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SENATE HANSARD 12 APRIL 2018 VOL 27 NO 36

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 12th April, 2018

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          *HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development. In the past two to three years we passed a law to establish a Pan-African Minerals University of Science and Technology (PAMUST), now it is quiet and we do not know what is happening.  May the Minister enlighten this House on what is happening?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. President. I want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question. I am happy to report that PAMUST is there.  We are in the process of completing its master plan.  The master plan is going to be finished this April.  Today I received the draft master plans of Marondera University of Agricultural Science and Technology, Manicaland University of Mineral Sciences, Gwanda University and the one for PAMUST.  The issue is, this university is right on our rudder and we are busy looking for investment for it. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development. I want to ask the Minister on the issue of STEM.  As a Government, we know that STEM was assisting children at secondary level but now it has been removed.  What are your plans as Government to ensure that those children who are in universities can proceed in going on with their education if they will have passed?  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): I want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  Yes, I want to clarify that STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  It is a programme that cannot be removed.  It is always there, that is the science area.  Now, there was a STEM Scholarship programme which people normally call STEM but STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  What we stopped was the STEM ‘A’ level scholarships.  I also want to clarify that we did not stop it completely.  That scholarship programme, for the students where commitment had been made that they were going to continue, they are still being paid for.  The ones who were in form five, we are finishing off the form six with them because we are being child centered.  No matter how irregular something might have been in terms of this but we are looking at the child and because of this we are going to finish off with that.  

My Ministry is a Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education whose primary aim is to look at teacher’s colleges, polytechnics, industrial training colleges, universities as well as the science and technology development division.  Therefore, what we are now doing is to say in order to advance STEM for the country instead of training several children in the primary and secondary education, we are saying let us train the teachers because one teacher will train before their death, if it is natural after death in the system, which means at 65, they would have trained more than 20 000 children.  So, they are very important and to this end, what have we done? 

For the first time since the independence of Zimbabwe, we have looked at Mkoba Teachers’ College, looked at the facilities and bolstered those facilities.  And for the first time, we are going to enroll secondary school teachers as well at Mkoba Teachers’ College.  We are doing the same thing at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo in Gwanda where we are going to train extra 100 teachers starting from this May on secondary education for science because we believe that you train the teacher, you train the nation.  We are doing the same thing at Masvingo Teachers’ College.  So, we are enrolling at least 300 teachers starting this May for secondary science education. 

We believe that using this approach, we will reach more students and we will advance Zimbabwe’s ambitions for STEM in a much, much better way.  So, we are moving with the STEM programme but using that approach. For the first time from about four years ago, we have started apprenticeship programme starting this year and 200 children per province are going to be recruited because for our engineering to take place and for our science to take place, we need people who use their hands - who are the apprentices.  So, this programme had been frozen but we have unfrozen it because we believe that it is important for STEM.  So, we have started advertising to make sure that we have these engineering apprentices again.  This is what we are doing for STEM.

          The other issue that we are also doing for STEM, is to make sure that we have set aside about half a million to make sure that we capacitate laboratories at secondary schools  because when you have a laboratory, even a person who has not been paid for by the Government can access the facilities.  

So we are trying to reach as many students as possible.  What we are basically trying to say is that, if for example I have capacitated a school, I have capacitated this generation and the next one.  If I have given a scholarship to an ‘A’ level student whom I am not even sure whether they will pass or not, I think to some extent it is wasting, if they do not go through.  But, it is better to invest in a product that we are sure will happen, by capacitating the teacher and capacitating the laboratory.  Why it is so important is that it makes sure that this money is for Zimbabwe and not for the favoured ones because it also goes to the fact that the ones who are chosen – how were they chosen in the first place.  I have always talked about Mbuya Deketeke’s child who did not have a privilege of knowing someone so that they access STEM scholarship; they will go to school and use that facility.  So, STEM is alive and big but the STEM ‘A’ level scholarship is dead.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA:  Thank you Mr. President.  The Minister referred to some irregularities, can you favour us as a House about some of those irregularities.

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA:  Thank you very much Hon. Senator.  We are in the process of reviewing the audit report and it has not yet been officially released.  What I was saying is not direct irregularity.  I am trying to say the method of selecting certain people for a scholarship instead of selecting schools where everybody goes to has weaknesses.  I am not using the word ‘irregularitiy’.  So, when we implement a programme as a Government, there is always need to review on whether our objectives of educating the people of Zimbabwe in a transparent and even handed ways are being met.  That is why we then said, build a school, you build for everyone.  Sponsor one person and maybe you have sponsored an individual.  Train a teacher, and you have trained the nation.  Train an individual, you do not know whether they will become a teacher or not.

So, that is why we have taken this approach to approach the STEM.  So Hon. Senator, I am not using the word ‘irregularity’ yet because I am not qualified to use it but I will use the name ‘the approach’ has been refined to reach as many Zimbabweans as possible in an even and just way.  Thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF GAMPU: Thank you Mr. President.  My question goes to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology.  I would like to know if the Minister is aware that in Matabeleland North we do not have a teachers’ training college – not even one but we have a university - Lupane.  We only rely on colleges like Hillside and UCE in Bulawayo which belong to Bulawayo Province.  So I am saying, what is the Government policy about that?  In case the Minister in his answer says I do not have a ground – I am the chief representing Matabeleland North Province and I can provide that ground.  Thank you.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Thank you for the offer Hon. Sen. Chief Gampu.  Minister, the ground is offered.

          THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. President and thank you Hon. Sen. Chief Gampu.  Our policy – our priority number one in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development is inclusive education and that we have no Zimbabwean brain to waste.  Every Zimbabwean brain is useful in one way or another. 

When it comes to Matabeleland North, I am aware that in that province as it is demarcated today, we do not have a teachers’ college.  It is our wish to have a teachers’ college in every province – at least one so that we improve access to tertiary education by our people and much as possible.  So, I have heard what you said and I want to thank you very much for the offer and the offer will be taken. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI: Thank you Hon. President.  My supplementary is, last year the same Ministry was saying they have gotten some premises in Hwange Colliery which they were given by the Ministry of Mines and the first intake was supposed to be done in January, what happened to that?

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you very much Hon. Senator and Hon. President.  I am aware of documentation of offer to start a polytechnic in Hwange, not a teachers college. Those plans have not been dropped; we will start training colleges or universities, subject to availability of funds.  Our wish is to do as much as possible. I want to also bolster the point that, you would remember on the 9th of March, 2018; we held an Infrastructure Investment Conference which is attracting both domestic and foreign direct investment into the Higher and Tertiary Education sector and Science and Technology sector.  The aim of this programme is to make sure that we build as much infrastructure as possible, including new infrastructure.  This includes all those places that are lacking in terms of infrastructure.  We have received a lot of positive responses on this infrastructure drive. 

We are of the opinion go to the joint venture unit.  As soon as they are at a joint venture unit, these things are approved by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Remember this started when the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development jointly issued a statement on the 24th of December, resonating with His Excellency’s message that Zimbabwe is open for business, to say we are open for investment in the Higher and Tertiary Education sector. This was blessed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

          We are expecting a lot of positive results from this, that is why I am upbeat about the development of infrastructure in this country.  So, I am sure that the Hwange Polytechnic and the teachers’ college that have been talked about will really come out of these efforts.  We are very positive and we are thinking big - but thinking alone is not enough, we are taking bold steps to move Zimbabwe towards the 21st century.  We are saying we are fighting poverty through education and this is our mission.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE: Thank you Mr. President.  Are you aware that these colleges were supposed to be there yesterday because we have been crying for the colleges, things are not going well?  So, could you please kindly assist the provinces that do not have colleges?

          HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you very much Hon. Senator.  I can give you my word that we are not sleeping, we are working very hard to make sure that as many teachers’ colleges and as many polytechnics there are – we are trying to do that honestly, humbly but also taking into cognisance of the availability of resources.  That is why we said we are not looking at the fiscus alone; we are looking at the investment model.  Our vision is a vision of college and university towns and it might seem as esoteric as it is but I can tell you and assure you, we are making this a reality because we want to do it, we have the energy to do it and we have the will to do it.  I can say Hon. Senator, watch the space.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank your Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  Minister, sometime last year, parliamentarians advocated for health levy from airtime which was approved by Government, but what we now hear is only 50% goes to health, what is happening with the other 50%, because it was specifically for health?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUKUPE): Thank you for your question Hon. Member.  I am not aware of that being the case that only 50% is going elsewhere.  As far as I am concerned, that money was subject to promulgation through the Finance Act and it is being used for the purpose that it was promulgated for. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: We have it on good authority from the Ministry of Health, they came here for oral evidence and they have indicated that and I am surprised that the Ministry of Finance is not aware.  They have indicated that is what is happening.

          HON. MUKUPE: I think the Hon. Senator is confusing disbursement and the usage of funds, these are two different things.  What I know is the situation that had been there with the health levy is that some of the things that the Ministry wanted to use the funds for were actually things that they were going to be importing, especially on the drugs and that will be dependent on the availability of foreign currency from the central bank.  So, I cannot comment on what the Minister of Health was stating, but I am pointing out what we are carrying out as the Ministry of Finance; all disbursements that have to be carried out, they were very much available to carry out any disbursement.  I thank you.  

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Mr. President.  As the Chairperson of the HIV and AIDS Committee, we actually had oral evidence from the Ministry of Health that they actually confirmed under oath to say that they only get 50% of this airtime levy.  There is actually a Committee that does this. Surely the other 50% - as Treasury, you have to know where it is going, please enlighten us.

          HON. MUKUPE: Thank you again, I will stick to my statement.  As I have stated, we are passing on the funds for the purposes for which they are intended for so, that is my answer.  I thank you.

          Hon. Senators having stood up to ask supplementary questions on the same question.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I was just suggesting that you can put the question in writing so that the Minister can bring more detail to it.  For now I think we do not want to be stuck on the same issue.

          +HON. SEN. BHEBE:  My question is directed the Minister of Women and Youth Affairs.  Hon. Minister, may I know what programmes are in place for women investors?  What programmes do you have for women and how much has been set aside for this?  I hear that there is a Women’s Bank, what programmes do you have in place in order to inform the women about this bank?

+THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AND YOUTH AFFAIRS (HON. NYONI): Thank you Mr. President, I thank Hon. Sen. Bhebe for the question.

My Ministry is making very important measures in order for women to be involved in business.  In our Ministry we have EMCO, where women should group themselves and we are being supported by COMESA.  They should group themselves from wards or districts, put together their business then go to province and national.  We will be having a meeting tomorrow for those being represented by VIMCOM.

Hon. Senator when you return to your constituency, find out what the women are doing.  We are inviting all women to come and invest, if they have investments or business they should not be afraid to approach our investors. They can contact our Ministry if ever they encounter challenges and we will gladly assist them on how to go about it. 

As for the Women’s Bank, we now have a committee, a board, a Chief Executive Officer and everything is now in place.  What is outstanding is approval from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for the bank to open. We believe that by end of April, the Reserve Bank will have done its part then we will open the bank.  We did not want to advertise it before opening.  I thank you Hon. Senator, but the truth is that women should know that the bank is in place and going to open.  I thank.

HON. SEN. MABHUGU:  My question is directed to the Minister of Higher   and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development.  Hon. Minister, are you aware of the shortage of student accommodation at universities?  If you are aware, what measures are in place to alleviate this problem?

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER   AND TERTIARY EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you very much Mr. President and thank you very much Hon. Senator.  Yes, I am aware. We have 151 000 students in colleges, universities and of all these, only about 15 to 20 000 are in accommodation.  We have a deficit of over 100 000 in student beds.  Since inauguration in December, we undertook a very systematic study to find out the situation and this is the answer.  This is what prompted us to say our number one priority is to make sure that we provide for good student spaces so that students have accommodation.  We have always been using this word like this, if you train your children or students in a hole.  When I say hole - h-o-l-e, they will think about holes, but if you train them in a splendid place, they will think of more splendid things.

Our students are our future, based on this background; we started on an infrastructure investment programme.  I want to say that up to now, we have signed 22 MOUs with domestic and international investors between December and today, which culminated in the Investment Conference of 9th March, 2018.  We are now in the process of processing these MOUs to the joint venture unit in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development so that construction begins in earnest. There is a lot of interest in making sure that we provide what we call  - we are not thinking about beds and we do not want dormitories.  We want good spaces for our students, we have a vision of what we call, university cities/towns, college cities/towns and the private sector has stuck onto this and they like it. 

This is why I am saying after this study, our number one priority is to make sure that we have provided accommodation for our students and lecture rooms for our students.  As you know PAMUST does not have infrastructure at this moment, Marondera, Gwanda and Manicaland – they do not have adequate infrastructure.  These four places are the ones where we are going to build a future that we want and show an example of what a proudly Zimbabwean student should be.  When they finish, they will be feeling good so that they take us to the next stage. 

So I am basically trying to say that we are aware and we are doing something about it.  I will not reveal the sums that have been pledged so far until it is official, but as you can see Hon. Senator, I am so upbeat which means that there is something behind me hence I am saying, watch that space.  I thank you. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

*HON. SEN. SHIRI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  We hear that $5m has been set aside to help the disabled and that the fund is with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.  Is it true that there is such funding?  How can the majority of the people that are disabled all over the country access it?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUKUPE):  Thank you for the question Hon. Senator.  The money to do with the disabled persons that is being disbursed by the Reserve Bank can be accessed through either Homelink or the banks that you use.   If you go to the Homelink facility, you can get forms on how best you can access these funds.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  Hon. Minister, what is the Government doing to reduce the immediate cash shortages and kill the black market in the country?  Whose money is it anyway at Roadport and Eastgate, whose money is that?  What are you doing with those service providers, especially of the Asian community who demand cash upfront.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUKUPE):  Before I answer the question, it is important that you understand what actually the source of the cash problem is.  The source of the cash problem emanates from two issues.  The first issue is that we have a shortage of foreign currency – I would not want to call it a shortage of foreign currency.  We have got a situation where as Zimbabweans, we have got a huge appetite for exported goods.  If we had a situation where we loved our own goods more than we loved exported goods, I think the problem that we have in terms of shortages of foreign currency would be less.  That is the first thing – [HON. SENATORS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order, order.  Hon. Senators are worried about the different definition of exported goods.  I think it should be imported goods. They are wondering what is exported goods.

HON. MUKUPE:  I am sorry, it is imported goods.  Because we have got a shortage of foreign currency, what ends up happening is that the few currency that is being made available outside the formal system, you end up having a situation that most of the bond notes end up in the hands of a very few people and money ends up not circulating.  That is one of the shortages of cash.

The second situation that we have got is that you still remember when we had the Government of National Unity, there used to be a talk of ‘eating what you kill’ under the Biti-Gono era.  What happened during that era was that there was an expansionary credit programme that was put in place.  I remember that in January 2013 – [HON. SENATORS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order, order.  This is a very important question and I believe you would want to hear what the Minister is saying and get it from the horse’s mouth.  Hon. Minister, can you continue?

HON. MUKUPE:  Thank you for your protection.  The nice thing is figures do not lie.  In January 2013, the former Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti announced that Government had only $217 in its coffers when he left office.  He left office with a situation where Government had a domestic debt that was running close to $5 billion.  What Hon. Chinamasa inherited was basically a bankrupt Ministry of Finance where only what was available was debt.  That resulted in him having to pay for that debt using Treasury Bills.  That is why you find that we ended up having a lot of Treasury Bills that came into the system.  The next thing is that these people who were being paid by Treasury Bills ended up knocking on the doors of the banks wanting to withdraw their money.  All of a sudden, we have a situation that we have so much pressure and a lot of people queuing in the banks.  This domestic debt situation, the expansionary credit programme that came in as a result of the ‘eat what you kill’ from the Tendai Biti era - that is the effects that we are feeling now – [HON. SENATORS:  Inaudible interjections.] –  So what you have…

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order, order, order! Hon. Sen. Muronzi, may you please stand up to show that you want to debate and you put across your concerns to the Minister.  Let us observe the etiquette and decorum of this House.  You should only ask questions after I have given you the permission to do so. The Hon. Member who asked this question is a ZANU PF member and not MDC.

HON. MUKUPE: Thank you Mr. President.  The nice thing is that finance knows no political party and all I am giving you are the necessary facts and these are the things that you are able to verify.

Like I said, in January 2013; the former Minister of Finance left the Government bankrupt.  There was $217 in the coffers of Government and there was a domestic debt of over $5 billion, you can check that.  It is factual.  What we have is that we have got two problems that are facing our economy.  The first one is that we have got a domestic debt situation which is at about $6 billion.  That is set to grow because what we have is that we have got a situation where we have to compensate all the pensioners – the domestic debt is going to grow. The second situation is that we have got the foreign currency situation. Those two things combined is what is giving rise to the cash shortages that we have. 

Let me now talk about the solutions which are basically two pronged.  The first thing is that we should increase productivity in the country in the country.  We have to have a situation where the Command Agriculture Programme that is in place has to be fully supported so that we can have a situation where outside the grains that we are doing very well in, we have to move in to horticulture.  That is why you see that when Minister Chinamasa announced his budget, there is focus on horticulture to make sure that we start exporting roses, avocados, flower products and all these exports.  We have to make sure that we get out. 

There is also the issue of beneficiation.  If I give you an example, for a dollar value of cotton that you export – if you were going to beneficiate it and turn it into lint, you will realise eight times as much. At the present moment, if we export $100 million in cotton – if we beneficiate that, it ends up being $800 million.  If we look at tobacco where we are talking of over $500 to $600 million in tobacco which we are exporting; if we beneficiate it and it ends up being cart rack – we are talking about seven times much which is about $3 billion in exports.  That is why you find that the President is talking about beneficiation.  We have to start beneficiating our goods so that it will help in solving the issue that we have of foreign currency. 

I am not going to belabour the issue of sanctions with all the people who are going to America and talking about sanctions – [HON. SENATORS:  Inaudible interjections.] – but obviously it, those sanctions go away, we can be able to have a situation where – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order, order, Hon. Sen. Chimanikire! Hon. Sen. Chimanikire order!  Order Senator Chimanikire order!

The Acting President of the Senate having recognised Hon. Sen. Khumalo to ask a supplementary question.

HON. SEN. MUMVURI: The Hon. Minister has not yet finished answering the question that I asked.

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I am sorry. Alright, I thought the Minister had finished.  Let us allow the Minister to answer.  If you interrupt him more, you will also cut on the number of persons that are going to ask questions.  We will spend much time making noise and murmuring until it is time up.  Let us use this time qualitatively by making sure that we pay attention and if there are any queries, may you rise and I will give you the space and we will listen to you.  Minister can you finish answering?

HON. MUKUPE: The final thing on the foreign currency is that we must get lines of credit and those lines of credit – [HON. SENATORS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order Minister.  I think we are becoming disorderly.  Senator Sinampande, respect the Chair.  We do not like this business of saying this one should leave the Chamber.  It is embarrassing.  We do not like that but those are the rules.  If you continue disrupting business, then we will ask you to leave the Chamber.  May you continue Hon. Minister?

HON. MUKUPE: On the foreign currency issue, the final solution is that we have to get lines of credit.  As you know, on the lines of credit, we are affected by the fact that any institution that gets money from the American fiscus cannot extend any lines of credit to Zimbabwe.  That is why we find the IMFs, the IFCs and all these entities cannot extend any funds to us until obviously the ZIDERRA Bill goes away.

On the issue of the domestic debt, there is a deliberate programme that we have got in place that we have to reschedule and look at the duration of the Treasury Bills that we have and all the debt instruments that we have given out to industry.  We have to make sure that we have a situation where we increase the tenure. 

The final issue that I have to bring to your attention is that industry in Zimbabwe owes ZIMRA close to $3 billion.  We have a situation where we can be able to say as Ministry of Finance, we can actually go on a debt collection programme where we say let us collect the $3 billion that companies owe us. If we were to do that, we would probably have a situation where we close industry. So, it has to be a considered position and that same situation cascades to even individuals who owe close to $2 billion to the local government. I am sure if we were going to have a debt collection programme with that, most of these Senators would actually have sofas at home. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. KHUMALO: I hope we are aware that this Government has been in operation –

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, I see much respected people being asked or requesting me to send them out of the Chamber. Can you respect yourselves?

          HON. SEN. KHUMALO: Mr. President, this Government has been in operation for 37 years and it is beginning to think now that we are supposed to have value addition and so forth. Is it truly going to achieve it or it needs to give to someone to go and think about it in that we used to see money coming in trucks to be sold like what they are doing selling in the streets. Are we not going there again having trucks going out. Where are they getting the money? What is going on?

          HON. MUKUPE: I am actually happy you asked me that question of us not seeing trucks in the streets full of money. That happened during the period after the Exchange Control Guidelines of July, 2009 when Minister Biti was the Finance Minister – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Let us listen. We do not know what he is going to say. Let him finish first – [HON. SEN. KHUMALO: Government of National Unity!] – Continue please.

          HON. MUKUPE: When he introduced the Exchange Control Guideline of July, 2009 if you go to Section 3.1.1 of that document, he actually introduced a situation where he said that all accounts in Zimbabwe were free funds. Then he said that what needed to happen is that if you needed to withdraw your money or take your money anywhere in Zimbabwe or outside the country, you did not need to have any paperwork or reason. So, you find what ended up happening is that we actually threw caution in the wind in as far as anti-money laundering is concerned. If you have got any doubts, please go and pull the Exchange Control Guideline of July, 2009.

With the advent of Mr. Mangudya in 2016, we actually started outlawing situations where you can move around with trucks of money. We are now a law abiding Central Bank and the Exchange Control Guidelines that we have got in place that is why you find you now have issues of externalisation and illicit financial flows. If you have a situation where anyone has got a truckload of money, that person will find themselves in prison. The only amount of money that you can carry on yourself should not be more than $10 000. So, we are not going to have any situation like that but if you see that happening, I am sure Minister Mpofu is ready to arrest those people.

HON. SEN. MAKORE: My follow up question seeks to find out from the Minister of Finance the level of alleviation as regards the money that was recovered, which was once perhaps repatriated as was mentioned by the President himself. How far has it alleviated the cash problem in terms of the fact that money was returned?

HON. MUKUPE: The amount of money that was externalised according to our records stands at $1, 2 billion and out of that the amount that has been reported where people have come forward to say yes, I externalised money is sitting at $600 million. But when we are saying it is sitting at $600 million, it does not mean that the $600 million has come back into the country straight away. There are those who have actually said I took $2 million and bought a house in Dubai, but I need time to be able to liquidate that portfolio and bring the money back into the country. So, we have got various situations that are at play and I am sure the President, at the right time, given the ongoing talks that are going on between the Central Bank and all these people, you are going to get an announcement in terms of what has come in cash, how much is still in properties or how much is in whatever condition that it is in. the expected in flow that we are going to have is going to be $600 million.

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Hon. Minister, you spoke about externalisation. A businessman applies to the RBZ for $10 000 to go and buy bakery equipment. It comes back into the country and they start making bread and serving the nation. Is that externalisation because I saw from the list that some of the people you said had externalised had actually applied from the RBZ for their own money that belongs to them and went to buy this machinery which is not here in this country. They came back and gave Zimbabwean people jobs. Is that externalisation?

HON. MUKUPE: I would want to thank the Hon. Senator for that wonderful question. That externalisation list is as authentic as it comes. Firstly, I think I need to make it clear to the Senators what is externalisation. There are basically three categories under which a person is said to have externalised. The first category is where you export goods out of the country and we are expecting money to come into the country, and then that money does not come into the country. That is externalisation.

The second category is where you come to the RBZ, contrary to what you are saying that it is your money, it is not your money, and you are saying that you do not have foreign currency but want to buy some goods outside the country. The RBZ allocates money to you to buy some machinery outside the country and then that machinery does not come into the country but we have made a payment on your behalf using foreign currency that is sitting in our nostro accounts. That is externalisation.

 The third one is what is called illicit financial flows where you take money from Zimbabwe and it finds its way outside the borders of Zimbabwe. For example, where you have a struggling musician like Musakwa and I doubt if there is anyone who has ever bought his CD here, ends up depositing $9 million in Portugal and there is not even a single paper to show why he deposited that money outside in Portugal, and where did he get that money from. So, those are called illicit financial flows and that is externalisation.

The position that you are talking about where someone went out and used $10 000 to buy bakery equipment which they brought back into the country, that person did not come back to the RBZ, did not go to their respective banks and give proof that equipment actually made its way into the country. They actually did not pay duty on that equipment and were trying to hide that equipment. There is some element of criminality in it. So, as far as we are concerned, our paperwork is kosher. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. TAWENGWA:  Thank you Mr. President.  Minister of Finance, I am sorry that we keep on posing questions to you but I believe that is why you are here.  As the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, we have an issue that is troubling us especially on social media.  This is concerning the Zimbabwe dollar.  Where are we and where are we going?  If the Zimbabwe dollar is going to come back, when will we begin using it? I thank you.   

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER PF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUKUPE):  I thank you for your question. I will reiterate the words said by the President, Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa in Namibia.  He said that for us to be a sovereign state we need to have our own currency.  Where we are going is that our Zimbabwe dollar shall return.  It might come back with a different name or currency but the Zimbabwe dollar will surely return.  For us to have our own currency, there are certain systems that should be put in place.  At the moment, the money that we need for imports is more than our exports.  Our exports should exceed the imports that we are bringing into the country; what is known as import cover.  If import cover is probably at six per month, we will now be in a position whereby we can have our own currency. 

          Another thing that must happen is that when we look at our Reserve Bank, there are certain things that we must put within our legislation because currently our legislation says that if the Government is broke, it can go to the Reserve Bank to get a loan there in order to finance its programmes.  That should come to an end.  That is why you find the overdraft facility we have with the Reserve Bank is around $1 billion.  That overdraft facility should go back to zero. 

          The other thing that is supposed to happen is that we need a currency board that will look into the issues of money and will consider the money that we can put into circulation, not that the Governor of the Reserve Bank can just decide how much money should circulate in the market.  So, we need to amend our legislation. For all this to happen, our country should actually reduce its unemployment rate so that we have more jobs.  If we are able to do that, we will have enough money to circulate.  However, I believe with the term that Hon. President Mnangagwa is about to get into in July, I am sure that by 2023 we will have our own currency here in Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  I thank you. 

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA:  Hon. Minister, where does our import cover stand as of today for you to anticipate that equilibrium?

          HON. MUKUPE:  At the present moment, our import cover hovers around 2.5 weeks. So, we actually have a situation where we are living from hand to mouth.  What we have to do like I said, we have to have a situation where our import cover moves to at least six months.  Therefore, we have to make sure that we grow our exports.  When we are talking about growing our exports, it is really two industries, on the mining front and on the agricultural front.  The thing that we have got most of the control over is really what is going on in agriculture.  That is why you find from a policy point of view, most of the resources within this country and most of the thinking around productivity is actually centred around agriculture.  I thank you. 

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 62.

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Mr. President.  I move that time for Questions Without Notice be extended by 10 minutes.

HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  I second.

*HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE:  Mr. President, the names of the people that you mentioned are too many and ten minutes is not enough.  Ten minutes will elapse while the Minister is responding. 

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  What I am going to consider is that those who stand up should go round and round.  Be pin pointed and ask your question.  We request the Ministers also to be pin pointed and we move.  Thank you for that. 

*HON. SEN. MURWIRA:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Finance.  There are industries or companies where if you want to buy using eco-cash, they charge a certain percentage.  If you want to swipe, they also charge a certain percentage.  I want to know what measures the Ministry has put in place to address this. 

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUKUPE):  Thank you.  I will go back to the Constitution.  The Constitution says that as an individual you can go and buy wherever you want and from whomever you want.  A person who is in business also sells to whoever he wants at a time that he wants.  So, if you see someone giving different pricing systems, it is an opportunity for those who want to get into business.  So, you can open your own business and say this is what I want.  As a Ministry, we do not encourage the three tier pricing system.  In terms of legislation, we say the prices have to be the same but we are aware of the fact that it is happening out there and opportunities will have opened up for those people who want to make money and they use that to make more money.  Thank you.

*THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Minister, I think you need to clarify.  The question is, is it lawful to do that – [HON. SEN. MURWIRA:  Inaudible Interjection.] – Hon. Sen. Murwira, may you give him a chance to respond.  Let him respond as to whether it is lawful to do that. 

*HON. MUKUPE:  In terms of policy, what we have said is that the bond note and the US dollar are at par.  As a Government policy, we are not there to give a ceiling for prices of products.  What she is saying affects the issue of price controls.  As a Government, our position is that we are not going to legislate to force people to sell their goods with a certain price.  We are following what is known as a free market economy.  That is why I have said opportunities will have opened for those who want to get into business.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA:  We are requesting that the Minister gives us clarification as to where the price control is going to come in if the Government has no control over the pricing system. 

          *HON. MUKUPE:  Thank you.  The situation is that you have come to buy your bread.  A person says if you give me cash, bread is a dollar, if you swipe it is $1.10 and if you give me a transfer, it is $1.20.  So, what is happening is that they want us to have a legislation that the bread price will be a dollar and if you do not sell it for a dollar, you can be arrested.  So, the moment you start doing that, we call that price controls.  So we are saying as Government and as a policy….

          *THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I think that this issue is of interest to the whole nation.  There are Senators who are talking – can you listen so that we can follow what the Minister is saying.

          *HON. MUKUPE:  What I am saying is that, when we are looking at our legislation and as a policy, we are not there to dictate the price of goods. 

We are there to encourage good behaviour and that is where the issue of moral persuasion comes in to say let us be good citizens and then we engage in businesses that develop our nation.  But, the issue goes back to the fundamental problem of foreign currency shortage and the issue of cash shortages because there are people who are out there engaging in illegal forex exchange.  So, those money changers end up with all the cash and the speculation is what is causing the three tier pricing system.  Now, if you want to touch on the pricing system, you are just mending a garment but the main challenge is that there is no foreign currency. 

The issue that I mentioned of the domestic debt as well is a challenge.  If we address those challenges, then those symptoms will go away and will be dealt with.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE:  I think that the Minister did not understand what has been asked.  The question asked was about the multi-tier pricing system.  We are talking of probably something that costs a dollar for cash, $1.10 for Ecocash and more for a swipe.  We are saying, is there no national pricing system that is addressed by the Reserve Bank that should be followed and adhered to by all the people.  The people who are selling are not even bothered about foreign currency but it is just the mode of payment that affects the prices.  I remember I bought something for cash and I was given a 20% discount.

*HON. MUKUPE:  Thank you.  I think the Senator did not understand what I said…

*THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  May I request that the Minister because of time, may you be brief and to the point.

*HON. MUKUPE:  We do not have a national payment system that he is talking about.  What is on the ground is that we have a priority list for commodities that should be given foreign currency and that is why you find that those into businesses of cooking oil will always get forex and even those engaging in fuel will always get money. So for them to get money for their wares, money should be there but the problem is that if someone is into bakery, if they come back to sell their bread on the market, there are issues of profiteering and we are not there to dictate the price of commodities.

*HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development.  Minister, on a daily basis or after a few days we hear of parents and children demonstrating because of the satanism that is being talked about with teachers being rough and engaging in such practices.  How do you see this situation?  Can there be a good working rapport between parents and the teachers?  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA):  Thank you Mr. President and I thank the Hon. Member for the question.  I want to explain that my Ministry deals with higher and tertiary education, science and technology development.  So, what is happening to primary and secondary schools, I am not aware of it in terms of law.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Before I pose my question, I want to say to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, you have burdened us because you have allowed those people in business to do whatever they want in terms of pricing.  I have finished and I will now ask s question to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

Minister, we were overwhelmed when we heard that the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway was now starting but, we were disappointed when we heard from the media that the deal had been reversed.  What measures have you put in place to ensure that this project takes off?

*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Komichi for the question that he has posed.  I do not have much time to explain but I will try to be brief.

It is true that the road from Beitbridge to Chirundu had been given to Geiger International in Austria.  This company did the ground breaking ceremony on the 18th of May 2017 and they promised that they would commence as soon as conditions precedent had been in place. They were supposed to start in September, 2017 but, that did not happen. We know what happened in Zimbabwe and that caused problems. 

Cabinet met on the 13th of March, 2018 and agreed that the company has delayed. They came up with a resolution to say that we should engage them and tell them that if they are facing challenges, we can disengage and find other people to do the work.  I am sure that you saw His Excellency whilst he was in China, he talked about the issue to say that there are other projects that we have. He mentioned that there is the Chirundu-Beitbridge highway.  So, we have engaged another company and if they fail to meet the 60 day deadline, then we will also re-engage other people.  So, what is happening is that, before the past two weeks the issue of dualisation of this road had been a challenge.  They started last month in Masvingo road and the company is called Geiger, they liaised with Masvingo Council and they were given a place to settle as their main camp. They also went to Chivi and got space to make another camp. As you are talking to me right now what the Government is expecting is that they should show that they are able to fund dualisation of that road.  They are there on the road; if you travel along that road and you see people measuring it is them who are measuring. 

          So, what we are waiting for is for them to show proof that they are able to do the dualisation.  That is what we said, but they are already on the ground.  If you observe from Masvingo to Harare, you will see that they have tractors and bulldozers that are coming in from South Africa.  They should show us proof but they gave their explanation to say that they were unable to bring in money because of the economy of our country; the economists know what I am talking about.  That is the issue on the ground. Currently, what is there is that the Government gave notice to terminate the contract but they are on the ground and ready to start.  At the end of 60 days, we will see whether they will give us the money or they pack and go and we start advertising.  Currently, they are there on the road.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MUSAKA: Thank you Mr. President, I would have gone on to Finance, but I think there is a lot of inadequacy, with due respect, I thank you. I will then ask an issue on - [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] -       

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Sorry Hon. Sen. Musaka, everybody seems to be saying some level of shock in what you said.  Senators are saying ahh – meaning what you are saying.

          HON. SEN. MUSAKA: I apologize, I withdraw Mr. President. Mr. President, I would have asked the Minister the question but he is not here.  I then request, with your permission, to direct my question to the Leader of the House regarding ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’.  If that is allowed can I proceed?

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I think you are at liberty, depending on the nature of the question, he may want to respond.

          HON. SEN. MUSAKA: Thank you.  My question is true; the gospel now is that Zimbabwe is open for business.  There is a bit of a concern and a problem in our embassies.  The embassies are closed in that they do not have the implements, they do not have the tools.  The majority of our embassies are there, they go to functions or they do not go.  When they get there Excellency, Excellency, but the actual business of doing business that Zimbabwe is open for business, they have no means, and they have no tools.  I am just asking what exactly is being done to empower the embassies to do business, to open, that is our first entry into the international community, and it is our embassies.  Those embassies are lacking, they do not have the instruments.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question and I want to respond by saying that the majority of the issues that we have been experiencing as a country - in the country also were being experienced by our embassies; the shortages of foreign currency was also affecting our embassies.  What I want to say is that it is not correct that the situation has not improved since the new dispensation came into power.  Significant payments have been done to our embassies abroad and the Foreign Minister has met most our embassies to explain the new foreign policy thrust and we believe that with the direction that we are moving in, our Ambassadors are pretty much happy with the situation.  I thank you.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE ACTING PRESIDENT, in terms of Standing Order 62.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

BEITBRIDGE-BULAWAYO HIGHWAY FENCE

          7.  HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA asked the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inform the Senate when the Ministry plans to fence off the Beitbridge-Bulawayo Highway as a way of reducing loses due to accidents.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): I thank Hon. Sen. B. Sibanda for his question.  The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe has embarked on a nationwide highway fencing programme.  So far the Plumtree-Bulawayo highway and the Bulawayo-Gweru highway have been fenced on each side of the road at a cost of almost US$1.5m for a length of 264km and that has actually reduced the number of accidents, I thank you for your observation.  

          The highway fencing was done by local companies and manual labour was drawn from the local communities and this is meant to instil a sense of ownership among the local people.  The highway fencing has resulted in a significant reduction of animal – vehicle coalitions in some previously dangerous black spots such as Ntabazinduna-Bulawayo stretch.

          The next phase Hon. Sen. B. Sibanda involves the fencing of the Bulawayo-Beitbridge highway which is scheduled to start in May 2018.  The delay with due respect from Hon. Sen. Sibanda’s question, is due to the coming in of the inflows of the money.  So, we started with this section and we are going to his section.  It might again be disturbed by the fact that I am trying to come up with an investor.  I am talking to an investor who might start dualising and widening of the Bulawayo to Victoria Falls which is on the cards, that can happen soon.  If that delays the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe is going to continue with dualisation leaving room for the widening or dualisation of the section.  We wanted to make sure that the company that is going to come in to do the dualisation or widening of that road should be the one responsible as we also have on the Plumtree-Bulawayo, Harare-Mutare road for the dual fencing.  So, it is something that we are considering and it should start in May.  I thank you.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. TAWENGWA seconded by HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA, the Senate adjourned at One Minute to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 8th May, 2018.

 

 

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 12 APRIL 2018 VOL 27 NO 36