 18 May 2017.

b)   Field visits to SMEs and cooperatives in:

·       Harare – Mbare Musika, Mupedzanhamo, Gulf Complex and Machipisa

·       Bulawayo – Mashumba and Kelvin Complexes

·       Gweru -  Nyangara Steel Products, O.B Investments, Sun Engineering

 and Dalo Welders

·       Chegutu - Danangwe District Youth in Mining Cooperative (DDYMC)

·       Hwedza -  Hwedza Dairy Farmers Association, Hwedza Organic Producers Association and Hwedza Women’s Savings and Credit

Cooperative

·       Guruve -  Mukaera Art Village and furniture manufacturers at Guruve

 Centre

4.0   COMMITTEE FINDINGS

4.1  GOVERNMENT FUNDING INITIATIVES FOR  SMES AND COOPERATIVE SECTORS

Mr Speaker Sir, the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development apprised your Committee of initiatives made by Government to provide loans to SMEs and Cooperatives as follows:

4.1.1  Small and Medium Enterprise Development Corporation (SMEDCO)

SMEDCO is the vehicle through which Government provides financial loans to the SMEs sector. In 2015 the Government approved the transformation of SMEDCO into a micro-finance bank, a process which has been delayed by capitalisation challenges. A solution emerged in November 2016 when the Reserve Bank issued the entity Treasury Bills worth $10 million with a tenure of 10 years, maturing in 2026. Fifty percent of the amount ($ 5 million) was approved for use to support the application for the micro-finance bank licence to the Reserve Bank, while the remainder ($ 5 million) was to be utilised to secure liquidity to restart operations of SMEDCO. Your Committee was informed that $2,2 million was secured through a borrowing structure facilitated by Agribank and lending is currently underway. In addition, SMEDCO is also to be issued a $5 million Retrenchees Loan Facility from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) for on-lending.

Furthermore, SMEDCO was allocated $ 2,1 million in the 2017 National Budget, as part of the revolving fund for on-lending to SMEs. The Committee was informed that by May 2017,  no disbursements had been received from the Treasury. The Ministry of SMEs and Cooperative Development officials further highlighted that they were still to be advised by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development on modalities pertaining to presumptive tax ring-fencing for on-lending to SMEs as proposed in the 2017 National Budget Statement. Your Committee was also informed that the BADEA loan facility approved in 2014, as part of efforts to capitalise SMEDCO had not yet been operationalised and was due to expire in October 2017.

SMEDCO awards loans for fixed capital requirements, working capital requirements and consumption (salary based) loans to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) operating in Zimbabwe. In addition, borrowers have to be of legal majority age or legally registered entities where the majority are Zimbabwean citizens.

4.1.2 Mr. Speaker Sir, your Committee was further informed of loan facilities availed by the Reserve Bank in May 2017 for SMEs and cooperatives in pursuit of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2016-2020) as follows:

a) Cross-Border Facility

Mr. Speaker Sir, your Committee was further informed that the total loan facility is US$15 million and is aimed at financing exports and imports by members of the Cross Border Association. Your Committee was informed by the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises that loans were being disbursed through Agribank for local production and Homelink to members traveling out of the country for business. Loans are issued as per borrower's request subject to approval by the Cross Border Traders Association to members with proven bank accounts at Agribank. The interest rate is 10 percent per annum and the tenor is up to 6 months for working capital.

 

b) Business Linkages Facility

Mr. Speaker Sir, your Committee was further informed that a US$10 million loan facility has been targeted at financing value chain linkages of farmers to manufacturing entities to enhance value addition. Under this scheme funding will be provided to farmers to produce agricultural commodities with a ready market in the manufacturing sector. Loans will be disbursed through Agribank and other participating banks at 10 percent interest rate per annum. The tenor is up to one year and a grace period of 6 months before repayment starts will be granted to enable the farmer to harvest.

c) Gold Support Facility

Mr. Speaker Sir, the loan facility was established in 2016 as US$20 million and increased to US$40 million in 2017. Its purpose is to support small-scale and artisanal miners in order to boost gold production in the country.

The eligibility criteria is existence of a traceable gold delivery track record to Fidelity Printers and Refineries or its accredited buying agents for a minimum period of one year. In addition, applicants should be willing to be subjected to regular monitoring by Fidelity Printers and Refineries officials through site visits and records inspection. It is disbursed to individuals through direct payment to supplies of goods and services and deposits into company accounts at 10 percent interest rate and maximum tenor of 3 years. In the event of breach, the outstanding balance attracts an interest of 15 percent per annum.

d) Horticulture Facility

Mr. Speaker Sir, the total amount of the loan facility is US$10 million which is targeted at financing horticultural production. Your Committee was informed that loans will be disbursed through Agribank and CBZ at an interest rate of 10 percent per annum. The maximum tenor is 12 months for working capital and 3 years for capital expenditure while the repayment frequency is monthly. Eligible horticultural crops are shown on Table 1 below:

Table 1: Eligible Horticulture Crops

Vegetables

Peas, Sugar snaps, Beans, Onions, Potatoes, Carrots, Cherry tomatoes, Mushroom, Butternuts, Baby marrow, Gem squash, Paprika, Chillies

Fruits

Citrus, Banana, Avocado, Grapes, Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Peaches Nectarines, Passion fruit, Apples, Pears, Papaya, Mangoes, Pineapples

Nuts

Macadamia, Cashew, Pecan, Hazelnuts

Cut flowers

 

e)  Women Empowerment Fund

Mr. Speaker Sir, the amount of the loan facility is US$ 15 million and is targeted at financing projects owned and managed by women. It will be disbursed through POSB, commercial banks and micro-finance institutions at an interest rate of 10 percent per annum and up to a maximum tenor of 3 years. Participating financial institutions will determine the loan amount to be issued to applicants.

4.1.3   Mr. Speaker Sir, other funding projects for SMEs and cooperatives being spearheaded by the Ministry of SMEs and Cooperative Development in collaboration with development partners are:

a) OPEC Fund for International Development targeted at Poverty           Alleviation Programmes

Your Committee was informed that the Ministry of SMEs and Cooperative Development secured US$ 7.6 million loan under the OPEC Fund for International Development targeted at Poverty Alleviation Programmes. The fund was earmarked for three provinces, namely; Masvingo, Matebeleand North and Manicaland. It specifically supports the following projects: savings and credit cooperatives, income generating projects; livestock development projects; optimisation of local endowments such as bee-keeping and farming activities; and setting up of entrepreneurial training institutes.

b) Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Livelihoods Project (2016-2020)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) availed US$ 5 million for the Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Livelihoods Project covering four provinces, namely; Binga, Lupane, Nkayi and Gokwe South. Areas targeted by this funding include; technological innovation training, value-addition and start-up support, market access support, micro-credit support and strengthening national and

sub-national capacities.

4.2  FIELD VISITS TO SMES AND COOPERATIVES

During the field visits to SMEs and cooperatives in various provinces of the country, your Committee's findings were as follows:

4.2.1  Bank Accounts

Mr. Speaker Sir, your Committee found out that very few SMEs in the country have bank accounts. Only 40% of small scale miners at Danangwe District Youth in Mining Cooperative in Chegutu were reported to have individual bank accounts at the time of the Committee's visit. SMEs at Mupedzanhamo, Machipisa and Hwedza Women’s Savings and Credit Cooperative informed the Committee that current cash shortages hampered them from opening and making use of bank accounts. Once a deposit is made, it becomes difficult for SMEs and cooperators to withdraw cash in order to restock wares and use in cooperative activities. Additionally, SMEs at Machipisa, Mashumba and Mupedzanhamo informed the Committee that business performance was low due to liquidity challenges currently faced by the country, thus too little profits were generated for them to deposit into bank accounts.

4.2.2  Accessibility of loans

A majority of SMEs indicated that they started business ventures using personal funds and were constrained from accessing bank loans by lack of collateral requirements, such as title deeds and pay slips. Furthermore, exorbitant loan interest rates imposed by banks and fear of attracting stiff penalties in case of failure to repay on time were reported to be major deterrents. Your Committee noted that most SMEs and cooperatives were not aware of the various Government loan facilities which had been launched on 5 May 2017. Players across both sectors expressed a strong desire to borrow affordable loans to purchase their own machinery and expand business ventures, including furniture manufacturers at Kelvin Complex, in Bulawayo, O.B Investments in Gweru and Hwedza Organic Producers Association.

4.2.3  Mediums of exchange

Due to cash shortages currently being experienced in the country, SMEs are finding it difficult to conduct transactions using EcoCash as they are unable to cash out the same. SMEs also denounced the emergence of unscrupulous EcoCash agents who levy a 10 percent charge on all withdrawn amounts. Operators in rural areas have also resorted to barter trade, for example, SMEs at Mukaera Art Village informed the Committee that they accepted products such as grain and clothing in exchange for pottery, baskets, stone sculptures and steel tins.

Mr. Speaker Sir, out of all the provinces and sectors toured by the Committee, none of the SMEs and cooperatives used point of sale machines. This was attributed to lack of information and difficulties in accessing the gadgets from banks as they do not have bank accounts, delays in issuance and non-response to those who applied by banks. The requirement for a bank account in order to access one was outlined as a key factor militating against the use of point of sale machines. In addition, Mr Speaker Sir, SMEs at Mupedzanhamo market informed the Committee that rental charges for point of sale machines were too high, amounting to to $70 per month. Further to that, traders at the same Market highlighted that point of sale machines were “unsuitable” for their brisk business models. Other factors such as lack of electricity and limited internet connectivity at places where SMEs conduct their operations were also raised as factors derailing the uptake of point of sale machines.

Your Committee was informed that some suppliers require “hard cash” upfront while others hiked prices by 5 percent where the medium of exchange is Bond notes or coins in comparison to the United States (US) dollars. Traders at Machipisa Market, in Harare also highlighted that some suppliers required that at least 50 percent currency for purchasing goods be US dollars. Alternatively, some suppliers were reported to reject electronic and mobile money transfers as a way of avoiding high transactional costs. Mr Mutasa of Nyangara Steel Products in Gweru informed the Committee that suppliers who accept electronic money transfers impose higher prices.

4.2.4   Other challenges faced by SMEs and cooperatives

       a) Inadequate infrastructure

A considerable number of SMEs in urban areas conduct their businesses on undesignated areas, due to space challenges. In addition, some rent-paying SMEs operate in open areas where their wares are exposed to weather elements, for example, furniture manufacturers at Guruve Centre and flea market traders at Machipisa. The challenge of ablution facilities was raised by SMEs operating in various areas, including, Mupedzanhamo, Guruve and Machipisa. The Committee learnt that the public toilet at Machipisa had been converted partly into a restraunt and storeroom after “sale” by Harare City Council to a private operator, leaving SMEs to pay for use of such facilities. Markets visited by the Committee were also in a state of dilapidation as evidenced by cracked floors, leaking roofs and sewage pipes exposed at Machipisa and Mupedzanhamo in Harare.

In contrast, cooperative societies such as Danangwe District Youth in Mining Cooperative have built their own offices and clinic at the mining site in Chegutu. Additionally, Hwedza Women’s Savings and Credit Cooperative showed the Committee a shopping mall they were constructing at Hwedza Growth Point during its visit.

b)  High rental charges

       SMEs decried high space rental charges imposed by local authorities in view of poor business performance as shown on the table below:

Table 2: Space rental charges at SME Complexes

 Place

Monthly Rental charges 

Gulf Complex, Harare

$300.00 per 20 square metres

Kelvin Complex, Bulawayo

$150.00 per 4 square metres

Mashumba Complex, Bulawayo

$100.00 per 6 square metres

Mupedzanhamo, Harare

$60.00 per square metre

Mbare Musika, Harare

$37.00 per 1,5 square metres

Machipisa, Harare

$20.00 per square metre

          c) Taxation

     Traders at Mupedzanhamo Market lamented that high customs duty charges imposed by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), currently pegged at $5 per kg for second hand clothing threatened the viability of their businesses. Your Committee learnt that there were about 2000 traders at Mupedzanhamo, out of which none brought goods into the country through the designated ports of entry in order to evade the prohibitive customs duty charges. Traders proposed that import duty for second-hand clothing be reviewed to between $10 and $25 per bale which is affordable.

     d)  Difficulties in acquiring licences

    Danangwe District Youth in Mining Cooperative in Chegutu informed the Committee that despite being registered as a cooperative since 2012 and delivering gold to Fidelity Printers and Refineries progressively over the years, the cooperative experienced difficulties in acquiring a mining licence, due to an ownership wrangle with African Consolidated Resources, now Blackridge Investments. Consequently, there was uncertainty which negatively affected long term planning and infrastructural development at the mining site. Furthermore, Mush Leather Products at Kelvin Complex in Bulawayo bemoaned that exorbitant licencing fees imposed by the State Procurement Board, amounting to $600 to acquire a vendor number prohibited them from bidding for tenders to supply safety shoes to the Bulawayo City Council. Moreover, steel fabricators in Gweru and hardware traders at Machipisa Market informed the Committee that they lacked information on how to acquire import licences.

e)  Exclusion from local business opportunities

       Furniture manufacturers at Mashumba Complex in Bulawayo complained that funeral assurance and service companies in the city shunned their products and instead acquired coffins from other towns or import from neighbouring countries, such as South Africa. In addition, Mr Kwangware of Sun Engineering in Gweru bemoaned that SMEs in the steel fabrication business were looked down upon by Government institutions such as the City Council and Midlands State University which contracted companies based in Bulawayo for purposes of supplying steel products and maintenance services. Furthermore, Nyangara Steel Products and O.B Investments noted that the Government imports steel equipment which SMEs manufacture locally and meet international standards.

      f) Lack of markets

     SMEs visited by the Committee largely sell their products on the local market and require Government assistance to secure external markets, for instance, Nyangara Steel Products in Gweru.  Operators at Mukaera Art Village, in Guruve informed the Committee that the lack of markets for their products was a serious challenge.

g) Defaulting clients

       SMEs at Mashumba Complex decried losses incurred due to defaulting borrowers, particularly, civil servants while O.B Investments in Gweru noted that clients failed to pay for ordered products, such as bus trailers.

      f) Centralisation of services

     Mr P. Moyo at Kelvin Complex in Bulawayo informed your Committee that furniture manufacturers experienced difficulties in acquiring Forestry Commission licences to buy wood due to centralisation of services in Harare.

     5.0   COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS

     5.1   SMEs and cooperatives greatly contribute to the country's GDP in the form of high quality furniture products manufactured at Mashumba and Kelvin Complexes in Bulawayo and gold delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refeneries by Danangwe District Youth in Mining Cooperative in Chegutu, for instance.

    5.2   The $ 2,1 million allocated to SMEDCO in the 2017 National Budget and portion to be ring-fenced from presumptive tax form part of the revolving loan fund for on-lending to the severely capital constrained SMEs.

5.3   The BADEA loan facility which was approved in 2014 for the recapitalisation of SMEDCO has not yet been operationalised and will expire in October 2017.

5.4   Loans under the Cross-Border Facility can only be accessed by members of the Cross Border Association subject to approval by leadership of the Association.

5.5   SMEs experience difficulties in accessing point of sale machines which ultimately affect business performance.

5.6  There is variable pricing of goods and commodities for different mediums of exchange such as cash, EcoCash and electronic money transfers.

5.7   SMEs and cooperatives lack adequate information on available loan facilities and support services offered by the Ministry of SMEs and Cooperative Development.

5.8   High custom duty charges on second-hand clothing currently pegged at $5 per kg discourage compliance and instead fuel smuggling.

5.9   SMEs and cooperatives lack business management and marketing skills.

       5.10 Inadequate infrastructure and high rental space charges are major challenges faced by the SMEs sector.

5.11  SMEs are prohibited from bidding for the supply of goods and services to public entities by expensive charges of acquiring vendor numbers amounting to $600.

5.12 Gold mining and infrastructural development activities by Danangwe District Youth in Mining

        Cooperative are derailed by lack of a mining licence.

5.13 Some funeral assurance and service companies import coffins from neighbouring countries such as South Africa.

6.0   RECOMMENDATIONS

6.1   The Ministry of SMEs and Cooperative Development should immediately publicise available loan facilities and its services through the media, local authorities and elected representatives in both urban and rural areas. District officers should adopt a ‘hands-on’ approach to ensure that SMEs obtain necessary support and information, including advice on taxes and how to acquire import licenses. Key to this is the adequate allocation of financial resources to the Ministry through the National Budget for critical items, such as, furniture and vehicles to equip officers to discharge their duties.

6.2   SMEDCO should expeditiously conclude the Retrenchees' Loan Facility with NSSA and decentralise its banking facilities to district level by December 2017 so that some of the loan facilities targeted at SMEs and cooperatives can be channeled through the entity.

6.3  Approval of loans should, with immediate effect, be left to banking institutions, particularly the Cross-Border Loan Facility in order to enhance fairness and transparency.

6.4  There is need for Government to consider provision of equipment to SMEs and cooperatives in lieu of cash loans as in the case of the Gold Facility.

6.5   The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should disburse the $ 2,1 million allocated to SMEDCO in the 2017 National Budget and finalise modalities of ring-fencing a portion of   presumptive tax for on-lending to SMEs by August 2017.

6.6   The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should find ways of unlocking the BADEA loan facility before it expires in October 2017.

6.7   The Government should increase affordable loan support for SMEs and cooperatives to foster growth and ventures into manufacturing to facilitate resuscitation of local industry.

6.8   The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should, with immediate effect, enforce one pricing regime for cash, mobile and electronic transactions.

6.9   Banking institutions should immediately issue point of sale machines free of charge. This should be accompanied by educational campaigns by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in collaboration with Ministry of SMEs and Cooperative Development on the use of point of sale machines.

6.10   The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should operationalise the Movable Property Security Interests Bill and Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Bill without delay, once they become law, to facilitate access to loans and business opportunities by SMEs and cooperatives.

6.11   The Ministry of SMEs and Cooperative Development should intensify business management training programmes for SMEs   and cooperatives in both rural and urban areas.

6.12   The Ministry of SMEs and Cooperative Development should continuously facilitate business linkages between SMEs and cooperatives on one hand, and large corporates, for example, furniture manufacturers at Mashumba and funeral service companies in Bulawayo; and steel fabricators in Gweru and the City Council, among others.

6.13   The Ministry of SMEs and Cooperative Development should vigorously assist SMEs and cooperatives to secure markets for their products locally and regionally.

6.14   The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should review customs duty for second-hand clothing downwards from $5 per kg to $0,20 per kg which is affordable in order to foster compliance and benefit the fiscus.

6.15   The State Procurement Board should simplify the tendering process and reduce vendor number charges by 50 percent to $ 300 to enable SMEs and cooperatives to compete for the supply of goods and services to public entities.

6.16   The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, in collaboration with the Ministry of SMEs and Cooperative Development, should endeavor to provide adequate infrastructure at affordable cost to SMEs and cooperatives countrywide by December 2017, taking into consideration the depressed business environment they are operating in.

6.17 The Ministry of Industry and Commerce should, with immediate effect ban the importation of coffins.

6.18 The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development should resolve the ownership dispute over Danangwe mining claim in Chegutu by December 2017 to enable small-scale miners to operate smoothly, without any hindrance.

7.0    CONCLUSION

Mr. Speaker Sir, the efforts being made by Government to provide capital to SMEs and cooperatives are commendable. However, more can be done to facilitate the financial inclusion of this critical sector by addressing the fundamental issues highlighted above and earnest implementation of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2016 - 2020). If offered the necessary support, SMEs and cooperatives can turn around Zimbabwe's economy. Steel fabricators visited by the Committee in Gweru exhibited great manufacturing potential, for instance, Sun Engineering manufactures fork lifts and farming implements, among other products. According to the World Bank (2017), financial inclusion is a key enabler for 7 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It is in the national interest for us to leverage on the financial inclusion of SMEs and cooperatives to spur the country’s economic growth.

          *HON. KWARAMBA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  This is a very good programme of financial inclusion because it alleviates poverty.  As you have heard, people face a lot of challenges in the SMEs. Taxes are very high and people are not able to pay their debts, on the market places they sell from anywhere and their wares are affected if it rains and they fail to pay back the loans.  We have also heard about toilets.  At Machipisa, some of the toilets have been turned into beer halls and they sell their wares without proper ablution facilities. The rents that they pay are very high and they cannot pay taxes; the money that they got from the RBZ, they will not be able to repay the loans.  Lastly, those who operate these SMEs need to be educated on how to manage their businesses so that they will be able to pay back their loans.  Thank you. 

          HON. MANGAMI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My I take this opportunity to thank my seconder Hon. Kwaramba for seconding this report.  Since we are aware that the Ministry no longer exists, I move that this House takes note of the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprise and Cooperative Development on the state of Financial Inclusion of Small and Medium Enterprises, Cooperatives and other challenges affecting this sector in Zimbabwe.

          Motion put and adopted. 

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 136TH ASSEMBLY OF THE INTER PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU) HELD IN BANGLADESH

          HON. CHAKONA:  Mr. Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name:

          That this House takes note of the Report of the delegation to the 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), held in Dhaka,   

Bangladesh, from the 1st to 5th April, 2017.

          HON. MACHINGURA:  I second.

          HON. CHAKONA:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. This is the report of the 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 1st to 5th April, 2017.

Introduction

The 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 1st  to 5th April, 2017 under the overarching theme “Redressing Inequalities: Delivering on Dignity and Wellbeing for All”.

The Assembly was attended by delegations from 126 Member Parliaments including Zimbabwe. Accordingly, Hon. Edna Madzongwe, President of the Senate led a Parliamentary delegation comprising the following Members and officers of Parliament to the 136th Assembly of the IPU and Related Meetings:-

Hon. Paradzayi Chakona, Member of Parliament;

Hon. William Mutomba, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Amos Chibaya, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Raymore Machingura, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Justice Mayor Wadyajena, Member of Parliament;

Hon. Betty Nhambu, Member of Parliament;

Mr. Kennedy M. Chokuda, Clerk of Parliament;

Mr. Ndamuka Marimo, Director in the Clerk’s Office;

Mrs. Roselyn M. Makoni, Director in the President of the Senate’s Office;

Ms. Rumbidzai P. Chisango, Principal External Relations Officer and Secretary to the Delegation; and

Mr. Gift Chinyemba, Security-Aide to the President of the Senate.

Mr. Kennedy Chokuda and Mr. Ndamuka Marimo attended Meetings of the Association for the Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP) held concurrently with the Meetings of the IPU.

SADC and Africa Geopolitical Group Meetings

As per established tradition, the SADC and Africa Geopolitical Groups held their meetings prior to the 135th Plenary Assembly in a bid to reach consensus on issues under consideration during the Assembly, specifically the emergency item for inclusion on the Agenda of the Assembly and vacancies to be filled during the Assembly.

Of particular note on vacancies to be filled during the Assembly is that Hon. Betty Nhambu and Hon Member from Mali were nominated by the Africa Group to fill vacancies in the Committee for Human Rights of Parliamentarians. Sadly the two lost to representatives from Iceland and France during an election held during the Governing Council Meeting on 05 April 2017.

With regards to the emergency item for inclusion on the Agenda, the Africa Group meeting resolved to support the merged Item submitted by Belgium, Kenya and the United Kingdom on “International Action to Save Millions of People from Famine and Drought in Parts of Africa and Yemen”.

Official Opening of the 136th Assembly of the IPU and Related Meetings

The 136th Assembly of the IPU and Related Meetings was officially opened on 01 April 2017 in the presence of H.E. the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Ms. Sheikh Hasina.

In her welcome remarks during the Inaugural Ceremony, Hon. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh, chronicled the history, culture, cuisine and achievements attained by Bangladesh since independence with particular focus on poverty alleviation and gender parity among others. The Hon Speaker called on Parliaments to build an equitable, inclusive and peaceful world.

In a speech read on his behalf, Mr. A. Guterrers, United Nations Secretary General, noted the importance of links between the United Nations and the IPU. He acknowledged the role Parliamentarians can play in turning aspirations into action. In this regard, he welcomed the theme of the Assembly and called for the creation of a more compassionate, inclusive and peaceful world.

Speaking at the same occasion, Hon. Saber Chowdhury, President of the IPU, reaffirmed the IPU’s position in major conflict areas including the two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, peace on the Korean Peninsula, an end to the conflict in Syria, a solution to the crisis in Yemen and an end to the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. The President of the IPU urged Parliamentarians to find alternatives to the current model of wealth distribution.

Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the IPU, articulated the programme of the 136th Assembly of the IPU paying particular attention to issues under consideration. In this regard, he underscored the need for the Assembly to recommend specific, actionable outcomes on how to tackle inequality.

In her address during the Inaugural Ceremony, H.E. Sheikh Hasina, gave a passionate rendition of the country’s path to freedom and democracy. She outlined efforts made by Bangladesh to build a democratic and just society including through strengthening democratic institutions and ensuring an independent and vibrant media. She called on Member Parliaments to implement the outcomes of the Assembly at National Level.

Emergency Item

The proposal put forward jointly by Belgium, Kenya and the United Kingdom entitled “Urgent Action to Save Millions of People from Famine and Drought in Parts of Africa and Yemen” was adopted and added to the Agenda.

General Debate

The General Debate on the theme “Redressing Inequalities: Delivering on Dignity and Well Being for All” provided an opportunity for Member Parliaments to exchange views, share good practices and propose recommendations for addressing the rising levels of inequality in the world. The interventions formed the basis for the Dhaka Communique adopted by the Assembly.

As per established tradition, a High Level Segment introduced the theme to the General Assembly. Hon. Margaret Mensah- Williams, President of the Forum of Women Parliamentarians provided a gender perspective on the theme. She underscored the need for Parliamentarians to address gender inequality through enacting legislation.

The youth perspective was articulated by Hon. S. Remeithi, President of the Forum of Young Parliamentarians who emphasized the need to address inequalities as discrimination and marginalization put the youth at risk of becoming involved in violence and conflict.

The keynote address was delivered by Mr. K. Satyarthi, Nobel Prize Laureate and Honorary President of the Global March against Child Labour, who chronicled his experiences in the global movement to end child slavery and exploitation. He called on Parliamentarians to take determined action to ensure the dignity of children and their wellbeing.

The Hon. President of the Senate’s Contribution to the General Debate

Hon. Edna Madzongwe, President of the Senate, joined distinguished delegates in making a contribution to the general debate on the theme, “Redressing Inequalities: Delivering on Dignity and Well Being for All”

In her statement, Hon Madzongwe made reference to current global economic and political environment which she described as fraught with imbalances. She emphasized the need to address inequality as a way of guaranteeing responsible political development and stability. In this regard, Parliaments have an important role to play in redressing inequalities.

Hon. Madzongwe took the opportunity to share Zimbabwe’s initiatives to redress inequalities arising from the country’s colonial history of racial discrimination and unequal development. She highlighted programmes such as provision of free health care and education, Fast Track Land Reform Programme and economic empowerment and indigenization which have been put in place to redress inequalities.

She mentioned the Zimbabwe Constitution which codifies the principle of equality and non-discrimination.

200th Session of the Governing Council

The Governing Council, per its mandate, took note of and approved recommendations on a number of issues including the implementation of the IPU Strategy, financial statements of the IPU, cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU, reports of specialised meetings and the amendments of the IPU Statutes.

Of particular note is that the Membership of the IPU has increased to 173 National Parliaments following the approval of the request for affiliation by the Central African Republic and the Parliament of Tuvalu.

The Governing Council also approved the unanimous recommendation by the Executive Committee to appoint Mr. Martin Chungong, current Secretary General for a second term in Office.

The Forum of Women Parliamentarians

The Forum of Women Parliamentarians was attended by Hon. Edna Madzongwe and Hon. Betty Nhambu.

The Forum considered, from a gender perspective, the draft resolution entitled “Promoting Enhanced International Cooperation on the SDGs, in Particular on the Financial Inclusion of Women as a Driver of Development”. The meeting agreed that it was essential to create a favourable environment for financial inclusion of women by ensuring equality before the law, especially, in areas such as work, family, property and inheritance. Delegates underscored the need to promote innovative financial services accessible to all women, including in rural areas, and that proper access to those services had to be linked to training, mentoring and financial education programmes.

Forum of Young Parliamentarians of the IPU

The Forum of Young Parliamentarians was attended by Hon. Mayor Wadyajena, Hon. Amos Chibaya and Hon. Nhambu.  The Young Parliamentarians outlined their country experiences with regards to youth participation in politics highlighting the achievements and challenges in their respective countries. In order to enhance youth participation at IPU Assemblies, Member Parliaments were encouraged to include the youngest members of their parliaments in delegations to IPU Assemblies.

The young parliamentarians discussed their contributions to the business of the 136th Assembly, focusing on means of securing youth inclusion, not only in education, employment, civic participation and political leadership, but also in community life, sports and arts.

Resolutions Adopted at the 136th IPU Assembly

Dhaka Communiqué on Redressing Inequalities: Delivering on Dignity and Well Being For All: The Communiqué recognizes the problem of inequality in all its forms – social, economic and political. Unemployment, lack of productive assets, limited access to education and health care, exclusion of people from political processes, exclusion of women from financial sectors, small number of multi-nationals in different sectors of the economy are some of the factors identified as the symptoms of inequalities.

The Communique welcomed Goal Number 10 of the United Nations SDGs which calls on the International Community to reduce inequalities within and among countries. The Communique, therefore calls for a holistic approach in addressing the challenges. It recommends that National Parliaments consider adopting the following measures to address the problem of inequality and to ensure that no one is left behind:-

1.    Strengthening Legal systems;

2.    Making Parliaments more representative;

3.    Making the economy work for all;

4.    Strengthening social dialogue and human capital; and

5.    Improving International Cooperation.

The Assembly adopted, by consensus a Resolution by the Standing Committee on Peace and International Security on “The Role of Parliament in Respecting the Principle of Non Interference in the Internal Affairs of the State”. The Resolution recognises the principle of refraining from the threat or use of force and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign States as part of the fundamental pillars of international law and international relations. The resolution notes that it is the responsibility of parliaments to strengthen democracy, promote, protect and encourage respect for human rights, support dialogue, encourage the peaceful settlement of internal disputes, take all necessary actions to consolidate national unity and peaceful negotiations among different sectors of society, and prevent the forcible overthrow of democratically elected and legitimate governments. In this regard, Parliaments were urged to, among others:-

Protect and promote all human rights;

Establish national legal bases and mechanisms to prevent or counter external interference;

Work on conflict prevention and implementing peace building strategies;

Put in place mechanisms to ensure that there is representation in the institutions of government of persons with disabilities, minorities and other marginalized groups; and

Consider ways to increase the number of young people involved in decision-making processes at all levels.

The Assembly adopted a Resolution submitted by the Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade on “Promoting Enhanced International Cooperation on the SDGs, in Particular, the Financial Inclusion of Women as Drivers of Development” The resolution underscores the importance of creating a favourable environment for the financial inclusion of women by ensuring equality before the law, especially in areas such as work, family, property and inheritance, and the importance of ensuring that women can live a life free from violence, enjoy their right to education and access to health. In this regard, the Resolution calls on Parliaments to:-

·       Take appropriate measures to remove legal provisions that discriminate against women in areas such as work, family, property and inheritance;

·       Adopt legal frameworks and policies that increase financial inclusion in general, the financial inclusion of women in particular;

·       Encourage the implementation of educational programmes for women and girls aimed at developing the knowledge and expertise of women to access financial services and financial literacy;

·       Promote the inclusion of women in the extensive use of widely accessible information and communication technologies that facilitate women's access to digital financial services; and

·       Adopt and promote policies and laws that enhance fair competition practices in the provision of financial services.

The Assembly adopted by consensus, the Resolution on the Emergency Item on “Urgent International Action to Save Millions of People from Famine and Drought in Parts of Africa and Yemen” The Resolution recognises drought and conflict as major causes of famine. Furthermore, the Resolution recognizes the devastating effects of famine on both humans and livestock. In this regard, the Resolution calls for Parliaments to:-

1.    Prioritize legislation that promotes food security and proper mitigation measures against famine and drought;

2.    Encourage their governments to contribute to the extensive international campaign of the United Nations to raise funds in order to finance the fight against the famine;

Furthermore, the Resolution calls on the United Nations and the international community to remain focused on those most vulnerable to the current drought and famine conditions, especially women, children and the elderly.

The Assembly noted the report of the Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights. The Committee held an interactive debate on “Sharing our Diversity: The 20th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights”. Delegates noted that democracy was a process that was never fully achieved. Furthermore, delegates noted that the road to democracy is not easy, and requires constant commitment to work with the people. There was a strong agreement on the universality of the principles of democracy, as set out in the Universal Declaration on Democracy.

The Committee also held another interactive debate on “Act now for adolescents: the role of Parliamentarians in Promoting Adolescent Health and Well-being”. The debate focused on the causes of adolescent deaths such as road traffic injuries, suicide, unsafe abortions and early maternity. With regards to issues of adolescent health, it was agreed that passing laws, allocating budgets, and monitoring the status of adolescent health and well-being were necessary steps to improving the health and well – being of adolescents.

The Assembly noted the report of the Standing Committee of the United Nations Affairs. The Committee discussed Parliamentary follow-up of the SDGs in preparation for the 2017 session of the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The debate emphasized the strong role Parliaments need to play to build national ownership of the SDGs while ensuring the “domestication” of that global framework to each country’s specific context. It was noted that financing would be key to the success of the SDGs and that parliaments must work to ensure sufficient resources through the budget process.

The Committee also deliberated on the main theme of the 2017 HLPF, “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”. Delegates noted the importance of ensuring that the needs and interests of the most vulnerable sectors of society were considered and properly addressed. In this regard, policies targeting the most vulnerable groups are key to poverty eradication.

The Assembly endorsed the Executive Committee Statement on the Situation in Venezuela. The Statement endorsed the concerns of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians on the cases before it of current and former parliamentarians from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuelan. The IPU expressed grave concern at the deteriorating political, economic and social situation in Venezuela. The Statement urges all sides to the crisis in Venezuela to dialogue as the sole means of resolving the current crisis and to ensure a speedy return to normalcy in the interest of the Venezuelan people.

Recommendations

It is pertinent to note that there are recurring issues for action by Member parliaments which have come up in Resolutions adopted by previous IPU Assemblies. Such issues include gender parity, implementation of the SDGs to address social inequalities, climate change issues, increasing youth participation at all levels in decision making positions and increasing the number of young Parliamentarians attending IPU Assemblies and human rights issues.

 

ITEM

ACTION

RESPONSIBILITY

TIMELINE

1.

Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

 

 

-           Parliaments must continue raising awareness and ensuring that the SDGs are localised and implemented through the expanded SDGs Committee.

 

-           The gender dimension should be included.

 

-           Issues of redressing inequalities as articulated by Goal Number 10 of the SDGs.

 

-           Allocating sufficient resources through the budget process.

 

 

SDGs Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Committees on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Health and Child Care, Women Affairs, Gender and Economic Development, Education, Sport and Culture

The Committee must meet and draw up a Plan of Action

2

Promoting adolescent health

-           Enacting relevant laws

-           Allocating sufficient resources through the budget process

The Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care to spearhead the process

By December 2017

3

 

Increasing Youth representation and participation in Parliament

-           Parliament must continue including Young Parliamentarians in delegations to international fora

Presiding Officers and Chief Whips

By December 2017

-           Advocating for youth quotas in Parliament by influencing Political Parties to include the youth as candidates during elections

Parliament to engage political parties through their Chief Whips

By December 2017

4

Human Rights

-           Parliamentarians must protect human rights and be champions of upholding and defending Human Rights, speaking out where violations occur

-           Engage the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC)

AU, SADC Parliamentarians

By December 2017

5

Combating effects of drought and famine

-           Prioritizing legislation that promotes food security and mitigation against drought and famine.

Portfolio Committee on Agriculture

By December 2017

6

Learning Best Practices on topical issues

-           Parliament must continue engaging other Parliaments on best practices on topical issues, such as Climate Change, Women Participation in Politics and SDGs through exchange visits and capacity Building Programmes.

All Portfolio and Thematic Committees to include the issues in their Work Plans

By December  2017

 

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

          HON. CHAKONA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 15th March, 2018

                   On the motion of HON. RUNGANI seconded by HON. CHAKONA, the House adjourned at Seventeen minutes to Five o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 14 MARCH 2017 VOL 44 NO 47