Thank you for having followed today’s live blog.
In his closing remarks, the Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Adv. Jacob Francis Mudenda noted that in the 2016 Budget that was passed by Parliament, the disbursement figures do not tally with the allocated figures. He urged the MPs to soldier on with their Oversight of the Executive function. He further proposed that the Budget allocated to Parliament be increased to $5o million dollars. Hon. Adv. Mudenda also thanked the MPs for their resilience in remaining in attendance through out the seminar and forgave them for having come late in the morning. He reiterated that the ball was in the MPs court and that their degree of engagement in the Oversight function will cause the necessary changes and urged them not to loose heart. A word of prayer from Hon S. Sibanda put an end to the day’s proceedings.
The following picture collage shows the Post-Budget events in pictorial form:
On excise duty, Mr Mavhima refered to it as “a sin tax,” as it is meant to discourage the use of the product. Mr Mavhima further stated that the introduction of Special Economic Zones should celebrated and that there should be further engagements with the relevant Minister with a view to further improve the current legislation.
In response Mr Mavhima agreed that tax language was too technical. He pointed out that the scanners that were installed at the border posts have curbed smuggling. Mr Mavhima further indicated that it may not be prudent to let Government pay for the various levies associated with road usage as this may be tantamount to the old adage “giving with the right and taking with the left .”
Hon Cross lamented the failure to reign in the fiddling of the books of accounts by Permanent Secretaries with impunity. He pointed out that the majority of the people are receiving huge untaxed allowances. He demanded that the allowances of Parliament be adjusted upwards to enable the institution to discharge its mandate.
Hon Zindi called on the Executive to inform MPs about an impending law, especially at the inception of a new Statutory Instrument. Hon Zindi was disturbed by Government departments that are sending the worry signals by refusing to accept payment in bond notes and called for the simplification of the tax language.
Hon. Dexter Nduna believed that Mr Mavhima’s presentation was too technical and hence, it tended to limit the scope of the MPs. The Honourable MP then suggested that Government vehicles are not paying road levy, licences and toll fees, would it not be better for Government to pay these ready taxes since it pays for electricity supplies from ZESA.
Mr Mavhima asked if it is possible to declare one’s profits in US dollars and pay the tax in bond notes. He pointed out the need for clarity in taxation issues and then concluded his presentation.
Mr Mavhima pointed out that the effective date for 10% withholding tax in S.I. 149 is erroneously indicated as 01 November 2026, should be amended to a date in 2017.
He asked the wisdom of changing the original intention on zero rated goods, which was meant to make these goods affordable to the general populace.
Hon Oliver Mandipaka asked Dr Kadenge to clarify at what stage would politicians separate politics from making economic policies influenced by by political persuasion. In response Dr Kadenge retorted that there is nothing more political than resource allocation and that the duty of the technocrat is to assist the politician on the path that they have taken.
Hon Themba Mliswa urged the Executive to seriously consider the issue of corruption, and that Parliament should also play its part, rather than abet the thieves by turning a blind eye. He concurred with Hon Zindi on the need for caucuses are held especially for the ruling party, where Presiding Officers of Parliament will be present to trash out these issues with the Executive.
Hon Mapiki urged the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to allocate more resources to the development of water harnessing bodies and irrigation schemes.
The session was then opened for questions and interventions. Hon Prince Madubeko Sibanda called for the cutting down of the Education related Ministries from the current four to a single Ministry, as a cost cutting measure.
Mrs Mhlanga lamented the paltry budgets allocated to the two Ministries. She advocated for a Gender Budgeting Policy in all Ministries.
Two Ministries are key in closing the gender gaps, namely the Ministries of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development and the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development.
Mrs P.Mhlanga the Executive Director of Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network, called for the addressing of the identified gender gaps, so that a certain category of the people are fully involved in closing of the gender gap. The majority of the Zimbabwean people are now in the informal sector.
In conclusion Dr Kadenge said that this was a good Budget which needed the Government to walk the talk.
Zimbabwe has brilliant documents, which have been implemented elsewhere, hence there is need for Zimbabweans to walk the talk.
Dr Kadenge urged MPs to properly carry out their Oversight of the Executive so as to influence Government’s policy on the economy.
Zimbabwe’s GDP should be 3% to maintain stability. Both our Monetary and Fiscal policies should be able to influence economic activity, only if the two are complementary.
Dr Kadenge agreed with most of Dr Kanyenze’s presentation. Zimbabweans should have slogans on production. Impact of the current budget on production will be minimal. Our policies have lead in some instances to the demise of our economy.
The Chairperson of the session Hon David Chapfika urged his colleagues to call for a paradigm shift on resource mobilisation.
All our national resorts should promote local tourism, covering memorabilia and other artifacts, an example of such linkages are being practiced in Rwanda. Zimbabweans should learn to listen to intellectual advice, since Zimbabwe has the personnel, for example a Zimbabwean was an adviser to the USA out going President Obama.
People should come to assist us after we have started from what we have, since Zimbabwe has abundant national resources. We should add value to all our national resources.
Zimbabwe’s per capita income is now the lowest in the region. Zimbabwe should go back to the basic rule nothing for us if we are not in it. National development issues should involve the people, government should not discuss about us without us.
Lamented that 95% of all the jobs are now informal, but the relevant Ministry was not allocated the requisite funding to carry out its activities.
No one is following Zimbabwe on its lone journey of failing to save. Zimbabwe’s income revenue is shrinking, it may be necessary to stay within our means. No one should be breaking the law with impunity, Dr Kanyenze gave the example of the austerity measures being taken in Tanzania. He pointed out that there was need to punish those who break the law. D Kanyenze indicated that Zimbabwe’s debt was now in excess of $11 billion dollars.
The railway system has to work so as to enable the country to be competitive in the movement of bulk goods. As Zimbabweans we should be able to address issues of corruption. Zimbabwe’s easy of doing business environment is very depressed. He applauded the Auditor General for diligently discharging her duties.
Dr. Kanyenze urged the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to plug the leakages in the economy. He said that Zimbabwe needs good stewardship of resources.
Dr Kanyenze lamented the lack of a culture of saving by the Zimbabwean people. He liked Zimbabwe’s economic trends to that of a “yoyo.”
Dr Kanyenze pointed out that our economy is on a downward trend. In the 1990s Zimbabwe used to have an upward trend on its economy. He called out a need for policy consistent that is long term.
The Speaker Hon. Adv. Mudenda quoted the outing going US Vice President Joe Bidden on the need to come up with solutions when he says, “Do not show me your values, but show me your budget.” The Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Adv. Hon Mudenda wished the Members of Parliament and the resource persons fruitful deliberations and thereafter declared the Post -budget Seminar officially opened.
Hon. Adv. Mudenda applauded the Committees for a job well done in their execution of the Oversight of the Executive function and urged them to come up with recommendations that are time bound.
In response Hon Prince Madubeko Sibanda pointed out that they will be out, busy looking for the elusive dollar to ensure that their families have food on the table, bearing in mind the lack of payment of their allowances and the unavailability of their fuel coupons weekly.
Hon Adv Jacob Francis Mudenda appealed to honourable MPs to desist from running away from sittings of the August House which has resulted in several “No Columns.”
The Speaker expressed his disappointment with the paltry budget given to Parliament, which is treated as “a poor cousin of the Executive.” He equated Parliament’s budget to be equivalent to some small obscure government Ministry. With Such pittance Parliament will not be able to conduct a robust discharge of its mandate. Parliament owes its Members and staff several millions of dollars.
Furthermore, questioned where the designations on the Economic Export Zones and the benefits that can be derived thereof.
The Speaker of the National Assembly Hon Adv Mudenda called for deliberations and reports on the evaluation of ZIMASSET before the end of the Eighth Parliament.
He called for strategies that drives industry and would have expected the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to come up with strategies to resuscitate ZISCOSTEEL. Information was delivered two years ago that ESSAR was broke, he urged the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce to investigate and table a report on the resuscitation of ZISCOSTEEL.
He urged for the capitalization of small scale gold producers, so as to enhance resource mobilization. The Speaker bemoaned the lack of emphasis on the exploration of minerals, especially on the Great Dyke. Furthermore, he pointed out that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development should have come up with financing for the legal framework for the consolidation of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company.
The Speaker lamented measures that are preventing a local billion dollar platinum company from operating.
The Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Adv. commended the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Hon Patrick Chinamasa on conducting the historic meeting between legislators and his Ministry in the Senate Chamber in 2016.
The Speaker called on all Committees to ensure that the public is involved in all the activities of the Portfolio and Thematic Committees.
In his keynote address, the Speaker of the National Assembly expressed gratitude to development partners for their support to Parliament’s activities.