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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD VOL 44 NO 58

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 15th May 2018

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM CIVIC ORGANISATIONS

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from the Women’s Institute of Leadership Development beseeching Parliament to exercise its oversight function by ensuring that the municipality of Gwanda and its parent Ministry bring to an end the chaotic and unsustainable environmental mess in Ward 5, of Gwanda Town.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Local Government Public Works and National Housing. 

          I also have to inform the House that on Thursday, 10th May, 2018, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from the College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe beseeching Parliament to exercise its oversight function and protect the Constitutional rights of college lecturers to fair labour practices.  The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I seek the indulgence of the House to move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 4 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

ZIMBABWE IRON AND STEEL COMPANY [DEBT ASSUMPTION] BILL [H.B. 2, 2018]

Fourth Order read: Committee Stage: Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company Debt Assumption Bill [H.B. 2, 2018].

          House in Committee.

          Clauses 1 to 8 put and agreed to.

          Schedule (sections 2, 3, 4 and 6) put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported without amendments.

Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

ZIMBABWE IRON AND STEEL COMPANY (DEBT ASSUMPTION) BILL [H.B. 2, 2018].

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I now move that the Bill be now read the third time.

HON. CROSS: Madam Chair, could I ask the Minister if he intends to amend the schedule before this Bill is finally adopted by the President?

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, the matter referred to by Hon. Cross is involving an investor who has taken over the coke ovens and is assuming liability for the KFW debt. Those legal niceties have not yet been concluded and we have not yet signed the documents. So, the Bill will go as is, without the deduction yet of the KFW debt which is around US$163 million. When we finalise the legal documents...

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

HON. CHINAMASA: When we finalise the legal documents even when the Bill is an Act of Parliament, there is a provision in this Bill which allows us to verify and to validate, then the Schedule will be amended accordingly by the Debt Management Office. I thank you.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Hon. Minister, the major concern that was highlighted by people during public hearings on this Bill was a concern pertaining to the manner that you have been bringing in Bills to deal with specific debts of our parastatals, and that such debt would have been accumulated through negligence or criminal activity of known individuals.  However, you have decided to burden what was benefited by a few on the total shoulders of citizens of this country that are already suffering. I am not sure how you can allay in this Bill Hon. Minister those fears that Zimbabweans have expressed themselves on such Bills that have to deal with assumption of debt. I will give an example Hon. Minister. Members of the public especially in Redcliff hinted that …

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. If I may remind you that the stage we are at now seeks to find out whether the Bill can be read for the third time and not something else. I am saying this because we have passed all those stages.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I thought you had asked me to debate Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, I am just reminding you.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I just wanted that bit of clarity Hon. Minister, in terms of this Bill and associated Bills that you have brought to Parliament. It is an issue of whether that burden cannot be transferred to the individuals that would have benefited out of the said debt. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Unfortunately, the Hon. Member was not here for debate during the Second Reading and he is seeking to indirectly revisit issues we have discussed during the Second Reading. However, be that as it may, if the Hon. Member could acquaint himself with the Schedule, he will find out that the Schedule sets out who is owed money and that is KfW, Sinosure and Sumitomo Japan. There are also liabilities to external suppliers who were supplying equipment and the equipment is still there. However, the business model collapsed that the company could not continue operations and it has since closed down. That is the reason and I have no evidence whatsoever Madam Speaker, that there was anyone who benefited from the operations of ZISCO Steel fraudulently or otherwise. As far as I am aware, the business was being run properly but the problem came when the hyperinflation came about and as a result, the company could not continue operating. I thank you Madam Speaker.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, may I with the leave of the House, move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 3 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

CIVIL AVIATION AMENDMENT BILL (H. B. 4, 2017)

          Third Order read: Committee Stage: Civil Aviation Amendment Bill [H. B. 4, 2017].

          House in Committee.

          Clauses 1 – 2 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 3:

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My proposal on Clause 3 is between lines 35 and line 45 on page 2 of the Bill and it is the deletion of paragraphs a, b, c, d and e; and substituting it with the following Mr. Speaker:

          a) to provide air traffic management, navigation and related training services.

          b) to provide advice to Government on all matters related to domestic and international civil aviation; (c) to provide and maintain communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management infrastructure.  Mr. Speaker, why do I propose the (c) in particular, it is because the Civil Aviation Authority, the primary mandate is to safely take off the aircrafts and maintain their safety in the skies and also safely land the aircraft?  This is why I propose that we delete the amendment in the amendment and insert this one which provides and maintains communication, navigation and surveillance systems, which currently are devoid of inadequacy; to say the least, they are quite in a deplorable state, in particular the navigation and communication systems of the aircrafts and the interface with the air traffic controllers.

          On (d), I seek to insert (d) and delete the existing - provide aeronautical information management.  If it so pleases you Mr. Speaker, I seek to have these amendments replace the ones that have been proposed because of what I have put across to you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker.  We agreed with Hon. Nduna on the proposals that he has made that we can accommodate some of the amendments he is making as follows:- that we amend paragraph (a) and put it as - to promote and regulate Civil Aviation safety and security and provide related training.  Paragraph (c) is deleted and substituted with the following, that is - to establish and maintain air navigation facilities and  provide air navigation services and related training.  Also, by insertion of the following paragraph after paragraph (e), which would become paragraph (f) - to provide advice to Government to all matters related to domestic and international civil aviation.  These are the amendments as proposed by Hon. Nduna which we have accommodated.

          HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, I am obliged.  I go along with the Minister and I also applaud him for section (e) that he has put in that it seeks Government’s intervention or knowledge by the Government of the goings on in the Civil Aviation Company.

          Amendment to Clause 3 put and agreed to.

          Clause 3, as amended, put and agreed to.

          Clause 4 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 5:

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  On Clause 5, in particular - amended after line 10 on page 3 of the Bill, by insertion of the following:- (5) At least two members shall be appointed for their knowledge and their operational exposure in Civil Aviation – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: Order! Order Hon. Members, let us lower our voices, it is like a beehive now.  Please, let us hear what the Hon. Member is debating.

          HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, the amendment just sought to include women on a 50/50 representation but I want to go further and say even after the inclusion of women on a 50/50 basis, there is need for at least two members to be appointed for their knowledge in the operational exposure to the Civil Aviation system.  Number 6 - Members appointed in terms of this section shall only be appointed after – I conferred with the Minister and we agreed that only as it relates to the directors of the company, the airport company.  This is where this amendment Number 6 can actually come into effect but for the purpose and clarity of this House, I want to read what I had proposed as amendments so that the Minister can now delve into what we discussed and what we proposed together.

(a)             the Minister has by notice in the Gazette and the media invited interested parties to nominate persons suitable for appointment.

(b)            the Minister has appointed a list of at least 15 suitable candidates to the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (SRO), unless fewer than 15 nominations are received, in which case the Minister must submit all nominations received to the Committee on SRO. 

Why it has been so, is that we sought to align to the commissions but on hindsight, I think I see reason in what the Minister has put across to me.

(c)             the Committee on SRO has submitted a list of 10 nominees to the Minister. 

Take note Mr. Speaker, that the word ‘Minister’ is missing on the Order Paper, page 1277 but I have inserted it as you have alluded to it.  This is what I propose but I think the Minister is now going to speak to the counter proposal that we discussed.  Thank you Mr. Speaker. 

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR.

 GUMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I would like to thank Hon. Nduna for the proposed amendments that he has made but as a Ministry, we are not agreeable with this amendment on Clause 5.  Firstly, Section 5 is already covered in the current Act.  Secondly, it is important to note that the Committee on SRO falls under the legislative arm of Government and appointment of members to the board is a prerogative of the Executive.  Therefore, it is not possible for nominations to be submitted to the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.  The doctrine of separation of powers has to be taken into consideration and regarding the appointment of women which the Hon. Member is referring to, I wish to agree with him, that is actually a prerogative for us and to take care of that.  We have already removed some male board members and have substituted them with female members in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  So, I wish to implore the Hon. Member to accept my proposal as it stands.  I thank you.

Clauses 6 to 11 put and agreed to.

On Clause 12:

HON. NDUNA:  I move the amendment standing in my name that

Clause 12 be amended after line 13, on page 7, by the insertion of the following paragraph (f) and the current paragraph (f) in line 14 shall be renamed paragraph (g) and paragraph (f) shall read, “air navigation and approach fees.”.

When we talk of this Bill, it seeks to address the inadequacies and the deficiencies of the air navigation systems. The approach fees that I have spoken to and about are only as an outcome of the interface between the air traffic controller and the aircraft so that aircraft can be safely landed.  These are the approach fees that can accrue to the Minister through the Civil Aviation Company only if we lend that aircraft safely and effectively on the ground.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it also talks of the air navigation and approach fees.  The approach fees, I have ventilated that they only come about after we have effectively and efficiently detected the approaching aircraft.  If we are a black hole and if we do not have the gadgets to effectively detect the aircrafts that are approaching, we might lose that revenue of the air navigation and approach fees.  So, this is why I thought I should bring it up.  For that reason, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development came here and spoke about the $153 million by the Chinese Exim Bank for the Robert Gabriel Mugabe airport expansion project.

It is my fervent view and thinking, Mr. Speaker, that if we adequately address, first and foremost, the air traffic control initiatives and put in the requisite equipment to detect the aircraft, only then can we talk about the approach fees and can we adequately receive these approach fees and navigation fees.

Currently, what is happening, we have got over-flights in Zimbabwe, we have got other aircrafts, one that came down at Gwanda purportedly maybe pregnant with our God given natural resources and was buried in the ground.  This was never detected by our air traffic controllers in our airspace.  It is my thinking therefore, that if we need to get an aircraft onto the ground efficiently and effectively we need to address the deficiencies in our navigation and our aircraft detection systems, Mr. Speaker Sir.

Therefore, it is prudent and incumbent upon the Executive to first address those deficiencies and inefficiencies before we can have this administrative system in place.  Let it be put in place, Mr. Speaker Sir, but in the hindsight, let us first address the equipment shortages in the system.  So, I thought I should give reason why this amendment is very key and why the Executive should see reason for us to address the inefficiencies and deficiencies in the equipment, like the Minister of Finance and Economic Development with his counterpart, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, started doing so, so that we can now direct the Government officials accordingly, but this is akin to putting the cart before the horse if we are going to deal with the issues of trying to address and wax lyrical of administration issues before we can address the equipment issues, Mr. Speaker.  I thank you. 

THE MINISTER OF TARANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO):  Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Hon. Nduna for the very detailed knowledge he has got about aviation as an engineer, but I regret to say that the amendments being referred to by him, we are not agreeable with them.  They are covered.  I think what Hon. Nduna is alluding to is covered under Section 32 (1) (a).  That really covers most of the information that he is referring to, but definitely what he is saying is taken on board, but as for now, we are not agreeable to the amendments because we feel they are covered under the section that I have already referred to.  I thank you.

Amendment to Clause 12 put and negatived.

Clauses 13 to 18 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 19:

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.   I move the amendment standing in my name that Clause 19 is amended after line 28 on page 20 of the Bill; for those that care to look at the Bill; by the insertion of the following:-

          “92,  Performance Agreement.  This is how before I go into the merits of the Bill, I want to preface it by saying this is monitoring and evaluation by the Executive on the Government officials or on the Airport Company.  As you are going to see on the Order Paper, this is the last of any amendments that I have proposed.  I wish, even before I go into line by line to say this issue of monitoring and evaluation comes after implementation for the Executive to judge the officials, they need to make sure that they do not have square plugs in round holes. 

          The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe that we talk about today was department of Civil Aviation at some point which was D.C.A.  Before that time Hon. Minister Gumbo was not yet Minister of Transport.  I want to say the issue of unbundling the D.C.A multiplied the deficiencies and inefficiencies by increasing its capacity to Civil Aviation Authority.    Why I am proposing these amendments, it is so that we do not multiply the deficiencies and inefficiencies of the current civil aviation authority by disintegrating it to form a civil aviation company and all that.  To cure this, I cannot stop this Bill but to cure it there needs to be a performance agreement embedded within the Bill that can be used as a whip by the Minister to whip his officials into line.  This amendment means more good than bad.  I am willing to debate until tomorrow to make sure that the Minister accedes to this amendment.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, Sub-Section 1, the Minister in consultation with the authority must enter into a performance agreement relating: _

(a)             The State’s requirements in respect of the Authority’s scope of business, efficiency and financial performance and achievement of objectives; I see no one who is objective denying such objectivity in the performance agreement.

     b) The principles to be followed by the Authority for purposes of business planning; this is outlined clearly between the performance agreement of that authority and the Minister so that he can make sure that they are kept in check.  One other way this can be kept in check is that we know and it is identifiable, those people that have caused the inefficiencies of the Civil Aviation Authority.  It is my fervent view and clarion call that those people should not be included in the new dispensation so that we do not multiply the deficiencies of department of D.C.A and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe now going to be the airport’s company and now going to have new appointments. 

     Assuming I am the general manager, this Bill seeks to propose that that person be appointment to mean director general.  It is my thinking that within the 15 million people in Zimbabwe, we certainly have much more than the existing people that are there at the Civil Aviation Authority currently because we have seen their deficiencies.  We now need to see some new blood out there so that the Ministers’ efforts can be complemented and augmented to make sure that his line of thinking speaks to and about that Zimbabwe is open for business.  His vision is not deterred; this is why this performance agreement is also in place.

     c) Such measures which are necessary to protect the financial soundness of the Authority; this is my thinking that if the Minister is grappled with the financial soundness of the authority through that performance agreement with the other stakeholders and players but by the Civil Aviation Company and Authority.  The left hand knows what the right hand is doing and the Minister is going to make sure that there are no square plugs in round holes.

     d) The principles to be followed at the end of a financial year in respect of any surplus in the accounts of the Authority;

e)   Any other matter relating to the performance of the Authority’s functions under this Act.

     2. The Minister in consultation with the Authority may in writing amend the performance agreement from time to time which means with the knowledge, unlike before of what is currently obtaining and existing in the authority. 

      3. The Minister must publish the performance agreement in the Gazette and any amendment thereto must be so published at least thirty (30) days prior to that amendment coming into operation.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not talk about this from a knowledge base, it is a proposal that can make sure it is used as a spring board for the enactment of that performance agreement.

      4. A copy of the performance agreement must be open to inspection by the public at the head office of the Authority during business hours. 

      5. The Minister in consultation with the Authority must, before the finalisation of the performance agreement or amendment thereof, on any matter which may affect them, consult with the relevant stakeholders in the civil aviation industry.

      Mr. Speaker Sir, currently there is maybe only one annual meeting that is known which is the ATCAS Annual General Meeting.  It comes once and I have had the opportunity to attend it in two successive years during my tenure as the Chairperson of your Committee of Transport and Infrastructure Development.

     However, it is my thinking that there should be enough collaboration and cohesion between the Minister and the Aviation stakeholders because the issue of aviation in Zimbabwe is much more than just the civil aviation authority of Zimbabwe.  The Minister should have interaction with all other stakeholders because we have Charles Prince Airport, Buffalo Range Airport, Victoria Falls Airport and the Helipad in Victoria Fall that is being utilised by the small aircrafts which the Minister can only have interaction with only if he attends to those aviation players at various fora.

      I dare repeat the issue of various fora not only to wait for interaction between civil aviation authority and his office. 

      6. Failure by the Authority to comply with any provision of the performance agreement does not affect the validity or enforceability of any agreement entered into, or any right, obligation or liability, acquired or incurred by the Authority. I think that is self explanatory but the bottom line as to why I stand here is that I am quite passionate about the Aviation Industry. Pregnant with about 300 passengers who include maybe 250 legislators going to Victoria Falls for a Pre-Budget Seminar, if there are deficiencies in the Aviation Industry that aircraft within a minute of take off can come down. That aircraft before it touches down during approach because of inadequacies of the aviation sector, it can come down. Once it comes down unprocedurally, it can never go up again.

          So, it means we need to secure the safety of our skies and make sure that the administration part and all the other Bills amended or not, need to be flawless such that the Minister is held up on any matters relating to the Aviation Industry. He does not react kutsvaga guyo mvura yanaya. This is my thinking and I urge the Minister to see reason in that amendment of Clause 19 of the performance agreement so that he is grappled with the issues that surround him and make him what he is. He is also an Aviation Minister as well as roads Minister and he should not ignore the one at the expense of the other. I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Mr. Speaker. I am really impressed by the knowledge of Hon. Nduna on aviation and I want him to know that I take note of that information that he has given to the House. It is valuable information. I just want to remind Hon. Nduna that in Zimbabwe we do not legislate for administrative issues. So, everything that he is referring to, I am taking it on board but it is only about administrative issues which we cannot take on in Parliament and put an Act to enforce it.

          Therefore, I regret to say that with all that knowledge that he has exposed to us, we still remain cognisant of the fact that what we think we have put down the amendments should stand. Therefore, I advise Hon. Nduna that as Parliament, we cannot administer for administrative issues, but I will definitely take note of what you are saying. As a Minister responsible when dealing with issues, you can always remind yourself about the important information that he is giving us.

          I think there is no doubt that the colleagues know that Hon. Nduna is knowledgeable about aviation as a former air force man and a Controller. So, he is quite knowledgeable and that information that he is giving us cannot be ignored, but the fact remains that in Zimbabwe we do not legislate for administrative issues. We leave them to the administrators. I thank you Hon. Nduna for that exposé of knowledge. Please allow me to proceed with the Bill as it stands, because I cannot legislate for administrative matters.

          HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I stand before you and seek the Minister’s indulgence. In my thinking it is rather colloquial. He tried under very difficult circumstances to ask Parliament not to have an amendment on the performance agreement in the same Bill that he seeks amendments. Again I am not a fundi on legal matters. I ask that the legal mind seeks and converge on this issue of the performance agreements.

It enhances his officials’ accountability and his knowledge on the said performance agreement. It is all about monitoring and evaluation so that we do not have a situation where the Minister only gets to know that there was no radar system or there was some financial misappropriation after it has occurred if it is there in the performance agreement, and it is embedded in the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill. He is going to be told by his officials ahead of time that somebody is playing some delinquent initiatives. I ask for the indulgence of the Minister to include this performance agreement.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I think Parliament has got the power but I am not coming here to try and push administration issues into the Bill. We have already agreed on some amendments. If these are said to be administrative and Parliament should not have put in those amendments, I then beg to differ. I ask that your Parliament and the Ministers’ legal advisors’ who I think on this one they got it wrong and the Clerk of Parliament converge so that we certainly have that performance agreement in the amendments.

I took time and I applied myself to this to make sure that it sees the light of day. I urge the Minister to see reason that he sees light of day in the amendments together with the other amendments that he has alluded to and that he has acceded to. Mr. Speaker Sir, as I have said any further than this, he is my uncle. He should serve the people of Zimbabwe in the Aviation and airspace of Zimbabwe by agreeing to some performance agreements.

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is also with a very heavy heart that I have to decline what Hon. Nduna is asking me to do. A Minister cannot administer the performance of employees. That is a corporate governance issue. So, it is already covered in the Corporate Governance Act. So, definitely with a heavy heart, I plead with you Hon. Nduna to understand that there is separation between administrative and legislative issues and also that there is a big difference between what management and the board can do and the Minister can do. So, the Minister cannot do performance appraisals for employees. I beg and I can take off my jacket to beg with Hon. Nduna to understand that this is the difference that I beg you to understand. Thank you very much for understanding me. Thank you.

HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, after his intervention and his input, I see reason in his intervention. I beg the Minister in this manner to say, seeing his input is pregnant with consistence in terms of aligning his department with the Corporate Governance Act, and I think there is an amendment which has been proposed that has gone before Cabinet and such like which is going to come before Parliament. I therefore ask Mr. Speaker in Clause 19 that the adherence to that Corporate Governance Act in terms of administration of the performance agreement is adhered to. I think from what I hear the Minister saying on the sidelines, it is a given if it can be included under Clause 19 to read like that and make sure that we delete all the proposals that I have put and I propose that Minister’s input be inserted as one line to mean that: “The Corporate Governance Act and all its ethos and values be subject of interrogation when a performance agreement is put in place”.

HON. DR. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker a snake lying with its back is still a snake and Hon. Nduna is now trying to use the back door to get into the bedroom. I am still saying the same thing that there is a separation between what we are doing now as Parliament compared to issues of administration in which application of the Corporate Governance Act applies and in issues of administration, that is still there and recognised. Therefore that covers exactly what Hon. Nduna is suggesting and really, for us to put the Corporate Governance Act as part of amendment 19 is just a matter of complicating issues, given that those issues are definitely separate. Administration and legislation are different issues and I am trying to reason with Hon. Nduna and not to disappoint him. He knows I am not a very difficult person but he has pushed me against the wall. It is not really feasible that we can include the Corporate Governance Act to be part of this amendment. It remains separate and it is already recognised as far as issues of performance that is his area of concern are concerned. They are really taken care of and I know he has taken a lot of time to talk about it as he feels very much indebted about it. Yet Mr. Speaker Sir with due respect, I beg to say the amendments should stand as agreed and as we have proposed. Therefore with all due respect, I cannot accept to include what Hon. Nduna has proposed.

Amendment to Clause 20 put and agreed to.

Clause 20, as amended, put and agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO): Thank you Madam Speaker.  I move that Order of the Day, Number 5 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 6 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE CONVERSION OF INSURANCE AND PENSION VALUES FROM THE ZIMBABWE DOLLAR TO THE UNITED STATES DOLLAR

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the conversion of Insurance and Pension Values from the Zimbabwe dollar to the United States dollar.

Question again proposed.

HON. HOLDER: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I rise to add my voice to this debate with a heavy heart, simply because people who were affected with this issue of the conversion to do with pensions, what they have earned throughout their lives and what they have planned, if you look at it you come to say to yourself that since we dollarized, these people are now being affected in a bad way where it will cost you more to actually go and collect your pension.  When we are looking into this issue, I think it is prudent for us to take into concern that time can never be reversed.  What has happened has happened but people need to be compensated because it becomes an unfinished story where a pension that would have taken care of an old person or a person who has really worked and put aside knowing that tomorrow you will be looked after, then all of a sudden when you dollarised, the insurances and pension funds, you find that they are now worth nothing.

I think it is important for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to also try and find a way of compensating the people who had these insurances.  A lot of insurance companies are opening up and that is the quickest way to make money.  Like the third party insurance for motor vehicles, it is a total waste of time; you are just having a third party insurance simply because the regulations say you must have one.  Sometimes I wonder - do we do things for the sake of fulfilling that the law says this or do we do things to protect our citizens?  We look at all these insurances that are running; there are so many insurance companies that are coming up that are so dubious.  When it comes to claims, to say that this person has actually put aside and now needs to be compensated, you will find problems.

Looking at this particular issue here, I think it is important that this House takes note that when we dollarised, things were not put into consideration to say that pensioners; people who had bought their pensions and paid religiously towards their pensions knowing that at the end of the day when you are old you become an expense to your family, your pension is there to take care of you.  Now, what has happened is that the Central Bank now is deciding to convert those savings from the Bearer Cheque to the US dollar; from the Zimbabwe dollar to the US dollar that is there now, we have to be very careful because some of us and our parents have actually passed on with heavy hearts. 

It is important because I think we come here to this august House and we do debt assumption Bills; we take accounts but when it comes to the people who really put us into this House they come second.  I feel this issue needs to be looked at very closely, especially with the insurance companies taking into consideration the values of what people had thought would take care of them.  Some are now even poor that they cannot hire lawyers to defend their rights and we are here to stand and defend them.

When I came to this august House, I was reminded that your power derives from the people and the people who are affected are the same people we go back to.  If we do not do anything about this in terms of valuating what the pensions were worth then, this is going to haunt our great grandchildren and generations to come.  So I find it very important Madam Speaker for Government to look into this issue and see how best they can have a win-win situation.  It is not anybody’s fault that the country has dollarised.  When you are a passenger in a bus or a car and the vehicle gets involved in an accident, the passenger should be a person who is innocent.  A passenger is not the one who causes the accident but the driver is the one who causes that problem and the driver in this instance was the one who was running the finance at that time when we dollarised. 

Madam Speaker, a lot of Members of Parliament are just making noise instead of listening to this very important issue.  This issue is going to haunt each and everyone here.  A lot of Members of Parliament wanted to come back to Parliament in order to get pension. If this is what is going to happen…

HON. DR. CHAPFIKA: On a point of order.  The Bill which is being debated, I had discussed with the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to defer debate to a future date because my Committee which is looking into this Bill is still considering it.  Yesterday we had a workshop with the Commission and we are scheduled to have another workshop within the next 14 days.  So, for us to debate it before I submit my report to the House, I think it is inappropriate.  So, I propose that the debate be deferred to a future date.  Thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DZIVA): Order, Hon. Holder because of the points that Hon. Dr. Chapfika has raised, it is also important to consider the submissions of the Committee but I will allow you since you had started debating to finish your proposal then we can adjourn the debate.

HON. HOLDER: Thank you Madam Speaker.  I was actually wondering why Hon. Chapfika took so long to realise that this debate has to be deferred.  I appreciate that you have allowed me to continue.

Madam Speaker, when we talk about pensions we talk about preparing for tomorrow.  There is no difference between a person going to church and saying I am preparing for my after life, I am preparing to go to heaven.  We will all get old someday.  We can have 10 children or 20 children, but at the end of the day, we become extra and this is why we put a pension aside so that we will be able to look after ourselves until the last day we breathe on earth.

Madam Speaker, there is nothing so depressing as allowing insurance companies - you have Old Mutual, First Life Insurance and many others, collect life insurances, life pensions and you find the pension cannot even buy a loaf of bread today, but at that time it was something which was valuable.  So, we do not want generations to come and generations to follow in order for this not to be rectified.  This issue here, these United States dollars, we need to make sure that Government finds and puts a system in place where nobody should feel that he was deprived of having his pension.

Madam Speaker, you are sitting in that Chair, today you are nice and young but in a few years time or in 20 or 30 years time you will be old and you will need that pension.  So, it is important.  Let us not look at us now, let us look at the future, let us look at those that were affected then, let us look at these companies that are just operating and making money, taking people’s money and promising them lies.  We do not want a UB40 situation here - promises and lies.  We want to make sure that this country, when we say Zimbabwe is open for business, it must be open for business even for pensioners.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 16th May, 2018.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 1 on the Order Paper.

Motion put and agreed to.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER

ZANU-PF CAUCUS MEETING

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I would like to advise all ZANU-PF Members of Parliament to attend the Caucus that will be held tomorrow at ZANU-PF Headquarters at 0900 a.m.

SECOND READING

INSOLVENCY BILL [H. B. 11, 2016]

First Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Insolvency Bill [H.B. 11, 2016].

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):   Thank you Madam Speaker.  I just want to respond to the debate that occurred a month ago regarding the Insolvency Bill and I want to thank the Hon. Members who contributed immensely to the debate and to the Portfolio Committee that did a wonderful job to ensure that our legislative programme is enhanced.

Madam Speaker, I just want to respond to some of the observations that were made by the Hon. Members, particularly Hon. Makunde.  Hon. Makunde made the observation that the Bill is more easily understood by those with a legal background.

HON. HOLDER:  On a point of order, Madam Speaker.  The point of order is on Privileges and Immunities.  Is this Order Number 1 because I also wanted to debate the Insolvency Bill before he closes it?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  The Hon. Minister had started responding to the Bill, so we cannot go back in terms of procedures.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I had indicated that in his contribution Hon. Makunde had made the observation that this is not a very easy Bill to understand and that it requires those with a medical background yet it is also a very important Bill that must be understood by ordinary workers in industry.

In addition the Hon. Member stated that in his view, we should come up with laws that when companies are being liquidated, workers should be paid first before any other debts are honoured.  I wish to advise that the subject area of Insolvency Bill that I presented to this august House is not an often treaded path but indeed, highly technical field of law which even calls for a thorough application of mind by Hon. Members.  The same applies to the ordinary workers in industry whom Hon. Makunde referred to.

Secondly, it is also important to note that under the Insolvency Bill, employees are given preference above all other creditors of the debtor.  This sentiment was also echoed by members of the public as contained in the Portfolio Committee’s report.  As the Committee rightly noted, the Bill provides that payment of workers must be prioritised over other creditors.

Madam Speaker, Hon. Nduna also raised two issues.  Firstly, that a company should not be liquidated simply because its liabilities outweigh its assets.  Secondly, Hon. Nduna stated that there is need to look at the Companies Act, Section 306 which gives unfettered access and movement of the judiciary manager in terms of his mandate when he carries out his duties on a company which is being liquidated.  The Committee recommended that acts of insolvency should be clearly specified in the Bill.

Madam Speaker, insolvency is in broad and generic terms, a phenomenon where a person, partnership, company or an entity in competitive business is unable to pay debts.  In legal terms, a meticulous definition locates the essence of the concept of insolvency in a debtor’s ultimate inability to meet financial commitments when upon a balance of liabilities and assets, the former exceed the latter with the consequence that it is impossible for any of the liabilities to be discharged in full at the time of falling due.  This definition however has been critiqued because even where a situation arises where a company’s assets ultimately exceed its liabilities but it is unable to pay its debts as they fall due, it will be held to be insolvent.  Therefore, inability to pay debts is at most evidence of insolvency, albeit not conclusive in itself.

The Bill therefore seeks to codify into one coherent piece of legislation the insolvency laws of Zimbabwe; supplement judicial management mechanisms with other modern re-organisation processes so as to ensure timely payment of creditors; modernise the winding up provisions that were previously under the Company’s Act, provide for cross border insolvency resolutions as well as provide for the regulation of insolvency practitioners.

          Madam Speaker, Hon. Chinotimba stated that Government should have legal aid lawyers who are liquidators so that liquidators are not paid at the expense of workers.  This Bill deals with the structural issues that arise from the relationship between insolvency law, other laws, and the types of mechanisms available for resolving debtors’ financial difficulties, the institutional framework to support an effective insolvency regime.

          Furthermore, the Bill will enhance our insolvency regime to achieve a balance between the need to address the debtors’ financial difficulty as quickly and efficiently as possible.  The interest of various parties directly concerned with the financial difficulty that is mainly creditors and other stakeholders in the debtors business and public concerns stemming from impact on the employment and taxation.

          With that, Madam Speaker, I want to thank the Members for their contribution and move that the Bill be read the second time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a second time.

          Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I would like to announce that there are lost and found keys here at the Speaker’s table.  So, anyone who has lost their keys can come and approach the Chair.

COMMITTEE STAGE

INSOLVENCY BILL [H. B. 11, 2016]

House in Committee.

          Clauses 1 to 98 put and agreed to.

          On Clause 99:

          HON. D. SIBANDA: Mr. Chairman, what I want to debate is that sometimes companies will say they do not have the money and they are insolvent yet they have money. I was going to suggest that before they say we cannot, as a company it should also be brought to Parliament so that we agree and enough investigations done to say this company is insolvent and they cannot pay their debt.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Chairman. We cannot have a law that says when companies are being liquidated; all the disputes have to be brought to Parliament for resolution. It is not practical. These are independent companies. We have courts of law that have to deal with those issues and not Parliament. So, I submit that the clause should stand as it is. Thank you.

          Clause 99 put and agreed to.

          Clauses 100 to 197 put and agreed to.

          Schedules 1 to 5 put and agreed to.

          House resumed.

Bill reported without amendments.

Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.            

THIRD READING

INSOLVENCY BILL [H.B.11, 2016]

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, I now move that the Bill be now read the third time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read the third time.        

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Twenty-Five Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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