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SENATE HANSARD 09 FEBRUARY 2017 VOL 26 NO 27

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 9th February, 2017

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. CHIEF NTABENI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Minister, are you aware that people are sleeping in the queues at banks.  When they get inside, they are given $50.  This House wants to know whether this situation is going to improve.  A brilliant Minister like you can tell us that by next week things will be okay.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam President, I never give promises which cannot be fulfilled.  Yes, I am aware that there are some challenges with respect to withdrawal of cash from the banks but I want to say that as far as I know the problem is in Harare and Bulawayo. Outside these cities there is no problem about queues.  We are trying to understand why this problem is localised in Bulawayo and Harare.  We are also trying to understand why this problem is localised to certain banks.  You do not find this problem outside Standard Chartered or CBZ, the problem is mostly affecting CABS and POSB.  It is something the Central Bank Governor is looking into, to find out what the problem really is.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: My supplementary question Hon. Minister is, why the banks are charging us.  Even if they give us $50, they still charge the same amount as when one has withdrawn more.  Why can they not cut down their charges? The minimum withdrawal has gone down to $50 but they still charge us the same amount for their services.

HON. CHINAMASA: I thank Hon. Sen. Sibanda for raising this question.  It is a concern which has also been raised in the Lower House and also during the debate on the Presidential Speech.  There is concern about the charges that are being levied by our commercial banks.  It is a matter that I have referred to the Central Bank so that they look into it and ask the banks to justify on what basis they charge such high charges for withdrawal of money.  It is any issue which we are basically looking into and we will try to resolve it as soon as possible.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. We have ambassadors who are out of the country, what plans do you have so that they do not abandon their duties to come and benefit in the land reform?  What plans do you have in place so that they can also benefit from the land reform?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (HON. MBWEMBWE): Thank you Madam President. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Musarurwa for the pertinent question.  I want to assure you that it is a Government policy not to prejudice those who are working out of the country like the ambassadors.  All those who are interested in the land, some have sent in their application and others have already been allocated land.  It is our practice and policy to make sure that they are not left behind if they have interest.  We have a department which sees to it that all those who will have applied; their applications are facilitated so that they are not prejudiced. I thank you.

HON. SEN. MAKONE: My question is to the Minister of Education.  Hon. Minister, I believe that you are changing the school curriculum but I do not remember at any stage when you called for stakeholders to come and give input into the programme.  I understand that you are changing all sorts of things all by yourself in your office.  What are you going to do about making sure that people believe that you are not a ‘Mohamed’ as they say, an Islamist who is trying to make every child a Moslen, when 85% of Zimbabwe is Christian  – [HON. DR. DOKORA: Inaudible interjections.] – Minister I am telling you what they are saying on the ground and so, so you need to know that. You are changing the curriculum without even consulting the teachers who are going to teach the children, which is making the teachers unhappy.     

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order! Order, I urge Hon. Senators not to address the House but to pose questions please.

HON. SEN. MAKONE: What are you doing to make sure that Zimbabwe which is 85% Christian stays Christian as it is and that no children are being forced to learn anything that is Moslem because it is not the religion of this country? Thank you.

HON. DR. DOKORA: Thank you Madam President. In spite of myself, I want to thank Hon. Senator for asking the question even though I may have exceptions to some of the terms being used to describe me in her offering. The person of the Minister is not necessarily the substance of the question. As to process, we came to this House several times indicating what we were about. On the back of the Government blue print ZIM ASSET, we were urged as a Ministry, in fact to say urged is to underplay the term. We were directed to produce a relevant curriculum for the nation.

I am very sure the Hon. Member would have remembered that there was a Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and Training (CIET), which His Excellency the President, Cde R.G. Mugabe commissioned in 1998 and it reported back in 1999 with far reaching recommendations. I came here and explained these matters. Come 2013 with ZIM ASSET saying, we told you we need a relevant curriculum. We retook that document with that set of recommendations and said to ourselves, if we simply move ahead and implement, we may find that some of the recommendations are out of sync with the global trends today.

So, we took that set of recommendations and some of its provision and said let us go on a consultative phase of reproducing that relevant curriculum. Those who have memories will remember 28 November, 2014 we said every school and local hall should be transferred into a consultation space so that parents freely would go there, voice their ideas and give their input to the process. Subsequent to that, we produced a summary of that input at that stage. Then being led by our team leaders or experts in the various fields of learning, we developed a zero draft out of those presentations and inputs. The zero draft is what we then took back. We had breakfast and community meetings based on that zero draft. Out of that zero draft which was being tested to and fro, we then eventually were able to produce a curriculum framework for primary and secondary education.

It is that which we shared with the relevant Portfolio Committee and we made statements on the floor of the House indicating what stage we were on. It is in three phases; phase one was the inception which was the period between Cabinet decision in September, 2015 and December of that same year where we simply made efforts to identify our key stakeholders and inform them. In fact, some of you might remember because I remember there were some Hon. Members of this House or the other House, who participated in the ‘Mai Chisamba Show’ where we had huge crowds wanting to participate in the debate as it was being steered by Mai Chisamba.

Anyway, I said it had three phases; the initial phase which was relating to 2015, then phase one which was 2016 where we had handbooks for teachers, production of syllabi for the various disciplines and then also, a call to the publishers to partner the Ministry on this journey. A lot of the publishers have produced very useful and critical texts that accompany, especially the newer areas of the new curriculum and then of course, 2017 is phase two.

So we are already in phase two which is the operationalisation in the classroom for specified grades, not everyone. We have said ECD A, Grades One and Three in primary schools. The rest remain on the old curriculum. Then when you go to secondary, it is Forms 1, 3 and 5. The rest remain on the old curriculum. We have set up an implementation, evaluation and monitoring team which will accompany this process as part of a plan or design. So, if you go to a school today, there are teachers who will be talking to the old curriculum and there are teachers who will be speaking to the new curriculum. It is not a sign of confusion, it is by design. Thank you.

HON. SEN. MAKONE: Thank you for that elaborate answer, but Minister, to the best of my knowledge the teachers are not happy because they are saying that they were not consulted, neither were they trained to teach this new curriculum. I am speaking on my own behalf and I do not know on behalf of how many other Senators in this Chamber that we are not aware of that consultation that you are describing. I personally would have been very interested because I have grandchildren that are beginning their education and I would have taken great interest because I am an academic person myself.

I do not remember any such consultations taking place as we have heard about other Commissions that normally take place. I never heard about a new Curriculum Commission taking place where parents and grandparents were invited to come and give their input. I would have been there. If you have any such, please can we see the original documents that you are referring to and what was said in them. Minister, I want to tell you that there is great unhappiness amongst the parents and teachers about the new curriculum that you are introducing. It is really not considered necessary or acceptable in the education system of Zimbabwe today. Thank you Madam President.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: May I again please remind Hon. Senators not to address the House. You are using up time for questions. Pose the questions to the Ministers.

          *HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Madam President of the Senate.  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  We want to know the Government policy on the Constituency Development Fund.  How far is it looking at the disability constituency which is the largest of all the constituencies?  Thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Thank you Hon. Senator for you question.  Let me say that if we say a constituency, we are referring to the 210 constituencies were people were elected.  So, the Constituency Development Fund is targeting those constituencies which are geographical, which have boundaries - that is what we are supporting.  The money that would have been put in the Budget will be given to those constituencies.  Each constituency will be getting US$50 000 which will go towards the development of projects within that geographical area.  I thank you Madam President of the Senate.

          *HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  Thank you Madam President of the Senate.  The Minister has articulated well but what measures can they take to include Senators so that they become part and parcel of the management of the CDF.

          *HON. CHINAMASA: What I am seeing is that when we get to the ground this issue that has been brought up – we really want to look into that issue.  We will look at how Members of Parliament chosen in that area will work in conjunction with their Senators.  There are some Members of Parliament who do not work well with their Senators.  We encourage that each and every Member of Parliament is under the Senator because he knows that he or she is covering a number of constituencies.  Members of Parliament should know that whatever projects they are engaged in, they should call in the Senator and move together.  If the Senator overseas three constituencies, all those members should call the Senator so that they work together, that is what we encourage.  Nothing will move if the Senator will take his or her own way and the Member of Parliament will be doing another thing.  They must not do anything without the knowledge of the other.  We talk about it in our Caucus that Members of Parliament must work with their Senators for things to go well.  If a Senator is not being alerted this should be channeled through the parties so that you will work amicably.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. NCUBE:  Thank you Madam President of Senate.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Dr. Dokora.  Why was Bulawayo and Harare excluded in the feeding scheme?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA): From the onset Madam President, the design of the school feeding programme was meant to capture the infant, to respond to nutritional deficiencies and hardships that we also reflected in the drought pattern of our country.  However, Cabinet did agree to the plan that we put forward that we must ensure that the infants who are being fed cover the whole country.  Quite clearly there are more pressing areas than others.  The urban area is one such area in pockets, not everywhere is it universal; is an area where some of the schools are better endowed than others and we have urged those schools to conform to school feeding. 

They have since begun to receive the support that is coming from Government.  If there is ration for rice then the whole set of schools, urban, rural and farming – they receive that ration.  If there is mealie-meal or grain, then they will also receive that.  It is a little less on the monetary side to secure the relish but that is again where we are saying the communities through the SDC structures will assist by ensuring that at least some relish is available, not to boil the grain and give to children but to provide for this.  Hopeful in May this year according to our plan we must scale it up to cover the junior school which is from Grade 3 to Grade 7.  Again we want to continue the partnership with the parents as well as my colleague on the right here continuing to support us in some measure.  When I see a lot of green maize in the fields, I am happy for my school children.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Madam President of the Senate.  My supplementary is based on your reference to School Development Associations or committees in feeding the children.  How the schools going to manage school funds which are going to manage as SSF in one Government account as being discussed in the schools?  I thank you.

          HON. DR. DOKORA:  Madam President of the Senate.  I do not see any conflictual circumstances there.  If we are accessing SSF as a school at Chihuri Primary School I do not see the reason why that school - why that money cannot be applied towards that.  At the moment what is going in the SSF is merely the tuition component which is the component which they use to buy pencils, exercise books and so on.  The larger levy which we regulate is going into a separate account but we have already indicated in the floor of the National Assembly that we have been consulting and I hope the Hon. Senator has been part of these consultations.  We have been consulting on the amendment to the Education Act in pursuit of the harmonization of the statutory instruments which Governs the Government Schools and the Statutory Instrument which governs the non Government Schools. We want to unify and harmonise these so that we speak of a registered school and then the law applies equally. Then we can encourage transparency and we can also ensure there are some core signatories.  I am sure the financial experts are working on how this can be achieved. Then the parents post their resources to this common fund to which the school head is at signatory and the parents representatives have a signatory. Some such arrangement is indeed under development. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHABUKA: Thank you very much Madam President.  Before I pose my question I want to thank you and to thank the Deputy Minister of Information Media and Broadcasting Services for a job well done. Vakanwza nokiuita, toda kuzvitenda.

          My question is directed the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Hon. Mguni. Minister we need clarification  what is Government policy regarding the problem in the country which is rampant - the drug problem, especially in different areas. You find kids sitting on bridges and down the streams and other areas. What is the Government’s policy in fighting of this drug addiction amongst our youths. We know we have the security of the country so how are these drugs imported into the country? do we have a porous boarder anywhere?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MGUNI): Thank you Madam President. The police - their objective is to prevent, detect and stop any criminal activities within the country and even abroad, through Interpol. The drug issue is a world syndrome that is challenging all under-developed countries. However, when you look at where the drugs are manufactured it is counties like Columbia, Brazil-even Mozambique where there are plants. They are flooding into the country like Zimbabwe through the border or boundaries were we have very weak boundaries without security barriers. By security barriers I  mean that some of the parts within the country we have got rivers like Limpopo, Zambezi where people cannot just cross but if you go to the eastern side you can drive your cattle and walk across. A lot of people think they will come through the official border post.  No, they are areas where there just cross into a country without being detected.

However, we have implemented new technology. We are bridging in the drones that are able to fly, patrolling along the border post. We have an inter Ministerial committee which involves.  Finance and other ministries like Ministry of Mines where now we are buying those machines so that they can fly to take care of those boundaries to see who is crossing so that we search those people. Most of the drug carriers are using such areas. However, the fight against drugs  is not only with the police, it is also with the public as we are. We need to identify places where we are suspecting that there could be drugs and there could be drug trading and then we report to the nearest police station covering that area so that we arrest those culprits.

Also the Hon. Senator asked what plans we have.  We are also interested to join forces with the educational centre so that  rehabilitation centers are opened because so of the children are already indulging in drugs and are already over dosed. They need to go to a certain centre where they are rehabilitated and then be taken back to the community. I thank Madam President. –[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-

SEN. HON. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the Minister of Agriculture. Minister, on command agriculture, farmers did not get their fertilizers on time and as a result some of their crops are now stunted. Are they going to be compensated? On the same programme again the maize varieties that were distributed countrywide are the same -  6 series, even in region 5.  Do you think that you are going to get maximum yields? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, MECHANISATION AND IRRIGATION DEVELOPMENT (DR. MADE): ThanK you Madam President. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi. First of all, on the aspect of the adequacy of inputs under Command Agriculture - it is not only fertilizers, just for me to add. It could be may be herbicides in some cases or even in some cases, fuel. This is a matter that we are discussing. We are fully aware that as embarked on this exercise we had to go through some learning process also, but specifically on fertilizer - top dressing fertilizer has been quite a challenge, it is not only under Command but it is also under the Presidential inputs and also the general farmers.  There are some farmers who have to support themselves, not everybody is under Command. So it is a matter that we will look into, we are monitoring every farm where a farmer committed themselves to Command Agriculture.

Madam President ,  on the second aspect of the maize seed I, want to say that for the first time where we were also saying when you look at seed varieties - I want to assist a little bit more on that  SEEDCO has breeding approach that separates long term, medium term and short term in their breeding strategy. As when you look at other breeders, particularly Pioneer, PANAR , they do not separate the traits, they leave all the traits in one plant because physiologically the plant is self regulating. Whenever the conditions are ideal, it will push to higher yields and the conditions are not only moisture. It is both moisture, fertilizer and land preparation. They are many and this is a subject that is technical but I want Senate Members to understand that that is how the breeding process is.

So, when conditions are ideal like this year when the rainfall has generally been good across, it is just the potential of the seed that will now depend on either fertilizer or weeding and so on. It is not a major issue but the farmers that were under command got the long season variety either from Panner, Pioneer or Seedco. In complimenting the farmers, I also want to say we all can see that most of the maize is from the long season varieties. Even from the drier parts of the country and we are expecting a much better yield particularly under command, barring fertilizer shortage, most of the farmers will achieve more than the five tonnes per hectare. There are farmers that are going to achieve ten tonnes, and some will achieve eleven to twelve tonnes. I must commend the farmers for the way they have worked.  Thank you. 

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President. Meanwhile, I slightly agree to what you have just told us. You will find that we have got areas like Beitbridge which has just received below average rainfall. They are on command agriculture and they do not even have that fertilizer as we speak now. I do not really understand the way you are putting things because if you are just saying it as a blanket statement, it is fine, but we have to consider areas in low lying rainfall areas and what we are going to do about them. Thank you.

HON. DR. MADE: Madam President, it is clearly understood that we monitor rainfall. We all know that Beitbridge area or the general area has not received adequate rainfall. We have that information. In those areas, command agriculture is supposed to be under irrigation and not dry land cropping. The situation of Beitbridge is very well-known. Even as we talk of the high rainfall elsewhere, the rainfall at Beitbridge has been very poor. So, it is a specific case. Thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE: Thank you Madam President. My supplementary is on the yields accruing from the command agriculture. Is there any percentage set aside for GMB?   

HON. DR. MADE: Madam President, I want to assume that under command agriculture Hon. Senator Chief, there is no percentage set for GMB. Under command, you are given a loan. The command inputs are not for free. You have to pay and the minimum set is five metric tonnes per hectare. That is what you take to the GMB. From that five tonnes per hectare, you could have taken inputs that are equivalent to two tonnes when the calculations are done. The two tonnes will offset the loan that you were given. The three tonnes is yours.

So, there can never be any percentage set for GMB. GMB is administering the recovery of the loan. We cannot talk of anything set aside for GMB. Farmers are not growing for GMB. GMB is the institution that we are using to recover the cost that relates to what you would have taken under command agriculture. In some cases, your loan could be above the five tonnes but generally, from the way we worked all the figures, remember we are the ones who set the input cost per hectare. 

So I think in the affirmative, there is no money deducted by GMB per se to say this is a fee to GMB. GMB is administering the recovery of the loan under command agriculture. I hope that I have made that one very clear. We do not want the impression that GMB is taking maize from the farmers for the sake of taking. No, you filled the forms under command and if there is anything that was so elaborate was the structure of the administration of the loan. I think they are about five forms that were filled under command and the portion that relates to GMB is very clear. All the farmers under command were not handled as a group, they were handled individually. This is what I want to emphasise. Thank you.

HON. SEN. KHUMALO: The Minister said we are expecting a bumper harvest this year because there is going to be more production than usual because of the rains. My question is, there are only three silos which have been reported out of 12 that are said to be functioning. Has the Minister done something to prepare for this harvest which is expected to be high so that there is going to be continuous food available after the harvest for the development of this country because without food, if we cannot think of how to store our food, we will keep on asking what has been done to prepare the silos which are not functioning?

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Hon. Senators, ask questions please or else next time I will just ask you to please resume your seat. We need to give a chance to a lot of Senators who are eager to pose questions. Pose your question and wait for your answer. There is no need to address the House.

HON. DR. MADE: Thank you Madam President. I want to thank the Hon. Senator. I also want to appreciate ZBC. I think ZBC carried some clarification to the nation. When we talk of silos, there should be a clear separation of the cylindrical silos that we know. Bulawayo, Lions’ Den, Murehwa and so on; those silos operate in two parts. The whole body of the silo must be inspected all the time to see when it rains that there are no cracks and so on, so that whatever is inside, moisture does not go in. The second aspect is the mechanism inside that moves the grain or turns it around.  The silos, as reported, are in different forms of either disrepair or repair and I am happy to say that those silos, when we look at them, the most operating silo is Aspindale because at Aspindale, we also deal with third party storage as well.

The Bulawayo one is the most critical for the southern part of the country.  That one already is in a state of repair.  We have been working on that particular one.  The other silos that have not been receiving grain because for the past years, most probably, we have not been harvesting as much, are now under the process of just being inspected and making sure that they are fully operating.  The capacity total is 700 000 metric tonnes.  That is what I want to point out.

The second set of storage under the Grain Marketing Board and which is the biggest is the stacks of maize that you see and then the tarpaulins.  The space prepared for that is 3 million metric tonnes.  That is what we can store under that.  The critical thing under that are the poles that we arrange at the bottom and then the tarpaulins themselves and then the grain bags.  So, already the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has been given resources to the tune of US$5 million to prepare both for the grains as well as the tarpaulins.  So, the process is on and I am saying that is 3 million metric tonnes. 

Then you have got the shades.  We also have shades that have a roof and that can handle 150 000 metric tonnes to 200 000 metric tonnes of grain.  I want to emphasise that under Command Agriculture, they are the ones who are working with the GMB to make sure that we have adequate storage, including bringing in of the grain bags.  So, safely, I think, we will be able to handle the grain that will be harvested.

Now, you might say the 3 million metric tonnes plus the 700 000 metric tonnes and the 200 000 metric tonnes, it is not only maize that is handled under the GMB, it includes also wheat, soya bean, ground nuts, coffee, when the coffee crop is on, sugar beans and the small grains.  So, that is why we are in that state of preparedness in terms of the strategic development of the grain facilities.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA:  I wanted to ask the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.  There is this worm which invaded our country.  Are you containing it and how much damage has it caused?

HON. DR. MADE:  I want to thank the Hon. Senator for asking that question.  Firstly, I want to say that the worm she is referring to is the fall armyworm.  It is different from the traditional armyworm that we have known before.  The fall armyworm is the most elusive, I can say, of the pests in its behaviour and most difficult to control.  Its origins are the major maize producing belts of South and Central America.  This is where it originates from.  In Africa, it was first recognised in the areas of West Africa some years back and of recent, in the belts of Zambia, then onto Zimbabwe and now, into South Africa.

So, from a technical point of view, what is very important is for the farmers to be always scouting and I will not go into the technical details, but the fundamental issue is that farmers are inspecting their fields everyday maybe two or three times a day.  The farmers must do that working with the extension people to see if there is any invasion.  It is easier to control it when it is still early on because of its feeding habits.  It feeds and goes inside the stem whereas the normal armyworm is on the leaves.  Once they have finished with the leaves, they move on. 

The fall armyworm goes inside and once your crop is grown, it is very difficult to spray.  Because of that habit, you must really get it before it goes inside.  It develops to about seven stages very rapidly and at each stage, it is very difficult to deal with.  So far, we are busy on it and in some areas we are managing.  Now, all the countries that have been affected will be meeting here in Harare to try and look at the problem in terms of the sub region, to try and get recommendations on what we can do to control it.

Unfortunately, I must point out that the fall armyworm literally feeds on every plant, not only the plants that we grow, but also in the veld.  So, it can also be on grasses that are similar to the crops that we grow.  It can also be on vegetables – we must take note of that.  It can also be in sugar cane.  So, we are also most alert on sugar cane because once it goes into the sugar cane, you know the structure of sugar cane, it is also very difficult to control, but we are on alert on that.

I want to emphasise that it is one of the most difficult to deal with, but if we continue the way we are doing, we will win in a way, but it is the most notifiable pest and it is a pest that we also put under quarantine.  In terms of if you are exporting, this is one of the things that is looked at, say we are exporting vegetables or we are exporting any plants that are alive, if we are exporting any live material.  So, we have to work around the clock to deal with it.  Thank you.

*HON. SEN. MAWIRE:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  May you please tell me what is holding back the completion of the project of the CID?  It has been going on for almost twenty years. Why are we failing to complete it because it is on the peripheries.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT,

PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. CHINGOSHO): Thank you Madam President. I am also grateful to the Hon. Senator who asked this question. What the problem really is in failing to complete this building project is that we have economic hardships in the country. There is a liquidity crunch. We need to accumulate enough funds and capital to complete the construction of this building. I thank you.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I move that we extend Questions

Without Notice by ten minutes.

HON. SEN. CHABUKA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

           *HON. SEN. CHABUKA: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. You have informed this august House that you are failing to complete the CID building because of the liquidity crunch, but you are promising the nation that there are going to be many buildings which are going to be constructed by your Ministry throughout the country. Why do you not first of all complete existing projects before you embark on new ones?

*HON. CHINGOSHO: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking this supplementary question. The buildings which the Ministry is promising to launch, these are buildings which are not going to be constructed using funds from the Treasury, Ministry or Government but we have individual organisations and persons who will be putting money into the construction of these houses. These are the people who are giving money to the Government and Government has to construct the houses for those individuals. I promise you, should Government have enough money, we will definitely complete those outstanding building projects.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: My question is still directed to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. Minister, we are talking of land barons. These are the people who are allocated State land to construct houses and sell them to beneficiaries. Are these land barons going to pay any levies, taxes or any amount to show that they are grateful because they are given this land free of charge, yet they have a turnover of millions and millions of dollars. Are they paying anything to the coffers of the State?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. CHINGOSHO): Thank you Madam President and Hon. Senator Chief Charumbira for this noble question. Let me respond to you from the onset and say clearly and bluntly, that these land barons are not paying anything to the State. When we talk of the derogatory term ‘land baron’, it means this individual is using the State land without any permission. They are breaking the law and what we have now agreed on is that whenever we hear of a land baron, these people have to be arrested from the onset because the State and the local authority are not benefitting anything. As I speak to this august House, we have some of these land barons who have been arrested and are appearing before our courts of law for trial and conviction.

HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development. On the report that I am holding here -  the Public Service Commission Report for 2015, there are recommendations that they proposed here as measures to reduce the wage bill and projected savings. They go from 1 – 34. I would like to know from you which measures you have taken and used since they recommended that every year you can save $388 729 012. I want to know which ones you have taken and used since this report is for 2015. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I thank the Hon. Member for her question. Firstly, I am not privy to the report that you are referring to. I would suggest that this question can better be handled if you ask it in written form so that I can go and investigate and be able to give you a comprehensive answer.

HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: This one I think he can respond to because it is an item on reducing the wage bill. I would like to know Minister, Zimbabwe is now 37 years after independence. Why do we still have benefits like school fees paid for children of war veterans? Are they still bearing children? Do they still have school going children because we are trying to save?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I am aware Madam President, that Central Government has a responsibility to look after the welfare of war veterans and pay the school fees for their children. So, for as long as these are their children we have a responsibility. I am aware that we may not have been honouring that responsibility as we should but the responsibility is one which we assumed and we are quite satisfied that the school fees we are paying are for children of war veterans because war veterans have been verified. There is a database of the war veterans and their children which is also verified using their birth certificates. I have no doubt that when resources are applied towards disbursement for the school fees for children of war veterans, basically the money is going where it should go. I thank you.

* HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: My question goes to the Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development. Minister, how far have you gone in establishing a Women’s Bank and what are the publicity methods that you have taken towards this?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (HON. DAMASANE): Let me say compliments of the new season to thyself and the Hon. Senators.  I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  Yes, the Women’s Bank is on its feet.  As I stand here, the directors have been put in place using the statutes from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and have been approved by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.  They have had their workshops and training.  That is the first part of the answer. 

          Also, we are waiting for the product which goes into the bank so that when we open, people can consume from the contents of the bank. This is the stage where we are.  It is not long before we invite people to come and witness the launch of the women’s bank. I thank you.

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

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

DEBTS OWED BY THE GOVERNMENT

          2.  HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to provide the House with detailed figures as at 30th September, 2016 of –

          (a)  the comprehensive foreign debt inclusive of interest accrued;

          (b)  domestic loans debt and who these are owed to;

          (c)  parastatals debts that Government has committed to take over;

          (d)  individuals and/or company debts covered by ZAMCO to date;

          (e)  Treasury Bills commitments including any that may have been rolled over; and

          (f)  any other debt owed by Government not covered by these specified above.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Mr. President of the Senate, my apologies the question was not brought to my attention before I came here.  So, I respectfully ask that the question be deferred to next week, my apologies.

GOVERNMENT POLICY ON ADULT EDUCATION

          6.  HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to inform the Senate, what Government policy is regarding Adult Education in Zimbabwe.

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA):  Thank you Mr. President of the Senate.  The Ministry views Non-Formal Education (NFE) as an effective alternative pathway for addressing the educational needs of learners in particular circumstances.  NFE provides a higher degree of flexibility for learners who want to acquire academic and life skills outside the formal system.

          In 2015, the Ministry re-launched the expanded National Non-Formal Education policy and provided guidelines, implementation strategy and expected outcomes.  The policy reaffirms Government’s commitment to increasing access to education for Zimbabweans and facilitating the fulfillment of the learning needs and basic rights of all learners in line with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

          The Ministry will lead the implementation of this policy with support from various stakeholders, including other governments ministries and agencies, the private sector and development partners, as well as the nation at large.

          The forms that NFE takes include ODL (Open and Distance Learning), part-time and continuing education and basic literacy skills.  The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education coordinates the study groups through school heads and coordinators. Special programmes can be run by any of our clusters as per request from concerned stakeholders.

CAUSES OF EARLY CHILD MARRIAGES

          8.  HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development:

          (a) to explain the real causes of early child marriages in Zimbabwe.

          (b) to indicate the plans the Ministry has put in place to end early child marriages, particularly in rural areas.

          (c)  to inform the Senate whether the Ministry has embarked on education awareness in prisons where most women are incarcerated as a result of rape and theft convictions;

          (d)  to inform the Senate, what measures the Ministry has put in place to make sure that women in prisons get adequate sanitary wear during their terms of saving;

          (e)  to clarify whether the Ministry has any policy relating to the monitoring of the use of condoms by females in the institutions of higher learning.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (HON. DAMASANE):  Thank you Deputy President of the Senate. I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  What will happen is, we want to bring a comprehensive response next week.  We say so because there is an inter-ministerial Cabinet Committee which has been established which comprises of six ministries that look at the issue surrounding this question which has got five sub-sections.  Just for argument sake, for instance, the issue of condoms falls under the Ministry of Health and Child Care which is a member of the six inter-ministerial Cabinet Committee.  So, we have to do it collectively and bring a comprehensive answer to the elders and the likes of the Senate and the chiefs around here.  I thank you.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Mr. President Sir, with leave of the Senate, I move that Orders of the Day Numbers 1 to 9 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 10 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam President, it is my privilege to move the second reading of the appropriation Bill for this year. The purpose of this Bill is to give effect to the main Estimates of Expenditure for the year ending 31 December, 2017 which I tabled to this august House on 8 December, 2016.

          Clause 3 of the Appropriation (2017) 2016 Bill  charges the Consolidated Revenue Fund with a sum of US$3, 426, 289, 000, 00 which relates to the 2017 Vote Appropriations.

          The Vote appropriations seek to ensure realisation of the overall objectives of the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation ZIM ASSET 2013-2018 programmes and projects under implementation by Government.

          The 2017 Budget policy measures include among others:-

·       Enhancing production across all sectors of the economy through giving greater and more urgent attention towards the supply side interventions;

·       Strengthening of social safety nets in support of vulnerable groups in line with the objectives of our Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (IPRSP) for 2016-2018;

·       Containment of expenditures, particularly employment costs in order to re-orient the thrust of fiscal expenditures towards infrastructure development, particularly in the Energy, Water, Transport and ICTs subsectors.   

Section 5 (1) of the Bill empowers the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to transfer funds already approved by Parliament between Votes in respect of the a function or responsibility transferred between Ministries and Departments during the course of the Fiscal Year.

Section 5 (2) of the Bill allows the discretion to the Minister of Finance Economic Development to transfer funds from the Unallocated Reserve which appears on the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Vote to any other Vote as and when the need arises  in order to meet inescapable expenditures.

In addition, and if necessary, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development can vary the amounts so transferred by taking back any surplus for reallocation to other Ministries to meet demands that may arise. Madam President Sir, I accordingly move that the Bill be now read a second time.

HON. SEN CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President. may I thank the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, for his now usual well presented work and always pointing to a man who is working very hard and certainly giving confidence to the country   that things will get better. Commenting to this Bill in general not specific I think when you have Vote 33 to 41 I think those are Constitutional Appropriations in terms of Section 305 (3) of the Constitution. For structural purposes in future I think we need to indicate that 33 to 41 are in fact Constitutional Appropriations in terms of the Constitution 315 (3) because that separates a different allocation directed by the Constitution. Thank you very much.

HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Mr. President. Just a short comment, the Minister has indicated that this is a year we are growing the economy. We have an important activity that is coming next year,  that is harmonised elections. Do you intend to virement or set aside funds because when you look at the funds allocated for all the elections some $9 million, that is not adequate. We are talking of the preparation which is in 2017 before 2018.  I am not too sure how the Minister would want to handle that aspect. Thank you Mr. President.   

HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank Mr. President. just a few comments which seek clarification. We stated as a country that we want to maximize on our mineral returns.  I have just lent somebody my Bill. I think I suspect you have allocated $9 million to the Ministry responsible for mining.  Correct me if I am wrong, but the figure is still small. How are we going to leverage on that small amount of money? That is the first comment.

My second comment is we have seen a bit of drama in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and having worked with NAMACO myself, I am concerned that people are taking advantage of the limited lee-way that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development or the Statutory Instruments give  them and abusing that facility. Can the Minister assure us that the moneys coming out ZIMDEF, are properly supervised?  Secondly, that they will be directed to the core business and if you could explain why we have seen a redirection to non core business if not business completely outside the scope of ZIMDEF. I thank you.

HON. SEN. MAKORE: Thank you very much Mr. President. Minister, first I would want to commend you on the some superb work you are doing within this particular Ministry. Honestly, it is superb. I know you are struggling under very difficult conditions. My observation is that Parliament initially has been extended, we used to be 210 in the Seventh Parliament but now, we are more than 300 but the Budget of Parliament seems to be consistently decreasing and challenged by additional Honourable Members.  I do not know, perhaps you will consider it because to me it appears to be insufficient. When we were at the seminar in Bulawayo, we made some recommendations that it should be reconsidered. I do not know exactly. Perhaps you will have a relook on it in terms of the figures that I see, which seems to be lower than the challenges that it faces. For all the time under the Ministry of Gender, it appears that you were always allocating less than 1%. Sometimes, instead of $10 million, you used to give it just $2 million but, bearing in mind that it is a challenging Ministry and a lot of work has to be done by that Minister.

I know that you are aware that from time immemorial, this department really has a record of people who are complaining that it has to be upgraded. We have got a mammoth task in terms of the challenges that are within this department. Perhaps you will consider or you could inform this august House how you will move forward with these Votes. I want to thank you very much.

+HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Mr. President. People have already shown gratitude towards the sterling work which you have done in crafting the budget. I will stick to the figures that I realised in the Bill. There is an outcry on the police about the spot fine. I think you will do the understanding of public opinion. This is because when you allocate funds to a Ministry that is getting all the resources from the public, the Ministry should have the Treasury money from the citizens as a mandate other than letting the police officers collecting money, whereas, you have to budget for that Ministry and allocate a Vote of large sums of money.

So Minister, I am really concerned that you are not listening to public opinion about the issue of spot fines, and the issue of that Ministry getting enough because you will always say they are collecting on behalf of the Treasury. Let the police officers go to their core business. There are so many things that are happening and the police are concentrating now. They are sharpening their appetites on collecting money more than anything else. I am concerned when you make Votes to that Ministry, it is having a lot of money. Earlier on you said you did not see the report that I was referring to. I could see that I there is so much duplication of services by the three Ministries. The Ministry of Agriculture has Extension workers and the Ministry of Youth and Indigenisation has the same workers, the same applies to the Ministry of Women Affairs. According to this report, if you assign and cut these positions, some of them are ghost positions. You would realise a lot of money other than every time you give the Votes to the same Ministries, but they always complain that they do not get all the money that you budget for.

So, it is just a comment because it is unfortunate that I left my Bill. You could tell this House how you are going to deal with the issues of growing the cake. These must be the issues that we are talking about in this House. I stay in the rural areas and in the ward that I am staying, I realise that there are 8 ward coordinators from the Ministry of Youth. I can even given you their names and addresses. I do not see what they are doing. All what I see is that they go to the bank and get paid. When we are talking of the budget, we want our Minister to at least look and listen to what the public might expect to see as a way forward and as a way of growing the cake. I thank you.  

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Thank you Mr. President. I would want to thank the Hon. Senators for their contributions. I will do my best to clarify some of the issues that they have raised. Senator Chief Charumbira, you raised this issue about separating Votes. Votes 33 to 41, used to be put as sub-heads under line Ministries. You raised this issue and we have now separated it. I think this is in line with your suggestion with the constitutional requirements. What you are now saying is that we should indicate specifically that these are constitutional appropriations. I am sure that the officers who are here will bear that in mind when they next draft the Appropriation Bill.

Senator Chimhini, I think I missed your contribution and I am sorry.

HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: My question relates to the Vote for ZEC.

HON. CHINAMASA: Okay, thank you. I got it. With ZEC, we are very much on top of the situation. This year, they should commence in a very short period of time biometric voter registration exercise which we are funding. We expect that exercise to cost us around $12 to $15 million. It has not yet been established. The money for it will come in the unallocated reserve because we were not specific. We have to procure equipment to undertake this exercise. 

At this juncture, we are not yet sure because there is a tendering process. We are not yet sure what the cost of the equipment is going to be. We decided that we make provision for it in the unallocated reserve. So, we are on top of the situation. The actual cost of conducting the elections next year will be provided for in the 2018 Budget. I want to assure Hon. Senators that the funding and financing of our elections will be taken care of and the issue is under control. 

Senator Sibanda, thank you for your question with respect to the Ministry of Mines. On the Ministry of Mines, I have good news and also bad news with respect to the performance of the mining sector. The good news is that gold, platinum, chrome and nickel has been performing well. Coal is not performing well and diamonds is almost as good as dead, which is why Mr. President Sir, the focus between my Ministry and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, is to try to focus on resuscitating the diamond sector and everything will be done to ensure that we do so.

The other sector that we should  exploit optimally this year is the chrome sector.  From a price range of around US$60 or even less per metric tonne, the price, I understand, in the world market has risen to something like US$170 per metric tonne, which is very good.  So, it is very incumbent upon us to exploit and make sure that we maximise our returns. 

The issue, Senator Sibanda, you raise about ZIMDEF and so on, if I could seek your indulgence and the indulgence of the House, this is a matter which is subjudice , it is in the courts and I would not want to comment on it until that is resolved.  What I can only say is that Treasury will ensure that all funds, not only the ZIMDEF, but all funds, do perform or are used for the purpose for which those funds were established.  So, other than that, I would not want to say anything further.

Senator Makore, thank you very much.  Yes, I think what Hon. Senators need to understand about this budget is that much of these allocations are going to wages.  Ninety percent and above are going to wages with very little going to operations and capital formation.  What I have been doing is to fund capital development, mostly through loan financing and the examples abound.  We are talking about Kariba South, that is being funded through loan financing.  We are also talking about Hwange 7 and 8 when it is concluded.  It is also loan financing.  The only element which is different about Hwange 7 and 8 from Kariba South is that there is a 15% component of equity participation.  That also has been agreed upon.

The Beitbridge – Harare Road, we have put it to a concession and the company should do a ground breaking ceremony any time so that work on that project can start.  We are basically surrendering any revenue that we are going to earn from toll fees on that road towards the construction of the road.  The contractor will bring in its money, but recoup its investment over a long period of time.  I think almost up to 25 years. I do not have the exact period right now.   So, that is how we have been creative in financing capital expenditure. 

So, the long and short of it is that clearly, yes, we have insufficient money to pay anyway.  Whether you are talking about the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment or the Ministry of Sports and Recreation, we just do not have the resources to pay other than meeting the costs of labour, the employment costs, which is why I want always to ask this august House to support us so that we change that structure. 

That structure is not sustainable, where 90% and above of your revenue is going to wages.  We have to work together to reduce the level of expenditure vis a vis revenue to at least around 50% to 55% of revenue going to wages and I have already, on many occasions, indicated that we are pursuing two avenues to achieve that.  One avenue is rationalisation of the wage bill and some of the remarks made by Hon. Senator Mlotshwa are part and parcel of that rationalisation.  She mentioned youth officers, women’s officers and also in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.  Some of the decisions that we took as a committee, that is Minister Mupfumira and I, are addressing those issues and we are hoping that by the year 2019, we should have at least succeeded to reduce the wage bill proportion from the current 95% /99%  to somewhere around 50% to 55%.

Of course, the other avenue we are taking to reduce the wage bill is to grow the cake and the main thrust of my 2017 Budget is basically to increase production across all sectors of the economy.  If we grow that cake and the wage bill remains stable as it has been, it will then achieve its right proportion within a bigger cake and it is basically something we are trying to do.  So, Hon. Senator Mlotshwa, I think I have already answered with respect to the rationalisation measures that we are taking to reduce the wage bill. 

There are many things and I think you mentioned about 36 of them.  As you know, the wage bill in any country is a very sensitive affair and it is not something that you can reduce overnight.  You have to look at it as a process.  Even here in Parliament, if we say we want to reduce your salaries, I know you will kick me out of this House straight away.  So, we need to understand that sensitivity and find ways which are market friendly, so to speak, to do so. 

The issue raised about spot fines – I think clearly spot fines will remain as long as we have got drivers who commit crimes when they are driving their vehicles on the road.  You must expect police to mount roadblocks where they check your speed, the condition of your vehicle and over speeding is a crime for which a spot fine is fixed.  Any mechanical defect on your vehicle is also a crime.  You should not move with a car without breaks.  So, if the police find that you are driving a car without breaks, they will fine you and they will collect the fine.  What we are seeking to do though is to improve on the collection of those spot fines so that we eliminate any corruption.  We are seeking to computerise and connect the roadblock to ZINARA, to the Vehicle Registry and the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, so that as you get to a roadblock, and you identify yourself or the car, they can tell at the roadblock whether that car is licenced, for instance and if it is not licenced, what would be the appropriate measures to take. 

They can also tell when you give them your driver’s licence that you have been convicted of negligent driving before and you did not pay the fine, or you did not serve the sentence.  Thus, we are hoping we will go quite some way to minimise the corruption.

HON. SENATOR MLOTSHWA:  On a point of order, Mr. President, we have a stranger in the House.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: It is one of the people from ZBC.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  So, I was just going on to my next point, Mr. President that we have intensified accountability of any funds which are retained by those authorities which collect revenue or which collect fines.  In the 2016 Budget, we insisted that those funds should be banked as sub accounts under the consolidated revenue fund at the central bank and that was done end of January. So as we sit in Treasury, we know what amounts are in any of these accounts because they are centralised at the Central Bank. I have a right as Treasury, to raid any of those accounts to meet any expenditure or virement to the extent possible. We believe we now have complete control over these funds which are now by directive banked in the Central Bank and not in other commercial banks over which we had no knowledge of.

          With this response, I now move that the Appropriation Bill be now read a second time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a second time.

          Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

APPROPRIATION (2017) BILL [H.B. 14A, 2016]

          House in Committee.

          Clauses 1 to 5, put and agreed to

          Schedule with Votes 1 – 41, put and agreed to.

          House resumed.

          Bill reported without amendments.

          Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

APPROPRIATION (2017) BILL [H.B. 14A, 2016]

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. President, 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 (HON. CHINAMASA), the House adjourned at Twenty Seven Minutes past Four o’ clock p.m until Tuesday, 14th February, 2017.

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 09 FEBRUARY 2017 VOL 26 NO 27