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SENATE HANSARD- 01 OCTOBER 2015 VOL 25 NO 05

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 1st October, 2015

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

PRAYERS

(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          *SENATOR CHIMHINI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. There is discussion around the reduction of the Government wage bill from 83% to 40% of the national budget. The question is, what measures are you likely to take to reduce that wage bill expenditure from 83% to 40% as you retrench these workers? What method are you going to use? Others have been bold enough to say that you could also be fired? What measures are you going to put in place? I thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): I thank you Madam President.   I want to thank Senator Chimhini for the question which is in regards to the reduction of the wage bill from 85% to 40%.   It means that from 100%, 85% goes towards wage bill and not much is left for operations. There is no funding that is left behind for capital projects such as the construction of roads, schools and infrastructure. Our budget is consumptive and that is the problem that we have with our budget and the problem that the country is facing.

          It is my hope that we will be able to do what we can do within our means to reduce the wage bill so that we can be able to remain with funds for the construction of schools, roads, clinics and other operations. This cannot be done overnight. As I earlier on said, it is my intention that we reduce the wage bill from 85% to 40%, this is a process and not an event. We know that for a long time, we will be dealing with that and I will reduce the wage bill gradually. The steps that we are going to take to reduce the wage bill are that firstly, we must ensure that our economy grows. We should grow the cake, if the cake is small, not much can go around our priority areas. Once the cake is grown, each ministry or each person that benefits from the budget would be in a position to use sufficient budget. Once there is a growth in the community or the economy, then our wages will be a very small proportion of the bigger cake, that is the other method. That is the line of thinking that we are using with a view to reduce the workers wage bill. There is no mandatory issue as regards the reduction of the civil servants salaries.

          If we grow the economy from US$100 to US$2b, it would mean that the wage bill for civil servants would now be proportionate to the US$2b or US$5b or US$10b because we will be having more money. This is all achievable if the economy is grown because the income would have also grown. In that regard, we would be able to reduce the wage bill for civil servants. The other alternative that we can use is that we should come up with other measures that are possible to ensure that Government workers become more productive, but firstly, we need to understand the workers are and whether there are no ghost workers. Hence, we conducted an audit and the audits are going to be done in the entire civil service so that payment can not be made to ghost workers or even workers that are already deceased.

A few weeks ago, we conducted an audit for the pensioners to establish the strength of our pensioners so as to ensure that we eliminate those that are receiving payment when they are deceased, because in terms of the Pension Fund, you are not entitled to a pension fund if you are deceased although your remaining spouse and children are entitled to a reduced fund. We are not going to be chasing away or sacking anyone. I do not know where that is coming from, but if you are a ghost worker, then you are not there. You should not be receiving a salary because you are not entitled to it since you are not working. Those that are working, are not going to be sacked. I thank you Madam President.

*SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate. As Zimbabwe, how can we benefit through your Ministry in ensuring that we put a stop to veld fires which are causing the unnecessary loss of human life? I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (MS. MUCHINGURI): I would like to thank the hon. Senator Chimbudzi for her question which is a pertinent one because at the moment, veld fires have broken out and destroyed over 800 000 hectares of land. Through these veld fires, we have lost a lot of lives. Recently, we have just reported that six people have perished. The worst culprit in veld fires is Mashonaland West followed by other provinces.

We are disturbed that despite the programmes that are being spear headed by EMA to try and conscientise people and inform them that it is dry and there is a lot of wind, fires spread very easily. We warn our stakeholders from time to time as a Ministry for it helps us to concscientise our people about the weather forecast on a weekly basis. We observed that the culprits that cause these veld fires will be looking for mice. They set on fire vast tracts of land in their bid to look for mice. Others also do that because in Zimbabwe, there is the perception that we should burn the fields so that our cattle can have green grass. There is a perception that dry grass is not edible by cattle. So, in our awareness campaigns, we are allaying their fears and enlightening that those in Matabeleland even graze leaves from trees.

We are working as a Ministry together with all our agencies, the Forestry Commission included, to look into the issue of veld fires. These Forestry Commissions have illegal inhabitants. In conjunction with the chiefs, MPs and rural district councils, the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development and Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development because women mostly bear the brunt of these problems because the husbands will be in the urban centres. A lot of the lives that are being lost are those of women. We have come up with committees that publicise this and come up with committees that put out fires in these areas through the Department of Reform and Resettlement.

We observe that people are also staying in national parks illegally, that they should move away from those areas. They are the ones that are setting the forest on fire and hunting illegally as well as cutting down trees unnecessarily. We are working together with the Department of Land Reform and we are also seeing to it that in such areas, we have chiefs and that if anyone was to cause a fire, the individual who is responsible for starting the fire can be identified. Because they may not from time to time indicate who would have caused the fire, the individual gets away with murder and a lot of property and lives are lost. So, in conjunction with the chiefs, we have decided that such people should be tried and fined by the chiefs. Others are being fined goats and cattle before they go to a criminal court to ensure that they observe that there is the traditional leadership in an area who are responsible for ensuring that nature is conserved in that area.

We launched a project and we gave the chief’s aids bicycles so that they will be able to spread the word about the prevention of veld fires. We are also working hand in glove with the police to ensure that the police assist us in our awareness programmes as well as to enlighten people that once a fire has been set alight you are no longer going to be fined US$100 or given community service, but we are going to come up with sentences that will deter people from committing offences such as setting veld fires because of their need to look for mice. We want a mandatory sentence of five years because theft of livestock has also a mandatory sentence. So, we are in the process of coming up with such punitive measures.

We are not pro-arresting but informing because there are certain areas where Chiefs’ subjects are not starting these veld fires, we are trying to come up with some incentives for the good work they are doing. We are going to come up with gardens, woodlots and bee hives. We are also going to give them bailers so that they can come up with hay. The grass that is going to be bailed is going to be given to those who do not have sufficient stock feeds. Also we would encourage everyone to construct windbreaks to protect their homesteads.

          We would want each property to be secured in that form because we do not know when such a fire might break and you run the risk of having your property destroyed. We have radio programmes in place, we are publicizing in the newspapers, sending messages on cellphones through the Environmental Management Authority (EMA). We are publicizing this so that we save our country and our properties. We also have those plastics and other things that are causing diseases, because people have allergies. Also if you burn plastics, toxins affect the ozone layer. It causes the effects of climate change which we are experiencing at the moment.

From Monday, I will be going around all provinces, preaching the gospel on how to protect our environment. We once launched this programme but it has not been successful, so we are repeating the campaign. We would want to meet the leadership in each province and inform them about the programmes we have, the forestry area, water, national parks and EMA so that people will appreciate what we are doing. We will also talk about the issue of climate and what we are supposed to do. I thank you.

*SENATOR CHABUKA: Thank you Madam President. Minister, you said you are working with the chiefs so that the offenders will be fined. Those fines range from goats to cattle before they appear before the Criminal Courts. We heard that in the resettlement areas, people are not under the jurisdiction of any chief, who is going to dispense justice in those areas?

*MS. MUCHINGURI: Thank you Madam President. In the resettlement areas, the truth of the matter is we have a problem. It varies from one place to the other. There are other places where we have village heads. I talked about the chiefs but there are also village heads or councillors. There are no areas where there are no councillors or schools. I omitted that but we are working hand in glove with all these authorities, including Members of Parliament and Senators. Some of you are in those Committees. I will be meeting all these Committees to encourage every one of us that we all have a responsibility. It is everyone’s responsibility because you might run the risk of having your property destroyed. If your neighbour’s property is destroyed, you need to assist them. It is a programme for everyone, so every one of us has work to do. We also have Agricultural Extension Officers, Women’s Affairs and workers from Ms. Chikwinya’s offices. We have youths who are also on the ground whom we work with. I thank you.

+SENATOR A. SIBANDA: The Minister will be going around provinces, what do you say about litter on our roads?

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (MS. MUCHINGURI): Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank the hon. senator for that very pertinent question, which my Ministry is taking seriously because of the far –reaching implications that surround the issue of litter. In the past, attempts have been made to sweep the cities, mainly Harare. We saw quite a number of groups on television, carrying out just a few hours of this particular function. This, however has not addressed our challenges as Zimbabwe. The moment we finish sweeping, it worsens the situation. The problem doubles.

As a Ministry we decided that despite the fact that we have policies in place which are implemented by EMA, we believe that in terms of the fines that are imposed mainly for those people who throw litter everywhere are not deterrent enough. What we decided to do is to put a Committee which will undertake visits to countries like Rwanda and Namibia where you do not see any single paper on the roads or in town to look at the legal instruments which are in place, to see how we can borrow some of their ideas, so that we can attack this problem from two angles. The first one, we will put in place a legal framework which addresses the problems and look at who creates those problems and also identifying the partners like the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development because along the roads, the criminals are those people who will be travelling in vehicles. We have in place regulations which require that all cars should have bins inside but it is not being respected. Automatically we know our legal instruments are not tight enough.

If you would allow us some time to study very carefully where the problem lies, then from legislation, we will put in place; we have to define that litter also can create opportunities in terms of putting together biogas programmes. So, if people realise that your own litre and waste; if you are able to sell it to some organisation and recover some money, that will be motivating to those that are in the habit of throwing away litre.

We heard and witnessed the Minister of Energy and Power Development yesterday introducing renewable energy strategies. We are hoping that could be also another programme that is at implementation level together with your legislation and other programmes that we want to undertake. Hence, we are promoting biogas to make sure that those who would want to create jobs, will have to allow people to move around and pick up litre.

          We are hoping that in all cars, if anyone throws litter, that it will be a punishable offence but we are still yet to come up with something, like I said, we want to undertake these studies. So, we are working flat out but we realised that whatever legislation was in place, was not deterrent enough but we will have to tighten the regulations so that whoever pollutes the environment pays heavily. I am hoping that even if its litter but we will also be able to create opportunities. I thank you.

          MADAM PRESIDENT: We thank you very much hon. Minister for your very informative response.

          SENATOR TIMVEOS: Thank you very much Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Dr. J. Gumbo. Hon. Minister, the roads in Mberengwa and Zvishavane are in a bad state, when are you planning to work on these roads? I am so happy that you are from Mberengwa and you know exactly what I am talking about. I was so excited when I heard that you are now the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development and I knew things were going to start happening. Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (DR. GUMBO): Thank you very much President of the Senate and thank you hon. senator for asking that very important question which concerns the upgrading or surfacing of roads in Mberengwa and Zvishavane. I want to say that it is not only Mberengwa and Zvishavane but across the country, the situation looks the same. As a Ministry, we are working on the plans to have all our roads surfaced so that people can be able to ply the roads safely. The plans for the Ministry, across the country are that the major roads like the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu road be dualised, the road which cuts across Mberengwa which is Beitbridge-West Nicholson to Victoria Falls also be dualised and the Harare-Nyamapanda be dualised.

          However, in between that, because these are major roads, the other roads that our people use on a daily basis, also need attention. The Ministry is working on plans to have those who can partner Government in doing all these roads. So, regarding the Mberengwa-Zvishavane road which you have referred to, the roads from Gweru to Zvishavane are actually tarred, Zvishavane-Masvingo are also tarred, Bulawayo-Mbalabala road through Mberengwa-Bulawayo are also tarred. I think specifically you are talking about the Mberengwa West Nicholson road and Mberengwa Buchwa-Rutenga road which has also been on the cards for a very long time.

          I want to say to you that those roads have been on Ministry’s plans for a very long time and one of the funders for those two roads, the African Development Bank withdrew their money for the surfacing of those roads. We are now looking for other funders to see to it that we do some work on those roads. I can assure you that through ZINARA funding also some of the feeder roads across the country and not only for the areas that you have referred to, we will see before the end of the year that there is a lot of improvement. As I am speaking right now, most of our rural district councils across the country have been receiving some funds which they are using to surface some of the roads. So, I thank you for your concern, I think you know very well that the roads you are talking about, particularly the gravel roads have already been worked on and you can drive safely across as you move from Mberengwa, right across to West Nicholson or to Mataga which is your area. I thank you.

          *SENATOR CHIMHINI: Minister, you have touched the issue relating to the fees that are paid to the local authorities coming from ZINARA. Do you have mechanisms in place to monitor whether the funds are being put to good use because there is a possibility that the funds may be misdirected to pay debts without specifically being used for road maintenance? Can you assist us in that regard?

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (DR. GUMBO): Thank you Madam President. Yes, we have heard such rumours but as a Ministry, we believe that Members of Parliament are aware that they should work together with their own Rural District Councils. As the Ministry works in conjunction with ZINARA, the Ministry disburses funds to all the Rural District Councils which are meant for road maintenance and nothing else. That money should never be used for payment of workers’ salaries or any other items. We urge you as hon. senators to work hand in glove with Rural District Councils or Urban Councils because you are allowed to supervise their works as you conduct your oversight with regards to the funds disbursed to them.

          We have heard such allegations but what I would want to confirm is that the Ministry of Transport through ZINARA once it disburses funds to the Rural District Council, there are some acquittals that the Rural District Council should do. If the Ministry is not satisfied, then they are not entitled to the next batch until they account for that fund in a reasonable manner. In short, I would say that there may be other local authorities that might have strayed but that misdirection was corrected because they were no longer receiving disbursements. Two or three such local authorities did not receive money up until they gave a satisfactory explanation on what use they had put the money to. So hon. members, you are free to go and ask your Rural District Councils. If possible, you could put it as a written question and I will bring the figures so that you will be able to see what was allocated to Nyanga where you come from and find out if the Rural District Council of Nyanga had put that money to good use. I thank you. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-

MADAM PRESIDENT: Yes, today the Ministers are enlightening us, is that not so?

SENATOR MUMVURI: Thank you Madam President. Before I ask my question, please allow me to congratulate the new Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]- He is coming here for the first time since his elevation. I want to congratulate you Minister. My question is directed to him. My Committee and I were touring the borders for the past two days. We found out that deportees at the borders from the Republic of South Africa are not able to get back their …

MADAM PRESIDENT: Order, could the hon. senator not use DOT but use the names. What does that stand for?

SENATOR MUMVURI: I was saying deportees at the borders who have been coming from the Republic of South Africa at Limpopo and Beitbridge are not able to get back to their respective homes because they have been issued with bus warrants by Social Welfare. Most public transporters except ZUPCO refuse to accept these warrants as payment for their transport. Can you comment on this Minister? I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (DR. GUMBO): Thank you Madam President. With all due respect …

MADAM PRESIDENT: If, I may help the Minister. I think bus warrants are under the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Services.

SENATOR MUMVURI: The question is on the transporters who are refusing and the transporters are refusing. These transporters are under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. The warrants are being issued by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Services, it is okay they end there. Now, they give them but apart from all the transporters, ZUPCO accepts. Now, ZUPCO does not go everywhere. People want to go to Karoi from Beitbridge but they cannot get there. That is where the question comes to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. He is in charge of transporters, buses and so forth. Thank you.

  1. GUMBO: I am paying very heavily for being congratulated – [Laughter] – However, with your permission Madam President, I think the question should still be directed to the Ministry of Public Labour Service, and Social Services. They are the ones who issue these permits to the transporters. So, the issue is not about the roads that I provide service for but it is about the agreement between the transporter and Social Welfare. So, I still want to believe that that question should be directed to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services. I thank you.

SENATOR KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. You are interested in the development of the manufacturing industry so that there can be money available. Now, with the power not available, the factories are not functioning efficiently. They are about 20% functioning. How are you going to do the economic development with 20% of electricity being made available for the functioning of factories?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Thank you Madam President. I am grateful to the hon. senator for her question but I want to emphasise that this is a problem that we recognised during and way before the 2013 elections.

The issue about shortage of power is not something that has happened overnight. It is a problem that we were fully aware of and it has been with us for quite a while. As you know, our generating capacity has always been around 1 200 megawatts against a depressed demand of 2 200. So, the deficit has always been there and we have been over time trying to make up for the deficit through imports from DRC, Zambia and Cabora Bassa.

Now, what has exacerbated the situation right now has been the drought. In the past, this drought was affecting just Zimbabwe but it so happens now that it has not affected only Zimbabwe but Zambia and Angola too. Our water for power generation originates from DRC/Angola border. So, it is very clear; if you go to Victoria Falls, the falls are not as what they used to be. The dam levels in Kariba Dam are declining- that is the water levels. All this is because the rains did not come as we expected them in the Angola and DRC border where the rains for the Zambezi river originate. So, that is what has exacerbated the problem and because of that lowering of the water levels in the Kariba Dam, power generation has dropped from a peak of 750 megawatts to something hovering around 400 megawatts. That is the explanation.

We are not to blame as Government but it is an act of God that there are droughts. Clearly as Government, we have taken measures to address that problem in the long term. In the long term, because most power generation projects require heavy investments and so far we have one which is being undertaken to expand Kariba South, to which when complete, hopefully in 2018, will add an additional 300 megawatts to the national grid. We are also nurturing the financial closure of Hwange 7 and 8 which again if undertaken and completed could add 600 megawatts to the national grid.

In the short term, the answer clearly is small hydros. Where you are going through a period of droughts; even small hydros are dried up. We know the Pungwe which used to have some of the small hydro plants in the Pungwe area which used to generate about 5 megawatts; it also dried up because there is no water. The same thing with small hydros in the Chipinge-Chimanimani area. So, I think as hon. members, we need to understand that the issue of power generation cannot be achieved overnight. It requires heavy investment and we are already seized with that matter. We regard power capacity as our number one priority in order to have a good basis for our economic recovery. So, I agree with you that there is a link between shortage of power and industrial and economic growth. We are addressing it but it cannot be done overnight.

          *SENATOR SHIRI: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Dr. Gumbo. Allow me to congratulate him on his appointment before I pose my question. Hon. Minister, I want to find out what programmes your ministry has in place to lighten the burden of the disabled as they pass through tollgates on a daily basis.

          *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (DR. GUMBO): Through you Madam President, I want to thank Senator Shiri for that question. It is a pertinent question though difficult. It is a question that as a Government, we need to come up with a policy to see how the disabled can be assisted when passing through the tollgates using their own vehicles. I cannot say that there is a policy that I have seen, maybe it is because I am still new but as one who has been in Parliament for a long time, what I know is that there is no policy to address the issues that she raised. It is a good idea, we should look into it and hopefully come up with a policy to address the issues that she has raised.

          Through you Madam President, Members of Parliament can request for exemption. I think this can also be adopted to assist the disabled. So, it is a noble idea but I think it is something that we had not considered as hon. members to revisit or come up with a policy and adopt it to address the issues that you have raised to be considered. From what I know, that policy was not available to address the issues. I thank you.

          * SENATOR MAWIRE: My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate. My question is, when we travelled as members of the Committee, as was described by our Chairperson, we noticed that most of our rivers are now dry and silted. Between Chegutu and Kadoma, I saw two rivers with a lot of water, but one of the rivers was covered with water hyacinth. What measures does your ministry have to remove this water hyacinth to protect the water in these rivers?

          *THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (MS. MUCHINGURI): I would want to thank Hon. Senator Mawire for her question which seeks to find out what we are doing about the water weed covering the rivers. I would want to start by saying, it is true as she mentioned that our rivers are no longer flowing properly and are heavily silted, as mentioned by Minister Chinamasa. There is climate change. We no longer have the normal rainfalls or seasons that we used to receive. We now have short seasons.

The issues are the ones that I would be going around the country to address. I require a full day to explain deforestation. It is not as if we are doing nothing about it but it is because we are no longer having sufficient rainfall. Funds have been made available for cloud seeding by Hon. Chinamasa and we would want to thank him. We will do cloud seeding but there is no guarantee that we will be able to seed these clouds without any cloud. We want to believe that there would be sufficient water and electricity generation can be done because the levels in Zambezi have gone down to 28%. We lost almost 4 metres in the Zambezi river. Hence, we are experiencing power shortages because of lack of sufficient water.

Siltation along the rivers is caused by stream bank cultivation. People are busy cultivating their vegetables and tubers, popularly known as madhumbe and this is causing siltation. As a result, water can no longer flow properly. We are doing what is within our capacity to educate before we arrest. We would also want to make available boreholes within communities so that people can go into community gardening and that they do not have their gardens close to the rivers to avoid siltation as a result of stream bank cultivation. This is not confined to rivers but also dams.

In Africa, we have the largest number of water bodies that are dams but most of them are silted because of river siltation. We are busy trying to ensure that we remove this water siltation. The weed that has been made reference to is coming from towns such as Chitungwiza. Chitungwiza was sending raw sewage into the rivers that are covered with this weed. So, once raw sewer has been discharged, that weed grows in seconds and covers a vast area.

We have tried as a department to fight against this weed. We thank Hon. Chinamasa for his efforts through his ZIM Fund that we have been able to rectify the sewer system in Chitungwiza so that the solid waste from the sewer in Chitungwiza can be treated so it becomes liquid, is not discharged into the rivers as raw and does not become a breeding ground for this weed. But, we still have burst pipes and as a result, the effluent is discharged into the rivers.

We thank Chinhoyi University of Technology which has now recognised that this weed is an organic fertilizer and they are still researching on it to ensure that it can be used as such. As a result of that, they will be harvesting to come up with fertilizer. It is now a business venture that they have gone into. Once this weed grows, it affects everything that is in the river. We do not want it and we are working very hard to ensure that there is a sewer system in place. We also are working out to ensure that there is water that is recycled which is the trend worldwide. Others even use it as water for drinking and we are using it for the green city and for our grass. We are working very hard to ensure that this is corrected in that area and Harare. We want to ensure that raw sewage and effluent is not discharged into the rivers as well as attending to burst water pipes. Funds have been sourced to ensure that this is redressed and very soon we will be launching such programmes. I would want to promise the Hon. Senator that we are going to be dealing with the issue of the weeds. The weed can be a very good organic fertilizer and the university is currently researching on that and secondly we are ensuring that raw effluent will not be discharged into these rivers.   The effluent is going to be used as bio gas. I thank you.  

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by MADAM PRESIDENT in terms of Standing Order Number 64.

WRITTEN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

REHABILITATION OF THE GWANDA-MAPHISA ROAD

  1. SENATOR B. SIBANDA asked the Minister of Transport and

Infrastructural Development the measures that the Ministry has put in place to rehabilitate the Gwanda-Maphisa road.

          THE MNISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (DR. GUMBO): Madam President, the road in question has priority since it is one of the remaining roads that connect provincial capital to a district service centre that is not yet surfaced. The road was one of the five roads that had been prioritized for funding in a donor funded programme. BADEA had already pledged funding for the upgrading of the road in question under that programme. In 1996 the preliminary designs for the surfacing of the roads as well as the upgrading of the Lulungwisi, Mwewe, Tuli and Mutshavezi River bridges as well as the Konongwe Shelvert were done.

This process was shelved after the withdrawal of the donor. The design process and the construction of the road and related structures have not been finalized up to date because of constrained funding. Once Treasury releases the funding for this project, we will undertake the required work. I thank you.

CONSTRUCTION OF LUTSHEMO DAM

  1. SENATOR B. SIBANDA asked the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate when the construction of the Lutshemo Dam in Gwanda would commence.

          THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (MS. MUCHINGURI): Madam President, I want to start by thanking Hon. Senator B, Sibanda who raised the question on the construction of Lutshemo dam will commence.

          Guided by ZIM ASSET, currently, Government has prioritized the completion of on-going- projects that were started and are funded under Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP). In Matabeleland region in general, we have just completed the Mtshabezi pipeline which we shall be commissioning in the next few days. We are also at 90% completion level on the upgrading of Beitbridge water works and we hope to complete the work in the next few months.

          Now coming to Gwanda town, their supply dam is Lower Mujeni dam which currently stands at 40% full. This water is enough to carry Gwanda through to the next season, for as long as we receive enough rains in the catchment area.

          The challenge that we have in Gwanda is the unwillingness of the residents to pay for water consumed. As I speak now, today I met with a delegation from the town led by their mayor, His Worship, Councillor Ndhlovu. I pointed out to them the need to encourage residents to service their bills. ZINWA, which supplies them with bulk treated water is owed now, US$8 million.   This is despite the fact that Government wrote off their previous bills. This is a bitter pill to swallow. Payment guarantees the nation constant maintenance of dams and payment of salaries.

          In conclusion, Government is still looking for funding to construct Lutshemo dam, not necessarily from PSIP, but we are looking at BOTs, JVs and any other PPP arrangements.  I thank you.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

          *SENATOR MAVHUNGA: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to debate the Presidential Speech, a motion moved by Senator Tawengwa and second by Senator Masuku. I want to thank these two senators for raising this motion for us to debate the Presidential Speech. I also want to thank the President himself, His Excellency Cde. R. G. Mugabe, for giving us direction that we need to follow in this Third Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe. We want to thank you President. In your speech Mr. President, you have reflected that you have high expectations and hope that our laws be aligned with the new Constitution that was crafted by the people of Zimbabwe. We see this through the Bills that were highlighted for us to debate in this Third Session. So, we want to thank him for that because it reflects that the President has committed himself to abide by the Constitution.

          I will actually say a bit and leave some other things for others to debate. I want to start by talking about the Pan African Minerals University of Science and Technology. We welcome this development because our country, as we know it, is rich in terms of mineral deposits and these deposits are being exported as raw materials. There is no value addition or beneficiation. We are exporting jobs as they are and in those countries where we are exporting these raw minerals, that is where jobs are available. So, with the advent of this university, this will result in the end product which can be sold and bring in more money.

This will assist our population to be educated and be experts because they are the ones who are here in Zimbabwe and will have the majority of the students from here. They cannot be superceded by those in Namibia. This will result in a number of factories engaging in value addition and beneficiation and this will create employment. We applaud this new university and I think this should be expedited to ensure that we assist our population. This university will also improve the revenue of this country. If we were getting minerals that were not value added, we were getting very little money but because of the value added to them, the money brought in will be much higher.

Mr. President, I also want to talk about the Land Commission Bill that was mentioned by the President in this Senate. We really support this Bill and this will assist us in ending the challenges that we are facing in terms of land tenure. For example, in the A2 scheme, there is the challenge that people do not know the certificates that they will be using and then the issue of double allocations that is rampant in our resettlement areas will be addressed so that people can farm their land without fear of being removed and also the other issue that people end up fighting for the land that is available. So we really applaud the Land Commission and it is a welcome development.

We also want it to assist us so that we do not regress in terms of the land reform. We have noticed that there are some who have taken big farms and they are bringing commercial white farmers who left the country long back and they are working with them. That actually causes the land to go back to the white farmers. So I think the advent of the Land Commission will address these issues.

Mr. President, I want to also talk about the Cooperatives Societies Act Amendment Bill after the President had considered the work that was being done by the SMEs. So it will take into consideration the issues of Savings Credit Societies. It is true that when it comes to most women’s clubs, we encourage each other to have such savings and with that Bill that will actually help us to enhance our wealth. Mr. President, it is our hope that under the SMEs programme, the informal traders will be allocated conducive environments for them to operate in and these areas should be planned for instead of having a situation where people sell their wares in undesignated areas.

I want to proceed Mr. President by welcoming the Bill on education. That will ensure that the current legislation is aligned to the new Constitution which further looks into the current curriculum that is there, as well as taking into consideration the Nziramasanga Commission recommendations. With the Ministers we have in this Senate, it is important so that when people attain their qualifications they should not just go and sell their wares in the streets when they have degrees, but we also applaud the issue of skills development and that will also enrich our education curriculum.

The issue of private companies getting into partnership with Government in building schools is a welcome development because the rural areas from which we come from, there is the challenge of hot-sitting. Hot-sitting is depriving children of education because other children go to school early in the morning and around mid day that child has to go home whilst a new group comes in and those that attend at 12:00 p.m are affected because it is the hot season and they cannot perform well. So, we need people to assist in terms of developing infrastructure to ensure that education is improved. We also applaud the Joint Ventures Bill. The investors also have means of coming in by using different means.

I also want to say a few words concerning the Children’s Amendment Bill. The future of this country is in the hands of the children because they are the leaders of tomorrow. Mr. President, this Bill that considers children, since they are already in the Constitution and have their rights in the Constitution, the Children’s Rights, if there is a Bill, it will assist in ensuring that people comply with the rights that are there especially on issues concerning children such as the right to education. Other children experience gender violence and are raped, but because of this Bill, I believe that this will help in alleviating such challenges and ensure that the children’s rights are observed.

On the issue of the war veterans that was mentioned by the President in this Senate, Mr. President, I want to thank President R. G. Mugabe for coming up with a ministry that will look into the welfare of the war veterans, that is headed by Minister Mutsvangwa. We want to applaud that as the war veterans, we welcome the Bill that was mentioned by the President that will bring together the Bill for people who fought in the struggle and the war collaborators. Mr. President, our request is that those people, who will implement the Bill when it comes, should carry out thorough vetting for the war collaborators to avoid issues that happened to those who went and fought in the war such that others benefited where they were not supposed to. So, we expect this to be done in a transparent manner.

We are also looking forward to the fact that the war veterans should also be given some compensation to assist them, especially the issue of land. When we went and joined the liberation war, the main bone of contention was that of land, but those who fought for the country do not have the land and so, they should be given land. For the land that remains, we are expecting that those who failed to get land should be given that land. We also request that there be schemes for housing for these war collaborators and war veterans and these schemes should be affordable. So, this should be part of the benefits.

For those who already have farms, we also want a scheme for people to get tractors to be implemented and this should be charged from their pensions. When they farm and harvest and sell their crops they can always pay a lump sum towards purchasing their farm mechanisation equipment.

On the issue of the memorial hospitals that will be in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, it is a good suggestion that this should be decentralised to the provinces. Those who fought in the war of liberation, the war veterans are the people who are unable to travel to the hospitals. So, we are hoping that decentralisation will take place even in the rural areas. Our other request is that when the Bill is being crafted, the respect should be evident. It should be clear in the Bill that these people are respected. I would like to end by adding my voice on the Gender Commission Bill. This Bill gives us the opportunity as women to have equal opportunities with men. I thank you.

          *SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank the mover and seconder of this motion, on the important words that were presented by the President of our nation and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, President R.G. Mugabe, on the 15th September, 2015. Let me say that we support everything that he said whereby he highlighted the alignment of laws to the Constitution. He also listed a number of Bills which need to be aligned with the Constitution as in Section 324.

          There are laws that were crafted before, which are already in operation, such as the Electoral Amendment Act and National Prosecuting Authority Act and those are already under implementation. I am sure in other areas, we realise that if a Member of Parliament is fired or we have lost an MP through death, by- elections have been held. I would like to applaud the President for that. He also talked about the General Laws Amendment Bill that looks at 158 statutes, that includes the Gender Commission Bill, the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Bills, these are Bills that we want to support because the President highlighted that these Bills will be coming through. The Gender Commission Bill, as has been said, we want that Bill so that we can work together as a nation and understand that Bill. We need to understand what is meant by the concept ‘gender’. We should not have the misconception that gender is women.

          I also want to thank the President for his effort in acquiring US$125 million for digitalization. We also want our country to be part of the global village and we need to undergo this digitalization process. It will assist our radio and television stations to ensure that we all get media coverage. We know that we have challenges in our country but we realise that we are also developing; soon we will also become experts in ICT. We want to urge the Ministry of Women, Gender and Community Development that we need to be educated in ICT so that we can become experts in ICT. Some of the cellphones that our children buy for us as birthday presents, we are unable to operate them. It takes about 10 or more minutes for us to answer that phone.

          If we are educated on ICT, we would not face these problems. We call upon the Ministry to assist us. We would like to thank the President on this programme on ICT. We realise that they want to improve on our education as well as E-business as has been alluded to earlier on. It is an issue that we welcome. In our different areas, there are various businesses and we are happy that technology will go down to our rural areas. Most young people are literate when it comes to the use of cellphones they are the ones who teach us as adults.

          The Education Amendment Bill, we have heard that it will be merged with the Education Act of 2006 to ensure it becomes a good Act. It is a plan that Government has in place. What we are happy about is that our education system is highly recognised. I was talking to the Minister of Education of South Africa. I was delighted when the Minister said that in Zimbabwe, our level of education is very high. I said to myself, if that is the case, then we do not many challenges. So, we want to thank the Government for all that it is doing. The Government is also amending our education curriculum to ensure that our education system is competitive.

          He also talked about the Local Authorities Bill. We know that there are councils both in rural and urban areas. There is the Rural Councils’ Act and the Urban Councils’ Act; these will be merged into one Act. There will be a provision on a tribunal that will look into the issue of the councillors, how they are working as well as how they are fired or disciplined. If the law is there, they will understand. We also want to thank our President on the issue of corruption that he talked about. We all know that corruption is bad, not only in Zimbabwe but nationwide. Corruption affects development. We might have a lot of money, but if we do not deal with corruption, no development will take place.   We would like to thank the President that the Bill on Corruption is coming to the senate so that we can discuss it.

The President also mentioned the issue of children being raped. I mentioned before that Zimbabwe’s educational level is high. We hope that when such legislation is in place and mandatory sentences are given, this challenge will be a thing of the past. As Zimbabweans, we need to reflect that we are educated by the way we behave. The issue of the war veterans has already been mentioned but what we hope for is that there should be peace and tranquility in the nation as we avoid grievances among the war veterans. So, when that Bill comes we will consider these Bills and ensure that peace prevails because we would have looked into it.

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

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 6th October, 2015.

COMMITTEE STAGE

ZIMBABWE GENDER COMMISSION BILL [H.B.8, 2014]

          Second Order read: Committee: Zimbabwe Gender Commission Bill [H.B.8, 2014].

          Senate in Committee.

          SENATOR MAKORE: On a point of order! Thank you very much Chairperson. I have stood to make a follow up to the recommendations which we submitted when the Bill was given to us in this Senate. I am requesting that perhaps those amendments that were proposed here, be put together so that when we go through, we look at those amendments. If we start again now, critically submitting those amendments which have already been amended but then we requested a copy that almost put all those amendments in one.

          THE CHAIRPERSON: You should have raised that with the Deputy President before he left the Chair when he indicated that we are moving to the Committee Stage but in all fairness, I will ask the Minister to clarify.

          THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (MS. CHIKWINYA): It was taken care of, it was done right here in the Senate. The hon. senator must go to the Hansard Department and get a copy of the Hansard where Senator Mlotshwa raised a number of issues.

          THE CHAIRPERSON: So, those amendments were raised by senators, now we are back to proceed following some of those comments. As we go along, all you need to check is whether the provisions as amended are consistent with the proposals you made.

          Clauses 1 to 17 put and agreed to.

          First Schedule put and agreed to.

          Senate resumed.

Bill reported without amendments.

          Third Reading: With leave; forthwith.

THIRD READING

ZIMBABWE GENDER COMMISSION BILL (H. B. 8, 2014)

THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (MS. CHIKWINYA): I move that the Bill be read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

SECOND READING

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

Third Order read: Second Reading: Finance (No. 2) Bill (H. B. 5, 2015).

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA): Mr. President, the purpose of this Bill is to give effect to revenue measure, announced in the 2015 Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Statement which I presented to Parliament on 30th July 2015.

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

  • Enhancing industry productivity;
  • Raising additional revenue;
  • Providing tax relief; and
  • Enhancing efficiency in tax administration.

Measures in Support of Industry

          Mr. President, in support of the industry, I have proposed to legislate the following:-

  • To remove the tax free export quota of 25% on raw hides and skins. Consequently, all exports of hides and skins will be subject to an export tax, with the exception of crocodile, goat and sheep skin; and
  • To vary the rates of export tax on exports of un-beneficiated raw hides to attract 15% or US$0.75 per kg, whichever is higher.

Revenue Enhancing Measures

Mr. President, in order to raise additional revenues to finance inescapable expenditures, I have proposed to legislate the following measures:-

  • To amend the income tax legislation in order to specify income and accruals of ecclesiastical, charitable and educational institutions of a public character that is eligible for exemption. This will ensure that other income derived from profit-oriented businesses undertaken by these organisations is subject to income tax;
  • Extend VAT to financial services, specifically short term insurance, that includes motor vehicle insurance;
  • Increase the royalty rate on export of chrome ore and fines from 2% to 5%, as a quid pro quo for lifting the ban on exports of the same;
  • Levy fixed land rentals of US$3 per hectare per annum for Model A2 farmers and US$10 per annum for Model A1 farmers;
  • Charge a development levy of US$2 per hectare per annum for Model A2 farmers and US$5 per annum for Model A1 farmers;
  • Empowers the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement to collect both the land rentals and development levy, which will be deposited into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and disbursed to the beneficiaries in line with Treasury Instructions;
  • Extend the scope of the tobacco levy beyond tobacco sold on the auction floor, to include sales of contract tobacco; and
  • Fix the minimum clearance fees per bill of entry at US$50 for VAT purposes, in order to minimize revenue loss to the fiscus arising from invoice undervaluation by Customs Clearing agents.

Tax Relief Measures

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

  • Abolish the 15% export tax on exports of un-beneficiated chrome and diamonds;
  • Reduce the royalty rate on gold mined by small scale miners output which does not exceed 0.5kg per month from 3% to 1%;
  • Extend the tax amnesty period by further three months from 30th June 2015 to 30th September 2015; and
  • Exempt from stamp duty, the registration of bonds issued by the African Development Bank and the African Export-Import Bank in fulfillment of their mandate to provide development finance.

Efficiency in Tax Administration

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

Mr. President, the Bill also seeks to invoke the provision of the State Liabilities Act in order to protect Air Zimbabwe Corporation’s assets from attachment by its domestic creditors. The protection will expire on the 31st of July, 2018 by which date it is hoped that the Air Zimbabwe Corporation will be back on its feet.

Mr. President, I now move that the Bill be read for a second time. I thank you.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a second time.

          Committee: With leave; forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

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

          Senate in Committee.

          Clauses 1 to 24 put and agreed to.

          Senate resumed.

          Bill reported without amendments.

          Third Reading: With leave; forthwith.

THIRD READING

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

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

      Motion put and agreed to.

      Bill read the third time.

      On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (MR. CHINAMASA), the Senate adjourned at Twenty Eight Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 6th October, 2015.

 

         

         

 

Last modified on Thursday, 01 October 2015 17:34
Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD- 01 OCTOBER 2015 VOL 25 NO 05