THE 2017 BUDGET DEBATE AND BILLS BEFORE PARLIAMENT
Compliments of the season to all visitors to our website, or rather, ‘your’ website, for that is what it is- ‘your’ information gateway to ‘your’ Parliament. Your visits to the website inspire us to continue to prepare and post articles which we believe are of interest to you- the public- whom we are committed to serve.
The work of Parliament for the New Year began last week on Monday 16th with the Post-budget Seminar attended by all Members of Parliament. Committees of Parliament also resumed sitting during the same week to consider the 2017 Vote Allocations of the respective Ministries in preparation for budget debate in Plenary. This week sees the National Assembly commencing debate on the 2017 Budget. We wait with bated breath for the often passionate and yet critically important debate by Members of Parliament. Need I mention that the debate will include issues that some of you have proactively brought to the attention of your elected representatives.
The Budget is presented in Parliament through the Budget Statement presented by the Minister of Finance in line with provisions of section 305 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. To this end, the 2017 National Budget was duly presented in Parliament by Hon. Minister Chinamasa on the 8th of December 2016. The Budget Statement is presented in the National Assembly through a motion “that leave be granted to bring in a Bill to make provisions for the revenues and public funds of Zimbabwe and to make provision for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.” The ensuing debate on the motion will culminate in the House adopting the motion. On adoption of that motion, the Minister of Finance will then be requested to bring in the Finance Bill which basically outlines the revenue raising measures that government is proposing to fund the proposed budget. Committees of Parliament will present their reports on their consultations with stakeholders on the Budget Allocations of the various Ministries during the debate referred to above. The House will also consider another money bill, referred to as the Appropriation Bill, which stipulates the exact amounts that Parliament is allocating to each respective Ministry, State entity, Statutory Body or Commission. The two Bills will then go through the various stages of Bills in both Houses for them to be deemed to have been passed by Parliament. The Budget Debate should be completed in the next two to three weeks. The Bills, once passed by Parliament, will then be forwarded to His Excellency, the President, for signature and assent for them to be part of our laws.
2017 promises to be a very busy year. The year begins with 13 Bills currently before Parliament and a further two yet to be gazetted. The majority of the Bills are concerned with enhancing the ease of doing business in line with the Government’s thrust towards luring both domestic and foreign investment. These include the Deeds Registry Amendment Bill, the National Competitiveness Commission Bill, the Shop Licenses Amendment Bill, Insolvency Bill, the Judicial Laws Amendment Bill and the Movable Property Security Interests Bill. The two Houses will also consider the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 1 Bill which seeks to amend provisions of the Constitution that deal with the appointment of the Chief Justice.
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