PRE-BUDGET SEMINAR – ELEPHANT HILLS HOTEL, VICTORIA FALLS, 11 NOVEMBER 2017

Welcome to the third and final day of this year’s Pre-Budget Seminar, beingĀ  held at Elephant Hills in Victoria Falls. Mr A. Nyamuramba and Ms T. L. Manyemba will bring you the events as they unfold.

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Thank you for following us, until next time goodbye.

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In his closing remarks the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Adv. J. F. Mudenda applauded the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Dr. I.M.C. Chombo and reminded the MPs that “Rome was not built in one day”. He applauded the MPs for their resilience in attendance. He also observed the going ins and out of Hon. MPs however, he urged the Members to follow the the good example of the President of the Chief’s Council and and his Deputy and the elderly MPs such as Hon. A. Masuku and Hon F. Chirisa.
He further indicated that the Executive and the Legislature should be seen to be working together for the common good of the people of Zimbabwe. There should be complementability rather than compartmentalization. He also observed the humility exhibited by the Ministers, who openly accepted that they had no responses to certain questions, but promised to investigate the grey areas. The Speaker indicated that all Committees had done their homework exceptionally well except for the naughty one which has exhibited their naughtiness for a second time, if need be there will be a reshuffle for the chairmanship. Let us reduce the debt by approaching financial institutions to provide equity in Government business, instead of lending Government money. The Speaker expressed the need for robust, creative, constructive and non partisan debates during the budget discussions. The Speaker urged Treasury to provide CDF for all the 350 MPs, but this fund will be procedurally followed in letter and spirit. He indicated that suggestions have been made on our time management to make it cost effective. In real life, we cannot be the same, even in heaven the same order applies, there are angels and arch angels, he urged MPs to “render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar”. He urged the Minister of Finance to consider providing funding to acquire Chilean Gold Milling equipment for the artisinal miners as they have the potential to raise $4 billion. He further urged the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to consider the open prison system. Thereafter, he declared the 2017 Pre -Budget Seminar officially closed.

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The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Adv. J. F. Mudenda gives the closing remarks, to mark the end of the seminar.

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The Minister of Finance an Economic Development, Hon. Dr. I. M. C. Chombo responses to the issues raised during the Pre-Budget Seminar.

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The Clerk of Parliament agreed that all government vehicles should be insured and that the study on salaries for MPs and staff in comparison with those prevailing in the region has already been done and that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders is seized with this matter including the resuscitation of Parliamentary Constituency Information Centres (PCICs).

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The Members of Parliament weighted in with the following contributions;

– Hon. D. Nduna, urged the Clerk of Parliament to ensure that all vehicles are insured;
– Hon. F. Chirisa indicated that Parliament need to match the conditions of service for MPs and Staff that are prevailing in the region.
– Hon. P. Mutseyami added that it is important to ensure that there be an urgent review of salaries of staff based on the salaries to be commensurate with other regions;
– Hon. G. Chimanikire reiterated the need for PCICs to be re-established and included in the budget, there is need for a job evaluation to be carried out in order to increase the salaries of MPs and staff.
– Hon P. Mpariwa indicated that there is need to increase staff especially the Committee Clerks. she also added that the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) was allocated a paltry budget of $20 000, there is need to increase its allocation in 2018. MPs should be given salaries that are commensurate with their status and that are in line with regional best practice.
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The Clerk of Parliament, Mr K. M. Chokuda presents the Status of Funding to Parliament during 2017 and the Proposed Budget of Parliament for 2018.

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The Chairperson of the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security, Hon. D. D. E. Mumvuri invites the Clerk of Parliament to the podium.

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The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. H. Bonyongwe in his response highlighted that those who are abusing the prisonerss in the form of free labour for their farms, they should desist from it since the International Labour Law Organisation does not allow this practice. New prisons need to be build and prisoners should be incarcerated under human conditions.

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The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliament, Hon. H. Bonyongwe responds to the Committee’s Report.

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On behalf of the Committee, Hon I. Gonese raised the following concerns, that the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services has several farms and an abundance of free general labour, and that it will be prudent for Treasury to give them capital for the full operation of these farms, so that they can be self sustaining. He also urged Treasury to pay the COPAC debt of $850 000 which has been outstanding for the past four years.

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The Acting Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice,Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. I. Gonese presents the Committee’s Report.

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Highlights from the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Dr. J. M. Gumbo’s response;

– The Ministry is in full support of computerisation and intergration but needs to set up a team to negotiate a better deal since the current contracts are not in the best interest of Government.
– The Ministry accepts any VID reforms that will increase revenue,
– The Beitbridge – Harare project is already implementing the 40 percent for indigenous contractors and this principle can be extended to all projects with national status.
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The Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Hon. Ambassador S. K. Moyo responds to the Committee’s Report.

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The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Dr. J. M. Gumbo responds to the Committee’s Report.

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Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Hon. C. I. Mabuwa responds to the Committee’s Report.

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On the question of the rejection of the 99 year leases as security by banks, the Minister retorted that if there are any banks that are refusing to take the 99 year lease, people should approach the RBZ which will deal with the individual banks as these leases are acceptable as security for loans the world over.

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In response, Hon. Dr. D. Mombeshora pointed out that sub leasing of land is illegal as is clearly spelt out in all the various forms of offer letters. Joint ventures or contract farming is legal if the contract is core signed by the relevant Minister. The reason the Ministry is involved, is to scrutinise what the other joint venture partner is bringing on board, this will ensure that the farmer is not short changed.

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The Deputy Minister of Agriculture (Cropping) Hon. D. Marapira responded that the quality of Agricultural Extension Officers will be improved through in-house training so that they acquire the requisite experience. The Ministry intends to improve service delivery through capacity building of its officials.

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Hon. R. Muderedzwa asked why farmers are being charged the same levy of $5 per hectare regardless of the natural region their land falls in, how are you going to ensure that every farmer is motivated to pay the levy?

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Hon. I. Zindi added that there are many Agricultural Extension Officers, who are not giving quality advice to farmers and as you rationalise your staff please look for qualified agronomists. Letters of withdrawal by Ministers, why? Banks are refusing to recognise the 99 year lease. how is your Ministry going to address this issue?

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Hon. D. Chapfika, indicated that the land reform is being impeded by issues around contract farming, farmers are leasing their land for less than 5%. Furthermore, the fertilisers and other farming inputs are very expensive. Leases on farms should be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture.

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The Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Dr. D. Mombeshora, in response for showing the importance of the land reminded the seminar that all hospitals are built on land, all people live on land and that the war of liberation was fought for land. He pointed out that the 99 year lease gives permanence to land, the 99 year lease has been revised and are now bankable.

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The Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Dr. D. Mombeshora responds to the Committee’s Report.

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Deputy Minister of Agriculture (Cropping), Hon. D. Marapira responses to the Committee’s Report.

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Delegates follow proceedings during the presentations.

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Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. C. Chitindi, delivers his Committee’s Report.

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The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Media Information and Broadcasting Services, Hon. W. Dhewa presents the Committee’s Report.

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Acting Chairperson for the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indeginisation and Economic Empowerment, Hon. J. Chiwetu delivers the Committee’s Report.

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Delegates follow proceedings.

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Ministers follow proceedings during the presentation from the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development.

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The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon D. Nduna delivers his Committee’s Speech.

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Hon. Dr. P. Mataruse, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education Science and Technology introduces the panel for the session.

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The following is a collage of the question and answer session.

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In response Ambassador Hon. C. Mathema agreed with Hon. Members and said that every Ministry, Government Department is mandated to contribute to the Welfare of the War Veterans.

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Hon I. Zindi lamented the lack of proper provisions for the veterans of the liberation struggle and urged Treasury to disburse adequate funding for this Ministry.

Hon Mubvumbi Mawere weighted in with a proposal that a Hospital be built to serve war veterans and that they be given Title Deeds to their land.
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Hon. P.D. Sibanda, who is standing in for the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, highlighted the need for provision of adequate funding for the ministry, as health is important to everyone. He also indicated that cancers and NCDs have become the leading causes of mortality. He suggested that a levy be introduced to cater for the various forms of cancer.

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The Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. Dr. D. Parirenyatwa, responds to the Committee’s Report.

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The Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development, Hon. S. Nyoni responds to the Committee’s Report.

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The Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees, Hon. Ambassador C. N. Mathema responds to the Committee’s Report.

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The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Mr N. Masoka responds to the Committee’s Report.

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The Acting Chairperson for the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care Hon P. D. Sibanda gives his Committee’s Report.

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The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Small ad Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development, Hon. D. Mangami gives her Committee’s Report.

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The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. G. Kwaramba presents her Committee’s Report.

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The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services, Hon. R. Muderedzwa chairs the day’s session.