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SENATE HANSARD 01 NOVEMBER 2018 VOL 28 no 15

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 1st November, 2018

The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p. m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Madam President. I am excited that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is around today because we have been asking for him to come.  I would like the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to clarify the currency which we are using today vis-a-vis the application of the bond, RTGS and movement of money through phones. I will have a follow up question on that.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Thank you Madam Speaker. First of all, let me say that I will be very happy to give a full statement on the state of the economy.  I hope I will be afforded an opportunity to do that during the course of this afternoon.  I was asked to prepare and yesterday I gave a Statement to Members of Parliament in the National Assembly and I am happy to present it again here today.   I will now proceed if it is okay…

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Maybe we have to agree in this House that since the Minister is going to give a Statement like he is saying, can we start by asking other Ministers then we have that Statement. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- I think you agree with me that we give a chance to those who are answering short questions and the Minister will come up with his statement. 

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Madam President, I thought he is talking of the state of the economy, I only asked about the currency.  

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think the Minister is saying he will take time since he was asked yesterday to bring in a statement so that we understand fully what is happening. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

Hon. Member you asked to know which Ministers are in the House. We have:-

1.    The Minister of Informantion, Publicity,  Media and Broadcasting Services.

2.    The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education

3.    The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

4.    The Deputy Minister of Informantion, Media and Broadcasting Services.

5.    The Minister of Finance and Economic Development

6.    The Minister of Agriculture.

7.    The Deputy Minister of Defence

8.    The Deputy Minister of Agriculture; and

9.    The Deputy Miniter of Mines

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President. I am going to reserve my question to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. I have burning issues and I am hoping that after he has finished giving his Statement, we are going to be allowed to ask him questions.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI:  Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.  What programmes do you have in place to encourage women and children that are in higher and tertiary education to pursue journalism as an area of study? I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for the pertinent question which is very important. One of the mandates of the Ministry of Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services is to ensure that what is contained in the Constitution of Zimbabwe that talks about gender equity is important.  We want to see a situation where women become the majority in terms of journalists, editors and media house owners, so we are constantly encouraging each other to adhere with the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe and that clearly came out during our discussions on how best we can come up with a fund to incentivise women so that they can take up journalism and that there is a balance between males and females in the media.  I thank you Madam President

HON. SEN ENG. KHUPE:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans.  When is the Ministry going to complete the verification of collaborators who participated in the war of liberation so that at the end of the day we know the data base, how many are they?  I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MATEMADANDA):  Thank you Madam President.  I also want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  We are waiting for the finalisation of alignment of laws that will facilitate the vetting.  In fact, anything to do with war collaborators has to conform to the laws of the land.  So, it depends on how long the alignment will take, but we are trying to have it as soon as possible.  Thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  What plans are there to ensure that our rivers remain full with water and that they are not affected by siltation because siltation has affected our livestock and game?

*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. CHIEF AIR MARSHAL SHIRI):  The issue of the conservation of rivers is important.  A lot of our rivers are now silted because of the soil that is being washed away during the rainy season.  This is caused by human activities which result in soil erosion and as a result, the soil is washed into the rivers.  This is also caused by lack of cultivating effective soil conservation in fields and the soil ends up in the rivers.

 So, the issue of conservation is very important in particular the avoidance of stream bank cultivation so that there is no soil erosion and by the end of the day our rivers and dams are not silted.  We work in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism so that we ensure that our rivers and dams are not silted because water is life, without it we shall all perish.  We have an awareness programme which we are vigorously pursuing so that people know about the importance of soil conservation and the pitfalls of stream bank cultivation.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. S. NCUBE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Pubic Service, Labour and Social Welfare.  Minister, what is Government policy on maternity leave?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA):  The policy on maternity leave is that it does not really matter when a woman starts work.  As soon as she starts work and she gets pregnant, she is allowed to take maternity leave.  We have also put into place that she has hours to go home and breast feed as opposed to the last policy which only allowed a woman to take maternity leave when she has been on the job for 12 months.  That has changed.  Thank you.

HON. SEN. S. NCUBE:  Minister, are you aware that there are some…

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Address the Chair Hon. Member.

HON. SEN. S. NCUBE:  Madam President, is the Minister aware that there are some people who are chased out of work because of going for maternity.  I thank you.

HON. DR. NZENZA:  Thank you once again.  I am not aware but at the same time I am not surprised.  I would very much want to have those kinds of situations written down and sent to my office and we will investigate.

*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA:  Thank you Madam President.  May the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services inform us as to why Zimbabwe as a country that became independent in 1980, has a single television station.  Why do we not have a multiplicity of television players?  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA):  Thank you Madam President.  I believe if she once read she might have observed that as the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, in the next 100 days our mandate is to issue out licences to private television operators or players.  We are looking forward to about 6 more television stations coming on board so that we give our viewers variety and that there is competition in that industry which will culminate in quality viewing and content that helps our people in learning a lot of things.  It is an issue that we are seriously looking at in the second republic so that we open up our airwaves.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA:   Are these television operators going to be independent and not be under ZBC, that they will be free to air their own programming.

*HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA:  I would like to tell Hon. Chifamba that at present our Ministry is not interfering with what is occurring at ZBC.  We only give policy which guides them.  There are editors who ensure that the type of news that comes through ZBC is in line with the policy.  It is not the duty of Government to force television stations to broadcast what Government wants, but to broadcast what the people of Zimbabwe want.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. ZIVIRA:  My question is going to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The Leader of Government Business Hon. Ziyambi is not in, but I think we are going to look into that Hon. Member.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  You announced that the Leader of Government Business is the Minister of Agriculture. Why does it take you a lot of time to announce the presidential results?  Furthermore why do ZEC employees wear political regalia?  Why were they employed when they are political players?  When are the election reforms going to be made?  I want to find out what happened to the 2.6 million votes that the child garnered.  What became of them?  Give the child his things. 

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Let us ask policy questions Hon. Member so that the Minister will be able to answer the question.

          *THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL SETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. CHIEF AIR MARSHAL SHIRI):  Madam President, I would like to thank the Senator for her question.  As to why it takes a long time to have the presidential election results announced – the Constitution is very clear on that issue.  It gives a clear timeline within which election results should be announced.  If the election results are announced within the stipulated time they will not have been delayed.  On the issue of ZEC officials wearing party regalia – I urge you to give us sufficient evidence on where they were seen wearing which political party regalia.  This will enable us to answer the question properly.  Also what exactly are you referring to by regalia, is it the t/shirt, cap or what? 

The last question was on reforms, let me state that there is a procedure which is followed for reforms to be done.  So, if there are those that believe there should be amendments, they should come up in the form of motions and once they are adopted the people’s resolve will be done.

          HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education.  I understand that in Zimbabwe we have three higher learning institutions which are training legal practitioners namely: University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Great Zimbabwe University (GZU), Midlands State University (MSU) and Ezekiel Guti University (EGU).  The question is; in some of these institutions when the students qualify, they cannot be registered as lawyers to practice in Zimbabwe.  What is the policy regarding that because in my industry when a medical school is registered, it is also approved by the Medical Council, which is the Board which authorises someone to practice as a doctor when they are trained.  But we do not see that happening in law because as far as the information that I have is concerned, GZU and EGU are not registered by the Law Society or the Board responsible to enable them to automatically practice after qualifying like the ones who train at UZ and MSU.

          THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MURWIRA):  Thank you Hon Senator for that question.  All law degrees in the country conform to the dictates as laid out in the minimum bodies of knowledge of law through the ZIMCHAIR Act as well as governed by the dictates of the syllabi that is followed.  If there is any particular case where students are not automatic practitioners, then that will be an issue that we will be very happy to look into in particular.  However, what we have done with our higher and tertiary education system is to make sure that we have what we call minimum bodies of knowledge, not only for law but for medicine and now any other degree has to have a minimum body of knowledge so that when a degree is offered at MSU and it is called law, it should be the same in terms of content, 70%-80% overlap with the one offered at X.Y and Z.

 So, now through Statutory Instrument 132 of 2018 which was enacted on 20 July 2018, which we call the Zimbabwe National Qualification Framework we are putting away all those disparities in terms of qualification for all degrees.  It might be in law but law was actually much better than all the other degrees.  If you do crop science for instance at Chinhoyi  and Lupane or Solusi universities, the crop sciences were different and our question was, so what is a degree in crop science. So, through this Statutory Instrument, we are putting Zimbabwe’s education system at a level where it is transparent within itself so that it can be trusted from outside and we can say study in Zimbabwe from outside.

+HON. SEN. P. NDHLOVU: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  When we were campaigning you were giving seed maize on partisan lines.  People are fighting over the inputs that were given because others were not given.

THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. CHIEF AIR MARSHAL SHIRI):  Thank you Madam President.  Government policy is that whenever ...

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS:  On a point of order Madam President.  The Hon. Sen. asked in Ndebele so he should respond in Ndebele.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Every Hon Member is allowed to debate in any language he or she feels like.

HON. TIMVEOS:  Madam President, she cannot hear that is why she asked in Ndebele and you always do that even in the last Parliament.

THE PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Member we cannot do that.  Hon Member, you can proceed in the language you feel you want to use.

*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. CHIEF AIR MARSHAL SHIRI):  Madam President, I would like to explain to the Hon Member that Government policy is when it gives inputs to the people they are not given on partisan lines or any other discriminatory basis. The Ministry does not discriminate on the basis of religious or political affiliation. I do not discount the fact that there could be one or two bad eggs doing that but if that does happen, we have district administrators, Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs as well as my Ministry officials, that once that anomaly is brought to their attention they quickly intervene and correct the anomaly. It is not Government policy and there are several areas where people have been given inputs without any issue of political bias being raised. As the responsible Ministry, it is difficult to tell one’s political persuasion and more-so it is our policy that all Zimbabweans should benefit, regardless of their political affiliation. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MAKONE: Thank you Madam President. The response by the Minister of Agriculture is well understood. He has admitted that there could be a few bad eggs in the basket and once that person is known and the necessary procedures are taken - yet nothing happens.  Is there anything else that he can tell us on how best we can handle it in case there is no solution at district or provincial levels, because such people going against the grain may be known.

          *HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI: I said once those people are found, they will be dealt with and the point is they have not been found and they have not been dealt with. If that was done yesterday and the person is known, we have those law enforcement agents and it is important that the laws of the country are upheld so that we live harmoniously as Zimbabweans. Once some people have committed a crime, they must be dealt with. I thank you.  

          *HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: The Minister has said the Councilors are the ones that do the correct things in distributing inputs yet it is the Councilors who are busy campaigning using these inputs. May the Minister come up with a mechanism to ensure that your Councilors do not use distribute these inputs on partisan lines.  In fact a different structure should be introduced.

          *HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI: Madam President the modus operandi is that Councilors, District Administrators and other civil servants are also involved in the process of distributing farming inputs. It is also worth noting that these Councilors in the rural areas belong to one political party, so we are saying it is inherent in all of them to be biased against people who do not belong to their parties? I would want to hear a party in this House that does not have Councillors in the communal areas. All Councillors are involved in the distribution of these inputs and if there are some Councillors failing to distribute the inputs equitably, please inform us so that as leaders, we correct that and ensure the system works. If someone has gone astray, let that be immediately corrected so that our country moves forward in unity.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government. What is Government policy regarding rural development because we found that Chiefs are not involved in Rural District Councils yet the Traditional Leaders Act stipulates that Chiefs should be involved in rural development programmes. Therefore, what the Government Policy regarding exclusion of Chiefs among other institutions dealing with rural development in the country? I thank you.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. MHLANGA): Thank you Madam President and may I thank you Hon. Sen. Chief Chikwaka for his question. My response is that the Traditional Leaders’ institution is very important regarding local government. In a short while we are going to have a Traditional Leaders Bill that will be before this August House so that we can work hand  glove and so that they become strong players in developmental issues. I thank you Madam President.

          *THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I believe the Hon. Chiefs have heard it.   

          *HON. SEN. CHIKWAKA: My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. What steps are you taking to come up with the producer price for wheat, maize and other small grains for the 2019 season?

*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL SETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI): Madam President as of now, we have not yet come up with the producer prices for wheat and maize because we have not yet produced hence we do not know yet what the cost of inputs is going to be. Once we know and that is towards the end of the season, we can come up with the producer price, taking into consideration the costs that the farmers will have incurred to produce a particular product. It is still a bit too early for us to come up with the producer prices for maize, wheat and other small grains. Thank you Madam President.

*HON. SEN. CHABUKA: Thank you Madam President my question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care and in his absence may the Hon. Leader of the House respond to that question. Madam President in this country we are talking about health promotion and improvement. Has the Minister taken any steps as regards the drug that was illegally brought into this country by Prophet Magaya? I am asking because the corrupt people may see the drug being distributed in a bid to raise money. What steps have been taken so that people continue to use the approved drugs from the Ministry of Health? Thank you.

 *THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL SETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI): Madam President, I know that the question regards a controversial issue. Some people are for this information whilst some are against it therefore it is important that the Minister of Health comes here to elucidate. I do not want to go astray. I thank you.

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I believe you are going to tell him that, so that this can be done.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHITANGA:  Thank you Hon. President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  How far has Government gone in terms of the areas of jurisdiction?  I am talking of the new areas pertaining the gazette of boundaries in resettlement areas.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. MHLANGA):  Thank you Madam President.  I would want to thank the Hon. Senator for his question.  May you put that question in writing?  I thank you.

*THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  You are being asked to put the question in writing so that they can go and research.  It is allowed.  I thank you. 

*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA:  My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  We have our young men who are in the communal lands whom we refer to as artisanal miners and are now being referred to as small miners.  When these young men are busy mining, we hear that at times they run into problems and that the mine has collapsed and they have been trapped underground.  Do you have modern machinery or ways that will enable them to safely conduct mining? 

My second question Madam President is that, commercial mining entities had tributes and they are not using these tributes but, the youth cannot take these tributes.  Can you not adopt the use it or lose it policy?  I thank you.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA):  Thank you Madam President and thank you Hon. Senator for your question that some miners are being trapped in the mines.  As a Ministry, we are conducting some awareness campaigns where we are moving around mining areas.  We are gathering the miners and teaching them on the best methods of mining as well as encouraging them to cover up the pits that they would have excavated.  We are working together with the tourism Ministry and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) so that those that are doing stream bank mining are allowed and some people are also into excavating in the river beds and they are collapsing and dying in there.

  So, we are doing some campaigns. There is the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation, its leadership such as women and mining and youth and mining, we have discussed with them over such issues and we encourage them to conduct safe mining so that we have sustainable mining which is safe.

On the issue of claims or tributes that are not being used, last week we informed all our provincial mining directors to give us a list of claims that are not being utilised.  A claim might have been taken 20 years ago but without any returns.  So, we are saying such types of claims – we need information so that we can allocate it to the youth and war veterans who are eager to do mining and we have other various groups that are also interested in mining.

This is what we are doing as a Ministry.  Even claims for large mining corporations which have not been doing anything for the past years, we would want to have that information because others are merely paying their fees without utilising it.  We are still to decide as to whether we can allocate these mines or tributaries to the youth, women or war veterans or any other stakeholders.  I thank you Madam President. 

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  Madam President, how long does it take after you have a claim to get a licence because, you will want to go and mine.  How long does it take to get a licence issued?

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Is it originating from the first one.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  Of course because people are mining in a different way.  When you now get a real licence, how long does it take?

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  It is only because you are asking that question to the same Minister, that I can agree to let the Minister answer but that is a separate question from  the original one.

HON. KAMBAMURA: Thank you Madam President.  Previously it used to take long for one to get a mining title.  We had a strategic meeting three weeks ago in Kariba as a Ministry and all stakeholders and we agreed that at least, one should get a mining title within two weeks because there are a lot of issues to be done.  We have to go to the ground for surveys and verifications so as to avoid disputes.  Thank you very much.

+HON. SEN. P. NDLOVU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.  Children fall into these mines and some people live from faraway places to Gwanda and they fall and get injured beyond recognition.  How do you help such people and communities that would have sent the children to go and fetch ore at the mines and they have no money to bury these children?  I thank you.

 HON. KAMBAMURA:   Sorry Madam President.  I do not understand and can I have the question to be interpreted.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I think what we can do is just to have it written so that the Minister will answer her.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: My supplementary question is on the issue of mines and children being trapped in these mines and some of these causes are argumentative when they go and over peg and others come.  Is it correct that one can be issued with a claim that includes other people’s claims within that radius, for instance 20 km radius and in that 20 km radius; there are other people’s claims.  When they go onto the ground to mine, they fight over it in terms of operations and then some other people are trapped in these mines.  I thank you.

HON. KAMBAMURA:  Thank you Madam President.  I know that the issue of people disputing the claims is because the mines will not have been properly pegged, we did not have the GPS and people would use a beacon of physical things for the pegs. At the moment the modus operandi is that a surveyor is sent with GPS so that they peg the area properly.

It does not matter whether someone’s claim is within another miner’s claim. If the areas are properly pegged, there should not be any problems. If there are people who had their mines pegged using trees – from this particular tree to the other, they must go to the Ministry of Mines and ensure that their mines are repegged because we are having a lot of disputes which has caused others to lose limps or even die because they are fighting over the pegs of these mines. If there are such areas, please come forward so that our team can come to the ground and resolve such issues. I thank you Madam President.

+HON. SEN. NYATHI: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Hon Minister, are you aware that there is no electricity at Kamativi Mine due to vandalism and theft? What is Government doing to ensure that the people at the mine have electricity? Secondly, are you going to bring to book the people who vandalised the lines because this problem has been there for a long time.

THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHAL SHIRI): Electricity is a key driver of economic growth in our country and as such those who vandalise and steal electricity infrastructure should be prosecuted. I have no doubt in my mind that the police together with ZESA loss control department are out in full force looking for the culprits.  On the issue of whether the infrastructure will be repaired, I believe that ZESA as the power utility will repair what was vandalised.

*HON. SEN. RWAMBIWA: My question is directed to the Minister of  Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Is the Minister aware of the high cost of agricultural inputs out there? Since a lot of our people derive their livelihood from agriculture, how are they going to survive if they do not embark on agricultural activities this season?

*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHAL SHIRI): Madam President, I am quite aware that the prices of agricultural inputs had skyrocketed to levels beyond the reach of many of our farmers. Be that as it may, His Excellency, the President Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa called for a meeting at State House this Monday and the meeting drew Cabinet Ministers and captains of industry and commerce. The meeting was very progressive in that soon after the meeting, the prices of most seeds came down by almost 50%.

The President went further to call for another meeting between Government and the producers of seed and fertilizer. The purpose of the meeting was to review downwards the prices of inputs.  I must say that talks are still ongoing between Government and captains of industry with a view to stabilise the prices. I must point out that Government is not controlling the prices at the moment and will not dictate what prices should producers charge for their products. 

There is nothing that prevents us as Zimbabweans from taking corrective action when we see that prices of goods and services are going out of hand. I am glad that there is a healthy dialogue between the captains of industry and commerce on one hand and Government on the other. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. ENG MUDZURI: I want to applaud the Government for engaging the producers with a view to stabilise the prices of basic commodities. Is there a contingent plan in place to make sure that there will be no shortage of seed and fertilizers on the market?

*HON. SEN RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHAL SHIRI: First of all, I would like to say that during our preparations for the 2018/19 farming season, we were assured by the seed houses that there is enough seed in the country. What was an issue of concern was the pricing structure of this product. Fertilizer is being delivered into the country as I speak now and most of it is in bonded warehouses. If our farmers cannot afford this fertilizer, let us not forget that there is Statutory Instrument 122 which allows importation of seed and fertilizers from outside the country. Those with foreign currency can also augment their stocks by importing from outside if not impressed with the price within the country, you can go and purchase from outside the country.  Those are the programmes in place Madam President.  

*HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI:  Thank you Madam President.  I am directing my question to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  What is the policy in place in relation to the programme of the land audit?  Is the programme going to be completed or there are some challenges they are facing? 

*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI):  Thank you Madam President.  The issue of the resizing of the farms to the recommended standards will be pursued in earnest.  Also, bear in mind that the Land Commission is currently on the ground carrying out land audits where they want to establish the occupants, production levels as well as eliminate multiple farm ownership.  In a bid not to step on each other’s toes, our Ministry officials are not currently pursuing the resizing of the farms up and until the completion of the land audit. 

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.

HON. SEN. SHOKO:  On a point of order Madam President.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  What is your point of order?

HON. SEN. SHOKO:  Madam President, when we started, we said we want to ask questions without notice to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  He said, he was going to give a Statement.  I believe that we needed to extend time so that he could deliver that Statement and we ask him questions.  I thank you Madam President.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Usually, the Statement is not part of the questions.  He was still going to give his Statement to the benefit of the House but today is question day.  Now, we have those Ministers that are supposed to answer their questions and they are here with their questions.  We also have to give them time to give their answers but still we wait for the Minister’s Statement.

HON. SEN. SHOKO:  Madam President, my question is - when he gives that Statement, how do we ask him?  We ask him under which regulation because what we are doing is, we are doing these questions under Questions Without Notice.  Let me understand Madam President.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order Hon. Member.  It is not the first time we have a Statement from a Minister.  Usually, after the Minister gives his Statement, you will have a chance to ask for any clarifications.  So you will have time to question.

HON. SEN. SHOKO:  That is what I wanted to understand Madam President.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  No, no.  The way you asked, you kept on saying, I am telling you that once the Minister gives his Statement,  it is obvious Members are allowed to seek clarifications.

ACHIEVEMENTS AND FAILURES OF THE BEIJING PLATFORM OF 1995

2.  HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development to explain the national achievements and failures of the Beijing Platform of 1995.

THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. NYONI):  Thank you Madam President.  I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for raising the question on the national achievements and failures on the Beijing Platform of 1995.  Madam President, Zimbabwe participated in the historic Beijing Conference of 1995 which came out with Beijing declaration and platform for action that outlined 12 critical areas of concern to be addressed by member States in order to uphold women’s rights and enhance women’s empowerment.  The 12 critical areas of concern highlighted in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action were as follows:

Women and Poverty; Education and Training of Women; Women and Health; Violence Against Women; Women and Armed Conflict; Women and the Economy; Women Empowerment and Decision Making; Institutional Mechanisms for Advancement of Women; Human Rights of Women; Women and the Media; Women and Environment and the Girl Child.

Mr. President, the Beijing declaration and Platform for Action has contributed immensely to the shaping of the Gender Equity and Women Empowerment Discourse in Zimbabwe.  Since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and its Platform for Action, Zimbabwe has made remarkable progress in the areas of Gender Equity and Women Empowerment.  The Government has adopted several legislative policy and administrative measures to facilitate the implementation of the 12 critical areas of the Declaration. 

Key achievements of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action are as follows:  The Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013) which enshrines progressive provisions on the rights of women, for example the Constitution contains a quarter provision for women representation in Parliament.  Women now have an equal citizenship and rights as men.  Age of marriage set at minimum age of 18 years for both boys and girls.  Women now have guardianship rights over children born out of wedlock.  All appointed public positions to have an equal number of men and women and the Gender Commission was established as an independent constitutional body. 

2.  Enhancement of various pieces of legislation for the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment which include the following:

·       Administration of Estates Amendment Act (1997) – providing for the rights of wives and daughters to inherit from deceased husbands and fathers.

·       The Maintenance Act (1999) – creating the rights of women to claim maintenance or children born out of wedlock.

·       The Domestic Violence Act (2006) – which criminalises domestic violence and establishes the Anti- Domestic Council which is mandated to monitor the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act.

·       The Electoral Act (1990) – the Electoral Act provides for participation by women in elections as candidates or voters and makes specific provision against gender discrimination.

·       Administration of Estates Amendment Act (1997) – this Act changed the customary law positions that prohibited women and girls from inheriting from estates of deceased husbands and fathers to allow women and girls to inherit.

·       The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (2004) – which criminalises sexual offences, willful transmission of HIV.

These laws uphold and promote the human rights of women and provide for equality of access, opportunities and resources to women equally with men.

We commend His Excellency the President for directing that among other Bills, the Marriage Bill and Mandatory sentencing for rape be prioritised for finalisation during the 9th Parliament.

Mr. President, the establishment of National Gender Machinery comprising the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Media Enterprise Development, Parliament of Zimbabwe and Gender Focal Persons to advance issues of women empowerment and gender equality.

The Government has adopted a National Gender Policy to facilitate gender mainstreaming efforts across all sectors.  In order to address poverty particularly the feminisation of poverty, the following initiatives have been put in place:

·          Establishment of the Zimbabwe Women’s Macro-finance Bank to facilitate access to credit and financial services to women.

·       Establishment of a Women’s Development Fund which has seen a total of $3 229 107 being disbursed to 1 894 women’s groups to fund their income generating projects.

·    In 2016, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe developed the Financial Inclusion Strategy and has put in place the following facilities targeted at improving women’s access to capital, means of production and employment opportunities:-

i.                   $15 million Women Empowerment Fund;

ii.                $10 million Horticulture Facility;

iii.             $40 million Gold Mobilisation Facility;

iv.             $10 million Business Linkage Facility and

v.                $15 million Cross Border Facility.

A quota of all the above highlighted facilities is reserved for rural women while the $15 million Women Empowerment Fund is solely for women.

Mr. President, since the adoption of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, we have witnessed a reduction in the prevalence of HIV and AIDS down from about 24.6% in 2003 to 15% as of 2014 and 14% in 2017.  Given the feminised nature of HV infection, the reduction in infection levels means that there are less women being infected and therefore less women dying from AIDS.

Mr. Speaker, while significant strides have been made in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action, there are still several challenges to full implementation of gender equality and women empowerment in Zimbabwe.

Some of the challenges are as follows:-

·     Inadequate budgetary allocations for the promotion of gender equality and women.  Despite the provisions of the Beijing Platform for Action stating that adequate resources for the national machinery are a critical component for achieving gender equality, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises  Development has consistently received a low budget allocation of less than 1% of the total national budget for the past five years.  This has constrained full implementation of the Ministry’s programmes.

·     Inadequate implementation of the law and policies in place to advance gender equality.

·       Under-representation of women in decision making levels.

·       High levels of Gender Based Violence and child marriages.

·       Slow pace in the realignment of laws relating to gender.

Mr. President, the Government of Zimbabwe remains committed to the advancement of women through the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and other regional and international instruments on advancing women’s rights and gender equality that Zimbabwe is party to.  I thank you.

POLICY REGARDING SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES AFFECTED BY VELD FIRES

3.  HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development to advise on Government policy regarding small and medium enterprises that have been affected by veld fires.

THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. NYONI):  We note that veld fires affect SMEs involved mainly in animal husbandry, timber and crop production. However, the issue of veld fires falls under the mandate of the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry who promote public participation in various programmes of environment management.

Mr. President, my Ministry encourages SMEs to take insurance policies to protect their businesses wherever they would be.  I thank you.

MEASURES TO ADDRESS GENDER IMBALANCES

4.  HON. SEN. TIMVEOS asked the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development to –

(a)  inform the Senate of measures being taken by the Ministry to ensure equal representation of gender in all institutions of Government, including membership in independent commissions and other elective and appointed bodies,

(b)  state steps taken to redress gender imbalances resulting from past malpractices.

THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. NYONI):  I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Timveos for raising critical questions on the measures my Ministry is undertaking to ensure equal representation of both genders in all institutions of Government, including membership in independent commissions and other elective and appointed bodies.

Mr. President, Section 17 of the Constitution requires the State and all other agencies of Government to promote full participation of women in all spheres of development and ensure that men and women are equally represented in all institutions and agencies of Government at all levels.  The Constitution further requires that women constitute at least half of the membership of all commissions and other elective and appointed bodies.

Mr. President, in line with the Constitution, my Ministry working with the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has developed Memorandum of Principles on 50/50 representation in all elective and non-elective boards and all Government institutions.  These principles are part of the General Laws (Statutory Boards) Amendment Bill.

·       The principles set out the manner of appointment of members of boards with specific inclusion of section 17 of the Constitution which promotes gender balance and amending such language barriers that give reference to one gender occupying a certain position, for example the use of words “chairman, deputy chairman”.

·    The amendment of provisions on the establishment of boards will ensure that women have equal access to participation, representation and resources in all spheres of Zimbabwean society.

·       Each Act that establishes any board will then be required to adhere to the General Laws (Statutory Boards) Amendment Act.

Mr. President, the Ministry also runs women in politics and decision making programmes which aims to increase women participation and representation in all levels of decision making in line with the constitutional provisions that promote gender equality.  Ministry officials sensitise communities on the 50/50 principle and advocate for women to take up decision making positions and political positions to ensure that women’s concerns are included in decision making process at all levels.  The programme also empowers women with knowledge of their political rights.

Mr. President, the Ministry is in the process of developing a Strategy on Women in Decision Making that is in both the public and private sphere and also in politics.  The main objective of the strategy is to promote full participation and representation of women at all levels of decision making across all spheres of development.  In addition, my Ministry is developing an outline database for professional women which will be used by public and private sector companies that are seeking candidates for appointments to boards and as an advocacy tool for increasing women’s visibility.

Mr. President, let me also highlight some of the steps taken by my Ministry to redress gender imbalances resulting from past malpractices.  The National Gender Policy provides a guiding framework for mainstreaming gender in all sectors of the economy.  The policy provides for concrete measures and strategies to mainstream gender in the following thematic areas:

Constitutional and legal rights, economic empowerment, politics and decision making, health, education and training, gender based violence, environment and climate change, media information communication and technology, disability and culture and religion.  The strategies contained in the policy do not only unlock the potential of women but take deliberate efforts to address the gender disparities across all sectors.

Mr. President, not also forgetting the many strides that we have achieved as a nation in addressing past imbalances which include:

·        Review of discriminatory laws, policies and practices, for example through the enactment of the Legal Age of Majority Act, the repeal of the previous Constitution which allowed discrimination against women in matters relating to personal law.

·        Introduction of affirmative action measures in the education sector.

·       Legal Age of Majority Act (1982).

·        Labour Relations Act (1984) Chapter (28:01) prohibits employers from discrimination against employees on grounds of sex.

·        Maintenance Amendment Act (1989) requires a negligent non-custodian parent to contribute regularly to children in the custody of the other parent.

·        The Electoral Act (1990) allows women to participate in general and by elections for the Presidency or in Parliamentary and local elections as voters or candidates without any discrimination.

·        The Administration of Estates Amendment Act (1997) (Chapter 6:01) protects the inheritance rights of surviving spouses and children.

·        Criminal Law (Codification and Reforms) Act – The Sexual Offences Act (2001) (Chapter 9:23) protects women from sexual abuse and criminalises marital rape and willful transmission of HIV and AIDS.  The Act also prohibits trafficking of persons for purposes of prostitution and imposes stiffer penalties for violations.

·        The Interpretation Act (2004) (Chapter 1:01), the Government came to realise that the use of the language that denotes the masculine gender in legislative instruments perpetuates discrimination against women.  The Act therefore has been amended to use language that denotes feminize concurrency with that of masculine gender.

·        General Laws Amendment Act (Section 12 Chapter 8:07) states that women in Zimbabwe are legally entitled to take up political and public offices such as those political and public offices that can be held by men.

·        Domestic Violence Act (2007) (Chapter 5:16) and its Regulations (2008) provides for protection of survivors of domestic violence and criminalise such acts as abuse derived from any cultural or customary rites or practices that discriminated or degrade women.

·        Anti-Domestic Violence Council: launched (2009) to spearhead the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act.

·        SADC Protocol on Gender and Development:  ratified on 22nd October, 2009 which among other things advocates for gender parity (50/50) in politics and other decision making bodies.

STRATEGIES TO ECONOMICALLY EMPOWER WOMEN

5.  HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to inform the Senate whether there are strategies in place to economically empower women who constitute the majority of the population.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  I would like to answer this in four parts.  First of all, in terms of access to capital which is very critical, where women - it has been proven in Zimbabwe and the world over that they are disadvantaged.  There are several schemes that have been put in place.  The first one is the Zimbabwe Women’s Empowerment Bank which is capitalised to the tune of $15 million and targets female borrowers or female entrepreneurs.  But even then one is still concerned about the cost of borrowing. 

Indeed, even some of the collateral requirements but there are certain measures that we want to take to make sure that there is full access to finance from this bank.  Also $15 million is not enough frankly.  The bank should grow its capital so that it goes up and this is something that we are looking into.  Secondly, the women’s empowerment fund likewise targets women or female entrepreneurs in terms of access to capital in addition to the 25% set aside in most facilities provided by the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe.  That is the first point.

 The second point pertains to board representation that in terms of just standard corporate governance rules and requirements, there should be gender equity if not gender parity.  It has been proven that the companies that have a higher female composition level at board level tend to perform better.  This has been proven in Zimbabwe and proven global to the tune of 30% of those that are male dominated.  So, there is a benefit to making sure more women are represented at board level.  Also it turns out that companies that are performing better is because more board members being on board also tend to take less risk because it is understood that gender balance provides an internal risk regulation mechanism. 

The other point pertains to entrepreneurship training and risk taking.  What is happening is that EMPRETEC, one of the organisations that government supports or partners is going to be training four thousand youths in Zimbabwe over the next three years, being supported and financed by one of our partners.  Within that, there is a very clear programme to train female entrepreneurs so they can become more risk takers.  What has been found in the training in the past is that female entrepreneurs outdo their male counterparts in all categories except the category of risk taking.  So they want to make sure that this category is dealt with and we can empower our female entrepreneurs and business people.  I thank you Mr. President.

DECENTRALISATION OF THE WOMEN’S BANK

6.      HON. SEN. MALULEKE asked the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development to state measures being taken to decentralise the Women’s Bank throughout the country

          THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. NYONI):  Thank you Mr. President.  The women’s bank is already decentralised and I want the Hon House to be aware that we are now using mobile transfers more than physical banking.  So what my Ministry has done is we have moved to all provinces, training at least 100 women to be agents of this bank.  So already we have decentralised.  Therefore, any province where we have not been, be assured that we are coming.  These 100 women per province will then take the forms to the women in every ward and make sure that the women participate.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS:  Hon. Minister, why is it that the Women’s Bank conditions are now more complicated than any other bank.  Even the requirements are now more complicated and it is actually now more expensive than any other bank to open an account.

          HON. SEN. NYONI:  I was not aware of the complication.  If the Hon Member could spell out the complications I will make follow up and make sure they are corrected.

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS:  I am actually coming from a budget workshop where we were told that the requirements include collateral.  I was in the last Parliament and we actually opened the Women’s Bank to make it easy for the poor women to get money but if now you need collateral, witnesses and even assets - that complicates everything and you really need to look into it.

          HON. SEN. NYONI:  I will look into it and then bring a response to the House.

REDUCTION OF BANK CHARGES

7.      HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to state measures being taken to reduce bank charges for the banking public

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  I must say for the record Mr. President that we continue to be concerned about the high banking charges by the banks.  The moment you try to control interest rates to narrow the margins – the banks as they are in the business of making money, naturally, try to switch to other ways to maintain their margins and bank charges become the issue.  We continue to monitor the issue to make sure that these bank charges come down so that the banks do not collude, but they should compete and that competition should lower such bank charges.  Thank you Mr. President.

PARLIAMENT BUDGET FOR 2019

8.  HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development whether the Ministry could consider allocating adequate budget to Parliament during the 2019 National Budget to ensure achievement of institutional goals and objectives.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  For the record Mr. President through you, we will provide adequate budget for such reforms in terms of institutional goals.  One of the pillars in the Vision 2030 Statement that the President has launched which seeks to take Zimbabwe to Upper Middle Income level is Governance and Institutional Reforms.  That pertains to political reforms in terms of the APEX institution, but also micro institutions in terms of environment of doing business,  whether to make it easier for companies to set up for the regulatory mechanisms to be more flexible and allow businesses to do what they do best which is doing business.  All of this is being looked into so that we really become a country that is open for business but also a country that respects the rule of law as we have always done.  We will ensure that there is adequate budget for these institutional reforms and goals.  I thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  Hon. Minister, is it a shared vision

with all your workmates in Government that political reforms are a necessity for the growth of this economy?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  I thank Hon. Sen. Komichi for that question.  Absolutely, it is a shared vision.  This vision is enshrined in Vision 2030 but also it is enshrined in the implementation document which is a Transitional Stabilization Programme.  So, I urge my Hon. Senator to take a look at that document as well.  We are very clear, we will undertake these institutional reforms which includes political reforms. After all, you cannot be an upper middle income country of note by the year 2030 if there is no progress made on those institutional reforms that you are referring to. Thank you Hon. Senator.

PAYMENT OF ROYALTIES BY THE CHINESE 

9.   HON. SEN. TIMVEOS asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to state whether Chinese businesses operating in the mining sector are paying any royalties to Government and if so, to advise on the total amount paid in 2017.

*THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Royalties are paid by every operator in the mining sector so I can confirm that they are paying the royalties and we do not have exemptions for Chinese operators and targeting them only will not be the correct way to create a level playing field. Everyone should pay their royalties and we have some principles around how royalties are paid that is usually in relation to gross price of the final product. Of course companies do approach us from time to time and we have got one case in question where they tried to negotiate on the net price rather than the gross price because they have to export the commodity to some other country or even the mother ship for refinery and the refinery charges a certain percentage that they should pay royalty on the back of the net price.

Of course we said no, we need an equitable treatment of all miners and you will pay royalties on the back of the gross price. Now as to how much the Chinese investors paid, I do not have that figure at hand with me but I am happy to provide that figure Mr. President once I have it and to present it to yourself, to the House and to the Hon. Senator. Thank you. 

VERIFICATION OF BILLS FOR CHROME ORE EXPORTS

          10.   HON. SEN. TIMVEOS asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to advise whether way bills for all chrome ore exports are verified before the consignments leave the country’s exit points?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF.  M. NCUBE): We make every effort to verify these consignments absolutely. That is not to say that there are certain irregularities that could happen from time to time. There will always be deviants or malcontents trying to take shortcuts and we will try to deal with those, but every effort is made to make sure that the inspections and verifications are done according to the rules and according to the law. Thank you Mr. President.

CONSTITUTION OF A COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON PAYMENT MODALITIES OF INSURANCE LOSSES DURING 2005 – 2008

11.    HON. SEN. SHOKO asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development when the other Commission of Inquiry that looks at the payment modalities for persons and insurance losses incurred during the economic meltdown of 2005-2008 period will be constituted as recommended by the first commission of inquiry report.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): Mr. President, I thank Hon. Sen. Shoko for the question. Absolutely we are seized with this matter and I am desirous that in the budget we make a pronouncement. However, it is going to be a process and I have been telling everyone who comes to see us. Mr. President, every day we receive an average of five (5) desperate pensioners coming to the Ministry to find out if progress is being made and so, this is an issue that we are dealing with.

We have been interacting with Ipack and also the (Life) insurance companies to make sure that we can resolve, first of all the valuations in terms of the loses and then the role of Government in it as a contributor in terms of resources but also an interlocutor between the pensioners and the companies but also, the role of the companies themselves because one thing is still unclear as to how the assets were treated during this period - whether companies co-mingled all their assets within their balance sheets with the assets of the customers. That co-mingling is something that we need to unravel and there will be a negotiation process. We will get to a resolution and try to make sure that this issue is resolved, it is urgent Mr. President and I agree with Senator Shoko that it is an issue to be dealt with.

          HON. SEN. SHOKO: Thank you Mr. President. When are we going to have this committee in particular, because the problem that we have is we are not being given timelines. Can we get those timelines from the Minister; thank you Mr. President.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Within the next six (6) months and bit also requires us to ascertain legislation which will allow us to carry out the work and implement the solutions that we are thinking about. We are working on that within the next six (6) months and we will set up the necessary structures to resolve this matter; thank you Mr. President and thank you Sen. Shoko.

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you President. My supplementary question is on you giving a statement. Can you assure this House you will give a statement or pronouncement on the steps you are going to take so that people do not come to knock at your door since they will exactly know the steps and timelines you are going to take? That is important because pensioners in our constituencies are asking us to come here and ask you the Minister to give us a proper outlay of the path you are going to take towards resolving this. If your committee is coming in six (6) months, can you do a communication to that effect?

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. President, let me thank the Hon. Sen. Eng. Mudzuri for that supplementary question. Actually I agree with him that we should issue a communication or statement and we will do so that we can keep our pensioners calm. We have been telling them individually but also we are aware that this is not enough and we need to know the steps and we will start to make sure that this communication is made clear.

FUNDING FOR THE REHABILITATION OF THE HARARE CITY COUNCIL SEWER INFRASTRUCTURE

16. HON. SEN. TIMVEOS asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to state whether government would provide funding for rehabilitation of the dilapidated Harare City Council sewer infrastructure since the City is owed huge arrears in outstanding rate payments by government.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. MHLANGA): Mr. President let me start by thanking the Hon. Member for asking the question. Let me however inform this August House that the Ministry acknowledges that some government departments from time to time owe local authorities - Harare City included, considerable amounts of money in respect of related charges. On the other hand, local authorities too do owe government departments and agencies such as ZIMRA, NSSA and ZIMDEF significant amounts of money. To redress this scenario it has been a custom that there has been a debt settlement arrangement within the council and government departments facilitated by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. I thank you.

ACCESS TO PUBLIC BUILDINGS BY PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED PERSONS

          17. HON. SEN. HUNGWE asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to explain measures being taken to facilitate access to public buildings by physically challenged persons.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. MHLANGA): Thank you Mr. President. The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing is facilitating access to public buildings by physically challenged persons through the following:

          All new building designs should have a ramp of appropriate breadth to facilitate vertical movement. Curbs are being installed at entrances and there is continuous routine maintenance and installation of new lifts and escalators in order to facilitate vertical movement. The public buildings also have toilets that are specially designed for physically challenged people. The Ministry of Local Government, public works and National Housing is the regulator of model building by-laws.  It means therefore that privately constructed buildings must also adhere to it.  I thank you.

SUPPLEMENTARY LIVESTOCK FEEDING FOR FARMERS IN MATABELELAND SOUTH PROVINCE

          19 HON. SEN. MOHADI asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlements to advise whether there are plans to assist farmers in Matabeleland South Province with supplementary livestock feeding. 

          THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENTS (HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI): Thank you Mr. President.  The Hon. Member sought to have me advise whether there are plans to assist farmers in Matabeleland South Province with supplementary livestock feeding.

          Mr. President, for the predicted El Nino weather for the coming season, the Ministry is making an inventory of hay baling equipment, both in public and private institutions, to assess its state of repair so as to mobilise and send them for cutting and baling hay in provinces that will have received reasonable rains in the 2018/2019 summer season.

          Furthermore, extension officers have already started giving mitigation awareness messages to farmers to adequately respond to possible crisis.  Messages include early destocking, health management and relief grazing.  It must be noted that Matabeleland South livestock farmers have always been better prepared for responding to drought situations compared to other provinces due to capacity building programmes carried out by extension services during previous drought years.  I thank you Mr. President.

COMPLETION OF INSTALLATION OF CENTRE PIVOTS IRRIGATION SYSTEMS BY FARMERS IN MATABELELAND PROVINCE

          20.   HON. SEN. MOHADI asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlements to explain measures being taken to assist farmers in Matabeleland Province to complete the installation of centre pivots irrigation systems. 

          THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENTS (HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI):  Thank you Mr. President.  I thank the Hon. Member for the question posed.

          Mr. President, out of eighty (80) centre pivots which were supplied by Government, only eight (8) are not functional due to various individual farmer specific problems.  Efforts are being done to make the eight functional before the onset of the farming season.  I thank you Mr. President.

DESERTIFICATION BY TOBACCO FARMERS IN RESETTLEMENT AREAS

          21  HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement measures being taken to stop desertification by tobacco growers particularly in the resettlement areas. 

          THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI):  Thank you Mr. President and I thank the Hon. Member for the question posed.

          Mr. President Sir, Government introduced the tobacco levy in 2015 for the specific purpose of addressing issues of deforestation in tobacco growing areas.  The total amount collected to date into the Afforestation Fund is $22 211 335.71.  This total amount remains untouched because the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is still to have the constitution of the Afforestation Fund presented to and registered with Parliament as per the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19].

          In addition to this national initiative, in 2015, tobacco buying companies introduced a non-statutory 1.5% levy on their tobacco purchases to establish the Sustainable Afforestation Association (SAA).  SAA has been planting woodlots on land leased from rural district councils, mines, schools, churches and farms.  I thank you Mr. President.

EDUCATION TO CITIZENS ON THE NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEME

          27.  HON. SEN. HUNGWE asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to state mechanisms currently in place to educate citizens on the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme. 

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA):  Thank you Mr. President.  The Government of Zimbabwe started looking into the possibility of introducing a national health insurance scheme in the early 1990s when the health care system showed signs of deterioration.  In 1991 and 1995, the Government commissioned studies on the relevance and feasibility of this scheme.  After establishing the need for this scheme, the Government through the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, mandated the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to work with the Ministry of Health and Child Care at the same time with the support of the International Labour Organisation.

However, in 2008, due to the economic crisis, this matter of developing the national health insurance scheme was shelved.  In 2017, the Ministry of Health and Child Care tookover once again the development of the national health scheme.  This was taken away from NSSA and to date, the Ministry of Health and Child Care is working together with an EU based company called SOSIX to develop a national health insurance scheme.  I would therefore like to conclude that, the matter of developing this health insurance scheme is now in the hands of the Ministry of Health and Child Care.  Thank you Hon. President.

PROCUREMENT OF GOODS AND SERVICES BY MIMOSA MINING COMPANY

          28.  HON. SEN. TIMVEOS asked the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to explain whether the Ministry is aware that 90% of goods and services procured by Mimosa Mining Company are being supplied by companies owned by its Management and if so, to state measures being taken to curb such malpractices.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA):  Thank you Mr. President.  The Ministry is not aware of what is happening at Mimosa Mine.  We have currently sent the question to the management there so that they can revert back to us and we will be able to update the Hon. Senator on what is happening on the ground.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  We will treat that question as deferred.  So, we will ask the Minister to go and find out and come back and report to the Senate and answer that question. 

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS:  Mr. President, I heard the Minister saying that he has sent the question to the management.  The management are the ones who are actually doing this, so I do not think he will get a good answer.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Thank you for the tip.  I am sure now that he is well armed with that information, he is going to use all means necessary to extract information from that mine.  Thank you.

          Order, Questions with notice have now been exhausted and in terms of what we have on today’s order paper, we have the Minister of Finance who is going to give a statement.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

STATE OF THE ECONOMY

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you Mr. President and thank you Members of the Senate for this occasion to present to you a report on the state of the economy.  This is a short report because I will have other opportunities to present a much longer report during the budget statement but also in my interactions with you and Members of the Lower House in Bulawayo next week. This statement is a statement about the state of the economy rather than policy pronouncements about what I will be doing going forward. I have reserved those for the Budget but as I speak, I will signal the policy direction as well.

          In order to put the state of the economy into context, I want to share with you the state of the global economy and this is important. We are seeing strong growth of the order of 3.7% this year and the same figure next year. This is being driven by mainly strong growth in North America, mainly United States after the cutting of taxes by the Executive in that country and strong growth that we have seen in what we refer to as emerging markets which really referred to the large  developing countries which is China and India – with China showing growth of the order of 6.5% this year and slightly lower at 6.2% in 2019 and India growing faster with projection growth levels above 7.3% this year and similar figure next year.

          I am happy to leave a document behind so that all these numbers are clear. I have got a table showing that. This recovery in growth and you will see where I am going with this when I come to Zimbabwe. Globally, it is stopping commodity prices from collapsing. Basically strong growth from China and India are good for commodity prices and Zimbabwe is exposed to those commodity prices.  I must say that when it comes to oil, it is not so good because with the oil price averaging $75 per barrel, that is not good for us because we are a net oil importer but it is good for other African countries that are net oil exporters.

          Within Africa and the region itself, we see growth in Zimbabwe hovering around 6.3%. We have revised it upward from 4.5%  which we thought would be the growth this time last year but we have revised it upwards because we see more robust factors impacting the economy positively. It is not surprising therefore to see the interest in foreign investors coming through to Zimbabwe Investment Authority which will become a one-stop-shop soon. With 165 applications worth US$15.8bn in the first half of 2018, we noticed that in terms of foreign direct investment, US$1.8bn has been confirmed this far, 2018 and we are desirous that this figure moves up to US$2bn in 2019. This interest shows that foreign investors see dynamism in this economy and certainly our growth prospects augur well for the returns of the investors who are showing this interest.

          Where is this growth coming from? It is being driven by the mining sector growing at about 26% currently. I am still concerned though about some of the developments in that sector where we are seeing the currency shortages beginning to impact the sector in this last quarter of the year. I still expect very strong growth from the sector. The other driver is the construction sector which is growing at about 14% and as you are well aware, the RBZ has a construction sector fund that seeks to support this sector going forward.

          Finally, the third strong growth sector is agriculture growing at 12.4% and we know quite a bit - some of you here are beneficiaries of strong agricultural sector programme which seeks to drive food security in Zimbabwe but also earn much needed foreign currency within the country.

          I must say because of this robust activity in the Zimbabwe economy – the economy is actually bigger than we think. We have been saying that the economy is $18bn in size in terms of GDP. That is just a figure. The real figure is that the economy is actually $25bn in size. It is 40% bigger. I made this announcement about two weeks ago just before I went off to Bali to begin the interaction negotiation with partners whom we owe money globally. The dynamism is coming from the expansion in the informal, services and financial sectors. The services sector has grown and it is driving this growth in the size of the economy.

          This phenomenon is not unique to Zimbabwe. All other African countries are experiencing this where the services sector has grown. There is a rule that every five years, the economy has to be rebased. What I am explaining in terms of the change in the size of the GDP, that was a rebasing exercise. In another five years, we are going to rebase and again the economy will move upwards accordingly.

          In the agricultural sector, what is driving growth is obviously productivity in tobacco, cotton, sugar cane and soya beans. In the mining sector it is gold, coal and chrome being the main drivers. Again I have got a table in my written note that explains where this growth is coming from sector by sector. I have included all the sectors that you may think of in Zimbabwe.

          I now want to turn to inflation which is the internal value of money.  The rising money supply occasioned by the budget deficit financing coupled with foreign currency shortages has seen a surge in inflationary pressures during the first half of 2018 but also in this third quarter of the year, already the evidence is pointing in that direction. Annual inflation stood at 5.4% in September 2018 with signs of resurgence as I have said compared to the first six months where it was relatively stable. I have got a chart below that shows the movement in this inflation upwards in terms of the visual presentation of this upward trend.

          The main drivers of inflation during this period have been the parallel market exchange rates driven by foreign currency shortages giving rise to speculative demand as well as induced demand of US dollar as an asset of store of value. The eventual pass through effect of this exchange rate premiums has filtered into a sudden price increase particularly on goods as you can imagine. This was worsened by the firming oil prices that I referred to and the depreciation of the South African Rand against the US dollar which also has an impact because that is our largest trading partner. Anything that happens to the rand-dollar exchange rate is transmitted into Zimbabwe as well.

          Switching to public finances, with cumulative revenues of US$3.8bn and expenditures of US$6.2bn between January and September this year, the resultant budget deficit of US$2.4bn is unsustainable in the light of constrained capacity to close the gap. We have had an unsustainable budget deficit. This year that budget deficit will come out at a double digit above 10%. I am determined that within the next two years it comes down to single digit. I have a target over a three year period to bring it to just below 4%. That target is contained in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme. I urge you all to go to that section that pertains to fiscal consolidation.  Fiscal consolidation is what I will be focusing on quite a bit in terms of macro agenda.

          It is therefore not surprising that we have issued so many Treasury Bills in value  in order to finance this budget deficit in Government. The way these Treasury Bills have been financed also in my view has not been according to best practice so far. Best practice dictates that there should be an auction, it should be subjected to market mechanisms that would have actually made sure that the interest rate we are paying now would have been lower by as much as 3% because on the private placement, that was being implemented before we were paying interest rates of about 10 percent.  We know that if we had gone to the market, we would have paid 7% interest saving 3%.  Now, we have to continue servicing that extra interest.  Therefore, I have decided that the auction system should start and we will probably be doing a small auction before the year-end just to test market to see if it works.  It is not a desire to raise funding frankly; there are other ways to do that but it is to test the system to make sure the auction system works. 

Mr. President, the overdraft facility between the Central Government and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is huge.  It is way above the limit of 20% of the previous year’s expenditure.  It should be about $700 million, but right now we are sitting at over $2 billion in terms of that exposure.  However, there is a little bit of good news which is that, we have not received as much as $3.3 billion from corporates that have not remitted the taxes that they have collected to ZIMRA on VAT.  We are moving quite aggressive to collect that.  We can see that we will be able to cover that Reserve Bank hole using the unremitted taxes that have been collected from individuals by the corporates.  

Uncollected taxes, if I can break it down, it is about $2.3 billion being the principal, $1 billion being the interest because I have had to borrow to finance that hole.  So I have to charge interest on unremitted taxes and penalties for late remittance which is another billion.  In total, it comes to $4.5 billion.  I am prepared to wave or to reduce the penalty portion so that it is manageable by the corporates.  Twenty percent of those unremitted taxes are due to parastatals, our own institutions that we will cajole over time to pay.  That is the overdraft facility. 

Turning to the financial sector, Mr. President, the money supply stock stood at $9.14 billion in June this year translating to a year on year growth of 40.81%, a huge surge in domestic money supply from a figure of $6.49 billion in June the previous year 2017.  It is projected that money supply will grow by 38.2% in 2018 compared to an initial projection of only 20.14%, a huge surge in money supply.  Why is this growth coming through in terms of money supply growth?  It is due to Government expenditure.  Again, it is back to the deficit.  The impact Mr. President, is that the deficit I referred to earlier is causing growth in money supply.  That growth in money supply is also fuelling inflation.  That is not good.  It is important to contain the budget deficit in the way that I explained.  Let me turn to ....

[Cellphone rings.]

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order.  Hon. Members, I do not have to keep reminding you that when you bring cellphones into this House, you must switch them off or put them on silence.  I hope this will not happen again.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you once again Mr. President.  For emphasis, if you look at Government borrowing compared to borrowing by the private sector Government is borrowing about 62% of the entire credit available in the financial sector.  Government is crowding out the private sector, yet we know that...

[Cellphone rings.]

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order.  Minister!

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:    I am sorry Mr. President.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I am sorry Hon. Minister , you may proceed.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. President.  Government is borrowing 62% of the credit available in our financial system and only the remainder is available for private sector and quasi Government institutions.  Clearly, the Central Government is crowding out the private sector and yet we want the private sector to receive the bulk of the credit so that they can develop projects, employ more people and create jobs.  This is an uncomfortable situation that I am determined to turn around. 

I now want to take this opportunity Mr. President, to explain the rationale behind the 2% tax on financial transactions.  In order to tackle the budget deficit that is huge, I need two approaches.  The first approach is to expand revenue.  The second approach is to contain spending.  Going back to expanding revenue, the 2% tax was introduced in order to expand the revenue, to expand the tax base.  The economy has grown as I have explained, it is bigger than we think but also the economy has become more informalised.  In that process, it has become more electronic in terms of means of transactions.  Therefore, it became very useful for us to think of ways of introducing a tax that will speak to informality, that will also spread the tax base in the way that I have tried to explain.  This electronic transaction tax was the way we thought about this.  I am sure there are other ways and options but we think that this is the best. 

If you observe globally, I do not know whether you read the news about what happened in the UK yesterday, where the Minister of Finance in the UK is thinking of a similar 2% tax on electronic transactions; they call it a digital tax.  It is very similar.  Do not be surprised if this Zimbabwe tax that we started here is going to be copied all over the world, especially in developed countries – [HON. SENATORS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order.  You will have an opportunity to interact with the Minister.  He is delivering his Statement, there is no need to interrupt him. 

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. President.  In the rest of Africa, you also have other countries that have a similar tax or a variation of it such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Senegal.  These taxes are far more widespread than we realise.  This tax is dealing with the revenue side of dealing with the problem.  On the cost containment side Mr. President, during the Budget Speech, I will outline measures for dealing with Government waste and cost containment.  For a start, we have not yet authorised the purchase and issuance of our vehicles for the Legislature and for the Executive.  I know that only the chiefs got some vehicles but not everyone else.  Again, we need to signal to the Zimbabwe people that we are serious about cost containment.  We will deal with the issues such as travel, wage bill, enforcing retirement policy and so forth.  The list is long in terms of cost containment and I will outline this in the Budget.  I believe there is political will to see this through and certainly, the President, the Head of State has shown his commitment in following through on this cost containment. 

Let me now switch Mr. President to the external sector.  If you look at exports of goods and services, these are projected to close of year at about $5 billion, largely driven by mineral and tobacco exports whilst overall imports of goods and services are projected to be at about $7.3 billion for the same period.  You can already see that we do have a current account, a deficit in our balance of payments where our exports are lower than our imports and there lies a problem.  We have as a country what we call a twin deficit problem.  We have a current account deficit and we have a fiscal deficit.  These two are linked and they are a problem.  We need to deal with both of them.

So, you will find that for instance, on the current account deficit, I am going to take measures to make sure that we discourage excessive imports of luxury goods.  There are some who have even suggested that we should even start charging in United States dollars in terms of import duties on cars.  All these are ideas and suggestions and we are processing them to arrive at the right way to deal with excessive spending in terms of imports.

Also, the lifting of SI 122 which is designed to increase the supply of goods into Zimbabwe; given the hike in prices and then also curtail supply is all trying to target this current account deficit to make sure that again we bring down prices as well as improve supply in this sector.  Again, I have got a table that shows exactly what the standing is in terms of this external sector balance.

I want to conclude by mentioning two issues.  One is the issue of external engagement.  This is a very important issue.  We need to engage externally and we need to clear our arrears with what we call the preferred institutions – the African Development Bank on one hand and the World Bank on the other, but they must be cleared simultaneously.  It is called the pari-passu principle.  That is how it works in terms of being debtors to those institutions.  So, we owe both of them close to $2 billion and we are determined that in the next 12 months we will clear those, we will pay them off and then we will move then to the second stage which is re-negotiating what we call the Paris Club creditors.

This is the individual countries - France, UK, USA whom we owe again monies individually, but they also happen to be the shareholders of the first two institutions that I mentioned.  So, you are dealing with the same group of creditors or partners to Zimbabwe.  I have started engaging them very seriously, building on previous work.  When I was in Bali, they asked me to present the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).  I did that to all of them.  It was well received.  Their view is that it is a credible programme and they are saying you must now walk the talk.  They said Minister, we like the TSP, but please you and your colleagues in Government walk the talk and implement these measures that you want to implement and then we can work together and help you clear your arrears.  That is what they are telling us and I am determined that we walk the talk at least in terms of my part sitting in Treasury.

Now, in terms of the ultimate resolution, in terms of Paris Club negotiations, there are many options on the table, several options.  The options, by the way, are determined by the creditors.  We do not choose how our debt should be resolved, but we can only ask.  So, it could be HIPIC or HIPIC like, it could be customised, it could be ad-hoc.  There are so many technical terms that are used but by the end of the day, all we want is for our debt to be resolved, that we have less of it and that is all we are looking for so that we can grow our economy.

Then finally as the last point Mr. President, is the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.  Notice that what I have done in presenting on the state of the economy, I have just focused on the broader macro.  There are very critical issues and drivers of this economy which is in micro part such as agriculture.  What we are going to be doing in terms of agriculture is all in the TSP – how to enhance Command Agriculture, making sure that more finances are available from the banking sector.  We have been speaking to them- how to resolve the payment to the farmers which is still unresolved as per the Constitution.  Again, all of that is in the TSP.  Our support for the mining sector in terms of beneficiation, in terms of coming up with a simple but credible and effective fiscal regime for the mining sector, reflecting on the retention ratios for instance when it comes to foreign currency, all of that is in there. 

We focus on the construction sector.  All the sectors are included such as the tourism sector which is a low hanging fruit.  The multiply effect in the tourism sector is three times.  You bring one tourist here, for every dollar they spend, the multiply effect is three times within the economy. So, this is low hanging fruit and we are determined to support that sector as well.  The list is long, but of course, we have not forgotten the environment of doing business, the institutional reforms that we spoke about earlier when I was answering questions – all of this is in the TSP.

Mr. President, at the back of the document, we have a table as to the projects and programmes that we will undertake during the first two years up to year 2020 and then building on to the next five year plan and then the last five year plan to take us to 2030.  We have a schedule, we have a time table, we have the actors and these will be monitored using the results measuring framework that we have all signed up to as Ministers.

To conclude and take my seat, I will give a further presentation on the state of the economy next week when we discuss the road map for the budget in Bulawayo, but also when I give the budget on 22nd November.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Thank you very much Minister for that comprehensive statement.  I would like to remind the Hon. Senators that next week we are going to have two days which we will interact with the Minister when we do the Pre-Budget Seminar.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  On a point of order, Mr. President.  I asked a question which he has not answered in his statement.  I said I wanted to ask a follow up question and then he said he was going to give a statement and that question has not been answered in that statement.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Alright, you can ask the question again.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  It is here, I can repeat it because if you answer this, I will be able to discuss what you have said.  Before I seek clarification, I wanted the Minister to tell me what currency he is budgeting on, what currency we are using in the country because when he was giving his statement, he is also saying people might be asked to pay for their taxes in United States dollars.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Just ask your question.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  My question is simply that when he tells me what currency we are using now, then I will clarify on his statement.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Hon. Mudzuri for that question.  We have a multi currency regime.  We have pronounced that this is here to stay.  That is the currency regime we are using now and the reference accounting currency in terms of our budget is in United States dollars and we have guaranteed a 1:1 conversion in terms of United States dollars and other forms of payment.  We announced that.  The reason why we are doing that is because we are concerned about loss of value.  That is our first order of business because we know that the crisis of 2008/2009 has left scars on people.

Earlier we were discussing about the loss of pension funds and so forth and we are determined that that value is preserved, but also it creates a sense of order as far as we are concerned so that we can really introduce gradually currency reforms that we think that in the end Zimbabwe ought to have. 

If you go back to the Monetary Policy Statement on 1st October, we announced the separating of FC accounts to deal with commingling because we understood that United States dollars were by-passing the banking system.  You have what we call a typical disintermediation which is a technical word, just by-passing the banking system.  Our determination was that look, if we allowed for the separation of FC accounts people would then start banking in the banks, but also we are now beginning to see bond notes as well being banked. 

There were other measures in terms of monetary policy reforms such as introducing a Monetary Policy Committee so that monetary affairs are better governed and also, we introduced a 5% reserve requirement to mop up liquidity and sterilise liquidity from the system so that it does not cause inflation and threaten again the value of the currency,

So Mr. President, we have a comprehensive road map, the way forward on the currency.  I thank Hon. Sen Mudzuri.  Thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. NCUBE:  Minister, I do not think what you are saying is true.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, ask your supplementary question.

          HON. SEN. S. NCUBE:  There is no multi-currency in this country because we are using bond notes.  Can the Minister tell us which currency we are using?  I last got US dollars last year in July.  I thank you.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. President.  For the record once again, we are in a multi-currency regime.  The reference accounting currency has been the US dollar.  I thank you.

                THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  We are not in the normal question time which we normally have on Thursdays.  We are seeking clarifications from the Minister.  So, there is no supplementary question once somebody has asked their question.  If you want to ask another question you just stand up.  I had recognised Hon Members in order so allow me to finish the people I have on my list then I will come back to fresh ones. In the interest of being fair, I started with Hon Sen. Mudzuri now it is Hon. Sen. Makoni.

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  On a point of order.  I think you are being unfair to us.  We were stopped from asking questions and were told to seek clarification.  Asking and seeking clarification is the same.  Mr. President, we were waiting for the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for more than three weeks.  As the Leader of the Opposition, I think you must allow us to seek clarification because we went out failing to ask questions.  I asked Madam President why the Minister was not answering the currency issue.  The whole budget and his speech are based on the currency we are using.  If we forget that the currency we are using today – we were doing budget yesterday and we were wondering what currency we were using both you and me.  The Minister has admitted...

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Senator Mudzuri, we have got rules which we follow.  We have a statement which the Minister has made and now I am giving you the opportunity in terms of our Standing Rules and Orders to seek clarification from the Minister and I have given the order of the people who are going to seek clarifications.

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  Mr. President, it does not help to give an order.  I asked a question and I am following up after he answered the question.

                THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  He has answered the question.

                HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  No, people do not understanding his answer.  He has not answered the question properly in the sense that there is RTGs, Nostro US$, bond and all these things are happening in the market. As we are doing a budget today and going for the budget, we wanted clarification on the currency we are budgeting on and also what should be used outside. If we do not have that I can laugh at this whole statement and say Hon. Ncube we might be headed for a disaster because you have not looked at your terrain. If you do not first answer the question on the meaning of RTGs US$ account or Nostro account.  If you go to the bank tomorrow that is what you are told.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Hon. Sen. Mudzuri, I have to stop you at that stage.  The Minister has answered for your benefit.  I will ask the Hon. Minister to answer your question again.  Minister would you like to answer that question again.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  I have already answered the question Mr. President.  Let me thank again Hon. Se. Mudzuri for that question.  We are in a multi-currency regime.  That is the official position.  We have guaranteed a one to one equivalent and I urge you to use the US dollar as your accounting currency.  Accounting currency I repeat.  We have always done that so, please let us maintain that.  I thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. MAKONI:  I want to find out from the Minister, when he set out to impose the 2% tax on transactions, was there any consultation done because the ill feeling that we have in the society today is that this is money being taken from the poor to finance Government expenditure, which is not authorised as exemplified by the money that was forgiven to farmers who took equipment for agricultural purposes.  They still have their equipment but the loan has been assumed by Government and everybody else is being made to pay for it.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  It is not very often that when Government enacts policy it calls a referendum and consults everyone in society.  In terms of relevant consultation, that was done within Government and the private sector but also in recognition of the developments in our economy which I explained earlier, a bigger and more informalised economy.  This was within the strategy for the containment of the budget deficit.  I already said that the first step was revenue expansion and that we have already done. I am already thinking whether I should consider other incentives within the budget using the tax for the creation of jobs.  That is what I was actually seized with this morning when I was consulting industry.  To conclude Mr. President, in the budget I will outline the cost containment measures, expenditure cutting measures to complement the revenue expansion measures so that Government itself can meet the people of Zimbabwe half way.  Thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. B MPOFU:  Mine is a slightly technical question.  It is based on what the Minister said on the one-to-one facility.  When the facility started in 2016, it was backed by US$200 million facility from AFREXIM bank.  By August this year that currency’s value was about 390 and money supply was average in terms of its velocity was around 25 million.  Now if you look at that and you look at the facility that we have and the facility that you negotiated and the velocity that is there, what measures do we have to ensure that the facility remains one-to-one because it will not, given what the value of that particular currency in August the velocity in terms of money supply that has been taking place since then.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  The facility we have in place in terms of guarantee or line of credit from AFREXIM bank is adequate.  We have made that assessment and we are quite comfortable with the size and it is US$500 million.  If you look at the bond notes value issued is 431 million so it is adequate.  I did also mention that we have negotiated additional facilities to deal with RTGs balances as well to make sure those are secured.  The way it works is you never have a one-to-one guarantee.  Let me take you back – if you have a normal exchange rate regime, the size of your reserves is always smaller than the size of imports.  It is always like that, that is why we always talk in terms of import cover because in economics we are worried about the flow and not the stock.  So that is why we never have a one-to-one guarantee in terms of value but always have a mismatch but that mismatch is still enough to guarantee value.  So we have done that analysis.  I thank you Mr President.

          *SEN. TIMVEOS:  I want to thank you Mr. President and through you Mr. President, the way the Finance Minister has spoken is like he was already addressing us on the 2030 budget which is the future life. Is that correct? I am a Senator from the people and I want to know what is obtaining at the moment. Minister, we always hear that sanctions are impeding our development programmes and considering all that you have said here, I did not hear you talking about corruption in terms of how you are going to manage it so that your work as the Minister will be lighter for you. Out there Minister, people are talking about Queen Bee and King Bee who are said to be walking into the Reserve Bank and take a US$1 million and then go outside the country and come back into the country to give the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe bond notes yet they would have been supplied with United States dollars. If you go to the streets right now Minister, you will find out that the exchange rate is not US$1: 1 bond note. This is our money Minister …

          *THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Hon. Senator Timveos, let us assist each other here. We want to get clarifications from the Minister and we cannot start to make a statement. Just ask a question that my question is directed to this issue and then the Minister answers, thank you.     

*HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Mr. President. The Minister of Finance is the custodian of the finances in the country and he has the responsibility to know where the money goes. The money under custodianship of his Ministry comes from salaries, taxes and some other different revenue streams. Therefore if the Minister is giving his statement, he should mention what is trending now and state how he will resolve the matters. How can you be trusted Minister and the most important issue at the moment is to give confidence to the people. Otherwise if the people are not happy the economy will never improve and so, tell us the truth. Minister the gap between the rich and the poor is now too wide …

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, apparently you do not have a question and you only want to make a statement. Can I ask the next Senator to seek his clarification; Senator Shoko. I said I have ruled.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Of course you have ruled Hon. President, but let people explain themselves. You are bulling us and we cannot get answers when you are not allowing us to deal with the Minister. Honestly we are here to make sure the Minister answers questions which are on the ground and now you are telling us that we want to go to the next question. We need people to talk to the Minister …

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Senator Mudzuri..

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Hon. Mr. President we must agree that …  

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Senator Mudzuri..

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: You can rule but rule me out on the basis that we must be able to get the answers. She is just seeking clarification and let her seek clarification.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Senator Mudzuri…

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: It is not question and answer, it is clarification.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Yes and it is not a statement and answer. It is clarification. In other words you ask a question to get clarification.

HON. SEN. MUDZURI: Alright let her finish. Allow her to talk.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Hon. Sen. Mudzuri I am in the Chair and do not force me to do any action which is not good for an Upper House. I am in the Chair here. I am in the Chair and I am chairing this meeting. Senator Timveos are you going to ask a question?

*SEN. TIMVEOS: Mr. President I do not believe you do not want the Minister to answer the questions I have asked him. I have asked what he is going to do with the corruption and what he is going to do with the Queen Bee; we are losing a lot of funds through this. If you say he should not answer, I do not have a problem and if you want us to leave this Chamber we can still leave because you do not want the Minister of Finance to answer the questions we are asking. I was asking but you said I am not asking yet I was asking.

 THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: No. Senator Timveos, no…

*SEN. TIMVEOS: If you do not want we can just leave…

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Senator Timveos I said ask or seek your clarification and do not make a statement and Minister, do you want to comment on that?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Hon. President let me thank the Hon. Senator for the statement and implied questions in that statement around I think the issue of corruption and what I am doing about it. As you know my job is it to be the custodian of the finances of the country and whenever I have information on any form of corruption, I am always ready to hand that over to the institutions of the law; security agents who can then deal with those using the arm of the law. As you know there are other departments that deal with those issues and I am always ready to do that.

The issues of corruption that the Hon. Senator has referred to have not yet been proven and they are out there, she is right about that they are out there. I have also read about them as much as she has and all of us have but there is a process already underway to get to the bottom of that. We are aware that at least where it pertains to specific individuals at the Central Bank, they have been suspended and investigations are underway. An announcement was made by the Governor very clearly and so quite clearly, an investigation and inquiries are underway and I suspect those findings will be made public. I am just saying if there are any allegations, anyone is free to approach arms of the law to make sure that those are investigated.

She used words such as how can I be trusted; you should trust me. I have a good plan – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - I am very sincere and everyone who has ever worked with me in their lives know that I am very sincere, very honest, very transparent and I am determined to do my best as I contribute to building this country. I thank you Mr. President.

  THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you Minister.

+HON. SEN. SHOKO: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to talk to the Minister of Finance Hon. Prof. Ncube. We did not understand him and we want to understand because we are saying when you want to go and buy some medical drugs from pharmacies, they say if you are transferring your money through ecocash, the price is high and unless you are buying with the United States dollar, the price is low. If you are using bond note, the price is also high. May you explain this matter please? When I am done, please use English so that they understand. I have said that so that the Hon. President does not stop me. I want us to understand each other. I want you to kill this matter which is obtaining at the moment. We want to talk about 2019 and I want you to explain properly and I end by saying that if we go to the pharmacy together now, for bond note it is $80, for ecocash it is US$120 and that is where we have a problem. That is what we want to hear. What is happening and how are you going to attend to that? Once that is addressed, we will be happy and what is making us not to trust you is that you were in charge of Barbican Bank …

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Senator Shoko ask your question. Alright, Minister.

 HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. President. Thank you Hon. Sen. Shoko. He is asking me to answer regarding his experience what pharmacies are doing in terms of prices. I have urged all pharmacies to stop selling drugs in hard United States dollars. It is hurting those who do not have access to the United States dollars and also you know this multi-pricing, there is a Statutory Instrument which says actually it is acting outside the law. We announced this last week and we re-emphasised this week it is outside the law.

Of course, we are using moral persuasion means to make sure that they bring their prices down and we are also aware there has been a price hike. In fact one of the manufacturers of drugs came to see me this morning. He said I have got an idea about how we can deal with this pricing and I liked the idea but I am not yet ready to talk about it but I liked the idea. If that works, you will see those prices come down. I am concentrating on making sure that prices come down. I am not in control of the exchange rate in the parallel market because that is another market. We have an official position, but at the same time I am acutely aware that there is transmission in terms of inflation and we are trying to deal with inflation. We have lifted SI 122 which also allows people to import drugs and so forth so they can supplement supplies and all that will go a long way in reducing prices and improving accessibility.  I want to correct you Hon. Shoko.  He said that my statement was about tomorrow; - it is about the state of the economy today.  What will be about tomorrow and about next year is the budget statement which we will discuss together with Hon. Shoko next week in Bulawayo and I am looking forward to his contribution so that tomorrow for 2019, we can improve the economy and his aspirations are realised.  I thank you Mr. President.

          +HON. SEN. S. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. President.  I will also take a cue from Hon. Shoko.  Minister, I want to know as to how many people outside the country are taking the money since you are saying that the bond note is one to one with the US dollar?.  They were taking their monies without a problem but those children who are at the universities have been blocked.  They no longer have access to the money because the cards have been blocked and they cannot have access to money for food.  Accommodation is out and what is important is the daily life of a child.

          What measures are you taking Minister because when I approach the bank, there are some other people with children who are at school out of the country?  We were requested to go and buy money and deposit it.  With these hardships and the money that we are realizing, is that feasible to buy and deposit.  I would like to have an answer to that.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Sen. Ncube for the question.  The gist of the question is that, our Zimbabwean children studying outside the country, the parents have no access to forex to support them for accommodation, food and so forth. 

          Mr. President, I really sympathies with Hon. Ncube on this and with all Zimbabweans but that is why we introduced these FCA accounts to allow those with free funds to deposit in the banks and the trading will start eventually so that there is more access to US dollars in the system.  That is the intention.  So, I am hopeful that the situation will improve and there is no silver bullet or indeed a magic wand.  It will take time but I hope things will get well.  Thank you Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  Thank you Mr. President.  I feel sorry for the Minister of Finance and Economic Development because he does not yet have the solution to the economic problems of our country.  The majority of the work should be done so that we get an answer.  The question that you have not responded to Hon. Minister has been asked and it will come back.  The commodities are being charged used a three tier system.  If I were to buy water and I pay for it in RGTS, it has its own price, if I pay in US hard currency, it has its own price and the same applies for bond note.

          What we are experiencing in terms of pricing Minister is that if you do not have a bond note, you cannot buy water.  If you want to buy using the RTGS system and the same applies to medication or drugs.  The rates for each of those three tier systems are different.   For a tablet for flu, you are charged US$7 – what type of a rate is that if you are using simple calculations?

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Again, like what happened in 2008, did you not lose your pension? We are very worried. I want you to understand where we are coming from. On the multiple pricing of commodities using prices, it should not be like that. That is why when I answered Hon Shoko’s question about the drug manufacturers that they must stop this kind of multi-pricing of forcing people to use US dollars. There are some practices out there that are not in line with Government policy. I do not know whether you are now asking us to enforce it vigorously. Certainly, that has not been the approach in the new dispensation. Our approach is much more focused on moral suasion.

          Hon. Sen. Shiri earlier on answered a question regarding how we dealt with the issue of seed and fertilizers. He said Government is engaging the producers and make them understand that it is not in their interest to push these prices up. Who can afford 10kg of seed at $110? They then lowered their prices. That happened in one day to really force them to lower their prices. It must be because they realised that this is unsustainable. Our approach is moral suasion. We do not want to vigorously enforce the law and things like that.

          I have answered this question. I know that he wants us to be here until 7 p.m. I am sure he will be hungry like all of us soon. On a more serious note, I thank you Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I want to thank the Minister of Finance for the explanation that he has given us.  He alluded to the fact that Government borrowing is at 62% and private sector quasi activities is at 38% and my question is, what happens if things do not go according to plan? Will there be moral suasion?

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I am determined and the Government is determined to contain the budget deficit. You are right that as I stated it Government borrowing of 62% is crowding out the private sector and is excessive. It should be contained. You will notice that since I took office, I have not issued any Treasury Bills. In fact I have refused to issue TBs so that we do not go back there. I will just do a little bit just to test the new auction system and I will see whether it is working so that we can lower the interest rate on Treasury Bills. I am determined that we contain this budget deficit. It will happen and we will not fail. 

          I think in the next three years, we will actually balance the budget. If we do not do that together nyika inoparara. We will have a difficult future. In my view, we have such a wonderful future ahead of us under the new dispensation. Let us work together and put our hands on deck. I, as the steward of Treasury am prepared to do my part but I expect all of us  to do our part including all the Hon. Members in this Upper House. You are all Zimbabweans I thank you.

          HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: I have got a number of clarifications to the Hon. Minister. Just before I go in, I need to remind the Minister that he is minister or custodian of the finances of the people of Zimbabwe. That includes the parallel market. So he cannot dissociate himself because right now he has introduced 2% tax which is for the informal. Let us be correct so that people will trust you and trust is earned.

          My first question is, we know where all our problems started from. The RBZ is still practicing the way it used to be. It is taking the function of financial institutions and not doing its primary role. We want to hear from the Minister what he has put in place so that we trust him.

          My second question is, we represent the people and you are a product of the people. You might not have a constituency but you were chosen by the President and the President has a bigger constituency than our constituencies. So, you represent people. We do not want to sit here as a nation to have an Hon. Minister to “lie” to the nation. We opened FCA accounts and there is no person in Zimbabwe who ever opened an RTGS/bond account. These are a figment of your imagination.  We cannot tolerate this as a nation.  You need to face the truth so that we can trust you. He has to clarify on the issue of bond/RTGS accounts.

          The other question is on the issue of 2% to finance corruption. We know we are financing debts of people who are still living. We would be happy even with a 10% tax if it is going for capital development and improving what we have and not to pay a legacy debt whose owners we are still seeing moving around. I think it is unfair. He has to tell us why he has done that.

          My last question is on the control of the current account deficit. It is a difficult thing to do. We pray for you but without political will – one of our problems is political. Even when you meet people, they say please clean your politics. We want to hear what exactly is in place so that we move with you and support you. This is the Zimbabwe we all want.

          HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: I thank the Hon Senator for that question. First of all let me clarify, he did mention that the parallel market is one of our policies. It is not. I repeat, it is not.

          On the role of the central bank which is crowding out the private sector – what is happening is that the central bank has been facing what we call a missing market. The missing market is like this, our own banks because of the credit standing of the country, capital base and sanctions are unable to access credit lines on their off shore. This has to be done through the Central Bank and sometimes I have to give a guarantee as Minister of Finance to make that happen.  That is what is happening.  So the Central Bank is filling a very critical gap that the private sector is unable to play but ought to play under normal circumstances.  I thank you.  

+HON. SEN. ZIVIRA:  Thank you Mr. President.  You do your things without consulting Parliament and we read about it in the Press.  The money that you take from the people, where did you put it?  You take it and you returned it to them.  The money that you borrow from other countries, where exactly are you taking it?  We have other resources like gold, coal and you borrow money but we do not see it coming into Zimbabwe.  There are figures only.  The money that you took from G40, where is it, how did you finalise that matter?  You said you arrested many people, you had a lot of money, where did you put those monies?  The United States dollar was not in the banks.

+THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you Mr. President.  Thank you Sen. Zivira for the question.  You asked about what we have done with the money that we take from Treasury.  I am not so sure what has happened with those monies because clearly, I was not the enforcer.  We have the law agents that were the enforcers.  I would have to inquire and come back to you on that.  The same applies to the issue you call G40 which by the way, I do not know what it is.  I am not aware.  I actually do not know.  I am not aware as to what happened to the monies that they were involved with, I have no idea.  Maybe it is because I have been away for too long, that is my problem and has not kept up with some of the subtle developments locally.  I stand to be educated by people like yourselves who have been closer observers on these issues. 

You asked a very important question about our borrowed loans abroad.  I have the information and I am happy to submit a written statement on how much we have borrowed abroad, from home, from Afrexim Bank.  You can add China and everyone, we have all the information and we will continue to borrow by the way, but prudently, strategically to make sure that we do not upset the debt ceiling.  There is a debt ceiling that is governed by the Public Debt Act.  In Treasury, we have a whole Debt Management Department whose job is to manage debt.  There are very good people, they work very well and they work closely with the World Bank, the IMF and everyone.  In fact, we are even doing an audit of more debt including the debt owed by the parastatals so that we understand the debt both direct and indirect that Government is faced with.  Mr. President, I thank her for that question.  I thank you. 

+HON. SEN. P. NDLOVU:  Thank you Mr. President of the Senate.  My question goes back to Hon. Ncube.  We see the currency dealers holding crispy bond notes, crispy US dollars, crispy Rand, where exactly do they get their money from?  Who is supplying them with this money from the bank when we are in problems like this, we want to know.  Go to the black market and just request to change R100.  You will find people with piles and piles of Rand, Bond notes and US dollars when we do not have the money.  Who is supplying them with the money?  Can you explain, we want to understand?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you Mr. President and I thank Sen. Ndlovu.  Her question pertains to the new notes of all forms and varieties that she says are on the streets under the custodianship of the money changers.  She is urging me to test this out by trying to change money there but I am not going to do that.  I am not going to change my money in the street, I am the Minister of Finance but she is making a very important point which is that we need to find out where these monies are coming from.  I do not know for sure but certainly, this is something that we will endeavour to find out if these individuals have brand new notes, where are they getting them from?  I really, do not know.  We need to find out.  I thank her for that question.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Mr. President.  I appreciate the difficulties the Minister has.  I will clarify and punctuate.  Minister of Finance, welcome to Zimbabwe first and when you come to Zimbabwe, go to the streets.  When you go to the streets, you know what is happening.  The street is our stage, all these politicians and the streetlight is our sunlight.  We live there when you see those things happening.  You have just fired four people from the Reserve Bank and you are answering someone to say, I do not want to go to the street and you do not know about money changing.  You are refusing to be practical.  We want to help you.  We are not fighting you, we respect you but when you come here be practical.  We want to end up with a Budget, something that works. 

When I was asking you about currency, your first answer you have failed.  If it was an exam, honestly Minister you will have failed.  You might not accept it but you would have failed.  What you have said about this money, you have just answered a question saying the Reserve Bank is managing collection of foreign currency so that it is helping these banks because of sanctions.  Do you know that two years ago, those who were in Parliament, the Bankers’ Association met the Parliamentarians during a Budget and said, we are now asking the Reserve Bank to ask your accounts from banks, no one will be able to get their money without going through the Reserve Bank.  The Reserve Bank is the one which had more United States dollars and we can particularly single out Barclays and Standard Chartered Bank.  The Reserve Bank was going to do the sharing. 

I think I am not happy with the way you say ‘I’ because you are Government.  You say, we as Government.  It is better to say ‘we’ because when you go away, someone will come in.  We are talking about Government, so your answers must be about a full understanding of Government, of what we are doing.  We are the third leg of Government, so when we are talking to you, we are not…

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Senator Eng. Mudzuri, you are not his employer.  Do not start telling him how to answer questions and so on.  He came here to make a statement.  He made a statement and now we are in the process of seeking clarifications from him.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: This is the clarification.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  You are giving a statement.  This is a statement which you are making.  You are debating.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  No, I am not debating.  There are several points.  I have talked about the banking sector, I initially talked about the cash crisis, now I am on the foreign currency, on the amount of money – you said around $5 billion which you have collected through minerals, through other areas, but you intend to collect maybe $7 billion in the near future using agriculture and the rest. 

I am asking you, pleading with you to say, can you not take $2 billion of this money and allow people to trade in United States dollars and you will find the United States dollar coming into the market because without bringing the dollar into the market, the method you are using, in two years or three years time if I am still in this Parliament and you are still the Minister, we would have failed because we need to find a way together of how to manage this market.  If you have some money that is coming in, the common man, the civil servant, you have forgotten about them, they have earned their money in United States terms.

The agreement with Government is it is United States dollar, which you have refused to answer to say, how do you relate to the bond note, how do you relate to the market.  So, everything winds around that.  If you cannot answer these questions, if you cannot bring money which will be able to allow people to bring their dollar into circulation, forget about it.  The Hon. Senator who asked you the question about sending money to students abroad, when I work for money I am working for my children and I have been told that I have earned United States dollar up to today. 

I can tell you, if you want go into the history of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, we have argued this with the present President about the dollar and the bond to say this will happen and it has happened.  So, we want you to understand that these Senators who have been here know that this path we are going, we are going to fail.  Go back and re-administer this.  Allow your companies to get some forex so that there is some activity in the market and that we can get coke in the street.  Where have you seen a country where you cannot get beer; after you shocked the world - you said you do not want to shock us, but you have shocked us.  There is nothing that you can get in the market.  There was shortage of water.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Senator Eng. Mudzuri.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  I am clarifying.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Sen. Eng. Mudzuri, will you seek clarification or I am going to ask you to sit down.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  Thank you.  On the budget deficit and your trial of TPs, you have already said you are going to try, but do not try like what happened with the bond note because it was tried and somebody said he was going to resign, instead he was fired yesterday, he refused to resign – [AN HON. MEMBER:  He was not fired.]-

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  He was not fired, then he should resign.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order.  This is the last time I am calling you to order Sen. Eng. Mudzuri.  Do not let me ask you to leave the House.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  Thank you Mr. President, but this is Parliament.  Sometimes we joke and we laugh.  We must enjoy this place.  Honestly, I respect you Mr. President, but sometimes we cannot speak what you think.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  No, but ask your question.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  It is not about questions, it is clarification.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  We are going to have two full days in Bulawayo with the Hon. Minister there.  We will have from morning up to evening and we can discuss.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  This has become a prison with your guidance, Mr. President.  We are only talking.  That is what he was saying.  Honestly, we want to enjoy this discussion.  In other Parliaments people talk, you speak what you want.  I am addressing a number of points here.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Seek clarifications.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  I rest my case.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. President and I thank Sen. Eng. Mudzuri for making that long statement.  Certainly, it was a statement which touched on a lot of issues and in some of his remarks, he was even making suggestions as to some of the things we should consider.  I will certainly consider them as we think about the budget going forward. 

That is okay, I have no difficulty with that but I want to correct him on something.  He said that we are going to try this thing called auctioning.  It is not trying.  You see when you have got a Treasury Bill market you have to use the market, you have to use the auction system.  That is normal.  What was abnormal before is the private placement which was not then giving us the right pricing.  In fact, we were over paying.  That is what we are trying to correct.  That is all.  If it does not work, we will be the first to know.  Thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. RWAMBIWA:  My question is that when President Mugabe was dismissed from office, there were allegations that millions and billions and trillions of United States dollars had been externalised and we were told that money was going to be recouped so that it would be banked and we will grow the economy of Zimbabwe.  We never heard or say where that money was used.

No worker was ever paid in United States dollars, they were still getting $20 per day in bond notes from the bank.  Hon. Minister, where did that money go to?  If we do not become transparent our economy will never grow.  I thank you

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  Thank you Mr. President and thank you Senator for that question which really makes reference to illicit outflows in terms of monies out of Zimbabwe.  I recall that I was not back in the country fully.  That was an amnesty to say those who had taken out money illegally should bring it back.  The last time I checked and I have not checked as of today or yesterday how much is actually coming in, but I remember a figure of the order of US$800 million.  I cannot remember because I also read that in papers, but I will endeavour to check how much actually has been remitted back in terms of those illicit flows.  I have no idea as to how much is out there and all the allegations.  I really do not, but at least I think once I check I will have an idea as to what has come in and then I can always put that.

I hasten to say that illicit outflows are not very good.  Throughout the whole of Africa money is going out unaccounted for and that is problematic.  It certainly is problematic for Zimbabwe.  I thank you Mr. President.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  That marks the end to the statement from the Minister and subsequent interaction.  I would like to thank you.  I think we have learnt a lot and I am looking forward to the three days we are going to spend together in Bulawayo so that Hon. Senators will have more time with you, not necessarily formal but informal as well so that we can clear outstanding airs.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI), the Senate adjourned at Nine Minutes to Six O’clock p.m until Tuesday, 13th November, 2018.

 

 

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 01 NOVEMBER 2018 VOL 28 no 15