You are here:Home>Senate Hansard>SENATE HANSARD 09 MARCH 2017 VOL 26 NO 36

SENATE HANSARD 09 MARCH 2017 VOL 26 NO 36

Download attachments:

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 9th March, 2017

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

INVITATION TO A WORKSHOP ON THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform the House that all Members of Parliament are invited to a workshop which will consider the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament and the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act. It will be held on Wednesday, 15th March, 2017 at the Harare International Conference Centre at 0830 hours. Honourable Members are requested to take their copies of the Code of Conduct together with its annexure which is the declaration form and the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act to the workshop.

INVITATION TO A WORKSHOP ON THE NEW EDUCATION CURRICULUM

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to remind the House that all Honourable Senators are invited by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to a workshop on the new education curriculum. The workshop will be held on Monday, 13th March, 2017 at 0900 hours at the Harare International Conference Centre.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: I thank you Madam President. Could I  ask the Minister of Defence if at all we are under threat on our eastern border and what our policy is with our neighbours when they are destabilised?

          THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI): I want to thank the Hon. Senator for that question. The situation that we have is that inside Zimbabwe, we have got peace all over and that is something to be very proud of.  Along our border with Mozambique there are cases of people or rebels, to put it bluntly, who are fighting against primarily the Mozambican Government and not against Zimbabwe.  As you know, whenever there is conflict, there is a lot of movement by people running away from being assaulted seeking refugee status in areas which they consider to be safe.  So what we have along our eastern border with Mozambique is a process of people leaving Mozambique coming to seek safety and refuge in Zimbabwe.

          From a purely security point of view, we do not regard that border as a major threat to our security but as we have said before, if a situation should arise requiring us to take action, we will not be found wanting and if that situation does arise, we will let the people of Zimbabwe know and we will take the necessary police and military steps to defend our border, people and the rest of our country.  I thank you – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

          *HON.  SEN. MACHINGAIFA:  My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of Defence.  Last year we asked regarding civilians who are found wearing fashionable military attire which is said to be illegal.  In Harare, a lot of civilians are wearing fashionable military camouflage. There are shops that are selling this type of regalia.  What are you going to do?  Are civilians going to be prosecuted and what steps are in place to prevent the public from buying and wearing this type of regalia?

          *THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON.  SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI):  Madam President, this is a very pertinent question.  Zimbabwe and other countries are saying it is illegal for any civilian to wear military attire or some look alike fashion army regalia if you are not in the military.

          We know it had become fashionable to wear look alike fashion army attire and people would even be showing off in that attire.  We prohibit this because some people who were wearing that regalia yet they did not belong to the military were engaging in illegal activities such as raping, corruption, murder and armed robbery and innocent civilians would then end up blaming the military.  That is why, we are saying, it is illegal for anybody to wear military regalia or anything camouflage.

          Now, this is a directive to shop owners and retailers that it is illegal to sell this type of regalia.  This should also serve as a warning to civilians that it is illegal for you to wear fashionable look alike military regalia.  We do not want to end up prosecuting people unnecessarily.  Hence I am pleading with Hon. Senators and Members of Parliament to go and advise shop owners, retailers and hawkers in your respective constituencies to stop selling fashionable look alike military regalia because it is illegal.  So people who continue putting on such attire should stand warned that it is illegal and whosoever is found in future to be abrogating this law may find themselves being arrested and prosecuted.  Putting on military attire, fatigue or camouflage is illegal.

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS:  Thank you very much Madam President.  I want to understand whether or not this new policy includes musicians as well such as Jah Prayzah?

          *HON.  SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI:  Hon. Madam President, some questions are asked for the sake of rhetoric.  The Hon. Senator is asking whether it is permissible for Jah Prayzah to wear military fatigue.

          We are saying, members of the Jah Prayzah musical group are known even their physique and sizes are well known by the military.  As of now, they were given permission to wear that uniform as long as they are performing on stage.  We are yet to hear of members of the group abusing the facility.  Let me warn civilians that should we find copy cats who are emulating Jah Prayzah and his band – we will get a way of resolving that problem.  We know there are people who when they see Jah Prayzah performing become overzealous because he is a real entertainer and man of the moment, hence he has authority to wear that uniform.  He was also declared Zimbabwe’s military ambassador.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I wish to advise the House that we have these Ministers and ministries present:  We have the Minister of Defence, Hon. Dr. Sekeramayi; the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services represented by Hon. Mathuthu; the Ministry of Womens’ Affairs, Gender and Community Development represented by Hon. Damasane; the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development represented by Hon. Minister Dr. J. M. Gumbo and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce represented by the Minister Hon. Bimha.  So I think our representation of Ministers is growing bit by bit.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA:   My question is directed to the Minister of Defence, Hon. Dr. Sekeramayi.  Hon. Minister, the country is faced with the problems of flash floods.  As Government, are there any plans in place of rescuing marooned people?  You are responsible for one of the arms which is responsible for rescuing people.  What plans have you put in place for such rescue missions? 

          *THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI):  Thank you Hon. Sen. Chief Musarurwa for such a pertinent question.  Our country received rainfall more than we expected and some places are affected by tropical cyclones, which have induced rains in Matabeleland North, especially Tsholotsho, Matabeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo Provinces.  We have excessive and incessant rains.  We have some infrastructure which has been destroyed and these include bridges, schools, roads and homes.  In some homes, people have been moved to safe areas.  Government has a Civil Protection Unit, which is under the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

The Ministry has been moving around holding meetings with Ministries which may come in and assist such as Defence, Health and Child Care and Transport and Infrastructural Development.  These Ministries work on the welfare of the citizens of Zimbabwe.  When we look at floods which occurred in Tsholotsho, we realise that marooned people were airlifted and taken to safer places.  Some people were rescued in areas like Masvingo where people are not able to move from one place to the other because of the flooded and broken down rivers.  We did move around with the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Hon. Kasukuwere. 

The Air Force of Zimbabwe has dedicated its services to rescue such people and also even ferrying medicinal assistance to areas which are marooned and where people should have access to medication.  The Air Force of Zimbabwe is on standby to supply the services of rescuing people who could be marooned where ever they are.  We should be on high alert because of this cyclone induced rainfall.  Therefore, the Air Force and the Zimbabwe National Army are ready.  We also put aside some storage facility for fuel to fuel the planes which are supposed to rescue people who could be marooned because of the incessant rains.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. SHIRI:  Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Hon. Damasane.  In light of celebrating the Women’s Day, may you update this House on the national theme and strides made so far to emancipate the women of Zimbabwe?  Thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (HON. DAMASANE):  Madam President, I would like to thank the Hon. Member who has asked a very noble question that is close to our hearts today.  The theme for 2017, for the International Women’s Day is coming with the times because in 1910, a group of women who had issues and questions visited the UN and they were accorded this day.  So, all those years down the line to 8th March, 2017, we try and change to suit the times.  The world has gone ICT, the village is now smaller than what it is because we now live in a global village. 

For the Zimbabwean woman we said if you are going to adjust, you have to be bold for change and if you are going to survive in 2017, you have to be business minded.  If you are going to stay as a laurel in any country, being a mother, an aunty, a sister or grandmother, you will need your beauty.  The type of the Zimbabwean woman we are looking at as from yesterday and 365 days on, is the one who will put beauty and brains together – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] – and then be able to be bold to change because you adjust from the mindset.  This is the type of woman we were celebrating because the UN theme is “Bold for change” but then we strategised ours to suit the type of woman we have.

Just to add on to this lovely question, which comes just 48 hours after the launch, what we have noticed is that we are not ending the celebrations; we have adjusted our style.  It is 365 days in a year, because the issues are not laid to rest until they are solved.  Also, we are urging all organisations to celebrate women, their mothers, sisters, aunts and the girl child.  You will recall that yesterday there were two types of celebrations; one at the National Art Gallery, which coincided with the national launch. So, this is the type of the Zimbabwean woman we are like.  All doors are open.  It does not matter whether you are taller or shorter than me but you are standard.  So, the Hon. Member Madam President, her organisation and colleagues in the representation which has come in here to the Senate are welcome and can celebrate.  Thank you Madam President. 

HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Dr. Gumbo.  Your Ministry oversees Air Zimbabwe, Roads and Road Traffic and National Railways of Zimbabwe.  It seems as if the last parastatal has not been looked at in earnest.  My question is, is the National Railways of Zimbabwe going to be rehabilitated at all?  If yes, what measures are underway to achieve this goal?  Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Madam President.  Thank you Hon. Sen. Mumvuri for that very important question about the National Railways of Zimbabwe.  You want to know what measures the Ministry is taking to resuscitate the NRZ.  Madam President, the National Railways of Zimbabwe’s operations had been going down year after year.  Now they have actually worsened to such an extent that it is becoming very difficult to resuscitate the national line. 

However, that be as it is, we are working very hard to make sure that we resuscitate the national line because it is important, particularly during this time of the year, when we are expecting a bumper harvest because of Command agriculture. Also, we are looking at improvement in our mining area. So, it is important that we do something about it and that is exactly what we are doing.  Just yesterday, we presented a paper to Cabinet seeking permission to allow us to look at options of resuscitating the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ). 

The problem that we have been facing is the fact that the NRZ books are so bad to the extent that it has been very difficult to attract investors and partners because of the situation that has affected NRZ for many years.  We are at this moment negotiating with some companies who want to partner us.  This is the reason why we asked for permission from Cabinet and negotiations are still going on at Cabinet level so that we get guidance as to who we can involve partners to assist us in the resuscitation of the NRZ.  It is an important thing to do for Zimbabwe because if you see the damage that you find on the roads, it is because the National line is not assisting by carrying heavy loads or cargo due to the fact that we do not have the locomotives to assist us.  Those are the things that we are working at.  I want to tell Hon. Senators here that hope is not lost.  There is light at the end of tunnel.  We are working and what is left is just for us to come up with the best option for our country, which will not work against the interest of the country by getting the best person who can partner us.  So, we are doing something about it and I hope that very soon, we will be able to come and tell this august House that something is now on the cards and we are pursuing it.  Therefore, we are not just sitting but we are doing something about rehabilitating the NRZ.

There are many issues that bedevil the NRZ.  Firstly, it has been over employed.  It had about 20,000 employees.  By 1990 they had come to about 12,000 and as I speak to you now, the number stands at 5,000 but they are doing nothing.  That is where the problem is.  However, we just cannot dismiss people before giving them their dues.  So, at the moment we continue to get the little that we have and pay people who are seated.  These are the things that we cannot ignore as they are governed by our labour laws.  I hope Hon. Members will understand where we are coming from and where we are going.  We want to be able to give our people something when we tell them to go home.  So, from that position, we are still working to make sure that when we part ways with those who have been working for the NRZ for many years, they go home happy.  We are trying to balance the scale but at the same time also looking at the interests of the nation. 

HON. SEN. CHIMHINHI:  I would like the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to clarify whether the issue of urban tollgates is still speculation and if it is not speculation, who is going to be running urban tollgates?  Would it be the Ministry of Transport or Local authorities?  I am asking because about a year ago there was a question on urban tollgates and the answer was ‘this is mere speculation.’

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Madam President for giving me the opportunity to answer the speculation with the truth.  Yes, there has been talk, there has been speculation because before you do something, you start by talking about it, throw the bone and see how people react.  There is that thought that urban tolling should be done but it is not done by my Ministry.  If there should be urban tolling it is done by the Ministry of Local Government.  The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development does not deal with what happens in Municipalities.  Whatever happens in municipalities, the potholes that you see in the towns are not our responsibility. 

Our responsibilities are outside the towns.  When you go to Mutare, in between the towns it is our responsibility but when you get to Mutare it is not us.  I do not shy to say we are responsible but as far as urban tolling is concerned, it is a noble idea, other countries have tried it and it hit back but they talk about it.  We hope the Minister of Local Government, when it becomes necessary, will come and explain to both Houses that this is the way we want to go.  However, it is not my baby but that of the Minister of Local Government’s.

HON.  SEN. SINAMPANDE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  Hon. Minister, Kamativi – Binga road is untrafficable.  Have you been there to check and are you doing something for that road to be trafficable?

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Before the Minister responds to that question, may I just remind Hon. Senators to pose questions on policy.   The Minister may just stand up and say yes or no and that will not help.  When posing a question it does not just help you but all the other Senators in this august House in as far as that particular issue is concerned.  So, you may want to rephrase your question Hon. Sinampande.

HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE:   Madam President, I think that is all I can say.  I cannot rephrase the question.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  I will answer the operational question which is not a policy question because I think it is important that I respond.  I am on recording stating that all our roads are a disaster and are deplorable.  You cannot drive safely as there is a danger to your car and to yourself because of potholes, particularly when it is raining because you cannot even tell whether you are going to hit a pothole, as it is just water.  It is even worse in rural areas because the roads have been swept away.  Even in tarred roads, you would wish you were driving on a dust road than a tarred road.  I accept that.  What we have now done as a result of the disaster that has been declared by His Excellency Cde R. G Mugabe, is to look at all the road networks including urban areas.  As a Ministry, we are working with ZINARA and the Ministry of Local Government- working on urban roads.  We are addressing that situation right now because we are working with a Committee that is mobilising funds so that we can work on our washed away bridges, dams, clinics, hospitals and so on. Many places have been badly damaged by cyclone Dineo. That is now a blessing in disguise for places like Binga. The road that you are talking about ordinarily, we would not have been able to get funds to quickly move, assist or rehabilitate those roads. Because of this situation that we find ourselves in, we are now working on a budget particularly for us as Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development which would not have come to us as a Ministry.

We are now getting some money which is being mobilised through UNDP and other agencies; and through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, working together with the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC). We have given ourselves a timetable to say there are some areas that need urgent attention, like washed away bridges and some roads which are now not passable.  We need to work on those roads within 30 days and others within 130 and 180 days at most to have completed those roads within six months. What has just been stopping us is not that we do not have the capacity to do it, but it has been the resources which you yourselves as Hon. Members, including me, have not been able to pass in our budget to enable us to do the roads. Now, we are going begging and I think the begging will assist us get the money to rehabilitate Binga - Kamativi Road. I have been there, so I know what you are talking about.

I want to thank you because I might have given my colleagues from wherever they come from, some information because we are going to be visiting all the places. We actually have a data Madam President which we presented to this Committee which I am talking about on Monday where we have a record on all the roads throughout the country, be it in town or rural areas, and other places and bridges. So, it is being taken care of. I thank you.

HON. SENATOR B. SIBANDA: Unfortunately, I have to direct my question to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development again. Could you explain the policy with regards to use of local labour in this mammoth reconstruction programme in view of abundant labour and the serious state of roads that need to be rehabilitated?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Madam President, as I was gazing at you, I wanted to find out what the Hon. Member is asking for. Is it on reconstruction or rehabilitation? If I understand you to mean …

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Hon. Member, may you repeat your question.

HON. SENATOR B. SIBANDA: Hon. Minister, my question relates to the employment of local labour for the reconstruction process for the damaged infrastructure.

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Madam President. As we look at these urgent works that we are talking about right now, they are not that massive and we have the money. We normally look for people or investors from outside when we do not have the money to do the work. For example, when we talk of the Beitbridge – Chirundu Road because we do not have money, then we look for investors from outside who then come with their own money and terms to us, which terms we also agree with.

Regarding what we are talking about, we are actually looking at local companies to do the work. You cannot look at one company if you want to do the roads in Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo, Bindura, Chinhoyi, Gweru and so forth. So, you have to look for companies possibly, in those areas to do the rehabilitation because it is not really constructing a new road but repairing and rehabilitating. That is what we are doing now in order to address the situation which we find ourselves in. So, we are looking at local labour. When we get the money we will then ask the people who can do the work.

In fact Madam President, the early bird catches the worm. Others have already started coming to our Ministry because they know what is happening. So, they are actually bringing their brochures and the locals are the ones we are going to look at. If you have a company or know people who have companies, the earlier they can bring their brochures and profiles to us, the better they will be considered because we are looking for the local companies and local people to do the work. Thank you.

*HON. SENATOR MASHAVAKURE: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. From the issues that are coming out in the newspapers and when we visited Kariba, we were told that diesel and petrol is cheaper across the border in Zambia. Is it Government policy that our fuel is expensive here but once it crosses the border, it becomes cheap? What can we do so that we alleviate that problem and help our industry to function well? Thank you.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUZENDA): I want to thank the Hon. Senator for his question. Yes, fuel can be cheaper but each and every country has its own taxes which are different from country to country, which makes our fuel appear to be more expensive than in other countries. Thank you.

HON. SENATOR CHIPANGA: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Minister, I am satisfied with the explanation that your Ministry is looking at all the roads but as a Ministry, do you also have a policy that targets particular areas that are related to tourism. I am thinking of the road to Nyanga and other tourist areas.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): The short answer Madam President is yes we do – [Laughter] – [THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: And the long answer?] – The long answer Madam President is that in particular, the road that Hon. Senator Chipanga is referring to, we have before attended to it because we know it is a road that leads to most of our areas that actually bring benefit to Zimbabwe. I think he knows about it. We did try but like I said earlier on, we only get hamstrung by funds. Even that situation did not stop us to do some rehabilitation to the road that leads to Nyanga. We did that last year and the Hon. Member from that area, Hon. Supa Mandiwanzira came to thank us.

We even did a little bit on the road from Rusape that gets to Montclair or Nyanga working together with the Hon. Member of that area. We are quite cognisant of that fact. Those are actually roads which fall directly under the Ministry of Transport. We are very alive to respond to such roads when we have the funds.  Our problem is money and nothing else.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. JUBA: I thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity.  I stand to be guided, in Hwange, we have a power station; the Government said the first people to benefit is our youths in the community.  Last week, I was at home, the children of our community did not benefit.  We saw children coming from elsewhere being recruited by ZESA Power Station.  Is it the Government policy or something I do not know?

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order Hon. Senator, which Minister are you posing that question to?

          HON. SEN. JUBA: The Minister of Industry and Commerce.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: It is Minister of Energy and Power Development.

          HON. SEN. JUBA: Thank you Madam President. Minister, we have got a big power station in our country in Matabeleland North.  When I was called there, I noticed our children are still drinking beer and are idle.  They will end up resorting to stealing.  There are some youths who were employed by ZESA but our youths in the area were left out.  Is it Government policy?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUZENDA): Thank you Madam President.  I want to thank the Senator for the question.  It is not very specific but if it is just ordinary labour and no expertise involved, surely, the Government policy is that we should recruit from within.  So, I am not very sure Madam President whether those people who were recruited are just general labourers or specialists.  She did not specify what kind of jobs they are doing but one would want to think that if it is technical, then of course technical people can come from anywhere in Zimbabwe.   I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHISUNGA: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Defence, Hon. Dr. Sekeramayi.  I want to be appraised if it is Government policy to centralise the recruitment of soldiers or trainee soldiers to provincial centres only?  I thank you.  

          THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI): Madam President, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Chisunga for that question.  I also want to take this opportunity to make very clear that in our recruitment programme, we want to make sure that all provinces contribute to the recruitment of their sons and daughters to the Defence Forces.  Therefore, when we are about to recruit, we advertise in the papers and indicate province by province the centre where those aspiring to join the Defence Forces should go and be vetted.  Previously, the recruitment tended to be a bit centralised but it has now been decentralised to provinces and we think that way we are able to cover the whole country and we have our daughters and sons in the Defence Forces to defend our motherland.

          *HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA:  Minister, it is difficult for people to travel when it comes to recruitment, it is said that you should go to your district of origin.  Is there anything that you are doing so that you curb the costs involved when people travel from Mount Darwin to Beitbridge which is their place of origin?

          *HON. SEN. DR. SEKEREMAYI: Madam President, it happens here and there that if I was born at a place which is far away from a recruitment centre, it can be difficult for me to go to the centre.  When you consider that each province must be able to send recruits, we think there is more good done that way, all our districts send recruits.  If one or two are at that given moment staying very far away from the recruitment center or his or her district, if that person is really serious and if they are true soldiers, they will get to that place.  If we say that wherever a person is, then there are a bit of distortions and people will start crying foul that we are living other districts out.  So, we want all the districts to benefit.  Those who are further from their districts, if they want to be soldiers, they should be strong and get to where they are supposed to go.

          HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services.  Can you please appraise this Senate on your Ministry’s policy on educating people on the advantages and disadvantages of using social media? I thank you Madam President.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU): Thank you Madam President, I want to thank the Hon. Sen. for such a pertinent question.  Our policy as a Ministry, we cannot stop Zimbabweans from using social media because we are now a global village, the world has moved on.  What is important is what you communicate in the social media.  If you go against the laws of Zimbabwe, then you may be in trouble with, not our Ministry per se but maybe the Ministry which is guarding the suitability of the content you are communicating.  I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: Madam President, I move that Oral Answers to Questions Without Notice be extended by 20 minutes.

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Madam President, my question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services.  Is it Government policy that for musicians, the Viewing Commission that does the vetting of the music material for all Zimbabweans only be premised in Harare?  Is it also Government policy to ask the musicians their political parties as was done to me when I submitted my disk?  The Producer of ZBC asked me which political party I belong to.  I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION

AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU): Thank you Madam President.  Government’s policy is that all Zimbabweans should have access to all services that are provided by our Ministry.  Presently, because of our digitalisation programme that we are seized with at the moment, we have decentralised to provinces through the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ).  We have set up studios in Bulawayo and elsewhere in the countryside and we hope that all those who want to record their content; who have produced anything that they want to be vetted for, will be given space.  For instance in Bulawayo, we have two fully-fledged studios as we speak, that are already functional and elsewhere, they are at different stages of completion.  On something which happened to the Hon. Senator, I am not sure I can be able to answer that. 

If I may recall Madam President, I had asked for the specific name of the individual who denied her to present her DVD to ZBC and I have not yet received it.  If she can please bring forward the name of that individual because it is not Government policy to discriminate any party from any activity that is legal.  I am sorry if it happened to the Member.  Last time when we were in Bulawayo, she expressed concern that she was denied an opportunity to present her musical DVD to ZBC Montrose and I requested for a name.  I hope the Hon. Member has managed to get the name.  If she can bring the name to me so that I take it to the Minister for further actioning.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce.  I would want to know about the EPZ that has got structures in Beitbridge that are lying idle.  Some of these buildings are now deteriorating.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON.  BIMHA):  Thank you Madam President.  I would like to thank the Senator for the question.  I think the question lies squarely on the Ministry of Macro Economic Planning because that is the Ministry that is driving Special Economic Zones, although Special Economic Zones do affect a lot of other Ministries.  In terms of driving policy wise, it is the Ministry of Macro Economic Planning.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. MUSAKA:  Thank you Madam President.  My question goes to the Hon. Minister of Defence.  Peace-keeping, remuneration and participation – what are the limits for Zimbabwean forces getting involved in peace-keeping operations.  It has come to my notice because I was in peace-keeping for six years but Zimbabwe’s participation was a bit limited.....

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  We only have ten minutes for the extended time, can you go straight to your question.

HON. SEN. MUSAKA:  Thank you.  What is the policy and why are we not effectively taking part.

THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI): Madam President, I want to thank the Hon. Senator for that question.  You only go for peacekeeping where there is need for peacekeeping and where you have been requested to contribute forces.  If there is no request, you do not go and knock at the door and say, we want to come for peacekeeping.  For now, we have officers from our Defence Forces in various countries as observers in Sudan, South Sudan, Darfur, Ivory Cost and Somalia but we do not have troops on the ground.  That is the only difference but if we are requested and we look at the request and think it is in the best interest of that country to have Zimbabwean troops deployed there as peacekeepers, we will do so and advise the nation that we have deployed our forces in such and such a country.  I thank you.

+HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to Dr. Gumbo, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development.  I would like to know, because our highways are under your control, let us suppose I am driving along the highway and I hit the pothole and my car breaks down; are you supposed to pay for the repairs of my vehicle?

+THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  I thank you Hon. Sibanda for your question.  You have no right to make the payments.  I am sure if your vehicle is damaged by a pothole, the insurance is supposed to assist in making the repairs.  You should not come to us.  I thank you.

+HON. SEN. BHEBHE:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Women’s Affairs.  I heard that there is a Women’s Bank, is this bank lawfully implemented and what efforts are being put in place to assist women?  How are they supposed to know about it?  I thank you.

+THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN'S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (HON. DAMASANE):  Thank you Madam President.  I would want to thank the Hon. Senator for asking such a good question.  Government says that we should empower and assist each other, especially when it comes to business people so that we try and eradicate poverty and hunger.  Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development saw it fit that funds should be made available.  The reason why they chose to come up with a Women’s Bank is that all the other banks which are not for women demand some form of collateral security.  So, to do away with that, we decided to come up with a Women’s Bank.  A lot of progress has been made towards the establishment of that bank and we are awaiting its official opening on the 8th of May, 2017.  We will be informing all the 10 Provinces in the country. 

This bank is being opened for all women to be able to borrow or deposit their funds.  The reason why we say so is that, for the past 32 years, we were just giving out loans to people and they were not paying back because they were arguing that it was Government funding.  In terms of this bank, we will be explaining how people can borrow from the bank and how they can pay back.  The interest rates will also be very low.

CAUSES OF EARLY CHILD MARRIAGES

6.  HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Women 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 House 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 House, what measures the Ministry has put in place to make sure that women in prisons get adequate sanitary wear during their terms of serving; and

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): Mr. President of the Senate Sir, I would like to thank the Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for raising the question.  Mr. President, the Ministry has identified poverty, culture and traditions, religion, inadequate and conflicting laws and trafficking as key drivers of child marriages.  Poverty influences the high rates of child marriages in Zimbabwe.

Marrying off young girls is common in rural areas, farming and mining communities where the educational, social and economic prospects for girls are usually very limited.  According to the Zimbabwe Development Health Survey of 2012, 60% of households in Zimbabwe are child headed.  This constitutes an already vulnerable group as they lack education and financial independence.  Twenty percent of those children are orphans and this perpetuates their vulnerability to child marriages. Mr. President Sir, many of these children are susceptible to early marriages as they view it as a means of survival.  Young girls are usually lured by old working class men whose economic fate looks more favourable than theirs. 

Mr. President Sir, our cultural values have resulted in sharp gender inequalities, disadvantaging mostly women and girls.  Some practices such as kuripa ngozi/nxa umama eyinyumba (appeasing avenging spirits), attornment marriages, (kuzvarira/ ukwendisela), arranged marriages, ukulamuza/ kutamba chiramu and chigadzamapfiwa (where a niece is brought in as wife to the aunt’s husband after the aunt has passed on) are major cultural practices leading to child marriages.

Mr. President, child marriage is a product of cultures that devalue women and girls and discriminate against them.  According to a United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Report on Child Marriage and Law, “discrimination often manifests itself in the form of domestic violence, marital rape, deprivation of food, lack of access to information, education, healthcare and general impediments to mobility.”

Certain religious practices fuel child marriages.  Girls and young women are married off before the legal age of marriage in the name of religion and church practice.  However, some repentant churches are fighting the scourge.  These member churches to the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) have come up with a gender work-plan on activities to end child marriages.

Mr. President, many countries have laws against child marriages.  The laws in most countries are inconsistent, thereby allowing perpetrators to get away with their crimes.  The Constitution stipulates that the minimum age of marriage for both boys and girls is 18 years yet the Marriage Act provides that the minimum age of marriage is 16 for girls and 18 for boys.  We await the re-alignment of the pieces of legislation.  The Customary Marriage Act on the other hand does not provide for the minimum age of marriage.  This inconsistency has contributed to perpetrators of child marriages to get away with child marriage related crimes.  Let us harmonise the Marriages Act without delay.

After realising that rape, child marriages and other forms of gender-based violence were on the rise, the Government of Zimbabwe through its Cabinet, set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee to end all forms of abuse.  This Committee is made up of the Ministries of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development; Home Affairs; Public Service; Labour and Social Welfare; Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Primary and Secondary Education and Health and Child Care.

Mr. President Sir, the Ministry, in partnership with Development Partners and civil society organisations, rolled out the 18 + campaign in selected provinces which have high incidences of child marriages.  The campaign package included, among others, sensitisation of laws around ending child marriages, rape and domestic violence.  These provinces included Mashonaland East, Manicaland and Mashonaland Central.  This campaign has seen the sensitisation of the 150 traditional leadership structures on the Constitution and legal provisions prohibiting child marriages, health and economic consequences of this practice. The campaign is still to be rolled out to all the provinces.  However, all these programmes need to be strengthened and accelerated to reach our desired goal.

Mr. President Sir, in partnership with Non-Governmental Organisations and civic societies, the Ministry is carrying out dialogues with church leaders, particularly in the Apostolic and Zion communities.  The purpose of these dialogues is to bring about a positive change on the issue of child marriages and in the same breadth, accelerating its end and to come up with resolutions based on practice and not theory.  Mr. President Sir, the churches are implementing an action plan drafted during the Bishops’ Dialogue and some of the activities include awareness campaign on ending child marriages, conscientising parents to prioritise education instead of early child marriage for the girl child.  Also, economically empower poor families through promoting cash generated projects for example poultry, candle making projects, lokuholisana/mkando.

Mr. President Sir, the Ministry in 2014 developed the girls and young women empowerment framework.  This framework sets out strategies for protecting and empowering girls and young women of Zimbabwe.  It is anchored on five strategic areas of intervention namely; education, economic empowerment, reproductive health rights, safety and protection and leadership development.  The framework is currently guiding all relevant stakeholders working on girls and young women empowerment programmes in the civil society and other organisations.

On education awareness in prisons – the Ministry is aware of the gap that exists on carrying out gender based violence awareness campaigns in correctional facilities and plans are underway to address the issue.  However, the Ministry managed to carry out a social empowerment visit at the Chikurubi Female Prison as we commemorated the International Women’s Day and this exercise will be done every year.  This visit focused on women economic empowerment through various projects such as market gardening, crotchet making and poultry, just to mention a few.  Through the sensitisation, the female inmates were equipped with adequate information on economically empowering themselves for life after prison.  This intervention can be evidenced in the programme dubbed ‘Another Chance’ by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr. President Sir, the Ministry carried out gender based violence awareness campaigns in various communities, schools and tertiary institutions.  Through the Inter-Ministerial Committee which the Ministry is part of, a school based programme was developed and some of the activities planned under the school based programme include establishment/resuscitation of gender clubs, branding of school accessories with messages on rape and sexual abuse, training of teachers to become gender based violence champions in fighting child sexual abuse through debate, essay and drama competitions on rape and sexual abuse and blitz messages on rape and sexual abuse during assembly and other school activities. 

We hope to emulate such efforts through the Inter-Ministerial Committee towards female inmates and this exercise has brought about the issue which we called ‘third party reporting’.  A child is abused at home and they are so scared to face their family because suppose it is the father who is the perpetrator, the mother would say if you report, who is going to look after us and all that type of scenario.  But saying it at school and the peer groups, what happens is then that the third party member goes to report to the police.  Then round about the perpetrator – be it the father, uncle or brother is apprehended.

Mr. President Sir, in partnership with SAYWHAT, an organisation working with students and youths in tertiary institutions, tertiary institutions have launched an Anti-Gender Based Violence campaign in tertiary institutions.  The objective of the campaign is to educate young people on the forms of gender based violence in tertiary institutions and how students can access help on related matters.   In addition, the Ministry has also partnered with Mai Chisamba Show on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZTV) in establishing open debate on topical issues related to gender based violence.  Padare is a men’s forum only and it addresses the involvement of boys and men in addressing gender based violence related issues.  We found out that through Padare, you get honourary men who will stand by the issues but not look at their given body structure.

The Ministry has also worked with organisations such as Musasa, Women’s Action Group (WAG) and Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA), Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) just to mention a few.  The Ministry has put in place measures to make sure that women in prisons get adequate sanitary wear during their times of serving.  Plans are also under way to look at ways that we can assist female prisoners with adequate sanitary wear.  The Ministry is currently mobilising stakeholders and resources to assist sanitary provisions for prisoners.  At present, we have initiated a pilot project in Masvingo District targeting schools and communities in partnership with SNV, a non-governmental organisation from the Netherlands where reusable sanitary wear is provided in communities and schools.  If the programme is successful, the Ministry intends to replicate it to all the other communities and institutions such as prisons.  The Ministry will team up with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to see to it that business companies that produce sanitary wear supports this cause by way of supplies in their social security commitment.

There was a question of clarity on whether the Ministry has any policy relating to the monitoring on the use of condoms by female students in the institutions of higher learning.  Mr. President Sir, in relation to monitoring the use of condoms by females in the institutions of higher learning, it is a noble cause to analyse and understand the use of condoms in institutions of higher learning.  However, this question can be best answered by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education for further elaboration because they have put some statutory issues in place so that it conforms to the level of society that they are dealing with.  I propose that the Hon. Member visits the Ministry of Health and Child Care for appropriate information on this one so that we share the proper and relevant knowledge.

In conclusion, the Ministry would like to thank Hon. Senator Chimbudzi who raised the questions.  However, we implore upon all Hon. Members - that the job of ending child marriages has to be approached in a cluster form and to be everybody’s business.  Let me emphasise this point by saying - i nhimbe iyoyi/li limasibili leli and it requires a joint venture by Hon. Senators and the traditional leadership in our constituencies.  The causes are rooted in family lifestyles.  Therefore, the first socio related prerogative is, we humbly say to Hon. Senators is to oversee rightful and legal social practices  in our constituencies in addition to that of passing Bills into Acts and working side by side with Hon. Members from the Lower House to develop our constituencies on the social side.

Let us continually encourage parents to instill discipline and to practice good moral behaviours for as parents, we are the custodians of good morals that children emulate.  Let me state this Mr. President of the Senate, “The boy or girl who is born of a father and a daughter, will grow up and when they get to the Registrar’s Office, they will need to answer questions like, “Who is your mother”, and the answer is Stabile.  The father’s name is the name of Stabile’s father.  Therefore, untwana lo uzabiza esithini abakonina?  The topic has torn apart our family values and social fabric.  I thank you Mr. President.

UPGRADING OF MTSHABEZI RIVER BRIDGE IN GWANDA TOWN

          19.  HON. SEN. NDHLOVU asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the House when the Mtshabezi River Bridge in Gwanda town would be upgraded; considering that people from Kezi, Maphisa, Magwe, Tshoboyo, Lushomkwe, Wenlock and other surrounding areas have no access to Gwanda town when the river is flooded.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  Hon. President, Mtshabezi River Bridge is on old Gwanda Road.  The upgrading of this bridge and the road is in our plans, as reflected in the Department of Roads National Road Development Programme. Construction of the road and bridge will commence when the required funding becomes available. 

Our constraint, Mr. President, is that at the moment we do not have the funds, but like I said, we are lucky because we might have to move to those projects like the one you are talking about, where we know we have already had a problem of people crossing such rivers when they get flooded, actually preventing pupils and other people from crossing that river.  Because of the programme I have indicated earlier on during our policy questions, we are also going to be looking at such roads, bridges and the other bridges that were destroyed during cyclone Dineo and also that includes bridges like the one we have in your province at Chikwalakwala and others.  We are going to be looking into those because of the new programme that we have for now.  I thank you.

WRITTEN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

SADC MODEL LAW ON ERADICATING EARLY CHILD MARRIAGES

          7.  HON. SEN. D.T. KHUMALO asked the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development to inform the House when the SADC Model law would be brought to Parliament for ratification.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, GENDER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (HON. DAMASANE):  Hon. President, as the Ministry responsible for gender and women empowerment, we are glad that SADC has passed a model law that speaks on issues of child marriage.  The Model law which was developed by the Southern African Development Community-Parliamentary Forum [SADC-PF], has huge potential to shape how, as a nation, we can address child marriage.

          Based on the latest evidence, the Model law sets a consistent standard for how legislation should deal with child marriage and protect children already in marriage.  The SADC Model Law on Child Marriage can be used as a reference document by countries that are in the process of developing, reviewing or harmonising their laws related to child marriage and its impact.

          The passing of the Model Law on Child Marriage is a welcome development for Zimbabwe because currently the realignment of laws programme is still in progress.  This presents an opportunity for Zimbabwe to align its laws on child marriage with that of the SADC Model Law on Child Marriage.

          However, the law has not been deliberated on by the SADC Ministers of Gender who are responsible for the implementation of programmes in the region concerning issues of child marriage.

          Hon. President, while many of the provisions in the Model law can be found in our laws, a few issues for instance, the issue of who takes responsibility when a child is impregnated and cannot be married as they are under age requires consensus.

          The role of Parliament in domesticating the Model Law on Child Marriage is for Members of Parliament and Senate to consult widely with their constituencies so as to find out how the nation would want to deal with this aspect of child marriage.  And also to ensure that when the law is brought to Parliament, it has incorporated the provisions of the SADC Model law.

POLICY ON FOOD DISTRIBUTION

          11.    HON. SEN. D.T. KHUMALO asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services to inform the House whether it is the Ministry’s policy to engage Urban District Administrators to distribute food without informing councilors and other urban structures.

          THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE):  Hon. President, the current grain distribution by Government to mitigate the adverse effects of the El Nino induced drought is undertaken through the multi-sectoral Drought Relief Committees at district, ward and village levels.

          At the district level, the District Administrator is the head of the team while secretariat services are provided by the District Social Welfare office.  Councillors are an essential part of the team and are the chairpersons of the Ward Drought Relief Committees.

          Councillors work very closely with the Department of Social Welfare Officers to draw up distribution dates for their respective wards and to publicise these dates in their wards.  They are also responsible for mobilizing beneficiaries during grain distributions.

          Councillors are therefore among the first people to be aware of the distribution calendars for their districts.  These are the operational modalities for the grain distribution.  If this is not the method that is being followed in Hon. Senator Khumalo’s constituency, then we will ensure that corrective measures are taken.

          Hon. President, allow me to conclude by stating that the responsibility lies with all the local leadership to be proactive and ensure that they keep abreast of the distribution calendars for their constituencies.  I thank you.

UPGRADING OF PUBLIC TOILETS IN ZVISHAVANE

13.  HON. SEN. TIMVEOS asked the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to inform the House what plans are in place to upgrade the public toilets in Mandava, Maglas, Kandodo and Nil Town in Zvishavane, of the fact that communities in these areas continue to use communal toilets, thirty seven years after independence in a situation that gives rise to the spread of typhoid and other diseases which lead to unnecessary deaths.

          THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. KASUKUWERE): 

1.    Public Toilets in Mandava

Hon. President, it may please this august House to note that Zvishavane Town Council refurbished all the toilets in 2016.  The houses with the toilets in question belong to Zvishavane Town Council.  This year, the town council has a programme to hand-over the properties to the sitting tenants.  The starting point is one of servicing the stands with the toilets in question and as I speak to you Hon. President, Surveyors are already on the ground.  Once Zvishavane Town Council fully services the stands with the toilets, the sitting tenants will be able to construct individual toilets.

2.    Public toilets in Kandodo, Maglas and Nil Town

Hon. President, I would like to inform this august House that Shabani Mine was placed under judicial management in 2004 following serious financial problems that constrained the mine’s capacity to meet its obligations.  The houses with the toilets in question, Kandodo, Maglas and Nil Town fall under Shabani Mine.  However, Shabani Mine is working on handing over the houses with the toilets in question to Zvishavane Town Council.  Once that process is finalised, the sitting tenants will be able to construct their own toilets.

Hon. President, it is the Ministry’s view that once the individual household toilets are put in place, it will go a long way in assisting Zvishavane Town Council in fighting the outbreak and spread of diseases such as typhoid, cholera and other related diseases which lead to unnecessary deaths.

Questions With Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, in terms of Standing Order No. 62.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

THE IMPACT OF STATUTORY INSTRUMENT 64 OF 2016

THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. BIMHA): 

1.0           BACKGROUND

1.1    Government has come up with a number of interim measures aimed at resuscitating the local industry whose performance had been immensely affected by the influx of imported products.  The most notable intervention has been removal of products from the Open General Import Licence (OGIL) through gazetting several Statutory Instruments (SIs) such as SI 64 of 2016 which regulates the importation of selected products. 

1.2     SI 64 of 2016 was gazetted in June, 2016 following a recommendation from the local industry which was based on an extensive study and consultations with respective sector players on the locally available manufacturing capacities.  Imports are only allowed on instances where the local producers are not able to satisfy local demand.

1.3    This strategy of reviving the local industry is key to the achievement of the economic targets outlined in the country’s blueprint, ZIMASSET (2013 – 2018), under the value addition and beneficiation pillar.  Value addition and beneficiation will be achieved through boosting existing industries and also through the creation of new ones.

1.4    The importation of products specified under SI 64 of 2016 is controlled through issuance of import licences.  The current licencing procedure requires applicants to physically submit their applications to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for consideration.  Import licences are only issued in cases where there is a local supply gap.  The Ministry is in the process of migrating from the current manual licencing system to e-licencing.

2.0    RATIONALE FOR SI 64 OF 2016

The influx of imported products and the subsequent displacement of locally produced goods from the market resulted in the following:

High Import Bill – This resulted in the worsening of Zimbabwe’s trade balance wherein the country imported US$5.2 billion worth of imports in 2016 against exports of US$2.8 billion thereby having a negative trade balance of US$2.4 billion which is unsustainable.

Use of the multi-currency regime – Exports mainly from the country’s neighbouring trading partners were being attracted by Zimbabwe’s use of a stronger US Dollar.

Capacity Utilisation – The manufacturing sector capacity utilization has been falling since 2011, from a peak of 57.2% to 34% in 2015.

Closure of Companies - Zimbabwe has experienced pronounced company closures and retrenchments.  During the first half of 2016, there were 231 company closures, with about 5 333 workers being retrenched during the first quarter of 2016.

2.2    SI 64 of 2016 is therefore, part of Government’s Import Management Programme whose main objective is to assist local industry in its resuscitation process.  Regulating imports will lead to industrial recovery, as it stimulates demand for locally produced goods.  The Import Management Programme will give companies space to retool and become competitive.  In addition, new investments will be attracted as there will be a guaranteed market for locally produced products.

3.0    ACHIEVEMENTS OF SI 64 OF 2016

The following achievements have been realised to date:-

3.1            REDUCTION IN THE IMPORT BILL

The country recorded a reduction in its import bill from US$6.3 billion in 2015 to US$5.2 billion in 2016.  This was partly attributed to the Government’s Import Management programme, specifically SI 64 of 2016.

32.    INCREASE IN REVENUE COLLECTION

SI 64 of 2016 has in effect stimulated local manufacturing production.  This had a positive outcome on local manufacturers’ profitability and a marked improvement in their contribution to the fiscus.  In the third quarter report for 2016, ZIMRA reported an increase in gross revenue collection of 6%, up to US$919.91 million from US$866.96 million realised in the second quarter of the year. This has been attributed to the implementation of S.I 64 of 2016.

3.3    Increase in Capacity Utilisation and/or Employment Levels

          According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) 2016 Manufacturing Sector Survey, implementation of S.I 64 resulted in an increase in average manufacturing sector capacity utilisation from 34.3% in 2015 to 47.4% in 2016. Capacity utilisation for some subsectors or companies increased as follows:

3.3.1 Personal Care Products – Datlabs has increased its capacity utilisation from 30% to 50% on the camphor cream line and it is envisaged to reach 70%. Prochem has recorded an increase in both capacity utilisation and employment levels from 30% to 48% and 43 to 101 workers respectively.

3.3.2 Tyre Manufacturers – increased their capacity utilisation from 30% to 50% following the regulation of importation of second hand tyres.

3.3.3 Synthetic Hair Fibres Sector – Blue Track and Sensational which are in the manufacturing of synthetic hair products have since raised their employment levels from 150 to 450 and 12 to 600 workers respectively. Capacity utilisation has also increased from 28% to 60% for Sensational and 15% to 50% for Blue Track Investments.

3.3.4 Furniture Sector – Improved capacity from 45% to 70%. In one instance, mattresses has increased their capacity utilisation from 70% to 85% (2 700 to 3 500 mattresses per month). The industry has also increased operating hours from 5 days per week to 6 days per week.

3.3.5 Tinned Fruits and Vegetables – Associated Foods in Vumba increased capacity utilisation from 38% to the current level of 80%. The company’s employment also increased by 20% to the current level of 143 workers (98 permanent and 45 contract).

3.3.6 Nestle Zimbabwe – The Company’s Cremora Plant increased capacity utilisation from 30% to 70%. S.I 64 also resulted in the preservation of employment which is around 330 workers.

3.3.7 Fertilizer Industry – The fertilizer industry increased capacity utilisation from 25% in 2016 to the current level of 40%.

3.3.8 Plastic Pipes (PVC) – In one instance, capacity utilisation increased from 40% to 51%, sales grew by 13% and there was an additional employment of 27 people.

3.3.9 Chitaitai – S.I 64 of 2016 resulted in the company automating its production and production capacity increased from 2 400 litres of shoe polish per day to 6000 litres per day.

3.3.10        Capacity Utilisation for Downstream Industries

Capacity utilisation for downstream industries increased as follows:

Industry

Before SI 64 of 2016

After SI 64 of 2016

Label Supplies

5%

15%

Plastic packaging Supplies

37%

60%

Raw Materials

20%

37%

 

3.4    NEW INVESTMENTS

          The following companies have invested in new plant and machinery to date:

3.4.1 Arenel (Pvt) Ltd

          In August 2016, the company commissioned  a snack manufacturing plant worth US$750 000. Furthermore, they invested into mayonnaise and bottled water plants at a total cost of about US$2 million.

3.4.2 Kershelmar Dairies (Pvt) Ltd

          The company which is into dairy and fruit juice production, invested into new equipment worth ZAR2.146 million in August 2016.

3.4.3 Probrands (Pvt)

          The management of imported milk and dairy products has seen the company investing into a new dairy processing plant worth US$1.6 million in July 2016. This new investment will increase employment from 340 to 370 workers. The company has also set up a creamer making plant following a joint venture partnership formed end of 2016.

3.4.4 Dairiboard Zimbabwe

          Invested in a US$5.8 million state of the art maheu making plant at its Chitungwiza branch.

3.4.5 Associated Foods (Pvt) Ltd

          The company invested US$400 000 in a peanut butter manufacturing plant, under the Norwegian Investment Fund for Development.

3.4.6 Proplastics Limited

          Proplastics invested in a new PVC Extrusion Line worth US$1.3 million.

3.4.7 Nufert

          The company which is a division of Origen Corporation invested US$0.5 million in July 2016 for its new fertilizer blending plant in Mt Hampden. The plant has capacity to produce 200 to 300 tonnes of fertilizer per day.

3.4.8 FSG

          In August 2016, the company invested US$1 million in a new Blending and Granulating Plant in Bindura. As a result production went up from 300mt to 1200mt per month and employment increased from 50 to 300 workers.

3.4.9 Chitaitai

          The company acquired an ex-Reckitt machinery for US$40 000 and installed a 50 litres tank for the storage of illuminated paraffin for US$19 500.

4.0    Challenges in the Implementation of S.I. 64 of 2016

4.1    Although some success stories have been recorded as a result of the S.I 64 of 2016, as highlighted above, its implementation is not without its own challenges. These challenges include, among others; trade-off between balancing existing employment within the retail and distribution outlets that import and protection of the local manufacturing industries; delays in payments to foreign suppliers of raw materials; and the prevailing liquidity crunch which is currently depressing general aggregate demand.

4.2    Other challenges are continued appetite for imports by consumers, poor quality and delays in delivery of goods by the local producers due to less competition from imports; incessant smuggling through the porous border posts resulting in increased black marketing; monopolistic behaviour by some local producers which has resulted in price increases; and threat of retaliation from the country’s neighbouring trading partners such as South Africa and Zambia.

5.0    Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanisms

5.1    An Imports Management Monitoring and Evaluation Committee comprising of stakeholders from both public and private sectors has been set up to assess the impact of SI 64 of 2016 and is expected to submit its first report and recommendations in due course.

6.0    Conclusion

6.1    To address the challenges of the threat of retaliation from our trading partners, Government will in the long run replace the import management programme with a Local Content Policy. The policy is anchored on prescribing sectoral local content thresholds for goods purchased by Government Departments, industrialists and retailers, among others. Local Content Regulations (LCR) will be used to maximize localisation of supply chains and these are also considered as smart protectionism measures which are in force in developing, emerging and developed countries. I thank you. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Are there any comments from Hon. Members?  Thank you Hon. Minister for that Ministerial Statement, if you recall, that was in response to what was raised by Hon. Sen. Charumbira and we all agreed to that.  Thank you very much for that comprehensive statement. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – 

          On the motion of HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI, the House adjourned at Twenty-two Minutes past Four o’clock p.m., until Tuesday, 14th March, 2017.

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 09 MARCH 2017 VOL 26 NO 36