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National Assembly Hansard 18 January 2018 Vol 44 No 33

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 18th January, 2018

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p. m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON LEAVE TO BRING IN A FINANCE BILL ON THE ORDER PAPER

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I rise to seek leave of the House to move that the motion on leave to bring in a Finance Bill which was superseded by lack of quorum yesterday, be restored on today’s Order Paper, as Order of the Day No. 1 in terms of Standing Order No. 73.

Motion put and agreed.

HON. GONESE: Madam Speaker, I have no objection but I just thought that it is important to appeal to all Hon. Members to take the business of this august House seriously. I think it is becoming an embarrassment to have a situation where we have got a House which has a total membership of 270 and we fail to raise a quorum of 75. I want to appeal to all Hon. Members across the political divide to take our business seriously and try to avoid unnecessary absenteeism and only leave when we have adjourned.

The Hon. Minister moved a motion to suspend automatic adjournment to enable us to deal with this business of the budget and I hope that from now on, we are going to have a situation where Hon. Members will endeavour by all means to present themselves and conclude this business.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Gonese.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning having been talking to Hon. Samukange when the Hon. Minister was supposed to take the floor.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Samukange, yesterday, I think I complained to Hon. Members who sit close to the Minister trying to divert his attention when the Minister is supposed to listen to the debates. I am asking the Minister to take the floor and Hon. Samukange, you are busy talking to him.

MOTION

RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON LEAVE TO BRING IN A FINANCE BILL ON THE ORDER PAPER

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, my apologies for listening to Hon. Samukange. Madam Speaker, I move that the motion on leave to bring in a Finance Bill which was superseded by lack of quorum be restored on the Order Paper as Order of the Day No. 1 in terms of Standing Order No. 73.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FINANCE BILL: BUDGET DEBATE

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for leave to bring in

a Finance Bill.

Question again proposed.

HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to make an input in terms of the budget that has been brought by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. Let me begin by thanking the Hon. Minister for having realised the importance in terms of increasing the budget of the Auditor-General’s Office which we appreciate very much especially as a Committee that deals with the Auditor-General’s responsibilities. Indeed, that will enable her and her office to carry out her duties.

Let me move on to Committee reports. If you look at the past two days, Members of the Portfolio Committees have highlighted inadequacies in terms of the budget provisions that have been allocated by the Hon. Minister. Thus it actually points to the fact that all the ministries will not be able to achieve whatever goals they have set and achieve their work plans in their respective ministries. My appeal to the Hon. Minister is to take the recommendations of the Committees that have highlighted inadequacies in terms of allocations to relook at them. Service delivery only comes when there is adequate budget.

Then I move onto the budget of Parliament, that whilst we appreciate the Hon. Minister’s initiative to look at some of the allocations in terms Parliament’s responsibilities; you will see that it falls far short of what Parliament expected as an institution that houses even the Hon. Minister, all the Committees and Members of Parliament. You will often find that Members of Parliament come to Parliament two to three days and there is no fuel on the third day. Half the time, for the past two years, Hon. Members were being embarrassed by the intentions of hotels to chuck them out because Parliament would have failed to set settle their accommodation bills.

Many a times, you will find Members of Parliament queuing for fuel coupons on the Third Floor of the Accounts Office which allocation is sometimes cut into half whatever is supposed to be given to each Hon. Member and that is an embarrassment on its own because one has to get 600 liters to return to their constituencies. Some of them can no longer go back to the communities due to lack of fuel. I would like to believe that with that appeal, the Hon. Minister will relook at the Parliament because Parliament is the institution that is also the third arm of the State. For us to continue being treated as a third or a junior cousin or a step child in the family must be history. I would want to believe that the Hon. Minister and his team will try and be persuaded by this inclusion of my debate.

I know other Hon. Members have also deliberated on it because even our own staff need to be motivated but if we do not have resources then it means we do not have the public relations reception that Hon. Members are supposed to get. Including even the public and the Committees that we sit on because we have Committee Clerks and without staff moral, we will not go anywhere. So, I am appealing Hon. Speaker that the whole House supports this notion in terms of getting the Parliament budget being reviewed. We have so many activities on our work plans as Parliament that we have not been able to undertake due to lack of resources. I thank you.

HON. MUDEREDZWA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to make a contribution towards the budget proposals that were raised by the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. I would like just to touch on four Votes that affect my constituency.

First and foremost, I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for coming up with a budget that is seemingly balanced and pro-poor in my view because it is also giving attention to people in the rural areas. This is why I am now raising the issues that I am raising now. My attention was captured by Vote 10 on Environment, Water and Climate where Marovanyathi Dam which is in Buhera District was allocated $19.5 million. This dam benefits Buhera West Constituency, Buhera Central Constituency and Buhera North Constituency but for a long time, this dam has been neglected. The people of Buhera were getting disgruntled on what Government was considering on this dam. We would like to believe that once the dam is completed, it is going to benefit people downstream of the Mwerahari River and this will also benefit my constituency. I appreciate that as the Hon. Minister has started on this course, he should remember to allocate a vote towards the completion of this dam annually.

Madam Speaker, I would also want to pay attention to Vote 8 that relates to Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement. My particular attention is construction works for irrigation schemes. In Buhera Central Constituency, we have a dam called Ruti Dam. This dam was constructed a long time ago. I think it is more than 15 year now but has never benefited Buhera Central constituents. This dam was constructed, designed to provide water To Middle Sabi Irrigation Schemes but I am happy that this time around, the Hon. Minister has considered a paltry $340 000.00 so that at least irrigation projects can start. It is an achievement for people in Buhera Central Constituency because this water, they have seen yearly, the water flowing down to Devure River then eventually to Sabi and it was benefiting people in Chipinge without benefiting people in the place of its origination.

I would also want to touch Vote 11 on Transport and Infrastructural Development. For a long time, the Murambinda-Birchenough Road was neglected. We were talking about it since we came to Parliament yet it has never been allocated any funds. I am happy to say that though, better late than never this year around, the Hon. Minister has deemed it fit to allocate $3 million so that at least work can start. I plead with the Hon. Minister that we have already disseminated this information to people in our constituencies. This road is going to facilitate mobility in Buhera West, Central and South Constituencies respectively and is the shortest possible route from Harare to Chipinge and Chiredzi. Buses were intent on using this road but were unable to do so due to its nature. Vehicles that go to Chipinge would have to go via Mutare or Gutu. I appreciate that the Hon. Minister saw it fit to allocate this money as a starting point. I am just urging the Hon. Minister to release the funds so that we see activities taking place on that road. The road will promote economic activities along the way, along our rural service centers and also in areas that are around Middle Sabi, Chipinge, Devure and Save conservancies.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am also looking at Vote 17, that is touching on Women and Youths Affairs. It is sad to note that Buhera District does not have a viable Vocational Training Centre (VTC) yet it has four constituencies. People in our district go to other districts to be trained in semi-skilled work. We are unable to absorb some of our students who cannot go to A’ level or to other colleges. Eventually, they will end up hanging around in the villages causing problems to our parents. We need a VTC in Buhera that will serve the people of Buhera administrative district.

I would also want to touch on Vote 22 that touches on Energy and Power Development. I understand that the Rural Electrification Agency that is REA is the driver of providing power to the rural areas. If we are really serious on developing the rural areas, we need to pay attention to REA. We need to pay attention to infrastructural development along the lines of power provision because with power, we are able to create jobs at rural service centres within our areas so that we stop rural urban migration that is currently taking place. Each and every person is going to Harare, Mutare, Gweru or Masvingo because they strongly believe that in the rural areas there is no employment. But, if we provide power in the rural areas through REA, we are able to cause our people to do their welding and other activities like repairing their scotch carts and so forth in the rural areas.

We have noted that REA was given a paltry $14 379 000 which is coming through statutory provisions. In other words, this money according to my understanding, is levied from the profits of ZESA. It is levied at a level of 9% or 6% of what ZESA is earning in terms of profits. We are saying, why not increase that percentage say to 15% so that at least REA is given money so that it can operate up to the end of the year. If that happens, then we can see a lot of activities. In my constituency, there are three projects that stopped in September because there were no longer funds on account of REA. We are saying, suppose that threshold of 9% or 6% of profits accruing to ZESA is increased because this was human creation and something that is human creation can be changed by us so that we at least consider something like 15% and this is in line with ZIM ASSET.

An Hon. Member having passed between the Chair and the Member debating.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member.

HON. MUDEREDZWA: If we stop rural to urban migration, Madam Speaker, people will also want to live in the rural areas and this is what I have said before. Otherwise, I would like to thank the Minister for what he has done so far. My appreciation to what he has done in recognition of my constituency but what is important over and above that is the release of the funds.

These figures can be reflected in the Blue Book but if the money is not released, then there is no activity on the ground. Otherwise, I would like to thank the Minister for coming up with such proposals. I thank you

*HON. CHIKUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to add my voice especially to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education concerning the BEAM issue. BEAM came about as a result of a number of factors found in the communities where we live. These factors include HIV and AIDS, the poor and even those living with disabilities. We believe these are the people with children who should be assisted by BEAM. Currently, these people are experiencing challenges because the BEAM funds are not being channeled to schools. That is why we find that so many children are not going to school especially in rural areas because they do not have money. If there is a policy which states that children cannot be chased away from school, it is true. But then what happens is that those children who are not chased away because they have not paid fees can be put in one room and they stay there for the whole day without getting any education so that the world cannot know that they have been chased away.

I am requesting the Minister of Finance to consider the BEAM project to ensure that more resources are allocated towards the programme because there are other vulnerable children who benefit from that programme. There are so many challenges. Access to cash is a challenge. Moreover, the building of schools is affected because if fees are not being paid, it means that there is no infrastructural development and hence no increase in the number of children because parents have not paid fees over a number of years and so they are in arrears. I am requesting the Minister of Finance to look into the issue of BEAM.

Again on the same matter, there is need to increase the number of teachers. The teacher/people ratio is alarming. A teacher is expected to teach 60 children in a class. When you look at the pass rate, it is low. With the new curriculum, it will become difficult to ensure that children go through it and pass. We are requesting that money be made available so that there is employment of more teachers because at the moment the teachers are overburdened. My request is that the Minister takes note of this and increases the number of teachers.

In some schools, you will find that there are six classes of grade one pupils and each teacher has more than 60 children especially at growth points. So, you see that the teachers are overburdened especially in the areas that we come from.

*HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to start talking about the budget allocation to Parliament that as Members of Parliament, we need to perform our oversight function. We cannot perform this oversight function if the money allocated is not enough.

Minister, we urge you that for the $57 million that you gave us – if you were to increase it, it will alleviate challenges and enable us to work.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you can speak, the Minister has people who are assisting him. You are now doing a job that is not yours.

*HON. CHIBAYA: Madam Speaker, the local authority should be given 5% that should come from Government which should assist them. Madam Speaker, truthfully speaking, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has not been availing this 5% to the local authorities and this affects service delivery. I am sure that all the legislators in here will agree with me that the money that is collected for water and refuse is not enough. I know Hon. Minister that it is a challenge but it is important that the money that you avail to local authorities should not be theoretical but practical. It should be availed as stated in the budget.

I also want to mention the issue of cash shortage Hon. Minister. I never noted it anywhere when you presented the budget because it has been a challenge and up to today people are sleeping in queues hoping to get cash and they only get around $20. When you respond to issues raised by the Members of Parliament, I think you should also address the issue of cash shortages and how that can be alleviated. On the issue of the 3000 youth officers whom you have suspended, we are saying that you need to consider all the Government workers if they are performing their work diligently. Where there is duplication Hon. Minister, we are requesting that such people be suspended so that it enhances development. I think I have said a lot. I thank you.

*HON. NYAMUPINGA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this motion raised by the Minister of Finance, Hon. Chinamasa. Let me start by looking at Vote 17 on Women’s Affairs and Youth. When we look at Programme 4, on Economic Empowerment, we realise that $2.4 million was allocated to this programme. The Chairperson of the Women’s Affairs and Youth said, ‘when we look at the garden projects, the gardens do not bring much development in a community and at times may want to mainstream gender in these ministries.’ This little amount is expected to bring progress and development amongst the youth and the women, which will empower the 32% and 52%, but this is not adequate.

I am going to look at the garden projects in this budget. My constituency is prominently a gardening constituency and even when I grew up, we were kept alive by these gardens. When we look at what was happening in those days and what is happening now, there has not been any change in those gardens. During those days, we used to water the gardens using cans and even now we are still using cans yet we see a lot of produce like vegetables coming from Mtoko and Mhondoro. These are brought to Mbare markets rank and other market ranks and yet nothing is being done about it.

When we move to Vote 8 which talks of Land and Agriculture, there is no clear space where it is explained that we need to improve the methodologies of running these gardening projects. These are very important because as women, we rely on them, but I am saying let us modernise the way we are operating these gardens. Let us introduce irrigation schemes, engineering and the green houses or any other updated methods of today. When we talk about irrigation and all this mechanisation, we think of A2 farmers and other large farmers yet most of the vegetables come from these small scale farmers and gardens.

My proposal is that this amount which was allocated to Vote 8, which is aimed at crop and livestock research and technology development, I believe that when we talk of technology and development in these rural areas, where we carry out these gardening projects, they should be given a piece of cake on this amount which was laid down because gardening is one of the major development projects in the rural areas. People even finance their schooling and buy property through gardening projects. It is a source of income, hence, my call for the allocation of funds for the development of gardening projects.

We have noticed that in some countries in the Middle East which are deserts have very little water, and little space for cultivating or growing vegetables. However, because of the advancement of technology like irrigation, the families are living a very healthy lifestyle and there is development. They are able to send their children to school because of these gardens, hence my call for the development of the gardening projects. When we talk of the development of the people in the rural areas especially the economic empowerment; for example the $2 million which has been allocated, it is supposed to cover the youth and women. You will find that some of these individuals are given $200, it is not enough to buy all the inputs which is needed by these farmers. When there is an oversight role or a follow-up on the loan given to the farmer, there is nothing which is found on the ground. As a result, we are saying let us show that we really hold to the highest esteem, the money allocated to these people.

If we keep on talking about allocating to people, you give people $100 or $200, the inputs will not be adequate and when the oversight role is carried out and a visit to these areas is made, we are told that the people in rural areas are lazy and they are evading the payment of the loans which they were given. What we need to do is giving ideas to people who are running these project proposals so that when they ask for money, it is money which is meant for certain programmes. As of now, we are simply blowing our horns and saying these people have been given money but the money is just a drop in the ocean.

Let me turn to Vote 3 on Programme 4, which is on Social Welfare. I am saying this $47 million should be used in constructing these safe houses. When we look at these safe houses, they are not like what we generally understand. Let us talk of domestic violence, the violated woman will run to that house alone but what is happening now is that these people run to the safe houses together with their children because it has been noticed that at times when you leave your children behind, some of these children are poisoned or killed. When one leaves these children and go to the safe house, there are some fathers who have now turned into monsters or animals who rape the children who would have been left behind, hence I have to run to the safe house with my children. I am saying, let us not only look at Msasa Project and other related organisations and say they are the only ones with safe houses, but gender violence is everywhere in every community. When these people try to run away to a safe house, the perpetrators of violence follow this person who is going to a refuge and they kill them.

So, we need to have these safe houses in the vicinity, in the environment of the communities so that when someone is running away from violence, they quickly go into the safe house. I am saying, for every thousand people, there should be a safe house which is there and this safe house should have adequate facilities such as processing of this violence especially when there is a legal approach which is needed.

Madam Speaker, let me talk about gender mainstreaming looking at Vote 7 which talks of development. I will look at Sub-vote 3 and indigenisation. When we talk of gender mainstreaming or budgeting, how much money is going to be allocated to this programme? We should realise that in gender mainstreaming we have 32% of the population being women and 37% being the youths. Much of this budget should be allocated to the youth and women so that we can realise many women and youths who benefit from this budget.

If we were to make a close analysis of the budget which was done in the past on the beneficiaries of these allocations, we find very few women who have benefited because anything which concerns a woman is frowned upon and looked down upon. We are calling upon the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to segregate and allocate directly so that a certain percentage should go to women so that they benefit. It should not be left to the people who receive those funds to make that allocation because they are biased. Women should benefit from this indigenisation fund given to industry.

I will conclude my discussion with Vote 15 on primary and secondary education. The previous speaker who made his contribution talked about BEAM. We were told that parents and guardians should go and make payment plans with heads of schools and institutions and some of these learners are said to be on BEAM, but they have not benefited. I am saying, Government should look at those children who are remaining behind because they remain looking after cattle or going to the fields, because their parents do not dare or even wish to make payment plans with the school heads because they know they can never have any money to make a plan on payment.

There should be an allocation which is given to these schools so that parents will know that their children have a place in school because money has been allocated and parents do not have to worry about selling anything to pay for the fees. The main victim of this lack of school fees is the girl child. Parents prefer taking boys to school as they will be saying the girl child will be married soon and therefore, there is no need for education.

In this allocation of funds and BEAM, there should be desegregated data which will show the number of learners - the girl child who benefited and the boy child who benefited. Yes, we know we are calling upon all children to benefit, but we are calling upon more women benefiting from this BEAM because population census shows that we have more women than boys.

We have been told that the country has a 98% literacy rate, but when we make a close analysis, when we go to the rural areas, there are some people who cannot even make a contribution on social media because they did not go to school. They are uneducated. We need to make a thorough analysis of the population census. When we talk of education, we have children who are failing to go to school because parents cannot afford. Some of them are vulnerable. As the State, it should be the responsibility of the State to look at the education of these children. Mothers are burdened with this because they are responsible for taking care of the family. I thank you.

HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have just five issues that I wish to raise with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development which he might consider in this current budget or he might wish to consider in future.

The issue of ZISCO Steel - I really wish the Minister could seriously think about the resuscitation of ZISCO Steel. I have said this before and I will continue talking about it because ZISCO Steel is half the solution to our economic problems. That is why when we went to school ZISCO Steel remained Zimbabwe Integrated Iron and Steel Company; it was not just Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company.

I will indicate or show the Minister how integrated ZISCO Steel is into the economy of this country. If you sorted out ZISCO Steel, you have already sorted out Hwange Colliery Company.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, there is noise coming from that corner.

HON. GABBUZA: If you sort out ZISCO Steel you have solved half the problems of Hwange Colliery because Hwange Colliery used to supply almost 50 wagons of coking coal every day to ZISCO Steel. If you sorted out ZISCO Steel, you have sorted out the National Railways of Zimbabwe because those wagons were providing a lot of revenue to the railways. ZESA is going to benefit because that Munyati Power Station was constructed specifically to supply power to ZISCO Steel. Studies have shown that the current blast furnaces that are used, if we sorted out ZISCO Steel we can still harness thermal energy from the the heat at the top of the furnaces at ZISCO Steel so that will solve partly some of our problems of power.

There is the issue of the mining industry. This will be solved if we sort out ZISCO Steel because the presence of ZISCO Steel was affording explosives to be manufactured. That is why we have companies like Dyno Nobel because ZISCO Steel enabled Dyno Nobel to harness hydrogen produced at Sable chemicals. Now, Sable Chemicals is very key to our agriculture because it is the sole manufacturer of ammonium nitrate fertilizer from the simplest method of just trapping the air which we breathe in, separate it and produce fertiliser, but for them to do that they need the assistance of ZISCO Steel because ZISCO Steel is the one that used to buy oxygen produced from Sable Chemicals as a by-product and if they bought that oxygen, it made the price of ammonium nitrate fertilizer cheaper. That is why the whites on farms were able to produce in their agriculture at a low cost and were able to export. So, ZISCO Steel is still very key to the economy of this country.

Now, there are issues like the construction industry, obviously. The other day I was traveling - usually I use Mvuma road and I counted up to 107, 30 tonne trucks carrying steel from South Africa, which steel we could be manufacturing from ZISCO Steel - 107 trucks full of steel, that steel which includes angle irons and all these railway steel lines which could be manufactured in ZISCO Steel. So, if we resuscitate ZISCO Steel Madam Speaker, all or half of our problems are gone. The next problem is the issue of Kamativi, I wish the Minister should seriously look at Kamativi. There are 3 key minerals in Kamativi but the mine is closed right now. We have tantalite, the current mineral used for making cell phones and everyone the world over, has got a cell phone. All cell phone companies are busy looking for tantalite and the price of tantalite has gone up.

So we have a low hanging fruit just laying there, there are plenty of deposits in Kamativi and nothing is happening. Lithium is plenty in Kamativi and it is very important for cell phone batteries and for all the dry cell batteries that we are using these days. We know that in the next 3, 4 to 5 years, countries like Britain are saying they will not allow diesel and petrol vehicles in their cities, they will only allow battery powered vehicles. Everyone is moving toward batteries and we have a deposit of Lithium which is very key for battery manufacture and its plenty in Kamativi but nobody is interested in it. In the whole of this region nobody is mining Lithium. The largest deposit is there in Kamativi. We also have tin and the price has gone up mainly because of the wars. Tin is used for the manufacture of bullets and it is used by soldiers when they are carrying canned stuff. Considering the advent of wars in Syria, Middle East and Iraq, for us it means tin is going to fetch a lot of money and is currently at very high price.

These are the areas where the Minister must put money and make sure those mines are resuscitated. Number 3 is Hwange Colliery; it has the best coal in the sub-region, low sulphur coal, very high calorific value which means when you burn a gram of coal, you produce more energy than any other coal. We have coking coal for making coke which is needed in steel manufacture, we also have power coal for all the power stations we have in the sub-region. We have the best coal on Hwange. Now, I was just looking at the statistics, South Africa does not have coking coal, they need our coal and they use 100 000 tonnes per month, just South Africa alone. Zimbabwe produces more than that, we have even deposits in Lusulu, we have deposits in Lubu and Gokwe which have not been tapped but we have 100 000 of that coal required in South Africa every month. Per tonne of coke is US$300 and if you multiply US$300 multiplied by 100 000 that is already US$30m per month from South Africa alone. They are looking for this coal all over, it is not available expect in Zimbabwe and we have done nothing as a country to tap on this.

If you go to Hwange workers have not been paid for I do not know how many months. They are not even mining, the coke is there and they are bringing in private people to do the mining. Why do we not put money in Hwange to make sure we start producing and supply; South Africa alone will give us US$30m a month – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – There is no need for us taxing people 15% VAT and all these other small taxes because there is enough money in our minerals.

The next issue is the issue of industries, Madam Speaker; I was looking at how other countries have resuscitated their fortunes. Look at South Korea and others, we do not need to spread a lot of money all over, if we just strategically targeted a few industries, for example Dunlop, it was the only size16 tyre manufacturer in Zimbabwe. Actually, it is the only one that manufactures tyres in Zimbabwe or in the sub-region but we have allowed Dunlop to close. By so doing we have allowed Chinese sub-standard tyres to flood our markets. We all know that when these Chinese tyres come, it is accidents and we are using foreign currency to import. If you ask Dunlop how much money they need to resuscitate or to keep on going, perhaps it is far less than what we are using to import tyres. So, why do you allow such industries like Dunlop to close when it is the only tyre manufacturer in the sub-region and they have the best tyres?

Dunlop Zimbabwe was better than Dunlop South Africa because South African Dunlop was actually importing and relabeling our tyres but we allowed such strategic industries to close. The other area that we need to look at because we talk a lot about value addition, if we look at all the kitchen products, things that are used by our mothers in the kitchen, cooking oil et cetera, soaps and all these basic household commodities, they are all coming from South Africa and yet we used to manufacture them here. The other day I was looking for Buttercup margarine - Mazowe Drink is one of our best products and even if you go to South Africa, they will ask for Mazowe but we have allowed Mazowe manufacturer to close down or to go low and yet that is a major source. If we just did basic manufacture of kitchen commodities which every one of us needs, we would save a lot of foreign currency and we would create a lot of jobs. The market is already there because everyone uses these basic commodities. We do need to have time to put just a little bit of money to resuscitate these industries.

The Minister does not need to give them money, if a small amount of money of about US$10 million is set aside every year, for these industries to be borrowing at a low interest rate, they will be able to resuscitate their production and then we do not have to waste money importing things from South Africa. We do not even need this SI64, it is not necessary, we can make these things. We used to make them, when we made them they were better than the South African products. The last thing which I think the Minister must consider when he is doing his budget funding is to look at the models done by our development partners for rural development for people in the rural areas. We have seen a lot of good ideas by this programme called (SIG) Schools Infrastructural Grant, I think it is supported by UNDP and many other development partners, of course Government puts a small amount. That programme puts about US$4 000 per school and it has done wonders, schools, classroom, textbooks and benches are coming up. To ignore that sector and wait for parents to be supporting schools when they are failing to pay school fees, will be actually throwing away our education system into the dust bin – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -

I really propose that the Minister must set aside a small amount of money every year or in every budget. Look at the hospitals, there is what they call (RBF) Results Based Funding; all our clinics in the rural areas have improved and nurses are getting a small allowance as an incentive through this RBF and it is not more than US$4 000 per year that they get but the little that they get, they maximize the use because every clinic gets that kind of money and it is based on how they are performing; the more they perform the more they get. I really think instead of thinking big, the Minister must look at some of these ideas on funding rural development which can make a change, because we are seeing it ourselves as residence of those rural areas. I thank you very much Madam Speaker.

HON. HOLDER: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me this opportunity to contribute to this debate. Madam Speaker there are a few issues that were discussed by the previous speakers. I thought it was important for me just to focus on two issues. The two issues that I am to focus on Madam Speaker are that I took note that as the Minister was presenting the budget, in his presentation, whether it is the way he was expressing himself, it gave me a point of concern because I noticed he kept on saying ‘we need to do this’, ‘we need to do that’. He did not commit to say Government is going to do this or we are going to do this. He always said ‘we need to do this’. He spoke as a true politician.

Madam Speaker, the issue I want to point out today is that there are sectors that could actually contribute. The mining sector is the cornerstone of the economy and that is what I am going to talk about. I see the Ministry of Mines’ allocation on the budget but I feel if you are going to give that without adding more to the Ministry, you cannot make money without putting money. That is what I know and the bottom line of it. You have to put in money to make money.

If the system is dilapidated in the way it is, we can have the best Minister there is but we will not produce any fruits. The reason why I am saying so is that the Ministry of Mines is understaffed, has no vehicles to attend to certain mining issues where there are always issues of dispute. By the time they attend to issues of dispute, miners are now fed up and have taken the issues to the courts, and once it is in the courts, no one can work and everything is on a standstill. So, people are sitting on valuable pieces of claims because of disputes that are in the courts.

Madam Speaker, I am a member of the Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee. I went to Mudzi-Makaha and all the mountains in Makaha have been – [AN HON. MEMBER: You are also a member of the G40…] – Madam Speaker, can I have your protection because I can hear one Hon. Member saying he is one of the members of the cabal that needs to be dealt with …

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Holder.

HON. HOLDER: Thank you Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, when I went to Makaha, there is chaos in the mining sector there. People are coming out of their houses and there is a shaft right by the door. People are mining everywhere and in the mountains. I thought I was in Tanzania for a change because there are over 400 motorbikes of people going on top of the mountain, this one digging there and that one there. I actually think the animals do not have anywhere to move because there is chaos. There are no Ministry of Mines offices there or a department to help in terms of the environment.

Madam Speaker, why I am telling you all this is if the Ministry is underfunded, no matter what Minister you put there, he is definitely going to fail. You look at the issue of Shabanie-Mashava Mines (SMM) which used to contribute a lot to this fiscus but when you go there, it is a sorry sight. The reason why I say it is a sorry sight is that nothing is being done. People have not been paid for 15 years. Some people have died and money is still owed to them. The big infrastructure that has been put there and everything is okay but no money has been put in there.

My surprise Madam Speaker, when the Hon. Minister presented the budget here, he never talked about how much the diamond sector has brought into this economy. It is always they have not brought in but something is going to happen. There is nothing to show that diamonds were ever mined in this country. Not even a tarred road or building, nothing but equipment, machinery, there is an airport and everything there. Things are actually happening there and I can actually call it legalised korokosaring there because they do not even know the life span of that Chiadzwa area.

We talk about ZMDC – ZMDC can hardly carry itself. The reason why it cannot carry itself - you find Sabi Gold Mine, Jena Mines, Sandawana Mines and Kamativi Mines, all are not operating and now we have taken Shabanie Mine and put it there again. The Reconstruction Act which was put there has never done any company good. It has actually deteriorated most of those companies. They have never come out. You have taken someone who does not have any experience in mining and made him an administrator and say go and start mining when he does not even know where to start. He just looks at figures. That is heading for disaster.

Madam Speaker, the cadastre system is very important and if we do not support the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development in order for that cadastre system to work, we are going to have a challenge and the challenge is disputes. Right now, the Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee has left for a workshop in order for us to sort out farmer/miner issues and the legislation on that. In mining, when you are mining what you need to know is that you mine and explore at the same time. The reason why you mine and explore is that you need to know the life span. Sabi Gold Mine was mining but as it was mining, it was not going down deeper, so they mined themselves out of the hole. That is what happened there at Sabi Gold Mine.

The Minister spoke about the price of lithium. Now when we talk about lithium, Hon. Gabbuza who is a geologist by profession spoke about lithium at Kamativi but here in Zimbabwe we have got the largest reserve in the world of lithium which is found in the Mwezhe Hills along Mberengwa. In 1958, when they were looking for lithium and came across emeralds, they started mining emeralds and left the lithium. When you look at the lithium there, it is actually more than necessary and no one has ever invested in that area. Sandawana, there is a whole protected area and entry point. You need to go to the police for clearance to go into that area. At least when we talk about Sandawana, we can talk about the emeralds that were sold and that were there before even the diamonds but right now, nothing is happening there. ZMDC is sitting and I just see auctions with people buying machinery from Sandawana and taking away things because people are being owed money.

Madam Speaker, we talk about the roads. Life is very important. If we do not preserve life, there is no way we can buy life anywhere. The Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway, in the past two weeks, I do not know how many people have perished on that road simply because that road has never been improved. It was constructed I do not know what year but it is long before I was even born. I am now 55 years old and that road is still there. The same road never improved. We need to ask the Minister to add money to the infrastructure and that is why all members of Parliament when they come here are complaining about this or that road and potholes. The Hon. Members sitting in this House, they drive around town, their cars do not last even a month without them having to replace the suspension because there are no roads. I do not know about these new cars here, may be on the dashboard it will write ‘no road, please reconsider your direction’.

Madam Speaker, the issue of custom milling licences is too high. A person who is milling for those who do not have the facility, you find they are having a problem. They have to pay $5 000 first before they are even allowed to help Peter or Paul. Now, those are the issues that we keep talking about and saying we just talk about it again and again; we can talk until Jesus Christ comes and nothing is being done about it. We need to reduce those because it is one person who is trying to help another person who does not have but now when he has not been helped, he has to first think. It is like you have given a person a lift to go to Beitbridge. The bus fare is maybe $10 to go there, and then you say to the person the police can give me a fine for $8, so first give me the $8 then I can give you a lift for $5 or $10. That is nonsense, we need to reduce that.

We also need to make sure that de-criminalisation on artisanal miners is really implemented because as long as you do not allow the artisanal miners to mine; get themselves organised and things done in a proper manner, we are going to have challenges. What the artisanal miner is going to do – it is all about the stomach. If the stomach is empty, you will find that he needs to get up and find where he can get food. This is why you look even in the Social Welfare Department, I have never seen so many beggars in my life. You walk at any robot in any street, there are people knocking at your window, ‘boss for bread, 5 cents’, and so on. This is because of the social aspects. Those people are not being looked at and barely they are asking for the crumbs. We need to make sure there are safe houses as one Hon. Member has mentioned here that safe houses need to be built, take those children; put them there and rehabilitate them. Give them something to do. People like to sleep and life passes them by while they are sleeping. Let us not make the apple tree too tall because low hanging fruits may be there but we cannot reach them because there is so much red tape.

We talked about the issue of industrialisation. How are we going to industrialise when we do not even know how much resources we have under the ground. The Exploration Bill - we need to make sure that this country has got proper information of how much coal, gold, platinum et cetera, have we got, in order for us to negotiate the proper deals. We do not want to end up with the same issue that happened at ZISCO, something to do with ESSAR.

You look at the energy sector. No one talks about it but there is energy being used here, the lights, it is energy but what are we doing to reduce the energy? We talk about Batoka, the Devil’s Gorge, but no action is really taking place on the ground. We have to reduce energy consumption. The issue of the Mal –picking plant, that plant up to now it is actually de-commissioned. We are not sure if it is producing or not producing anything and yet money was put there. It is supposed to be an imagined plant. Madam Speaker, I can go on and on, but I just wanted the Hon. Minister to take note that Parliament could have prevented all these issues if they were funded adequately. When they were not funded adequately, we have a big challenge. By the time we start responding, it is too late. There is no life after death. We need to make sure that Parliament is given $100 million here otherwise isapasa iyi, it must not must not pass, $100 million must come here.

People always talk about ZEC or Anti-Corruption, for what? We change our mindset, find the proper people, Parliamentarians go and do the job, go and do the oversight. The Constitution says so and if we are getting only $57 million then you are told there is no budget for this, you cannot go because they want to close things that they know that there is corruption there. We need to change that, fund Parliament properly; give the Parliamentarians the resources and we will not fail, we will bring everyone to account. We do not care whether he is in the Executive; we will tell him that what you are doing is wrong, but we cannot do that if we are underfunded.

In conclusion, I am appealing to the Hon. Minister to re-consider the Re-Construction Act and get rid of it. To also add more money to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development so that it can perform effectively; add more money to Parliament so that it also performs its oversight role so that we do not have arguments and point of orders and point of privileges because Parliament is underfunded. Thank you Madam Speaker.

*HON. TARUSENGA: On a point of order. My point of order relates to the fact that we are now in the new dispensation. What really surprises me is that Hon. Members are separated when there are some distributions. We noticed that in rural areas, Hon. Members are given 13 tonnes for distribution to the public, yet urban Members of Parliament are not getting anything. My request is please help us Madam Speaker.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I allowed you to raise your point of order, I thought you had something which you want to be clarified. The Minister responded and said if there is a particular area where that happened, go to his office.

*HON. TARUSENGA: We are not being given anything. We went to the office but nothing was forthcoming – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]– [HON. ZWIZWAI: Takaenda zvikanzi ibvai pano.]

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, let us behave like Hon. Members. Hon. Member if you are telling the truth that you went and were told to go away; if you are joking, I am not joking, I am in serious business. What I want is for you to put it in writing so that we can get clarification from the Minister. Hon. Chief Whips, are you talking to your people? I think this is the last person to debate on this one. Machief whip ane zvaataurirana.

HON. SANSOLE: Madam Speaker, I want to start by making reference to certain economic ills that the Minister in his presentation mentioned which I would call impediments to economic growth. He spoke about quite a number of them - low productivity, high levels of unemployment, low investor confidence and also fiscal indiscipline. I want to touch on fiscal indiscipline because right at the beginning of this year, we saw some wasteful expenditure by the Minister when he had said that there was no fiscal space to accommodate that expenditure. I just want to appeal to the Minister that if he takes a position that there is no fiscal space to accommodate this particular expenditure; please, do not incur that expenditure. Just abide by what you have said. I would like to just appeal to the Minister to walk the talk.

I also just want to say that there is a need to deal decisively with public enterprises which are draining the fiscus. The Minister mentioned sometime ago that 70% of the 93 State owned enterprises are technically insolvent, so one wonders how they survive if they are in a negative working capital position. What it means is that they are being sustained by the fiscus; so they are an unnecessary drain on the fiscus. There is need to manage their cost structures and need to reduce particularly their employment costs.

Also, the Minister acknowledged the need to deal with the wage bill, foreign travel and the size of delegations in that foreign travel. However, we are yet to see that being put into action but surprisingly, youth officers have been asked to continue reporting for work and that goes against what the Minister has said.

Also whilst on the issue of improving the ease of doing business, I think that there is need to reform ZIMRA. The problem with ZIMRA is that, I think it arose out of the merger of Customs with taxation. You have people that are used to simply collecting customs and now, they are involved in taxation. Taxation is a sensitive area where you will need to dangle the carrot instead of using a big stick. Because, if you take the heavy-handedness of ZIMRA; it has a negative impact on the ability to collect revenue. For example, ZIMRA wants to take on board the informal sector to widen their tax base but at the same time, when they ask the informal sector to register for tax, they then go back say six years and say that for the past so many years, you have been trading and your turnover has been above the threshold; therefore, so much tax is due from you. You then penalise those members of the informal sector when at the same time you are trying to get them to register and that discourages the informal sector from registering. Therefore, there is a negative impact on your ability to increase your revenue. I think that there should be an amnesty on the tax when they first register – not just an amnesty on the penalty but on the tax itself.

Also, there is an allowance that is allowed to companies in order to boost production on their capital expenditure which we call special initial allowance. That allowance has the effect of putting a company in a tax loss situation. Even if the taxpayer has made a profit, but after taking off that capital allowance, they end up in a tax loss situation. That tax when it is assessed, it is carried forward to the following year and so forth but the problem arises where there is a maximum to the number of years that, that tax loss can be carried forward and a maximum is six years. So what it effectively means is that after six years, you are now taxing losses. So, I do not see the need to have the maximum. I think that loss should be carried forward because it has been assessed and agreed and there is no need to have a limit on the period over which it can be carried forward. It should be carried forward until the loss is extinguished and then you start taxing the taxable income of that particular taxpayer.

I think that there is also the need for ZIMRA to, instead of wielding the big stick, to attract tax payments by giving proper records to people who have submitted assessments. Give the assessments to people on time so that they can meet their obligation rather than have long periods where people do not know how much tax is due and then they are penalised for having not paid their taxes for long periods.

Finally, I want to talk on the Auditor-General’s reports which are not being implemented in some cases. I think that there is need to ensure that auditors’ reports are implemented because, most of the recommendations contained in the auditor’s reports have the effect of plugging leakages and that also helps us as far as fiscal discipline is concerned. Thank you Madam Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Vehicle No. AEM 8247, a silver Benz is parking and blocking other vehicles. Can the Hon. Member go and remove it and give way to others.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

VACANCIES IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have an announcement which came in this afternoon. I would like to notify this august House that today, 18th January 2018, Parliament has been notified by the Zambabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) ZANU PF that the following Members have ceased to be Members of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front), ZANU PF party and therefore no longer represent the interests of the party in Parliament with effect from 10th January, 2018: Hon. Makhosini Hlongwane, Mberengwa East Constituency; Hon. Anastancia Ndhlovu, Proportional representation; Hon. Tapiwanashe Matangaidze, Shurugwi South Constituency; Hon. Shadreck Mashayamombe, Harare South Constituency; Hon. Wonder Mashange, Rushinga Constituency; Hon. Dr. Daniel Shumba, Masvingo Urban Constituency; Hon. Walter Mzembi, Masvingo South Constituency; Hon. Jappy Jaboon, Bikita South Constituency; Hon. Dr. Paul Chimedza, Gutu South Constituency; Hon. Sarah Mahoka, Hurungwe East Constituency; Hon. Samuel Undenge, Chimanimani East Constituency.

Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides as follows; that a seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the Member has ceased to belong to the political party of which he or she was a Member when elected to Parliament and the political party concerned by written notice to the Speaker or to the President of the Senate as the case may be, had declared that the Member has ceased to belong to it. Pursuant to the above, I do hereby inform this august House that vacancies have arisen in the constituencies stated above by the operation of the law. The necessary administrative measures will be taken to inform His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of the existence of the vacancies in line with Section 39 (1) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 213] as amended.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA : On a point of privilege Madam Speaker. I have noted that Section 129 (1) (k) gives political parties that have sponsored candidates the entire latitude to do whatever they are supposed to do. But this is an appeal that must go to all political parties to also avoid using this constitutional provision to be vindictive, divisive and to undermine. I am also referring to even the MDC – it is important for political parties, particularly in the context of a new dispensation. We do not want this new dispensation to see a generational genocide. We have lost some of the very competent young Members of Parliament who were very promising. Yes, it is a latitude of any political party but it must be noted that it is very dangerous to then target a particular generation the way we have done only because we have differed politically even within political parties. Let us be as inclusive as possible. This is a plea I must state and mention as a Member of Parliament that in political parties, let us not just go on a generational hara-kiri whereby we destroy certain people of a particular generation because…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER : Order, Hon Chamisa, I think what has been done by the party is what this Hon. House was complaining about that when people are fired from their party it should be brought into this House. Now, it is being done and what are you trying to explain? Can we please leave that debate to the parties to talk about and also take it to your party? Thank you very much for the debate, please take your seat.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA : No, I have not finished. It is my point of intervention and I have not finished. I am now concluding my point of order.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER : Hon. Chamisa, I cannot allow that debate.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA : No, I am not debating.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER : Yes, you are - which generation are you trying to talk about? Please, take your seat Hon. Member. Hon. Minister, can you please respond.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA : G40. I am a young man, it is not good. Hon. Speaker, I still have the floor.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER : Hon. Chamisa, I think I have finished with you. I am not allowing that debate. You cannot campaign in this House.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA : No, Hon. Speaker, you cannot finish with me. You must have a ruling first. No, no, no do not abuse me. Allow me to contribute. I will not sit down. I still have the floor. You make a ruling after my submission.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER : I gave a ruling.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA : No, no but how do you make a ruling before I have made my submission. I must give my submission first then you can make a ruling.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER : No. no. no. Order, Hon Chamisa, I know you are an advocate. If you want to advocate for those Members, I think you should do that in the courts and not in this House.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA : No, no, no aiwa, aiwa, no, no, no. I am advocating for myself. I have the right to raise the point of order.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER : Hon. Chamisa, you cannot do that and we cannot have that - no, no, no. Hon. Chamisa, I am not recognizing, you please take your seat. You want to bring in a motion.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA : No, no, no, you may not recognise me but I have the floor which you have given me. It is a point of privilege and that must be raised. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER : You can continue.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA : Thank you Madam Speaker, I appreciate your magnanimity. It is a very sincere plea that as we go forward in this new dispensation, it is our view that the new dispensation also requires that we continue to be on a national healing process, a national inclusive process and not just in the ruling party but also in the opposition, particularly as we go into the elections. Let us not heat up our political temperature because it is not necessary. Let us make the waters quiet because turbulence is not good for the country. We need peace, unanimity and to make sure that we reach out to enable us to re-engage the world. We cannot re-engage the world if we cannot re-engage within ourselves or within our political parties. It has come and gone that we have dealt with Mr. Mugabe the way we did together as Parliament but we cannot then take this beyond and start pursuing individuals. It is not good for the country and I pray that God intervenes for this country to be peaceful. This is my plea Hon. Speaker.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): I want to take this opportunity to thank all Hon. Members who have contributed to this debate. The overwhelming contribution is that under very difficult circumstances, we made very serious efforts to improve our situation and to set out a new economic trajectory towards a new economic order. I think all those who contributed are acknowledging the efforts that we have made in that regard. The problem that Treasury is facing is a very simple one – too many needs and not enough resources. That essentially is a problem. How do you distribute too little to too many? That is a problem that we are confronting and what I want this august House to know is that we are now set on a course to correct the structure of the budget, which is essentially the problem that we are facing. All the income that we are receiving is going towards the payment of our wages including ourselves and none is left for operations, which is also an issue raised in the contributions and none left for infrastructure development. What we have to accept is that, until we change that structure, we are not doing our country any good because we need infrastructure in order to lay the foundation for our economic growth. Infrastructure in energy, water, roads, ICT and housing is very important. We should be setting aside at least $1.5 billion annually towards our infrastructure. I want us to go on a journey together, collectively, step-by-step to get us out of the current situation and put right the structure of our Budget. We made serious efforts in this Budget to sort out the fiscal deficit, to sort out the employment structure in the civil service. The decision to retire out of the service, more than 3000 youth officers is not an easy decision. I was happy that some of the contributions made here, indicate that we have not done enough and I want to say, the attention to fiscal deficit reduction is not an event but it is an ongoing exercise that we are committed to. I am happy to say that our President has set the tone. The tone is a lean Cabinet. We have had the leanest Cabinet since independence. We are attending to reducing for instance, and we have done so, the cost of travel for the entirety of the Government. We are proposing to reduce, not just the numbers but also to rationalise and achieve efficiency in the way we run the civil service.

Coming back to the contributions raised by the Chairpersons of Portfolio Committees. I want to thank Hon. Eddie Cross for his contribution. I must say that, 99 percent we agree. Where we just disagree is I am in the real situation, he is an outsider. He does not appreciate the difficulties of changing attitudes, the difficulties of clawing back any expenditure. Everyday, I am faced with those difficulties, which he is not. Sometimes, he is disappointed about the pace of achieving things but human nature, being what it is, human inertia; it is not possible to many things we want to do overnight.

Let me touch on some of the points that he raised. I accept that we need to come to Parliament for condonation. I do accept and we will do so soon. Condonation for excess expenditure last year, largely caused by food imports. We spent last year, almost $600 million that, some of it had not been budget for in terms of securing and procuring food imports. So we are going to come to Parliament for that condonation. We also accept Mr. Speaker Sir that we have not been entirely, complying with the Constitution with respect to devolution, with respect to the 5 percent equalisation. We want to promise this august House that we will certainly, after the elections enter into debate consultation on how this could be achieved – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – No, it does not matter. Whoever comes? You know there is succession issue, whoever comes – you know succession is not just at the presidential level. Whoever comes as Minister of Finance will know that I made a promise to consult over the modalities of effecting these constitutional provisions. So, I want to assure Hon. Members that we will enter into debate.

The reason I say, we want to consult is currently, all the money is going to wages. What are you asking me to give to the provinces? Is it the salaries of people employed in the provinces, those are issues we should debate. There is no problem as far as I am concerned to say, how many doctors are in Manicaland, how many nurses, how many teachers, how many Government employees in that province; come up with a total of their wages and then you say, this is now the Provincial Vote for Manicaland. Let us discuss and agree how we are going to do it.

You mentioned, Hon. Cross about the issue of local authorities. It is a matter that we are clearly attending to. When we talk about State Enterprises Reform, we are including local authorities as well. What we have found is that, the problems that are bedevilling Central Government are also affecting the local authorities, especially with respect to all the revenue going to wages and not to service delivery. Those are issues that we have to tackle globally, not just for central government but also for local authorities. You said, all revenues of State must go into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, that in fact, is now happening. What was not going into the Consolidated Revenue Fund were the retention funds - but since January last year, we insisted that those should be banked in the Central Bank. They all opened accounts in the Central Bank and we all know what amounts are there, some of them significant, some not significant. In fact, the majority of them not significant. By banking into the Central Bank, they are subsidiaries of the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Everything is accounted for, nothing is left uncounted.

You were talking about the size of the GDP. We have discussed about this in Ministry and I think you are right. It is not what we are stating. It is more but not to the extent that you mentioned. For instance, you mentioned that total value of transaction is around $180 billion. We are reckoning it around $100 billion. This is broken down into RTGs value transactions $62 billion, point of sale and mobile banking $28 billion, cash transactions something like $7 billion and all in all it comes to $97 billion but we can round it off to $100 billion. The largest item through with transfers or payments are made is RTGs $62 billion, seconded by point of sale and mobile banking at $28 billion. All in all, we are talking about $100 billion worth of transactions and not $180 billion as you stated.

You mentioned something about putting a tax on electronic transactions. I do not agree because, at the moment it exists, and I am removing it because I want to encourage progress the path towards electronic transfers, that is the future. We must move towards a cashless society. While I am conceding that at least about 10 percent of transactions will remain cash, the future lies in electronic transfers. To encourage it, I am removing the cost of being charged on electronic transfers. The amendment that I am going to bring will say that, any transaction below $10, through mobile and so on, I am removing the five cents in a dollar which was currently tax. There was a tax already, I am removing it to make it cheaper for people to transact business. I am sure that you will accept the point that if we impose an onerous tax, it will discourage people from transacting electronically. So, the argument is that we should instead encourage people to transact business electronically. I agree with you that to rationalise the civil service is the most difficult task and that the solution should be to increase the cake. In other words, grow the economy and a lot of the measures that we have put in place in the current budget are to encourage production.

We are putting an array of incentives - whether for Special Economic Zones, production of cotton or tobacco, and we are removing all the taxes basically on encouraging exports and production. I believe that is the way to go. On State Enterprises reform, I just want to make a correction. There was a list of companies which were stated to be targeted for privatisation which was circulated on social media. I am not the author. It was a social media story and in fact, they plucked something that was said some years ago.

What we are actually doing is that we have started with the Office of the President Cabinet (OPC), Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and SERA. I have now started an exercise to identify and make recommendations to Cabinet and I am hopeful that that exercise will be complete by end of March. We are basically going through the list of all parastatals to identify which ones should be disposed of, which ones should be collapsed and so on. We hope that exercise should be complete by end of March. It is not an issue that the Minister of Finance can take alone. It has to be a Cabinet decision with respect to which ones should go and which ones should not go.

On social expenditure, I want to again correct an issue here. The contribution was that the health budget is 5%. It is not, it is 8%. We have made our calculations and it is 8%. We moved it from where you are saying to 8% in this budget. It is our intention to move it further in the next budget to say 10 to 11%, with the hope that progressively, we can get to the 15% Abuja recommendation. I also want you to understand that in the 5 cents tax on air time which we imposed, we collected in this past year something like $24 million or so. My disappointment which we raised with the Ministry of Health is their rate of absorption.

We threatened them in December, just to make them move to say why are you not spending the money? We threatened and said if you do not spend the money, it will come back to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Only then did they start running. Of course, we are not going to have it back into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, but the truth of the matter is that they did not have the act in order. We want to emphasise that when you remove salaries whether of education which has the highest wage bill, but if you remove salaries when we come to say what is the budget towards operations and so on, health has the largest in the budget.

So, I agree with you that we must get to a point where we all go to our institutions. We do not go because they have collapsed. We accept that and it is the responsibility of Government to deploy more resources towards rehabilitation of our health system. When we imposed the tax on air time, our intention was to make sure that we have drugs and equipment in the hospitals. I am happy to say that that air time tax will make a huge difference. So far, it will make a huge difference and I am convinced of that.

Thank you very much on ECD that is Early Childhood Development. I want to say that the idea is noble and no one can question that. Where you have an education system which will give nine years of primary education and six years of secondary education, you can imagine how formidable the product is going to come out to be, and that we must accept. We also must look at the reality of the situation. When you are complaining here that there is no money for BEAM, this ECD is going to put into the education system 600 000 to 700 000 new pupils and young pupils who need more care and who will go to school for only three or four hours, and it will require 18 000 or so new teachers.

We cannot give in because our present state of finances cannot meet that expenditure and that is all I am saying. We would want to share that responsibility for now until our finances are back to normal. I want that to be clearly understood, we are not saying ECD is a bad idea. No, it is a noble idea but it cannot be funded now. It has to be postponed. We must always know what we can postpone and what we can currently meet.

On inflation, you remain skeptical about our average 3%. Let us see what will come out as the final figure for last year. We still think that the average inflation for last year will be 3%. If it turns out to be more, you were actually saying it could be 30% and if it ends up to that , I will come and apologise to you but if it does not, you must come and apologise to me.

With respect to mining, I think that we are all aware and accept the need to expedite amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act, not just to introduce the cadastral system, but also to deal with issues that have to do with respect to mining claims. Use it or lose it, I think it is all embedded in that legislation and I believe that the Portfolio Committee responsible has gone out to Leopard Rock to consider and finalise on these issues. I hope that when the amendments come to the House, they will be expedited.

We are also in the process of reducing the land rentals affecting mining houses and we asked that submissions be made. We have an enabling provision which allows us at any time to reduce the rates so that it is more reasonable. You also mentioned a new development plan. I am sure that by end of March, we should also have what I would consider we may call it for now as ZIM ASSET 2, which will set out what is to be done for the next five years. – [HON. ZWIZWAI: Inaudible interjection.]-

With respect to Parliament budget, I have had to personally look into those issues and I want to give these guarantees. Firstly, there are two aspects which are the welfare of MPs and the need for resources to discharge their mandate. With respect to the welfare of MPs, I have committed myself and I want to repeat that when we started the Parliamentary Car Scheme, it was on a loan basis. I have since converted it to be a free car scheme, you will not be required to pay for that car – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear hear.] – and I would like to carry that scheme to the next Parliament. We want to assure each Member of Parliament a free car. However, there were also considerations about those vehicles, especially from rural constituencies that they normally do not last beyond two years. For that, the only consideration is that we can allow a duty free certificate for Members of Parliament to buy for themselves but that will be done in the third year of MPs life of Parliament. We agreed that those who suffer damage through accidents will be allowed free duty to replace the car that they had bought.

With respect to the needs of Parliament to carry out its mandate, I want to assure this Hon. House that the resources will be provided so that they carry fully their mandate. So, far I am told that we have done our best to meet that responsibility.

Hon. Chitindi, Portfolio Committee on Transport, with respect to expansion of R.G…

HON. ADV. CHAMISA : On a point of clarification. I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his clarification and his response. However, I just want to be sure about the bold averments and declarations he is making, are they going to be backed by law through the amendment of the necessary instruments that deal with Members of Parliament. Yes, it is one thing to say this is what is going to happen but is there going to be the amendment of the law so that it is backed by the law and it is not just his word of mouth against our word of expectation.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER : I am sure the Minister being a lawyer; he is also equally going to consider that.

HON. CHINAMASA : Yes, I have no problem to do so after the budget before we adjourn – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - I am a man of my words. I think that it is an entitlement we have. I have no problem to insert. It is obvious that the value may need to be prescribed from time to time by the Ministry. Yes, you cannot put in the legislation but enabling provision we can put as part of the conditions of service for Members of Parliament. I do know as a Member of Parliament myself what it means to run a constituency, especially with respect to motor vehicles. A motor vehicle is the key issue and given our state of the roads, generally their durability does not take us very far. So, it is a matter that I understand and I will do so clearly before Parliament dissolves.

Hon. Chitindi, you made recommendations on Air Zimbabwe and National Railways of Zimbabwe. We consider Air Zimbabwe a strategic airline. Although it is in difficulties, my view is that we should make efforts to capitalise it so that it remains flying to bring people to Zimbabwe. When we are talking about the Tourism Industry, we are talking about increased arrivals and they can only arrive if you have got your own airline, flying our own national flag.

So, I want to say to this House, while I accept that management may have not been up to scratch, it is our responsibility as Government to put right the management at Air Zimbabwe, to capitalise and ensure that it is well managed. So, that is the line we are taking. With respect to National Railways of Zimbabwe, I want to say that already, a deal or an award has been made to a consortium that has been able to raise 400 million dollars to resuscitate the National Railways of Zimbabwe. The resuscitation will include redoing or rehabilitating the line, rehabilitating the signal system as well as buying wagons and locomotives. We believe that this will happen sooner rather than later.

The dry pot in Walvis Bay in Namibia, we were given free land and we are in the process of developing it. We have done the first phase, I am sure that the second phase will be completed by end of April this year and that the dry pot will be ready for commissioning in August by His Excellency the President when he goes there for the SADC Summit.

With respect to the R.G Mugabe International Airport, the issue you raised was what is the status? It is already financial closure, the resources have been secured. What we need just to conclude is the signing of the agreement and there were just some debates on a small clause which I am sure given the guideline that I gave two days ago, should be concluded satisfactorily. So, I am hopeful that this project will take off sooner rather than later. I agree with the Hon. Member that logistics and transport lies at the heart of the economy and especially the ease and cost of doing business.

Hon. Dhewa, when we started the digitalisation programme, it was on the premise that we will able to sell the digital dividend of Netone. That did not happen and that burden fell on the Exchequer and it is one of the areas where we have had to use our Treasury Bills in order to raise the necessary capital to do it. We hope that we can raise more resources so that we conclude this programme timeously.

Hon. Sibanda, with respect to the health budget and Parliament budget, I have already responded to that. Hon. Simbanegavi, Chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism and Water; just to say on your contribution, it is not true that we have not provided adequate resources. we have provided adequate resources for the construction of Causeway Dam and Marovanyati Dam in Buhera. These resources will enable those dams to be completed by end of this year we have also provided resources for Gwayi-Shangani but it is a larger dam and we do not think it will be completed. We hope that it should be completed in 2 years time from now.

I accept and agree that we need to expedite conclusion of the construction of the Kunzvi Dam. We will do whatever we can to do so.

I also thank the Portfolio Committees on Labour and Social Welfare, the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and also on Primary and Secondary Education. When all these, especially the education Ministries, they are the highest on our Budget, which is why we have said we must defer expenditures on ECDs, they are the highest. The money that we are going to spend as we go into the future is to implement the new curriculum which is giving focus to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That is where the focus is. According to the new curriculum, elements of these will be taught right from ECD 1 and ECD 2 right up to tertiary and university education. That is where the focus is.

What it means is that we need new teachers who have the skills to teach. We need new infrastructure. We need laboratories. This is why we have been able to set up a financing model to put staff accommodation and student accommodation on our tertiary institutions, on hospitals for doctors and nurses. The financing model is being spearheaded for now by the Infrastructure Bank, UDICORP, the Ministry of Local Government and ourselves. Between us, we should be able to make the programmes succeed. Already, we commissioned outside NUST but this is outside their premises, we commissioned a development that we will build, which has already started on the Esigodini road which will produce 1500 units for students who are attending university at NUST. We are going to do the same at Lupane State University and also at Bindura University of Science Education. Those are some of the schemes that we are undertaking to help ensure that we have infrastructure at our universities.

With respect to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, just to say that you should have no worries about the funding of our elections. In fact I remember at the beginning of the voter registration exercise, concerns were raised as to whether we had sufficiently resourced it. As it turned out, yes we had. We secured our equipment and this has been funded wholly from the Budget. We were able to secure all the machinery that is being used for the BVR equipment. We have already given them resources for the extension of that programme from the 5 th January 2018 to 12th February 2018. We have adequately provided for the cost of conduct of the elections. There should be no concerns on that score.

The Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services, I am sure that Hon. Members now appreciate the role of the military in the light of recent events. In future, I will not have the same problem having to defend their budget as I used to do in the past.

Hon. Paradza, you told us to relook at the rebranding of Zimbabwe. I think that effort is already being spearheaded by the President and all of us. I am quite satisfied that the rebranding of Zimbabwe has started. We will do our best to be consistent and predictable in our policies. Zimbabwe is open for business as our President has pronounced. We do whatever we can to make friends domestically and externally. We need to normalise political relations with those countries with which we were not in good standing. I am talking about the Western countries, Europe, United States of America, and countries from that region. We need not just to engage economically but also to have political engagements. That exercise has also started. The trip by His Excellency and his delegation to Davos is intended to rebrand Zimbabwe, to carry to the world our message about our future. What is our vision? We want to share that vision with the rest of the world. I am satisfied that we will succeed in that endevour.

I want to apologise but not quite. There have been concerns why we put the amendments to the indigenisation law in the Finance Bill, why did it not go as separate. I am in a hurry. I cannot wait until April to effect what I consider to be a very critical piece of legislation with respect to opening up our economy to foreign direct investment. I am happy to say that on that, I have the support of this august House.

I like what Hon. Paradza said, you attributed it to this quotation about sitting under a shade today planted by someone yesterday. It is actually an African problem which enjoins all of us to say we must, as Africans, learn to plant a tree which you know you will never sit under its shade. In other words, even where you are 87 years old, still continue planting a tree when you know a mango tree will take some years and by that time you will be off this world. Basically, I am saying let us look at the long term and not short term. My problem generally when we are dealing with the Budget is that there is too much focus on short termism. Anything that is beneficial to the country must be long term. It means we must remain consistent. What we start today must not be disrupted tomorrow. What we start may be a process that requires 10 years, so we must commit ourselves as a country to say we must stick to our plan for 10 years so that we yield the necessary results. If we have changes on a daily basis, you will never go anywhere. I like that phrase so that we remind ourselves of the need to look long term in whatever we do.

I have already answered the Mines and Minerals Portfolio Committee with respect to beneficiation.

Hon. Madanha, the Council of Chiefs have a stand-alone budget as far as I am aware. I have already said with respect to other provisions of the Constitution, let us have consultations and conversations on that soon after elections.

Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, you raised the point on the Portfolio Committee on Gender. She raised the issue about the fact that women have not been taken into account. It is not true. She does not acknowledge the fact that we have capitalised the Women’s Bank. She does not acknowledge the fact that we have capitalised the Youth Bank. If they are not yet off the ground, it is not because of the fiscus, those funds have been availed and it is up to them to put their systems and to run with the bank. Some of the provisions are scattered all over and you may not see them as benefiting women and I am also responding to Hon. Khupe to some of the comments you have made.

When I provided in the Budget that each year for ten years we are going to make 200ha of irrigation per each administrative district for ten years, if we achieve that, it will change the face of agriculture in this country. I am satisfied that it will be achieved because already the 200ha per each administrative district have already been identified and the resources are there. Given the fact that the majority of farmers are women, it already caters for them without having to mention women. Go to any farm, it is the women who are doing the farming, you understand? It will make their lives easier; increase their income as well and food self-sufficiency will be assured.

Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga did not also mention that we have provided for a programme to build a vocational training centre in each administrative district. She has not mentioned that and the challenge now is for each district to identify land so that this programme can take off. I also spoke to the Minister responsible for this sector to say you must come up with plans. What buildings will we put up on that land to build a vocational training centre? Let us have it properly planned so that it caters for all the disciplines that want to teach there. Also taking into account the peculiar circumstances of each district – it also must cater for that.

So, it is now a race, those who are able to be more proactive will benefit sooner and I was actually learning that Matabeleland North does not even have a vocational training centre. So, this is imperative for me because of the 300 000 students or so who wrote ‘O’ levels, only about 80 000 are catered for either going to tertiary institutions or to Form 5. Even those who complete Form 6, not all of them proceed to university. Now, my worry is basically not those who go to Form 6 but those who fall by the way side. Annually, 200 000 are going into the streets. We must give them skills so that they can create their own employment. So, this is also empowering not just women but also youths. We have also capitalised SEDCO, I am sure you are aware. We have also ring-fenced the presumptive tax to give to SEDCO for on-lending to the very people we are taxing - that is all in the area of empowerment.

You know, I was quite heartened to learn that we should do more in terms of reducing employees in the civil service. We are going to look into that to make sure that we put off from the wage bill those people we think are not adding value to Government – [HON. MEMBERS: Those above 65 years old must go!] - Yes, yes but generally they will not come to many, I think that would be a handful – I am sure but we will do all that.

So, Mr. Speaker Sir, let me address the issue of Hon. Chiwetu. Again, everything is under wraps. We are addressing the issue of security of tenure and I am happy to say that the Bankers Association, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement and ourselves have now agreed to a 99 year lease which incorporates tradable and collateral features – we have now agreed. What remains now is to give public pronouncement to it. We have provided resources also to do surveys for new boundaries and this is where the cadre system or the GPS will also assist. So we want to fix new boundaries because you cannot have the 99 year leases unless there is a survey map. So, that can only be produced through a survey and I believe that given the more advanced technology now, it can be done faster than before.

We have been engaging the farmers with respect to compensation. We have been engaging and certainly in my office, I have been engaging the Farmers Association, Mr. John Laurie and others almost for the past four years. We agreed that we do an evaluation of the properties with their cooperation and we have finished Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West. I think we are halfway through Mashonaland East. I think we finished Matabeleland North and South respectively because we need to come up with a global figure with respect to compensation. Not just for compensation for those where we are not paying compensation for improvements but also for beeper farms. There are beeper farms that were taken and settled by A1 farmers and it is not possible and we have agreed. It is not possible to reverse what happened. So what is important is to evaluate the compensation due to the loss that happened to that occupation - all that we are undertaking.

Hon. Gonese, you are very mean. You do not want to praise me – [ Laughter.] – You started by saying, on the face of it, the budget is a masterpiece. On the face of it, the Hon. Minister is an old new Minister; we are being sold a dummy. There is no dummy business here Hon. Gonese, we are very serious to turnaround this economy and I think that since the new President assumed office, the work ethic, the schedule. I must say and I have told the President so, it is very punishing and I do not know how long we can maintain it without falling dead. I am sure we can correct a lot of what is happening now if we go that route. What I think is important, in the current work schedules, is that decisions are being taken fast. On an important issue, the President is calling all the relevant Ministers to that issue and we are forced to take immediate decisions and allocate someone to implement it. Now, that in my view, will change the face of how we do things.

Hon. Gonese, you were worried about the budget deficit. I need to explain again that the last year’s budget deficit - yes, overshot the mark but it was because of the food imports. This year, because our silos are full, we are not going to import. So it is more predictable with respect to what we spend and so on which is unlike last year.

Hon. Nduna, thank you very much, you spoke about computerisation. I put an enabling provision in the Finance Bill to allow the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning to introduce what is called; virtual tax management system’ by end of June. This system, if we implement it and we are going to make efforts to implement it, will make the collection of revenue more predictable. It basically means that what is taking place in OK Bazaars on their till, that information – real time, is appearing at ZIMRA, the Reserve Bank and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. We can later go further to say the VAT will be deducted and a software system will be installed to deduct and send the VAT directly to ZIMRA as the till rings. So, we are looking into that and catering for that. We hope that we will be able to succeed on that basis.

Hon. Nduna, you also spoke about roadblocks and I agree with that. It has given us a fresh look of life. In fact, it appears like it is abnormal, is it not? - [HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] - You know when you have had something for so long - I used to drive from Harare’s Mabvuku turnoff to Rusape and there would be 13 police roadblocks – [HON. MARIDADI: And what did you say as Minister about them?] - No, no, we have now changed it, it has now gone but what is surprising is that it is now no roadblock throughout and it makes a difference to the flow of traffic, business and I hope that it will remain so. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

Hon. Majome raised an issue which no one had raised before. This was an issue to do with administrative expenses for Members of Parliament (MP). You were talking about stationery. I promise to seriously look into that.

We should also discuss the issue you raised about travel within a constituency. Infact for me, it is the most expensive one when you compare your expenses coming from your constituency. Most people do not stay in the rural areas, they are in town somehow. When they are coming, they come on a tarred road and you are getting an allowance for that. I think this is something that we can look at. At least not to go the full hog, but let us acknowledge that there is an expense. Because of my experience, I argue with my officials that they do not accept or understand how expensive it is to be an MP. I do understand.

Hon. Mangami, I think I have already responded with respect to the ECD. Hon. Maridadi, I take what you said but when you make reference specifically to individuals as corrupt, from the protective safety of this Parliament, it is not fair. You mentioned people by name, for example Dr. Mpofu and someone else. Incidentally, I think I spoke to you afterwards and said let us have the evidence and you are saying it does not matter, we do not need evidence. If we start to pursue each other on the basis of uninformed information, it will be a disaster or catastrophy because it then means I am not pursuing the evidence but the person. I do not like you; I will then make you suffer – [HON. MARIDADI: I love all those that I mentioned by name.] – No, no, no. You like them but I was just thinking – I first met Hon. Mpofu around 1984 when I was going to Gaborone, Botswana with my family for a visit. We met at Plumtree and he was already a businessman. Later on when I was an Attorney-General, I think I wanted to speak to him and he took me to his building. He had already bought it in 1998 – a very expensive building in Bulawayo.

I am just telling you of facts that I know. I cannot defend him if there is anything or any monkey business. You know where the problem is Hon. Maridadi – we are not accustomed to see a rich African. We are very much comfortable to see a rich white person but when we see a rich black man, we conclude that is a thief. This is not a fair comment. We must now accept that some people are rich. I am not entrepreneurial but there are some people who borrow heavily and most of the things that you see you would think that they have spent cash. Look into it, zvikwereti. Some people are risk-takers. You would not go and borrow $3 million. I would not dare. Probably, I would go for $50 000 or $100 000 – ndinenge ndatopedza but there are some people who take risks if the bank rikangobwaira chete, they will borrow $5 million . What they do with that money is up to them. If they have any debts, normally vanombokunyara kana uri Minister.Kana usisiri Minister, before you reach home, kunenge kwatove netsamba.

What I just want to say on this issue is, let us not make unfounded allegations against people for their wealth because at the end of the day, I have no obligation to tell you whatever I am doing except when we come to disclosure of our assets. Even then, we want to make it confidential because you do not want to say, when I make a disclosure you say ‘ akaiwana kupi’.

I have been employed as a lawyer since 1972. Now, you cannot ask me if I have got any assets. Not that I have any. You cannot ask me kuti ndakazviwana kupi iwe wakauya zuro. You were only born yesterday and you want to equate yourself to someone who has been in this game for all this long. I am not in any way fighting for Cde Mpofu in his corner. I am just telling you what I know. When I met him in the mid 1980s, he was already a businessman. When I again met him at his building in 1998, it was already his building and he was not yet Minister.

Let us also accept that as we go along, the economy is open to everybody. As we start the race, some are faster and some sprint more than others. They will accumulate assets more than others. Let us not be jealous kuti tirambe tiri tese panzvimbo imwechete; kuti waenderei mberi, taifudza mombe tese zvino azoita sei kuti ave ne store. Let us not have that spirit. I am just averse to the spirit which tends to pull other black people down. I am not saying that if there is anything wrong, you should not pursue but let us do it from an informed position.

Hon. Mliswa, on auditors’ reports, I have said again and again – infact, Hon. Mliswa thought he was addressing a rally – [Laughter.] - He was appealing more to the emotions and not to the brain of Hon. Members. I could see that in a way, he was succeeding to sway Members in that direction. Let us face it. The Auditor’s reports in my view become less and less negative against Government because of the systems that were put in place. We have an Accountant General’s Department which is now fully staffed with units which are dedicated to look at the reports of the Auditor-General and correcting any mistakes or systems that need to be corrected.

We also have a dedicated department looking at the financial statements of parastatals and local authorities, again with a view to understanding which local authorities, State enterprises are performing and which are not performing. We are in the process of setting up an internal audit system in Government. In each line Ministry, there is an internal audit and we want a Principal Director or someone with that rank in the Ministry of Finance who is an internal auditor to supervise the internal auditors in the line ministries. We are trying to prevent corruption from happening and not to try and fix the door after the horse has bolted. That in my view is the better approach – not always to wait until things have gone wrong.

Again, Hon. Mliswa took it over from where others took and he was lambasting Hon. Dr. Mpofu and so on. I do not think there is any problem in Dr. Mpofu owning a mine. I know some Hon. Members here who own mines. So, if one day you are appointed a Minister and you own a mine, I do not see any problem. Let us get used to people owning assets, it is not evil. So, we do not want people to be disqualified because they own assets – [HON. MARIDADI: The problem is conflict of interest.] – no, no, look at Cabinet membership of other countries, all they do is – let us take for example Tillerson, he was in the oil business was he not? Tillerson, the State Secretary in the United States of American Government, he is himself probably a billionaire or something. In fact, in that Cabinet there are billionaires, they have got assets but they declare the assets and pursue the national interests. That is what I think we need to get used to that we are going to increasingly find some of our colleagues here who are rich and we need to get used to it.

Hon. Mliswa was castigating Command Agriculture. Let me say how the model for Command Agriculture has been. Mr. Speaker Sir, Command Agriculture has operated on this basis – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order.

HON. CHINAMASA: Command Agriculture Mr. Speaker Sir, has operated on this financing model; the private sector put their money upfront and give us a term sheet, then we agree that they are going to distribute the inputs to farmers on a recovery basis, farmers whom ourselves as government give them. In other words, we are undertaking and guaranteeing the credibility of the farmers we give to them on a recovery basis. The inputs go to the farmers, they produce and sell and on the basis of a stop-order system, the money is recovered. If there is any shortfall, then the Government comes in. So, I am basically guaranteeing that if there is any shortfall, Government Treasury will meet that shortfall.

The preliminary I have shown that out of an outlay of $56.8 million in inputs by a private sector, already $40.3 million has been recovered and that exercise is not yet complete in terms of reconciling the figures. So, for me - who is interested to pump up agricultural production, I think this is a cost that I am quite happy to meet as Treasury. We are pumping up production. What in fact was the case is; the commercial banks, because of the non-performing loans, are wary of lending to farmers. That is where we came in and the irony of it is that; the private sector who are involved in this are getting the money from the commercial banks at 4%, whereas if individuals went to the commercial bank, they will be charged 12% to 18%. Somehow, they have been able to reduce the cost of fertilizer. When we go to buy fertilizer and seed for ourselves, we use more money even where we are paying cash. So, these are the issues which I thought I should explain on Command Agriculture.

On diamonds Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to take this opportunity to say something about the $15 billion diamonds. I hope Parliament will permit me to lay on the table some calculations that have been done. I want Hon. Members on this issue to engage their brain, let us engage our brain. When that figure was mentioned, I think it was explained that it was a figurative speech. I think when I look at the analysis of the world diamond sector, it is clear that there is no way $15 billion worth of diamonds would come from Zimbabwe because the entire value of the industry is $15 billion and we are just a speck in terms of production of diamonds.

Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to lay this analysis, which sets out who are the key diamond producers and what is annual production per carat and the value so that we can make our own judgments as to whether or not we are basically saying $15 billion worth of diamonds which did not exist were stolen – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] – no, I just want us to engage our brains, please it does not matter who said what. Let us engage our brain and see what is true and what is not. Do not misread the former President who was speaking figuratively. I am not saying in any way that there may not have been an abuse, but to say that when we are a speck.

The biggest diamond producers are Russia and Botswana I think Botswana itself, we are talking about $2 billion. So, when there is a $2 billion industry, how do we, when we are not producing end up saying $15 billion has been stolen? I just want us to understand this, take your time to go through these figures and please let us not switch off our minds when we are considering national issues – [HON. MARIDADI: Inaudible interjection.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Maridadi. Never mind, the document has been presented there, which you will read and then comment later – [HON. MARIDADI: Inaudible interjection.] – it is not for debate Honourable Member.

HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Mliswa raised the issue about the subsidised price that we pay for maize and wheat – [HON. MARIDADI: On a point of Order Hon. Speaker.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

HON. MARIDADI: My point of order is that the issue of $15 billion is very critical and key to the people out there because this did not come from somebody from the streets. It came from the Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces. What the Minister should probably do is maybe issue a Ministerial Statement which speaks to what the former President said and all these other issues that surround the issue of $15 billion. It does not matter whether or not the former President is around, it is an issue that you must engage the country sincerely and honestly, because it is not an issue that we are going to wish away and you know it as well as I do. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Maridadi, I have already started engaging the public seriously. We must never be victims of deception or confusion. I have started trying to make it scientific and what I expect you to do is, when you look at this, respond scientifically also and not say because it was said by so and so, it must stand [HON. ADV. CHAMISA: On a point of order.] – [HON. MEMBERS: Aaah!] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order – [HON. MARIDADI: Ndizvo zvamaiita kare muchingoti bwaa bwaa ndizvo zvakatisvitsa ikoko zvekuti bwaa. ] – Hon. Maridadi, I have given your Vice President a hearing, respect him.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I think the exhortation and encouragement by the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Planning is very well taken and appreciated that we must engage our minds with this very important subject, but equally we must also not be empty and uncritical minds when we are given certain information.

You are aware that when the then Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Chidhakwa, stood in this Parliament, he confirmed that indeed there has been theft and corruption on issues of diamonds and committed that he was going to bring a Ministerial Statement and he was taking his time to meticulously compile a document, which document we are still waiting for, but then what Minister is doing now by piece meal, giving us information, it is actually undermining the commitment from the Ministry, because there is the doctrine of succession. The new Minister, Minister Chitando, must be able to bring one document – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- I am being harassed by Hon. Mukhupe.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order please.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Please protect me. He likes violence but I do not think it is fair. I totally agree with the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development that we have to be scientific, but let us be scientific in a method that we have already agreed upon, to say the Minister of Mines and Mining Development is bringing that detailed document and it must also be inclusive of what the Minister has already given to Parliament. That is what we are just saying so that there is consistence and we are willing to engage on this subject because we also have evidence that we would want to be tested to show that indeed there is accountability. Thank you very much.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chamisa, I thought as a lawyer it would have been prudent for you to read first and then comment.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA: It is just procedure.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): I think we understand each other. We are just trying to re-orientate. In the new political dispensation we need to re-orientate our mindsets so that we are always interrogating, questioning and not to accept anything that is said on social media for instance. You know you get people who accept anything that comes from social media – they believe it.

HON. MARIDADI: It did not come from social media, it came from the then President Mugabe.

HON. CHINAMASA: Mr. Speaker Sir, let me go to the issue about prices. We are paying $390 per tonne of maize and $500 per tonne for wheat. The Hon. Member Mliswa is bemoaning that we are paying so much, because he gives comparisons with Zambia. You know it is not always the correct thing to give comparisons. In our situation we are not in the Zambian situation, because production had collapsed and we believe that the farmers needed to be supported - to be subsidised which is why we are paying that price. It is to susbsidise and be able to ramp up agricultural production. That is what that policy is all about, but it will not always be for all time. There will come a time when we now know and we are happy that production is at the level that we want it to be and then obviously, we will try to pay import parity price.

Hon. Mandipaka, I agree with you and we have said that we will support all agencies that are involved in the fight against corruption, but you know as a former Attorney-General responsible for prosecution, please, it is not easy to prosecute corruption because the people who have benefited are the briber and the bribed. They will not voluntarily come forward with the evidence, unless someone picks it up or unless someone basically is short changed and then says kusirikufa ndekupi ndakunomhan’ara. It is a very difficult crime to investigate and also to prosecute.

So, what I fear, Mr. Speaker Sir, and will not go along with is basically trying to arrest because the public says so. The pubic says so and so is corrupt then the police goes and arrests - no investigation before. That should be discouraged. Whoever is arrested must be arrested after reasonable evidence has been put on the table to justify the arrest. To arrest first and then investigate later will put the administration of justice into disrepute. So, it is important that I emphasise that.

Hon. Khupe, to be honest I do not share your sentiments - sorry you are not there anymore, that you must only eat what you kill. What is the purpose of an overdraft? At household level, even at company level they operate an overdraft, and it is because they are not able to kill sufficient in order to operate. So, what is important is firstly to keep the proportion of debt to your revenues. What is also important is the use to which you put that money and I am saying with respect to a lot of the borrowing that we have done through TBs, we have put the bulk of it towards infrastructure.

Tokwe-Mukorsi was through TBs, Gwayi-Shangani is through TBs, Marowa-Nyathi, Causeway Dam is through TBs, the cleaning up of the balance sheet of commercial banks which were on the verge of collapse as a financial system were done through TBs. The takeover of the Reserve Bank debt of around $1.5 billion, we had to take it over in order to liquidate or to liquefy the Central Bank because it was insolvent at that time. Now, those are policies that we took. So, we need to understand the use to which the money is being put. If you borrow, what are you using it for? If you use it for consumption, then you are spelling disaster.

Hon. Mashakada, I just want to commend you. We were in total agreement with what you said. In fact, for the first time we are in total agreement. In the past you used to even speak just after I present my budget. This time around, you were numb because you were satisfied with what was in the budget. I dispute that there are quasi fiscal operations. Treasury Bills are only issued by the central bank on the instructions of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. Any borrowing for the State is by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, so it is not correct that in fact we are doing anything to do with quasi fiscal operations.

The issue of interest rates - that is something that we are progressively working on to the extent possible to raise deposit rates and also to lower lending rates and I think that the lending rates through moral suasion have been reduced to something like 12% generally. I am happy you commented on His Excellency’s visit to the President of MDC –T, Mr. Tsvangirai. I think that is the way to go. We must learn as Zimbabweans that we can differ on views and have divergent opinions. That does not make us any less Zimbabwean. We must have that mutual respect and we must not seek to force an opinion on others by force. No, it is wrong. It must be through persuasion. So, we have to learn new tactics of relating to each other and generally those who are unable to persuade, it is because they do not have either the language or the ideas or a better idea to persuade-generally. So, it is very important that we learn.

I was happy to learn from Hon. Mashakada that he believes of course, like I do, that the growth rate of 4.5% is achievable and in fact, I will go on to say that this is a conservative rate. I am envisaging around 6% by the end of the year. Why do I say so, it is because of the policies that we are implementing. Just the removal or the amendment of the indigenisation law, it means that all those investments especially in the mining sector which were stored because of ownership issue, the 51:49 will not take off. I know one, two or three of those which are quite big. Already it means that mining is going to contribute much more than we are prepared to say so in this Budget.

I have already answered about the query on why amend the Indigenisation Law through the Finance Act, I am in a hurry and I am very grateful to Hon. Members that we agree that this should be expedited. Hon. Mapiki, thank you very much, you sound like a gold miner yourself. The information you are giving us is very detailed and it is almost like inside information of an insider. Find time so that you sit with our people who deal with gold in the Central Bank so that you can give us more intelligence about what is taking place in the gold mining sector. We would very much appreciate this inside story. I do not agree with you on the blood transfusion as a private company. I do not think there is anything problematic. In fact, my own view is, is if this blood transfusion was a parastatal, there would be no blood for our people.

Let us not worry about the price, generally costs go up and what is important is that it should be well managed and we should not take an emotional decision that we want to make it a parastatal which we then proceed to mismanage. The consequences are more catastrophic than having it in private. I know this company; it is well run, well managed for many years and I would want this to continue. I thank you very much that we should look at the population of civil servants who are operating in our wards. The information you gave us that in your ward there are about 80 of them in one ward, that need to be corrected. So, we need to sit down with the Minister of Lands and Agriculture, basically to further reduce the number and redeploy them elsewhere. I think that process has already started with respect to agriculture. We need to make savings so that we can employ more teachers and more nurses.

Hon. Sibanda, I do not agree with you that women lack financial literacy. It is not just women Mr. Speaker Sir, but it is all of us, even the most educated. When it comes to financial literacy, they are all like they have never been to school. So, it is a programme that the central bank is undertaking and also some of the commercial banks to introduce workshops and classes to enhance financial literacy among the population. For instance in Kenya, ordinary village people trade on the stock exchange in Kenya. You cannot envisage that happening in Zimbabwe yet but Kenyans in the village buy shares on the stock exchange. That means that their financial literacy levels are much higher than that obtained here.

Hon. Mpariwa, thank you very much and I have already said that we will do whatever we can to capacitate the Portfolio Committees so that they discharge their mandate and that will include the Public Accounts Committee. Hon. Muderedzwa, you mention of course that there is no Vocational Training Centre. This is what we are envisaging to do, we are going to build a Vocational Training Centre in each administrative district and that includes Buhera. It is not Buhera alone which has no Vocational Training Centre. From our calculations, out of the 63 or so administrative districts, I think only 40 have got Vocational Training Centres. So, we will need to look and build around 23 or so Vocational Training Centres. We will start building a few annually until we build in each administrative centre.

Hon. Chikuni, on the BEAM issue not being disbursed; the problem is as we all know lack of resources but we do what we can to ensure that every school child coming from disadvantaged parents is able to go to school. I will not go to the extent that was mentioned by Hon. Nyamupinga to say the role of a parent is just to get pregnant and take the child to the door of the school and let Government take over. The primary responsibility of parents is to raise their children and meet the cost. It can be done even when you say they are disadvantaged, those people can offer labour. I always tell the story that those of us who grew up in the colonial days, there were no NGOs. That we need to remind each other. They were droughts as there still are and no Government gave anyone any food anywhere during colonial times. People have to fend for themselves by selling their labour and that is how the community survived and that is how they became even more independent and more self reliant. Now you are saying; the Hon. Member has been bold to say all you need is to become pregnant and take the child to the school gate. It is a wrong philosophy, completely wrong philosophy.

Hon. Gabbuza, let me advise that the ZISCO Steel now, we are optimistic that maybe in three month’s time, we should conclude the deal. What you need to know about ZISCO Steel is that they are 3 components to it. ZISCO Steel at that time used to own the coke ovens, steel works and the iron ore mines. We have separated the iron ore mines and we will mine it as a joint venture. The steel works will be owned separately, we will sell the ore to the steel works. The coke ovens have been removed because the investor into the steel works is not interested in the coke ovens. So, that is another company and I am sure by the end of March, the coke ovens will start running. There is a new investor who is coming and that new investor is undertaking to take over our debt to KFW of something like US$200m. So, we are quite optimistic that he will do – [HON. CHIBAYA: Inaudible interjections.] -

Hon. Chibaya, I have you, you talked about cash shortages and Parliament budget but I have already answered that without mentioning specifically your name. – [HON. CHIBAYA: What about the 5%?] – On the 5%, maybe you had gone out; I said there are issues to do with constitutional provisions which we have not been complying with. After the elections we are going to start consultations on the modalities of complying and I specifically mentioned the devolution provisions.

I want us to understand that where the bulk of my budget is paying wages, are you saying devolution will entail identifying or counting the numbers of teachers, nurses, doctors and Government employees in Manicaland, and then saying their total wage I am giving to Manicaland. That is the devolution. Is that what you are saying because if I have no extra income, this is what we want us to discuss. Let this non-compliance be a burden just on myself. Let us share it. We want to understand how you propose that we should do it. – [HON. DR. MASHAKADA: You have the Sovereign Wealth Fund.] – There is nothing now in the Sovereign Wealth Fund. – [HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Why?] – No, not yet because we are living from hand to mouth. Until such time that we make savings and increase the cake, it is very difficult for me to understand how we can implement some of those provisions but let us talk about it. You can have ideas, so let us talk about it and see what all of us can implement to comply with the Constitution.

Hon. Gabbuza, I have already answered on ZISCO Steel. On Hwange Colliery you know already that we capitalised Hwange Colliery. We had to defer payment of their tax. They owed something like $80 million or so to ZIMRA. We have had to defer that and have secured new equipment for them from Belarus. As a result, where the production figures had plummeted to 30 000 metric tonnes per month; that has now been upped to 350 000 metric tonnes per month and they are exporting coal as we speak.

By the way, we have to thank the then Chairman of the Committee on Mines who is now the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Mr. Chitando for the revival of the Hwange Colliery. He made a difference through his chairmanship of the Board of Hwange Colliery. – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.] – Oh yes, it all boils down to management and that is what he sorted out, management and a focused approach.

By the way, Dunlop again is no longer called Dunlop. I think it is called by another name, Apollo Tyre Services. It is still manufacturing. So, if you are looking for a Dunlop sign, it is no longer there but if you are looking for a tyre manufacturer by the name of Apollo, you will find that tyre manufacturer in Bulawayo and is manufacturing tyres, not maybe to the extent that it was doing before but clearly they are manufacturing.

The Kamativi tantalite and so on, that is a matter that the new Minister is now chasing. We accept and agree with you that there are tantalite, tin and lithium deposits there and what is good about Kamativi is that the cost of production will be minimal because they will start working on the dumps, not even going underground.

Hon. Holder, thank you for your contribution. Where I disagree with you is that you think the Ministry of Mines is underfunded. Let us get it out of our head. As we go into the future, it is not the Ministry which will be doing the job. We want private sector participation in exploration, mining and where possible, we want joint venture partnerships into mining. So, when you still think about the Ministry of Mines, we want to get away from that mentality.

With respect to disputes over claims, that I believe is something that will be sorted out by the cadastre system when it is introduced but already, discussions have started between my Ministry and Ministry of Mines to do the preliminary work to introduce this system so that when the law is in place, it will not take too much time before it is implemented.

Hon. Sansole, yes I agree with you and I want to say that the State enterprises, like I have already pointed out, is a matter that we are now seized with and we are going to go parastatal by parastatal. It is an exercise being undertaken by the Office of the President, Ministry of Finance and the Restructuring State Enterprises Agency. We are working on that and I did say by end of March, we think that programme will be in place.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I want once again, in conclusion to thank the very constructive contributions made by Hon. Members and to move that the motion be adopted.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

FIRST READING

FINANCE BILL [H.B.1, 2018]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING pursuant to order, presented the Finance Bill, H.B.1, 2018. This Bill will amend the Finance Act Chapter 23:04, the Income Tax Act Chapter 23:06, Value Added Tax Act Chapter 23:12, the Customs and Excise Act Chapter 23:02, the Revenue Authority Act Chapter 23:11 and the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act Chapter 14:13. Further Mr. Speaker Sir, there are other Acts which will also be amended as set out in the Finance Bill as well as issues to do with the amnesty that we granted to those who externalised funds from this country. These are all issues that will be dealt with in the Finance Bill. I therefore, move that the Bill be read for the first time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the first time.

Bill referred to Parliamentary Legal Committee.

HON. S. K. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of Section 11 of the Audit Office Act, Chapter 22 (18), I lay upon the table the value for money audit report on the management of pre-payment and smart metering project by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) a subsidiary of ZESA Holdings Private Limited. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY

MAIN ESTIMATES OF EXPENDITURE

First Order read: Committee of Supply: Main Estimates of Expenditure.

House in Committee.

Vote 1 – Office of the President and Cabinet - $231 974 000 put and agreed to.

On Vote 2 – Parliament of Zimbabwe – US$57 227 000:

HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Madam Chair. I think that in the general debate, it was very clear that all Committees and also the Budget Committee indicated that this Vote was inadequate. There are very good reasons why I believe that the Hon. Minister should adjust the budget for this particular Vote. Hon. Chair, this august House is one of the three arms of the State. It has various responsibilities and among those responsibilities, is to perform oversight on the Executive. In the discharge of its mandate, the Parliament of Zimbabwe came up with a budget which comes to $98 million and I believe that the figure is very modesty. When you look at it in the context of the whole budget, you will find that most of the ministries actually have bigger Votes than this institution.

When you look at it historically Madam Chair, we have always had a situation where we had struggled for resources. We have to carry out public hearings and most of the time we have to rely on donors or partners. I believe that it is now time for this institution to be adequately funded so that we do not go with a begging bowl every time that we have to discharge our obligations and most of the time, we have not been able as Committees to sit when the House is not sitting because of financial constraints. As a result, a lot of the Committee work has been adversely affected.

I therefore say to the Hon. Minister, we are not asking for too much – we are simply saying that we must not be treated as one of the departments in the Government. If you look at the figure which the Minister has allocated to us, it is with due respect an insult. When you look at the sum of $57.2 million, you will note Madam Chair and I think that the Hon. Minister will agree that a lot of the Government departments on their own actually have much more than that. If you look at the Votes, which has not been objected to in terms of Vote 1 - the Office of the President and Cabinet, you will find that the Vote has actually increased from before and we want to say that the Office of the President and Cabinet is important. We have not objected to it because we do appreciate the importance that has to be attached to that office.

In a similar vein, we must also have the Hon. Minister appreciating that whilst you can temper with the Votes of the other ministries and perhaps have some other issues to be set aside, when it comes to Parliament, we must now come to a stage where Parliament does not struggle for resources and where it is able to discharge its obligations. When you look at the actual percentage which has been allocated to Parliament, it is very small. I want to say to the Hon. Minister as he did last year, he acceded to the request that we made in this august House and I want to appeal to him. I know that the Hon. Minister is a good man, he will appreciate good points and I believe that the sentiments which have been expressed by all the Members of this august House across the political divide both in the general debate in this august House should really persuade him to have a change of heart. We do not want to be forced to a situation where we say that we cannot approve the whole budget because the Hon. Minister has not acceded to our very modesty demands.

I therefore appeal to you Hon. Minister, I know that you are speaking to your Deputy, you are nodding in approval and I am happy that the indications coming from you are that you are going to agree to have this Vote to be increased. We do not have to affect the whole budget but the Hon. Minister can perhaps look at the other Votes if he feels that he can virement but at the end of the day, I think that here and now, we must have this Vote to be increased.

Alternatively, if the Hon. Minister feels that he cannot virement the Vote, the figure or the request that we are talking about is about $41 million. I think that the Hon. Minister should be able to accommodate this very, modesty request - $98 million, which is very small as compared to the whole budget of $5.7 billion. In terms of percentage, it does not even come to 10% - when we are one of the three pillars of the State. Hon. Minister, please, please, please, thank you very much.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. DZIVA): Hon. Minister, let me allow other Members.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): I just wanted us to have a conversation and I was going to move that the debate on this one be stood down to allow me to have a conversation with colleagues. I do not think that it is something that we can discuss and agree across the table. So, we defer it to the end of the budget then we can have a conversation. I will show you the calculations, I agree with you in some respects and in other respects, I do not agree but we will show you the calculations so that we can reach a consensus on the matter. I do not ambush people.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Minister, we wanted to allow the Hon. Members to express themselves.

HON. CHINAMASA: Madam Chair, this is a matter that we discussed in the bigger debate and I already know the views of Hon. Members. All I am asking for Madam Chair, is to defer it, we deal with other issues which will not conclude it and then after that, we have a conversation with the Chief Whips so that we conclude this matter. If we do not agree, then it will come back here as a disagreement but we may agree and give a recommendation.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I will allow the Hon. Minister to defer this Vote but I will also allow the Vice President of MDC Hon. Chamisa to make a contribution.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Thank you very much Hon. Chair. Is it not a good way of dealing with these issues to also just allow the Hon. Minister to engage with the Chief Whips before we proceed to the vote by vote because this is so crucial. It would be good for the Minister because we know that you are a man of integrity – [HON. CHINAMASA: Inaudible interjection.] - So, why should we waste our time?

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Adv. Chamisa and Minister Chinamasa, you speak through the Chair.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Chair. Through you Hon. Chair, we are kindly persuading the Hon. Minister to first exhaust this Parliamentary issue before we go to the other Votes for a good reason. The reason being that, we do not want to detain the Minister unnecessarily; we deal with this one which is a very crucial issue and once we deal with this one, it is going to be very easy. So, we do not want to complicate matters for the Minister because he has a lot of work to do and he must also not make life difficult for us to help him. So, help us to help you and we are ready to help you Hon. Minister. We do not normally ask for this kind of co-operation between Parliament and the Minister. This is very good and we are ready. If you want us either we temporarily adjourn or we do whatever is necessary to deal with this issue. It is in your interest to deal with this issue.

This is the most important issue Hon. Minister. Once you deal with this one, the rest is history. We can assure you, it can sail through.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, after consultations with the Chief Whips, I want to say from the onset that I understand that Parliament must discharge its mandate, but I also want Parliament to understand that the resources are not there. The worst thing that I do not want to do is to promise you huge amounts which will not be available when you want it. Ndoita sendirikukunyeperai, iyo mari yacho isipo, but after the consultations and I am very clear that the mandate of Parliament must be discharged - we have agreed that the total figure of Vote should be amended to $80 million.

So Madam Chair, I move that the Parliament of Zimbabwe Vote be adopted as amended to $80 million. The actual adjustments in between items can be done later.

HON. NDUNA: Madam Chair, I want to thank the Minister for acceding to the request that has been put across to him. I say this because the last time, on his own volition, he made sure that he augmented the budget of Parliament by $10 million. So, Madam Chair, I want to thank the Hon. Minister for seeing light and also complementing and augmenting the Parliamentary Budget by that much. I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. DZIVA): Order Hon. Members.

Vote 2, as amended, put and agreed to.

Vote 3 - Labour and Social Welfare - $241 708 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 4 - Defence, Security and War Veterans - $420 364 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 5 - Finance and Economic Development - $334 680 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 6 - Office of the Auditor General - $5 058 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 7 - Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development - $30 507 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 8 - Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement - $521 415 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 9 - Mines and Mining Development – $17 282 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 10 - Environment, Water and Climate - $85 818 000 put and agreed to.

On Vote 11: Transport and Infrastructure Development - $137 109 000.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Chair. I will keep knocking until the door is open. The Vote for the Ministry of Transport when I read through, it was devoid of the US$4.5 million for IATA. It is my fervent hope that the Minister is going to see it himself – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection ]-

Hon. Nduna having said unparliamentary language to the Hon. Member who had interjected.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Nduna, you are not allowed to do what you just did. So, may you please withdraw all the words that you said to the Hon. Member?

HON. NDUNA: There was no record Madam Chair.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Withdraw because I heard you.

HON. NDUNA: Yes, I withdraw Madam Chair.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Use your microphone to withdraw.

HON. NDUNA: I withdraw. When the Ministry of Finance does get $4.5 million, it can engage IATA Air Zimbabwe and then transport passengers which do not necessarily travel on the Air Zimbabwe plane, but being transported by other Aviation players for Air Zimbabwe from other destinations where Air Zimbabwe would ordinarily not go to those destinations. I ask that this ballooning debt of $4.5 started at $2.6 or $2.7 and next year, it does not get any less. It is my clarion call that if the Minister does allocate an extra $4.5 million specifically for those debts and have a re-engagement with the other aviation players then we can have Air Zimbabwe as a team player. Have TEAM as an acronym that says ‘together each achieves more’. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA ): I do not go along with the request. IATA fees are part of the cost of doing business. It is an expense which should be borne by the airline and not by National Treasury. At the moment, I know we come in to assist from time to time but that is wrong, the State airline should stand alone, be able to make its money and meet its expenses. Like I have said earlier, we are making efforts so that it is able to stand on its own through capitalisation and through restructuring of management. You cannot have IATA fuel expenses paid from the National purse, that is wrong.

Vote 11 put and agreed to.

Vote 12 – Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – US$49 667 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 13 – Local Government, Public Works and National Housing –US$132 781 000 put and agreed to.

On Vote 14 – Health and Child Care – US$454 014 000.

HON. GONESE : Thank you very much Madam Chair. I really stand on a matter of principle. First and foremost, we are a signatory to the Abuja Declaration. I do appreciate the point made by the Minister that they have raised the share of the Health and Child Care Ministry from 6 to 8%. However, I still believe that this is still inadequate. The Committee on Health and Child Care were very clear that in our hospitals, we are not able to care for the sick. Even the First Lady visited hospitals and it was quite clear from her observations that we have got a critical shortage of medication.

We also have a scenario where there is also the freeze on staff recruitment which also covers the Ministry of Health. I want to say to the Hon. Minister, if we are looking at 8% of the budget which is just above what we have already committed ourselves to, I think that is not satisfactory. Let us have a situation where we move at a faster rate towards the 15% and I believe that at this point in time, what will be ideal would be perhaps 10% as we strive toward the objective of attaining the 15%.

I know that the Hon. Minister has indicated that there are resource constraints but I want to say that when you look at the current budget, the Ministry of Health is not even the one with the highest Vote. So, at the very least, if we are not able to give them the 15% we should have had a situation where the Vote for the Ministry of Health was the Highest. However, if you check from the Blue Book, the Vote for the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is the highest. It is an important Ministry; I accept that, we have other Ministries which actually have more Votes than the Health Ministry. I would like to appeal to the Minister in the same way that we appealed on Vote 2, that he must do something to show that he appreciates the plight that Zimbabweans are going through.

If for example you are diagnised with cancer, it is a death sentence. Our hospitals are not able to deal with it and we want to have a scenario where at least those people who are not able to afford treatment outside the country can at least have relief. In this regard, I will then plead with the Hon. Minister and say to him, if it were possible, can we not go to 10% so that the Vote is increased to about US$570 million or some other percentage. If he can at least accommodate the request in relation to this very important Ministry as we move towards attainment of the object which is to get to 15%.

I therefore say to the Hon. Minister increase, I think that would be about 10%. The total budget is about US$5,7 billion and 10% of that is US$570 million. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA) : You have raised an issue which is also very dear to my heart and I think my officials will bear me out that I have been urging that we should do everything in our power to make our hospitals perform their duty to recover the health of our citizens. I will go along with the proposal to increase it to US$520 million. Progressively, next year we could work towards getting it to 12%.

So, I accordingly move Madam Speaker that the Budget Vote be amended to US$520 million from US$454 million.

HON. TOFFA : Thank you Madam Chair. Looking at the Health Budget and the Ministry of Health and the Hospitals, I think it is very important especially considering the fact that, I think it was last week where it was said that the First Lady went around and spoke to the fact that women were to be given free maternal health and children under the age of four. The hospitals already could not sustain those people and now we are increasing it by a mere percentage, according to the Abuja Declaration which we signed as a Parliament where Government must give 15% - urikusekei?

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON : Order, Hon. Member! You address the Chair. As well Hon. Members, when contributing do not repeat the same points that have already been made.

HON. TOFFA : I think it is important that the Minister really considers increasing this amount by much more because nothing is going to happen in the health sector to improve the health of the population.

*HON. MAPIKI : Thank you Madam Chair. Looking at the rural areas, 80% of clinics in rural areas are not operating because of lack of resources. So, I think the Ministry of Finance should consider this and assist the rural population to open these hospitals. We should not find ourselves in a situation that Malawi found itself in whereby it depended on donors and when they pulled out, challenges were found. The situation of clinics in rural areas is a challenge and if it remains the same we will end up losing most of our rural population. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): I cannot dish out money which is not there. Please, we are all very reasonable people. If the revenue is not there, I can even get it to $2bn and then everyone will clap but it will not happen. Let us work always in a realistic manner. What is going to happen with the compromise that I have done, $520m, it means something is going to lose out and what that is, it will be something equally important.

You know for instance, what you need to understand is there are some interventions that we have done in the area of health, that airtime tax will try to cater for equipment and drugs. Currently already, we know that there are no beds and drugs, you understand, you think we have got the money but we do not want. No, it is not like that. I do not think you understand when I say all our money is going to wages.

Until we restructure, we will not have money to do other things, to buy medicine. That is what I think you need to understand. It cannot be done over night. I am happy that I had a breakfast meeting at Meikles Hotel this morning and there was someone who works at the World Bank who was talking about the health situation on the continent and he was saying despite your problems, you are much far ahead. Not that it should make us complacent. What I am saying is what you are asking, do not ask for the moon when you know you will not get there. I am pleading with Hon. Members; let us accept the compromise, $520m which is already significant. What is going to lose out we do not know but it will be something that is equally important but which has to lose out because we are trying to contain our deficit that is the aim and we should not lose sight of that. We are trying to change the structure of our Budget and we should not lose sight of that.

I want again to move that the vote be amended to $520m.

Amendment to Vote 14, put and agreed to.

Vote 14 as amended put and agreed to.

Vote 15 – Primary and Secondary Education – US$935 483 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 16 – Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development – US$377 814 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 17 – Women and Youth Affairs – US$39 769 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 18 – Home Affairs and Culture – US$507 287 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 19 – Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs – US$126 474 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 20 – Information, Media and Broadcasting Services – US$26 901 000 put and agreed to.

On Vote 21 Sports, Arts and Recreation – US$11 689 000.

HON. MAJOME : On the Vote of Sports, Arts and Recreation, in 2015, the Zimbabwe Mighty Warriors qualified for the Olympic Games and they were promised that they would each be given residential stands or the equivalent. Up to now the Mighty Warriors, Zimbabwe’s flagship soccer team which happens to be a women’s team has still not received a cent. I would be happy to let that vote pass provided the Hon. Minister can assure me that in that Vote, there is provision and allocation for that reward that the national team of Zimbabwe of women is going to be given their stands or an equivalent value in money. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): I am not aware who promised the stands. Any promise that does not involve Treasury should not be taken on its face value. We do not have stands and I do not know who made the promise. All I can promise - [HON. MAJOME: ZIFA] – ZIFA is not Government. I think you should know that. Why are you taking it that the promise was done by Government. We are not ZIFA, neither are we FIFA. We did not make that promise but what I can only promise is to pursue ZIFA so that it honours its promise. I thank you.

Vote 21 put and agreed to.

Vote 22 – Energy and Power Development – US$94 935 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 23 – Tourism and Hospitality Industry – US$5 138 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 24 – Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services – US$10 528 000 put and agreed to.

Vote 25 – Judicial Services Commission – US$33 579 000 put and agreed to.

On Vote 26 – Public Service Commission – US$26 809 000.

HON. MAJOME : I am concerned that this august House and the Hon. Minister that has a requirement to abide by the Constitution wants to allocate money to a Commission that no longer exists in terms of the Constitution. There is no Public Service Commission since the 22nd of May 2013. The former Constitution was repealed. It had something that was called a Public Service Commission. The Constitution that we have had for the past five years has a Civil Service Commission. I believe it is unconscionable for there to be a Bill that refers to fundamental basic things in totally the wrong terms. There is no Public Service Commission. We cannot allocate money to the Public Service Commission. Possibly if something that is similar is a Civil Service Commission if the Hon. Minister can clarify, then it will be proper for the House to consider allocating money but there is nothing – you cannot allocate money to a non-existent entity – it does not exist.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): The Hon. Member is correct - the correct title is ‘Civil Service Commission’. So, I accordingly amend not the vote but the title of that Vote so that is reads, ‘Civil Service Commission’, wherever that word or words occur. I so move Madam Chair.

Amendment to Vote 26 put and agreed to.

Vote 26, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Vote 27 – Council of Chiefs - $3 400 000:

HON. MAJOME: I hope I am wrong that the Hon. Madam Chair seems to be impatient with debate. I hope I got her mannerisms wrong.

The debate on the Council of Chiefs Vote is, the fact is I want to salute the Hon. Minister for seeking to abide by the Constitution and allocate a separate Vote for the Council of Chiefs. Madam Chair, I am concerned that even in the last budget there was a, I do not want to call it a pretence, but I think that is what it is. To do the same thing but a whole year has passed and the Council of Chiefs does not have a secretariat yet a Vote was allocated. Even in the Blue Book, it is indicated that the money will go to the secretariat of the Council of Chiefs which is not in existence. So, I would be happy if the Hon. Minister was to ensure that indeed because the Constitution that requires that the Council of Chiefs be funded not through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National House.

In the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing we sought views from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National House about the proposed Votes. The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National House is the one that had somebody who was called the Director of Chiefs and was speaking about chiefs and so on and that is very different from that. It appears that there is a misappropriation of funding for the Council of Chiefs because it is being allocated by the Hon. Minister but being misappropriated to an officer in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, which is not what the Constitution envisages. So, I think, it would also be irresponsible for the House to do something that is not in fact being done that we pretend to allocate money to a Council of Chiefs that does not have a secretariat and they never touch, see or hold their money and the Ministry’s official continues to deal with that. Possibly, if the Hon. Minister could please clarify and confirm where it is indeed that money is being sent to because it has been going to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Council of Chiefs has not been receiving it because it does not have any handle on it. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): We have done what I promised. In the last budget, a query was raised that the Constitution requires that there should be a separate vote for Council of Chiefs. We have now provided for it and any Vote does not go into the Vote of another Vote in terms of banking and so on. This in fact, quite explains that there will be a secretary and with a view to minimizing costs, there will be a secretary to the Council of Chiefs. He or she is the one who will administer this Vote on the instructions of the Council of Chiefs. – [HON. MAJOME: It is not happening!] It is going to happen, that is what is going to happen. Yes, that is what is going to happen. I accept…

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. DZIVA): Hon. Minister Chinamasa please speak to the Chair.

HON. CHINAMASA: Chair, I accept the Hon. Member’s argument that we are separating the Vote of the Council of Chiefs from that of Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National House. What it means is that it will be administered separately from the Vote of the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National House – that will be done.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Parliament will ensure that the Hon. Minister abides by the constitutional requirements.

Vote 27 put and agreed to.

Vote 28 – Human Rights Commission - $3 341 000 put and agreed to.

On Vote 29 – National Peace and Reconciliation Commission - $1 399 000:

HON. MAJOME: Madam Chair, I am concerned that just hearing the figures for these two independent commissions whose allocations are coming in succession to each other. The Human Rights Commission which is going to get about $3 million clearly is not going to get sufficient money but I understand the Hon. Minister’s predicament – the envelope is small.

Now we have a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission which as we know, in terms of the Constitution, has more or less like a very limited life in terms of the Constitution. It is only going to be there for 10 years and this commission has not yet started operating. Clearly this commission has a tremendous amount of work and backlog to clear and a very short time within which to do it. Hon. Madam Chair, to give the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission a paltry $1million is to in fact sign a death warrant to the progress and work of that commission. Unless it is meant to be a token commission that will just be there on paper which has come so late and has little time. I want to submit that this House must not baptize and sign a death warrant for a commission that is yet to be in place. It is a critical commission; it has lost time and has a lot of catching up to do.

So from a proportion point of view, it would seem to me that it might be sound to allocate money to the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission that is not at the best more but at the least equal to possibly also the Human Rights Commission.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, we are setting up the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the first time. This august house has taken five years to come up with the legislation. So at that moment, the institution is not there to draw up its programmes. We just do not throw money - we throw money after ideas and programmes.

We have no idea as of now how they are going to go about their work. Until we know, we will not be in a position to increase or know whether their needs are more than we are providing. So for the beginning, I think, it is okay. What I think you need to understand is that there are going to be quite a lot of savings – even before the elections. We are not going to have any and a lot of colleagues have been chased away …

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order, Hon. Chinamasa please stick to the subject.

HON. CHINAMASA: No, I am trying to point out that we are going to make savings elsewhere. One of the areas that we are going to make savings is what I have already suggested and also the fact that there will be no by-elections. It is another saving that we are going to make. So, in the invent that the commission comes up with programmes; we can find a way to virement and so on.

Vote 29 put and agreed to.

On Vote 30 – National Prosecuting Authority - $7 289 000:

HON. MAONDERA: On the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Vote, I think there is need to increase the Vote slightly because with the rate at which we are going, a lot of criminals some of whom might be here are going to be arraigned before the courts. We want justice to be expedited because justice delayed is justice denied.

If the NPA is underfunded, some cases might take long to be concluded because they will be struggling with financial resources. Can the Minister look at it because we were promised that criminals, some who were around the former President and some who have already surrounded the new President are there? They are going to be uprooted and dealt with. Can the Minister consider adjusting the Vote upward slightly? I thank you.

HON. MAJOME : I also want to support Hon. Maondera’s exhortation that the Vote for the National Prosecuting Authority be increased. I would like to do so for similar reasons. I would urge the Hon. Minister to actually assist the NPA to come to its own independence. As the Hon. Minister will agree, it appears that so far there were proposals only for building. It was said that a head office was being built for the NPA or finding them a new office for the head office only.

The Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Planning being the former Minister of Justice and a lawyer like myself and it is a good thing that the Hon. Minister of Justice has just walked in – they will bear testimony to the fact that there continues to be a travesty at various or all magistrate courts all over the country. That is also outside the head office. The NPA continues to cohabit with the magistrates as if they are the same. It continues to be a gross travesty of the Constitution which has required that the office be separate. It inflicts injustice on legal practitioners who go to the courts and appear. By the time that I go there as defence counsel, I am already going to a place where the magistrate and the prosecutors are one big happy cosy family. Sometime they take tea together and you cannot tell the difference. So this separation that was brought by the Constitution was not by accident. It is meant to provide that there be separate facilities.

NPA officer must, not only at the head office only, but be in their own building as much as defence lawyers should also come from their offices and meet at court. I will not cause more headaches for the Hon. Minister but also suggest solutions. I find that His Excellency the President has done a very radical thing in terms of trimming the size, boiling down and rationalising Government ministries. Our ministries are now so much fewer.

I have always personally wondered what it is like in Harare for example – those big Government offices from the Mukwati and New Government Complex; I have always wondered what fills those offices and what people in there will be doing. I want to believe that the Hon. Minister might consider measures that are not necessarily even giving money but he was talking about savings. I want to believe that this exercise whereby His Excellency has pioneered cutting down ministries and removing unnecessary departments and duplications, I believe that it will free up some tremendous amount of real estate from Government premises where offices will be occupied by - God knows what.

I want to urge the Hon. Minister to increase the budget for the NPA in terms of office accommodation but also even furniture. I would like to ask the Hon. Minister to just take a visit to Mbare Magistrate Courts and try and visit prosecutors. Hon. Madam Chair, there are not even chairs. The prosecutors are sharing chairs. It is just really terrible apart from the fact that they are in the court room.

One day, I was stuck in a Mbare Magistrate Court toilet. I actually had to donate a door handle so that they could screw it onto the door because it was just dismal. Hon. Minister, you can just take a walk and see for yourself even around the country. Can he please provide separate offices for all prosecutors, equipment and furniture all over the country and their security but also look at saving through, looking at various buildings that are going to be vacated by some very spurious and superfluous Government ministries that have now been merged or absorbed. I thank you.

HON. NDUNA: I have got debate.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I have recognised the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

HON. NDUNA: Madam, I ask you to allow me to debate. I stood before the Minister.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I made a judgement.

HON. NDUNA: I ask you to allow me to debate. This is Committee Stage.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: May be, I will allow you to speak after the Minister of Finance has spoken. I have recognised the Minister.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, I agree with the Hon. Member that Prosecutors should have separate accommodation and offices from magistrates. Certainly, in the big cities, that is the position but as you get to remote areas, I think the situation described by the Hon. Member obtains. So, I am committing myself that we should first try to improve their conditions in terms of the environment in which they work – provision of furniture, computers and so on.

There was some assistance that I was availed from Denmark when I was still Minister of Justice. Unfortunately, the programme was rolled out after I had left. It was to build accommodation for courts. I do not know how those courts were designed. I want to believe that those courts – I think they were going to build about 69 out there. I am sure that accommodation would have been made to separate prosecutors from magistrates but I have yet visited any of those courts. I want to commit myself to say I will look after this department.

There have been other challenges of course with this department, more to do with leadership and I think that to an extend the authority suffered from that wrangle over leadership problems and there were cases when I thought they did not have an articulate voice to represent their interests but as I understand it now, that has been settled. I do not anticipate any problems on the part of management of this authority. We will do everything that we can as I have always done to assist this authority. As a former boss of prosecution, I understand their needs and I am sure as I have said in my Budget Statement, we are going to look after those institutions that will enforce the rule of law that are in the forefront of the anti-corruption campaign. These institutions include the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission, the Judiciary, the Prosecuting Authority, the Judiciary Service Commission and the Police. We will try to look after these so that we do not lose momentum in the fight against corruption.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Chair. He has quite ventilated some of the issues that I was going to touch on but to add on to that, it should be known that in all rural district or urban councils, there is a niche or percentage of area and land that is there that Government through its Government and quasi Government departments can claim from those local authorities. It is my hope that the Minister, even after allocating some monies to the NPA riding on the suggestion of alleviating the plight of the prosecutors and the magistrates as alluded to by Hon. Majome because they are crammed in their spheres of operation but…

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Nduna, are there any other new ideas other than those that have already been raised. If it is the same idea, I will not take it.

HON. NDUNA: To this coming idea, you will be amazed Madam Chair – [Laughter] – You want to make sure that their working space is elucidated, expanded by claiming the land from the local authorities. So, further to giving them money, I ask that you ask them to go and claim their pound of flesh so that they can help themselves to help the judiciary system so that we use what we have to get what we want. This is my clarion call, it has not occurred in Chegutu, even as crammed as they are, we need to claim the land that council is readily making available to the judiciary system.

Vote 30 put and agreed to.

On Vote 31- Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) – US$3 351 000:

HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: Thank you Madam Chair – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection] – Ndokurova.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Mukwangwariwa, speak to the Chair and please concentrate.

HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: Well, I would like to thank the Hon. Minister. He said he is going to take care of all the law enforcement agencies at least by raising their Vote to enable them to recruit. Instead of being seconded, you know police are not independent at all and they need to recruit at least 141 members and also to decentralise them into provinces…

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Raised to what amount because we are dealing with the Budget?

HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: At least if the figure can be raised to $5 million from $3.3 million.

HON. MAONDERA: Thank you Madam Chair. I think the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission is doing a sterling job to try and bring criminals to book. However, I have got a problem with increasing the budget from $3.3 million to $5 million as proposed because at the moment, ZACC is now being perceived to be used to pursue people on factional lines. People must have confidence that ZACC is just arresting people without fear or favour - but as it stands right now, there are a lot of people who are perceived or suspected to have committed crimes, some who are serving in Government and walking scot-free.

The only people who are said to be from a certain faction are the ones who are being arraigned before the courts. For ZACC to prove its mettle, I think it is of paramount significance that it arrest people if they have committed a crime, bring them to court whether they are from the opposition or party faction so that people will have confidence in them. As it stands, let us maintain it at $3.3 million until people’s confidence has been built that they are now doing their work without fear or favour. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, what I think we need to understand is that the Anti Corruption Commission does not itself effect arrests. Arrests are done by the police, so for now, I consider that this vote is adequate for that reason and not for the reasons which are proffered by the Hon. Member. I just want to make that distinction that arrests are done by the police. That is where we give our support. What the Anti Corruption Commission does, it has officers yes, who do the investigations but when it goes to arresting, it is the police who carry out the investigations.

However, I want to assure the House again that; we will go out of our way to make sure that the Anti Corruption Commission and other organs of the State which are in the forefront of fighting corruption are capacitated. I have already mentioned those institutions which we are going to support. I thank you Madam Chair.

Vote 31 put and agreed to.

On Vote 32 – Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) – US$104 01 000:

HON. MAJOME: Thank you Hon. Madam Chair. As the Hon. Minister, has already admitted that there will be savings because there is no budget for by-elections, can he allocate those savings to other aspects of elections that have been cut down because of the small envelope. In particular, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission told the Portfolio Committee on Justice that; one of their biggest problems is that, because of the little fiscal room, they have been allocated a very small amount towards voter education.

Hon. Madam Chair, the need for free and fair elections cannot be gain said. The information to voters and would-be voters, particularly around the voters’ roll inspection is fundamental. If we produce an electoral roll that is marred with irregularities and citizens have not been able to check its correctness, the money that would have been made available will be too little for the amount we are applying for, for free and fair elections. I am sure the Hon. Minister does not want that, because he understands the need for political stability of an economy where citizens are trying so hard to grow so that it is buttressed by a stable political economy.

On that score Madam Chair, I also want to urge the Hon. Minister to make sure that he also allocates money – I know it is said to be expensive and so on but in my view, this is an investment. There has been no allocation at all for the registration of Zimbabweans who live in the diaspora, whether they are employees of the State or not. Those voter registration kits have not gone out there because money is required to do that. However, our Constitution is categorically clear that the State must ensure that every Zimbabwean who is aged 18 and a citizen shall be entitled to vote. I want to urge that the Hon. Minister…

A mobile phone having rung.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members. Who is using a cell phone in the House? You are not allowed to make calls, whatsapp or any type of communication except maybe if you are on internet doing research.

HON. MAJOME: Hon. Madam Chair, I believe that whilst the Minister has tried indeed to put a significant sum towards elections, we were told that that money is not enough. However, I want him to hopefully, allocate money towards voter education, particularly around the inspection, as well as money for the registration of voters who live outside the country for them to vote. The Hon. Minister will be aware and recall that the complaint by ZEC year after year, even early in this electoral cycle, which is five months is that; over the years, ZEC has not been sufficiently funded in order to prepare for elections. The Hon. Minister is aware that ZEC has been saying that at this rate of funding, it will not be able to conduct free and fair elections.

However, I am thankful the Minister in this particular year, has actually allocated money towards elections. For the reason that he has not been allocating money towards election preparations which are incremental in the past years, this money is also not enough. So, I want to believe that he needs to seriously consider free and fair elections but thankfully the Minister in this particular year has actually allocated money towards elections. However, because he has not been allocating money towards election preparations which are incremental in the past years, this money is also not enough. So I want to believe that he seriously needs to consider giving the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission all the money that they had bid for. Not just this amount but also allocate for brand new things like voter education and the diaspora vote. I thank you.

HON. NDUNA : I am not standing to request further allocation for ZEC but I am aware that from the 2013 election, ZEC owed CMED $768 000. So, I am just asking the Minister of Finance to ardently request ZEC, as you give them an allocation, to address their legacy debts so that they carry out another election coming from a background of a clean balance sheet. In the same vein, it is going to capacitate those that they owe, in particular, this department which capacitates Government in terms of automobiles repair requirements and supply of equipment in the Government sectors. I thank you.

*HON. ZWIZWAI: Hon. Minister, the issue of elections is very important as it will impact the new era that the people of Zimbabwe ushered in through their march. If I have erred, please forgive me Hon. Chinamasa. That new dispensation and its success will be considered through the electoral process. The unfair elections that were done before resulted in bond notes and the poverty that people are experiencing. Those were the causes of all the challenges that we have. This resulted in the Army engaging in Operation Restore Legacy whereby the people of Zimbabwe then marched in the streets demonstrating and it was good in the sense that people were not arrested. They were allowed to move around with the Zimbabwe flags without being arrested. For that reason, if ZEC is not availed enough funds to perform its duties to ensure that we have free and fair elections to get a leader who wins elections in a free and fair manner, we are not going anywhere.

The budget that has been availed by ZEC should be given to them in full with no cent being deducted because once deducted, they will not be able to perform their duties well. If this is not done, it can also lead to demonstrations by the people that will lead to the destruction of the new Government. If a person is elected in a free and fair election, he should be allowed five years to rule. The issue that is important at the moment is that of elections than to allocate funds to various Ministries. I am glad that the President, Hon. Mnangagwa said elections will be in the next five months. So, for $400 000 000 or $500 000 000 to be given to the Ministry of Health and Child Care does not make sense because currently, issues of elections are priority and should get adequate funding. If the budget is passed today, that money should be deposited into ZEC’s account tomorrow.

*THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon, Zwizwai, do you want this money to be increased? What are you saying?

*HON, ZWIZWAI : I am saying they should be given what they bid for because that is what is of priority to Zimbabwe this year. If we do not have free and fair elections, for example if Hon. Chinamasa as Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and his party wins the elections, it will attract Foreign Direct Investment and funding. So, for the $98 million that they will have got, they will get about $200 million. However, if the elections are not free and fair the $80 million that we got into this Parliament, we will not be able to get it because we will end up going to the streets to demonstrate. So, what is of importance in the 2018 budget is to fund the electoral process. There are people who are going to be violated and hurt. So, ZEC should be given their bid in full and if they engage in corrupt activities like what ZACC is talking about, it is a different issue altogether. There is need to ensure that the men and women at ZEC are availed the funds that they want. If they say they want $10 million, be sure to avail it. Even if Parliament says they want $5 million and you say you have $3 million, it is better you give us that $3 million than to under-fund ZEC. There is no way that we can have development in this country if there are no free and fair elections.

You have brought us a Bill on Indigenisation in order to attract investors and many other Bills but that will not bear any fruit if the country is not stable and in good standing. This can only come about if the Government is legitimate through free and fair elections. If the bread and butter issues are not addressed, we might be lying to each other here but the issue of ZEC is what will address these issues. So, please, avail all the money that they have requested. We only have five months to change things in our country. We went to Highfield on foot and we went and inaugurated the President Hon. Mnangagwa at the National Sports Stadium. That should not be laid to waste because we have failed. This Parliament is important because we need to give a new breadth to this Government. I am sure what I have said has been well received by the Minister. We have voter registration and voter education that still needs to be done so they need the money. The mopping up exercise is not going on well. ZEC was looking forward to registering seven million people but they have only registered five million people. So, this procedure should be done well and also those in the law enforcement agencies, ZRP should be given their allowances due to them during this process. So, what I am saying is that the bid submitted by ZEC should be given in full. Minister, I believe you understand what I am saying. Democracy is not cheap. It requires funding and that money should be availed to enable ZEC to perform its duties as well. I want to thank you Minister for the support that you are going to render to ZEC for it to be independent and this will in turn result in free and fair elections. I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I hope that for those who want to debate, they will also bring in different issues.

*HON. MAONDERA: I have two issues with the Minister. Firstly Minister, the ZEC employees have not been availed their allowances. It is important that you give them their allowances to ensure that they perform their jobs diligently. Secondly, they do not have vehicles to enable them to do their work. So, our request is that you avail vehicles for them to be able to travel. Lastly, the allowances that they were getting were $30 now it is $20. I propose that it be raised to $30 because if these people are not happy, they can then engage in corruption and like what Hon. Zwizwai has said, it will appear as if what we fought for was really of no use. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): I thank the Hon. Members who have made the contribution and the interest they have shown in our electoral processes. Let me start with Hon. Majome. I think that as a legal practitioner herself, she will know that currently every Zimbabwean citizen has a right to register to vote irrespective of where you are, but you must register in Zimbabwe at a specific polling station. That is what the Constitution and our electoral law provide and that is what is going to take place in the current situation.

Any Zimbabwean who is in South Africa is free to come and register. Is also free to come and vote on the day in question. That is what the law says. There is no way that we can arrange and because of logistical problems, not arrange boxes which are outside. It is unconstitutional because it is polling station specific. You know, during our negotiations we outlawed this postal vote. So, let us review and regret some of the bad decisions which you think you may have taken.

Now coming to voter education, you know the focus should be on NGOs. This is where NGOs should play their part and already the voter registration advertisements are fully funded by the NGOs. Okay, there are others which are flighted by ZEC itself, but the majority…

HON. ZWIZWAI: ZEC has a department of voter education.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Zwizwai, you cannot speak to the Minister.

HON. CHINAMASA: Yes it has.

HON. ZWIZWAI: But it is not funded.

HON. CHINAMASA: No, it is funded. Madam Chair, let me educate the Hon. Members. Any voter education material must be approved by ZEC so that the message is not one which distorts the message, the law or the practice. So, a voter education department is there, but it is there to vet education material and to monitor what the NGOs are doing so that they do not distort the law or the practice.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Paradza, you cannot compete with the Hon. Minister. He is trying to explain about the vote for Vote 32. May you please listen to the Hon. Minister.

HON. CHINAMASA: Then Hon. Majome – Hon. Majome may I please have your attention. Voter education is the responsibility also of political parties and I hope you carry it out. I am aware for instance when you are going out, you are telling people what they should do, what the law says. It is your primary responsibility as political parties because you do not want your supporters to put their X on ZANU PF by mistake. So you need to educate them. Identify them, educate them. It is your primary responsibility. ZEC will also monitor your education so that you do not distort and mislead the population.

Now, with Hon. Nduna, I was not aware of the legacy debt of ZEC. Clearly I am not aware. I thought that this does not exist, but it is something that I will look into with a view to clearing it if there is such a legacy debt. Hon. Zwizwai, your contribution has given me an opportunity to state once and for all that free and fair elections are a prerequisite to the normalisation of our relations with other countries and as Government, we are committed to holding free and fair elections and they must be credible, free, fair and violent free - that we are determined to ensure. It is a prerequisite for us; it is a prerequisite to political stability. We do not want contestation around elections. Let those who lose, lose fairly and transparently. That is what we are going to ensure in the forthcoming elections.

The system that we agreed of polling stations, specific stations, ensures that the elections will be free and fair. For instance, let me elaborate. Right now the voter’s roll will be polling station specific and we are looking at a roll of about, is it 1500, do you understand. It will be very easy to know whether the people in that voter’s roll are genuine or not and it is the responsibility of political parties, when the voter’s rolls are published, to ensure whether they agree or not. So far the voter registration exercise has gone exceedingly well through the cooperation of political parties and we have at every stage basically pronounced that everything is being done fairly.

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Majome, may you listen to the Minister.

HON. CHINAMASA: So Madam Chair, it is very important for all of us to also know that on the voting day in question, all political parties will be represented by their agency at each polling station as it has always been; that the counting of the votes will be done at that polling station, that the results will be announced at that polling station and that the results will be pinned on that polling station. If there is any objection, it will be on the basis of a specific polling station. So, I cannot think of any fairer voting system than what we introduced together.Kuti uzomhanya mhanya uchiti waruza iwe waruza papolling station unenge urikutaura wega. Of course there will be those people who will say no handina kuruza zviri fair and so on, but just imagine, in your village you will lose and there is nowhere you can complain about that.

The issue about allowances - did you know that we are the most expensive country to run elections. We run the most expensive elections compared to other countries. If we compare ourselves with countries like Tanzania, which has a bigger population, they run their elections at half the cost. When we were interrogating, we found that the allowances per diem we pay is almost the moon. We pay like you are going to stay in a five star hotel. The challenge we have as Treasury is to agree with the Commission to reduce them. So, when we engage them over this, they said no they were pegged at the rates of the Civil Services Commission. As a result, it meant that in order to reduce this, we have to start clawing down the rates - T & S, subsistence and allowances for civil servants and that created a problem. It now means we are basically reducing the conditions of service. We are three times more expensive running our elections than other countries; that we have checked and established.

What you need to know of course is that the conduct of the elections, there are other agencies whose votes are supported or provided elsewhere. There will be the Police and their vote is not under ZEC, please take note. If there are any other agencies, their vote is not under ZEC. What is under ZEC are those officers still working for Government. Additional to their salaries we will be paying them allowances and that is what makes our elections very expensive to run. Hon. Zwizwai, we cannot run on the principle that all the bids must be honoured – [HON. ZWIZWAI MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – We scrutinize, what do you want the Army for?

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Chinamasa and Hon. Zwizwai, you speak to the Chair.

HON. CHINAMASA: You cannot just put a figure and say honour it because it is a bid. No, that is not what Treasury is there for. If we were to do it, we will become dysfunctional. You make a bid, we go through it, some of the costs are inflated, some are unnecessary and we trim it. For your information, for this Budget which is a US$5b budget, the bids are something like US$25b. So, you can understand and also appreciate from the officials how they have to trim down and cut down those bids to realistic levels.

Personally, I am satisfied like I said, the voter registration exercise is all going to be complete around 12th February if not earlier and it is now just a mop up exercise. The US$7m you mentioned was from the ZIMSTATS who estimated that Zimbabwe is a registrable population of around US$7m. That is where the figure came from. It includes by the way, people who have not yet attained the age of 18 but who before the 5 months in-between, there are several people who are going to attain that age. As you know, the voter registration is continuous until I think, guide me, for two or three weeks before an election – [HON. MAJOME: 12 days after nomination court.] - So, I anticipate that clearly the numbers will increase, if again you urge your members especially those who are going to attain 18 years between now and the date of election or 12 days after nomination. So, if you urge them personally I think the figure should be around US$5m or so. It is a decent number as far as I am concerned.

All of you have been whipping your electorate to go and register and when I went to the constituency to ask who has not registered, there was overwhelming response. If someone has hidden away from registering, it is voluntary; it is not a compulsory issue and there is very little that you can do in that regard – [HON. MAONDERA: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Maondera, this is a Parliament.

HON. CHINAMASA: I think I have also responded to Hon. Maondera especially with respect to allowances and so on. Please, let us not become more expensive than is necessary. I thank you Madam Chair.

Vote 33 - Zimbabwe Gender Commission - $1 836 000 put and agreed to.

On Vote 34 – Zimbabwe Land Commission - $6 412 000:

HON. MAJOME: Hon. Chair, I stand because I am befuddled by how one Commission, in the circumstances where there is very little money available and a lot of other Commissions that are actually independent Commissions not counting the Electoral Commission because it is a special case and we have just dealt with it. The Human Rights Commission has been allocated about US$3m, the National Prosecuting Authority about US$1m, National Peace and Reconciliation Commission about US$1m and the Gender Commission about US$1. There is an Executive Commission that has been allocated an amount of US$6m which is a Commission that already...

THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: The National Prosecuting is US$7m not US$1m.

HON. MAJOME: Thank you. The Commission is falling under a Ministry of Government which is the Ministry of Lands. I want to propose that the budget for the Land Commission be reduced because it is disproportionate. I want to propose that the money that has been given should actually be reduced in favour of filling in gaps that are in independent Commissions. The fact that this Commission is an Executive Commission that already falls within a Ministry that also has an allocation, I fear that if we do this kind of thing we will maybe promoting fiscal indiscipline and not valuing the little money that we have.

I want to propose to the Hon. Minister that if there is anything that he can do in light of what he has just told us about what he does about evaluating budget bids and trying to cut down on exorbitant issues, this is one Commission whose vote is crying out for trimming down. It does sound on the face of it really phenomenal and in any event it is disproportionate to the other Commissions particularly because it is already housed in a particular Ministry, US$6m for a Land Commission is not justifiable in my view.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Chair. I ask that this Commission, basically not to add further than what you have got on US$6m but in the advent of the downsizing of farms, and the land disputes that are occurring and hopeful that the Commission can make sure when they are downsizing one day I will also get a farm, I ask that their work which is cut out for them already be expeditiously conducted by may be the Minister allocating a big amount of what he has already given to them as a budget to maybe see it in him to give out that money that you have proposed which is US$6m which they have requested so that we can conclude expeditiously the issue of downsizing of farms in particular for that land which is not being utilised.

So, I see this Commission making sure that it redresses the former imbalances that were in the land in particular where it was skewed towards the former and erstwhile colonizers as opposed to the formally marginalized black majority. Now, those that have tracks of land that they are not utilising and those that have multiple farm ownership need to be visited and here is a Commission that I think Hon. Speaker, you have done justice to. Now, what is needed is the expeditious utilisation of that money, in particular if you can give them a bulk or big chunk of what you have given to them quickly so that they can conduct their mandate effectively, efficiently and quickly.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, let me start with the sentiments by Hon. Nduna which are very correct.

In response to Hon. Majome, I do not know whether she was listening when I said the new focus is on the economy and the economy is agriculture and agriculture is land. We have to bring finality to the land question, which means fixing new boundaries, processing applications for security of tenure, granting A1 permits and evaluating compensation either on BIPPA or non-BIPPA farms. All those responsibilities and burdens are being put on the shoulder of the Land Commission.

If you ask me you may well say the allocation may not be adequate but we must keep the Vote as we have provided. This is a very important Commission because agriculture is the anchor of our economy. As long as there are arguments and disputes that are not resolved about boundaries and sharing of infrastructure, there will be very low agricultural production. The responsibility to put right to all those things rests on the Commission, so we have responsibility to discharge. I thank you Madam Chair.

Vote 34 put and agreed to.

Vote 35 – Zimbabwe Media Commission – US$1 423 000.00 put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Main Estimates of Expenditure reported with amendments.

Report adopted.

Bill ordered to be brought in by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in accordance with the Main Estimates of Expenditure adopted by the House.

FIRST READING

APPROPRIATION BILL [H.B.8, 2017]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC

Appropriation Bill [H.B. 8. 2017].

Bill read the first time.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

ANOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORT FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO): I have received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Finance Bill [H.B.1, 2018]

Second Reading: With Leave forthwith.

Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

FINANCE BILL (H.B. 1, 2018)

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Mr. Speaker Sir, the main thrust of the Finance Act is to support the productive sector and we are giving incentives and raising resources to support that effort. We are giving incentives also to encourage infrastructure development and this is in the area of power generation where we are providing support by way of incentives to encourage investments in power generation.

Power generation and availability of electricity is very key to economic development and Government alone cannot meet that need. We need the support of private sector. Therefore, we are making these tax credits and incentives in order to encourage private sector investment. We are also providing in the Finance Bill, mechanisms of collection of rentals by the Ministry responsible for lands. In other words these are rentals that we are charging those who benefited under the Land Reform Programme and the rates are prescribed but this can change from time to time.

It is from these rentals that we can build a pool or a fund to meet the expenses that are needed to pay compensation for improvements in the case where we are paying for improvements on land and improvements where we are meeting those charges. We are also providing for a book makers’ tax; we are fixing it at 3% to raise the necessary funding, necessary for increasing revenue.

Also in the Bill, there are other revenue raising measures and clarifications which I will not bother this hon. House to go into. They are more of a technical nature. I also want to just highlight a provision which seeks to provide an enabling provision for later introduction of a virtual tax management system which we trust when introduced will raise and enhance the efficiency of revenue collection. This will provide of course for interface and intercom activity between tax payers, ZIMRA and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

We are also providing for other increases in tax, that is value added tax, that is also provided in the schedule. All in all, we have endeavoured not to increase taxes. We have tried in fact to reduce tax so as to encourage compliance. There are also provisions in the Bill providing for amnesty. We have already discussed about that. Essentially, we did the amnesty through the Presidential powers which are only current for six months and this will come into effect before the expiry of the Presidential powers. We are also making provision for issues to do with cash hoarding. One of the challenges we are facing in the economy is the fact that there is no efficient circulation of cash. People withdraw money and keep it in their houses. We are trying to ensure, especially the big cash dealers like the retailers to ensure that we put a stick; we will provide a carrot and stick; more stick than carrot to ensure that they bank their money. With those few remarks I move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

FINANCE BILL (H.B 1, 2018)

House in Committee.

Clauses1 to 3 put and agreed to.

On new Clause inserted after Clause 3:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, I move the amendment standing in my name that on page 4 of the Bill, insert after Clause 3 ending on line 17 the following Clauses (the subsequent clauses to be renumbered accordingly).

4 Amendment of Section 22B of Cap. 23:04

Section 22B (“Automated financial transactions tax”) of the Finance Act [Chapter 23:04] is amended by the deletion of “for each transaction on which the tax is payable” and the substitution of “for each transaction exceeding ten United States dollars on which the tax is payable”.

5 Amendment of Section 22G of Cap. 23:04

Section 22G (“Intermediated money transfer tax”) of the Finance Act [Chapter 23:04] is amended by the deletion of “for each transaction on which the tax is payable” and the substitution of “which transaction exceeding ten United States dollars on which the tax is payable”.

This is referring to the reduction of tax for any transactions which are not exceeding $10. As I explained in the earlier debate, this is to encourage more people to use electronic forms of cash transfers.

Amendment to new Clause inserted after Clause 3 put and agreed to.

New Clause inserted after Clause 3, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 4 to 36 put and agreed to.

On Clause 37:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): I move the amendment standing in my name that on page 16 of the Bill, in line 14, insert the following section –

“7 Entitlement to pension

Subject to this Act, a person who has served as a Member of Parliament for the duration of two Parliaments shall be entitled to a pension with effect from the date on which he or she ceases to be a Member of Parliament:

Provided that a person who has served as a Member of Parliament for one term shall be entitled to gratuity”.

*HON. ZWIZWAI: Thank you Madam Speaker. The issue on Clause 37 is very pertinent. It gives pension to those who were once Speakers of Parliament and their Deputies and we are looking at people like Nolan Makombe, Didymus Mutasa, including Hon. Mnangagwa, Dodana Moyo, as well as their deputies. What concerns us and the rest of the nation is that we were looking forward to the fact that such high office such as that of the former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai should also be considered to ensure that he gets his pension with a lump some equivalent to what the former President Mugabe is getting but differentiated in terms of their appointments. Madam Chair, you know that even Ian Smith was given a pension, Canaan Banana was also availed the same pension. I was looking forward to the Hon. Minister of Finance to consider the work that was done by the democratic leader Morgan Tsvangirai, how he worked with the Government during the Inclusive Government era leading to a better economy.

If you consider people’s views these days, they ask why we did not get into an Inclusive Government. For that reason, we cannot have a situation whereby such heroes such as Morgan Tsvangirai cannot be availed pension, yet you are giving people like Didymus Mutasa and others. The pension for Hon. Tsvangirai is important and we hope that by tomorrow morning....

* THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Zwizwai, do you want pension for Mr. Tsvangirai or for the office of the former Prime Minister?

* HON. ZWIZWAI : Thank you, you have guided me. Amendment 19 says that, there shall be a Prime Minister, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai. That is what is said and that is what is on record in the GNU. He is the only one who is named but the deputies were not named.

*THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: The document you are talking about was repealed in 2013. So, let us talk of the office of the former Prime Minister. The realignment has not been done. I will not argue with you Madam Chair because we are together in the sense that we are saying the office of the former Prime Minister who was there during the Inclusive Government should also be availed pension and he should be availed what is due to him before you look at issues dating way back in 1980 where you are looking at the Speakers of Parliament.

Madam Chair, the consideration of Mr. Tsvangirai to be given his pension had been derailed by the old order. So, let us look at this and look at the office and not look at the party. When we walked to Highfields, you were there Madam Speaker and I saw you. I am hoping that the Hon. Minister of Finance will consider this matter seriously and that it will also be in line with what was availed to former President Mugabe but in terms of hierarchy, it differs. Now we are talking of Speakers of Parliament, so the hierarchy needs to be considered. I want to thank you Madam Chair.

HON. CHINAMASA: Thank you Madam Chair. I thank Hon. Zwizwai for his contribution. He raises a matter which I have discussed with him and I want to repeat what I told him. I told him that this is a matter that I have consulted with the President. When the President visited the former Prime Minister, he made assurances to them of what he was going to do to address issues of welfare concerning him. Some of the undertakings that were made by the President to the former Prime Minister were to do with the ownership of the house which currently forms his residence and that an arrangement will be made to transfer ownership of that house to the former Prime Minister.

There was also an undertaking made by the President to meet all the medical bills and arrear bills that had accumulated with respect to addressing the medical condition of the former Prime Minister. The President also promised him that he would look into the issue about his welfare. Having considered the issue, he came to the conclusion and he has asked me to convey this to this Chamber that he will make a generous lump sum, gratuity payment to the former Prime Minister. I want us to understand that the President is a man of his word. He will do so as soon as possible. Thank you.

*HON. CHIBAYA: We want to thank you for the promises that were given. The issue that we have Hon. Minister is that Mr. Tsvangirai as the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, there are issues of pension which is the same with those that you have named here. So, what we are saying is that it should be put in writing that as the former Prime Minister, it is a high office. If you look at the office of the Speaker of the National Assembly, the President of Senate and their deputies, it is named. We are saying that as others will be availed their pensions, it should also be put in writing that the former Prime Minister should be availed this pension. Thank you.

*HON. CHINAMASA: We talked about this matter with Hon. Chamisa and Hon. Zwizwai and we agreed on the methodology on how this would be done. So, let us agree on what we said is going to be done. When the President visited the former Prime Minister, he was not forced. That symbolized an act of goodwill on the part of the President because he knew that the former Prime Minister was ill. He made undertakings and I know that the President is a man of his word and he will keep it. I will remind him to keep it and let us respect those undertakings. Let us not try to politicise an issue which is straightforward. I beg you please because the issue is straightforward.

Under the law, the former Prime Minister was not catered for even as we were together in the Inclusive Government. We did not amend the law to cater for the former Prime Minister. Are you with me? The Constitution at the moment does not refer to a former Prime Minister. Now the President is making undertakings and you want to ask to make things which are not practical, but the President will deliver on his word. That is all I can say Madam Chair.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Thank you very much. I have found a cleverer way of dealing with this Hon. Minister. I have looked at the long title. The long title does provide for pensions for Vice Presidents, Senior Ministers, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Members and certain office bearers of Parliament. I think in the long title, so that we give effect to the President to add written undertaking, we then just include because a Prime Minister is a Senior Minister. So, effectively Prime is another word for Senior. So, you are simply saying that include former Prime Minister and then the declaration and whatever discretion to be made is made by the President, it is already arising from and flowing from at least an identifiable provision of our law.

I think that way, just in the long title, without stating anything, you will have cured the problem because a Prime Minister to all intense and purposes is a Senior Minister. That way, Hon. Minister, I am sure you would have given effect to the wishes of the President because the President will have written something to show that he is committed to this and it must be encapsulated at law, and you know the essence of this. The discretion is obviously the President’s own, but may we then take it in terms of the long title. Thank you.

HON. CHINAMASA: Let me also have the long title.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Yes.

Hon. Chinamasa having read the long title from Hon. Chamisa’s laptop.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, I move that consideration of Clause 37 be deferred until the rest of the clauses have been disposed of.

On Clause 38:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, I move the amendment standing in my name that:

(a) On page 17 of the Bill, in line 35 deletion of paragraph (d) (i) and substitute the following:-

(d) (i) By the repeal of section 6 and the insertion of the following:

(i) subject to this Act, following persons, namely:

(a) The Speaker of the National Assembly;

(b) The President of the Senate;

(c) The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly

(d) The Deputy President of the Senate;

(e) President of the National Council of Chiefs and his or her deputy;

(f) The Leader of the Opposition;

(g) The Government Chief Whip and his or her deputy;

(h) The Chief Whip of the main opposition and his or her deputy;

(i) The Chief Whips of the parties in Parliament and their deputies

(j) Members of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders;

(k) Members of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders;

(l) The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Legal Committee;

(m) Chairpersons of Thematic and Portfolio Committees;

(n) Every member of the Parliamentary Legal Committee;

(o) Every Member of Parliament who is not entitled to any benefit in terms of Part II and who is not specified on (a) to (m);

Shall be entitled to:-

(i) a salary at such rate; and

(ii) such allowances and other benefits;

as may be determined by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders with the approval of the Minister responsible for Finance:

Provided that if a person listed in paragraphs (a) to (k) above is a Minister, he or she shall not be entitled to a salary, allowance or benefit under this section.

(b) On page 18 of the Bill, in line 3, insert the following paragraph after paragraph (d) –

“(e) by the repeal of subsection (1) of section 9 (“Review of benefits”) and the substitution of the following:-

“The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders shall with the approval of the Minister responsible for finance, review and determine the level of salaries, allowances and benefits in terms of this Act”.

Amendment to Clause 38 put and agreed to.

Clause 38, as amended, put and agreed to.

On Clause 39:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, I move the amendment standing in my name that:

On page 18 of the Bill, in line 11, delete paragraph (b) and accordingly rename paragraph (c), paragraph (b)

HON. ADV. CHAMISA : I do not intend to debate but this is very important because it caters for the pensions of our Members of Parliament and now the entitlement is very key. I just want to thank the Minister for making sure that it is incorporated together with the determination of salaries to be done by the Parliament itself as opposed to the past. This is a very important amendment – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I want to thank the Minister for appreciating and being Parliamentary friendly. Thank you.

Amendment to Clause 39 put and agreed to.

Clause 39, as amended, put and agreed to.

Amendments to Clauses 40 to 44 put and agreed to.

Clauses 40 to 44, as amended, put and agreed to.

Schedule, Section 18 put and agreed to.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, may I move that the House reverts to consideration of Clause 37.

Motion put and agreed to.

On Clause 37:

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Chair, may I move an amendment to Clause 37 to the following effect. I am going to read the amendment for the benefit of Hansard.

Its an amendment of Chapter 2:02 by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. On page 16 of the Bill, in line 13 by the insertion of the following Clauses:-

(a) the long title to the Parliamentary Pensions Act [Chapter 2:02], by the insertion after the word “Parliament” of “the gratuity of a former Prime Minister”;

(b) the Parliamentary Pensions Act [Chapter 2:02], is amended by the insertion of Section 8 B after Section 8A as follows –

“8A. Gratuity payable to a former Prime Minister

A person who served as a Prime shall be entitled to a lump sum gratuity.” I so move Madam Chair.

Amendment to new Clause 37 put and agreed to.

New Clause 37, as amended, put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO: I have to inform the House that the Parliamentary Legal Committee met on the 18th of January, 2018 and considered clause by clause of the Appropriation Bill, H.B. 8, 2017. The Committee is of the opinion that the Bill is not in contravention of the Declaration of Rights or any other provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

SECOND READING

APPROPRIATION (2017) BILL [H.B. 8, 2017]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA) : I move that the Bill be read a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Third reading: With leave forthwith.

THIRD READING

APPROPRIATION (2017) BILL [H.B. 8, 2017]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA) : I move that the Bill be read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO: I have received a non adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Finance Bill, H.B. 1A, 2018.

CONSIDERATION STAGE

FINANCE BILL [H.B. 1A, 2018]

New Clause 3, 4 and amendment to Clauses 37, 38 and 39 put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, adopted.

Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

FINANCE BILL [H.B. 1A, 2018]

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA) : I move that the Finance Bill

[H.B. 1A, 2018] be now read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING (HON. CHINAMASA) , the House adjourned at Two Minutes past Nine o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
National Assembly Hansard National Assembly Hansard 18 January 2018 Vol 44 No 33