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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 16 FEBRUARY 2017 VOL 43 NO 37

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 16th February, 2017

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

HON. SHAMU: Madam Speaker, I rise on a matter of privilege.  I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation, Star FM, ZiFM …

Hon. Shamu was asked to approach the Chair.

HON. SHAMU: Madam Speaker, I rise to congratulate the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation, Star FM, ZiFM and all other stakeholders for successfully celebrating the World Radio Day on Monday, 13th February, 2017.  Madam Speaker…

          HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order. I have no intention to disrupt or discard a very good motion from Hon. Shamu but from a procedural point of view, Madam Speaker; we understand that it is a matter of privilege from what he has said but what is not clear is what the matter of privilege is as it has to be noted what the matter is all about before he dwells into the details of the matter. Can he make clear his terminology whether or not it is a matter of privilege then he can go into details?

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, while I take what you are saying, Hon. Shamu had mentioned what it is.  However, I am advising Hon. Shamu to bring it maybe as a motion because it is not a matter of privilege.  – [HON. Members: Inaudible interjections.] – I have given a ruling so why are you still talking?

          Hon. Members, I am appealing to you, the microphones are not working so I think it will be difficult for those who want to hear what the Minister will be saying.  So please try to lower your voices because what the Minister is saying here should be heard by those who are at the back of the House.

SECOND READING

NATIONAL COMPETITIVENESS COMMISSION BILL [H.B. 6, 2016]

          First Order read:  Second Reading: National Competitiveness Commission Bill [H. B. 6, 2016].

          THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. BIMHA):  Thank you Madam Speaker, I hereby present the Second Reading of the National Competitiveness Commission Bill hereinafter referred to as the NCC Bill.  This seeks to address the nation’s loss of competitiveness and ease of doing business.  In doing so, let me begin by briefly outlining the background of the proposed Bill.

          In 2014, Madam Speaker, there was concern on the high cost of production in Zimbabwe.  There was also concern on the pricing of some of our goods that we were producing locally resulting in us having goods coming into this country at lower prices than the goods that we produced locally.  Therefore, there was a concern in terms of ascertaining the cost drivers in our economy and also to make a comparison with our major trading partners within the region.  We carried out a study whose findings revealed that a lot of our utilities and other costs were on the high side compared to our regional partners.  These are issues to do with power, water, transport, taxes and the cost of money; the list goes on.  Obviously, these had to be attended and we made two fundamental recommendations to Cabinet that these issues could not be addressed in bits and pieces but that they had to be a wholesale approach to the entire cost structure and particularly our cost drivers.  So the fundamental recommendation was that we need to setup an entity which, on a daily basis, monitors the issues to do with cost and also comparison with our regional trading partners. 

Hitherto Madam Speaker, we used to have the National Incomes and Pricing Commission but whose thrust was merely to do with prices and if you recall Madam Speaker, this Commission at one time was really more of following-up on producers in terms of issues to do with prices resulting in us embarking on price controls which is really unhealthy in any given economy.  Therefore the recommendation was that we look at an entity which does not look at prices but focuses on costs because it is the cost build-up that translates into a price.  We also recommended that rather than create a new entity, we rebrand an existing entity.  We already have the National Incomes and Pricing Commission, the recommendation was that we do not come up with a new entity but we rebrand that existing entity to a National Competitiveness Commission.

Madam Speaker, let me alert the House that all the law-making processes of this Bill were complied with and we await to hear the results of the Outreach contributions made by members of the public and interested stakeholders by the relevant portfolio committee from this Parliament.  Let me outline the clauses of the Bill to the House.

Clause 1, sets out the short title of the Bill which is the National Competitiveness Commission Act which will focus mainly on the issues of competitiveness and the ease of doing business while the repealed Act, the National Incomes and Pricing Commission dealt with price control of goods.

Clause 2, provides certain definitions of terms used in the Bill.  Key definitions such as “competitiveness”, “the ease of doing business”, “the cost of doing business”, “cost drivers” and standard definitions are defined in the context of competitiveness.

Clause 3, provides that the State is to be bound …

Hon. Chinanzvavana having been making noise.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order, Hon. Chinanzvavana at the corner there please – [AN HON. MEMBER: Ini here Madam Speaker?] – No, I mean the Hon. lady.

HON. BIMHA:  Clauses 4, 5 and 6 provide for the establishment of the Commission, its composition as well as its functions and powers.  The Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and a Board which shall be composed of not less than nine and more than 12 Board members who are appointed by the Minister in consultation with the President.

Madam Speaker, at least half of the Commission’s Board Members shall be women in line with Section 17 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act 2013 – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Their terms and conditions of office, vacation of office, meetings, procedures of the Board et cetera are outlined in the First Schedule of the Bill.

Madam Speaker, the functions of the Commission are outlined in Clause 6 (1) (a) and they are as follows:-

(a)              to develop, coordinate and ensure implementation of key policy improvement processes, strategies and initiatives that will enhance Zimbabwe’s global competitiveness;

(b)            monitor evolving sector specific subjects and strategies for enhancing Zimbabwe’s global competitiveness;

c) review all existing and new business regulations to ascertain their impact on the cost of doing business and recommend amendments or repeals where appropriate to enhance competitiveness;

d) continuously monitor the cost drivers in the business and economic environment, and advise on measures to be taken to enhance productivity and address current and emerging costs challenges;

e) identify sectors of the Zimbabwean economy that have potential for global competitiveness, whilst also paying due attention to issues of structure and size of industry, technology gaps, skills, infrastructure and modernisation needs;

f) review all price changes by public bodies ranging from Central Government, parastatals to local authorities that charge or levy user fees, rates from the public and clients;

g) undertake research and maintain a comprehensive nationwide statistical database to be used in the analysis of competitiveness across all sectors of the economy;

h) develop periodic competitive frameworks and strategies;

i) provide a platform for dialogue between the public, private sector, labour, academia and non-state actors on the subject of competitiveness;

j) build awareness and advocacy media on matters related to competitiveness;

k) produce an annual benchmarking report on the national competitiveness such as the National Competitiveness Report; and

l) perform any other function that may be conferred or imposed upon the Commission by this Act or any other enactment.

Madam Speaker, let me state that in addition to the functions of the NCC Commission, the powers of the NCC Commission are elaborated in the Second Schedule of the Bill.

Clause 7 provides for the policy direction of the Commission. In particular, it states that the Minister may give the Commission general directions relating to the policy the Commission is to observe in the exercise of its function. Procedures to execute policy directives are also detailed in this clause.

Clause 8 provides for the execution of contracts and instruments by the Commission as well as delegating some of the functions to authorised persons.

Clause 9 provides that the Commission shall prepare a report on all its activities and submit it to the Minister. Madam Speaker, let me make it clear that the NCC has to submit a report (National Competitiveness Report) on all its activities on each and every financial year. Further, the Minister may request the report at any given time when it is necessary.

Madam Speaker, the NCC shall act as the Secretariat of the Standing Inter-Ministerial Cabinet Committee and shall report to the Minister who will then report to the Standing Inter-Ministerial Cabinet Committee.

Clauses 10 and 11 provide for the appointment of the Executive Director of the Commission and the employment of persons necessary for the conduct of the business of the Commission.

Clauses 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 relate to the financial powers of the Commission. In particular, they set out what the funds of the Commission consist of, that money not immediately required by the Commission may be invested and also that auditors shall be appointed with the Minister’s approval to audit the Commission and give reports, statements or explanations in connection with the Commission’s activities, funds and property.

Madam Speaker, Clauses 17, 18 and 19 provide for the powers of the Executive Director to obtain information, preservation of secrecy by every person engaged by the Commission, unless he or she is required to do so by order of a competent court. It provides that no liability shall attach to the Commission for any loss or damage sustained by any person as a result of the exercise or performance of any function in good faith.

Clauses 20 and 21 provide for regulations that can be made in relation to the Commission as well as repeal the National Incomes and Pricing Act.

Clause 22 provides for transitional necessities to the effect that any regulations which were made by the Minister under the repealed Act and which were in force immediately before the appointed day shall continue in force as if they had been made by the Commission. Madam Speaker, I hereby table this NCC Bill before the National Assembly for consideration. I thank you.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I have got a number of points that I want the Hon. Minister to clarify on this Bill. The first point of clarity that I am seeking from the Minister is , I ask the Hon. Minister to state in very simple layman’s terms why we really need this board and Act? We need to understand that we have created a lot of institutions in this country that are sucking from the national fiscus. What is it that we really need out of this Bill that will make it necessary to be there?

There are other issues that I want to understand from the Minister. He says that he wants to create a board and I was just wondering to myself whether there are no other existing structures currently within his Ministry that can do the responsibilities that he wants to create a whole board for. I was really wondering because some of the duties that he wants to assign this board are literally duties that are supposed to be done by him as a Minister and other people that are within his Ministry. Why do we need to create a whole board for those responsibilities that are supposed to be done by the Hon. Minister and his team?

 I also want to understand, the Hon Minister says that this board is going to be appointed by him in consultation with the President. May be before I even go there Hon. Speaker, let me start talking about this whole board. The Minister wants to create a board which is a creation of this Act. As I indicated, basically what this board will be doing are functions that are supposed to be done by technocrats that are within his Ministry. Therefore, we begin to ask ourselves what is being done. Is it really to create a board that is going to add value to the economy of this country kana kuti kutsvakirana mabasa kwamuka vazukuru who want some jobs somewhere.  The Minister needs to justify the reason why we should have a Bill, an Act that is going to create another board and whether that board is actually going to add value.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Member, would you please refrain from repeating yourself because you are saying the same things.

          HON. D. P. SIBANDA: I am trying to emphasise.  If I was talking in Tonga, I would have done it quicker but anyway this is English Madam Speaker.  The other issues I want to understand, the Minister said he is going to appoint a board in consultation with the President.  I am not seeing the logic behind the Cabinet Minister going to appoint a board and that board being accountable to him and then he says he does it in conslultation with the President.  There is no form of accountability here in the manner that this board is being appointed.  If this board was being appointed in consultation with Parliament who are the representatives of the people, then we would say at least there is some form of accountability.  For him to appoint on his own, a board that will be accountable to himself I think this is the type of culture of entitlement and patronage that we are continuing to create within the economy of this country which is sucking the economy rather than creating anything in addition to the economy.

          My other question which I need clarification on is, who will pay the expenses for this board and how will it generate income?  The Hon. Minister talked about cost drivers in the economy.  My question is, has the Minister and his team, they failed as a Ministry to deal with the cost drivers that are affecting this economy to an extent that he has to create a separate board to deal with that?  So, why is he still there?  He is the Minister of Industry and Commerce.  His responsibility together with that of his colleagues in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is to ensure that we create a fair environment for business operations in this country.  Now, if he has failed and therefore he wants to delegate the responsibility which falls directly into his hands, why should the Ministry continue to exist?            I think he needs then to tell us whether the currently existing structures have failed to deal with the cost drivers that are existent in the economy.  He should tell us that they have failed. 

Like I indicated Hon. Speaker, this one is an additional cost driver because it is going to suck from the same dying industry.  It wants to get money from the same dying industry and what value will that add to the economy?  He says that the board will be a secretariat to the inter-ministerial - something whatever he calls it.  What is surprising is that this secretariat will not be reporting to the inter-ministerial team that he talked about.  It will be reporting to him and him reporting to the inter-ministerial.  It is not very clear, this relationship is not clear.  How does a secretariat of an inter-ministerial board report to a single Minister and then the single Minister then goes on to report to everyone else?  How does it become an inter-ministerial secretariat when it is appointed by him and him alone?  So, Hon. Speaker, I believe that I need clarification.  In my view, the Minister has to tell us the justification of this Bill, otherwise it is an unnecessary Bill.  I thank you.

          HON. MHERE:  

1.0    Introduction

On the 23rd September 2016, the Government of Zimbabwe gazetted the National Competitiveness Bill. Consequently, the Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce resolved to conduct Stakeholder Consultative Meetings on the Bill from the 23th to 29th of October 2016 in Victoria Falls, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare and Harare to gather stakeholders’ views concerning the Bill.

2.0    Objectives of the Consultative meetings.

The broad objective of the consultative meetings was to enable your Committee to engage industry players from the private and public sector pursuant to the need to understand their concerns in respect of the gazetted National Competitiveness Commission Bill. These meetings were held in accordance with the provisions of section 141 (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, as read together with National Assembly Standing Order No 25(c), which requires Parliament to facilitate public involvement in its legislative and other processes and in the processes of its committees and gives select committees, the power to receive representations from interested parties.

3.0    Methodology

The Stakeholder Consultative meetings were instigated by the technical nature of the Bill which obligated the Committee to solicit the views of captains of industry who are directly affected by the introduction of the Bill. To get a technical insight into the issues contained in the Bill, the Committee toured the following provinces; Matabeleland North, Bulawayo, Midlands, Masvingo, Manicaland and Harare Metropolitan. During the course of the consultative meetings, your Committee encountered challenges of non-attendance in Vic Falls and poor attendance in other provinces by representatives who were mostly ill-prepared to give significant contributions to the Bill.

Your Committee realised with concern that the information concerning the consultative meetings was poorly disseminated from the headquarters of the various organisations that were invited to make their contributions to the provisions of the Bill. The following are the submissions from the small number of people who managed to attend the consultative meetings.

4.0    Stakeholders views on National Competitiveness Commission Bill

The stakeholders’ submissions centered on three major aspects. They were apprehensive about the funding, over legislation and legislative resemblances aspects of the Bill as clarified below;

4.1       Funding of the Commission

There was an explicit dissatisfaction regarding the establishment of another Commission that, according to clause 12 paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of the National Competitiveness Commission Bill, is funded from “moneys appropriated for the purpose by the Act of Parliament; and moneys received from the Standards Development Fund…; and any donations, grants, bequests or loans….” The stakeholders opined that the creation of another Commission would bleed the economy more when the Treasury is already struggling to resource and meet the budgetary obligations of the existing Commissions.

Concerns were also raised regarding the virementing of the funds from the Standards Development Fund at the detriment of the objective of the fund which according to Standards Development Fund Act (Chapter 14: 19), is the development and promotion of standardisation and quality control of commodities and services. Mr. Speaker Sir, sustainable and sufficient funding is a fundamental component for the survival and operational efficiency of the Commission. In terms of Funding, the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act [Chapter 14:32] relied mostly on the proceeds of such share of the value of deposits and fines collected by the Commission for price violations. The funding compromise being proposed by the Bill effectually means that the Commission would literally survive on gifts, donations and loans which may not be readily forth-coming considering the economic challenges bedeviling the nation.

4.2    Legislative Resemblances

At the outset, the promulgation of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act [Chapter 14:32] gave effect to the amendment of the provisions of section 3 of the Control of Goods Act [Chapter 14:05] and now the establishment of the National Competitiveness Commission results in the repealing of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act [Chapter 14:32]. A close look at the above stated piece of legislation in terms of the structure, processes, funding framework and functions indicates that there are striking resemblances on these pieces legislation.

For instance, the wording of section 5 (a) of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act [Chapter 14:32] is exactly the same as those on Clause 6 paragraph 1(f) and (g) of the National Competitiveness Commission Bill, raising suspicions that the proposed Bill could be dealing with the same aspects carrying a different name with the probable fate of its predecessor that existed for nine years without any legacy to appreciate. Thus, the submissions made by stakeholders pointed to the fact that the obtaining state of affairs as regards the introduction of the Bill and the subsequent repealing of the National Incomes and Pricing Act [Chapter 14:32]  depicts a predictable circus within the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

4.3    Over Legislation

The Committee submits that the Competition and Tariffs Commission is currently at an advanced stage proposing major amendments to the Competition Act [Chapter 14:28]. Mr. Speaker Sir, your Committee, through the submissions made, noted the upsurge of too many piece-meal legislation that have realised the existence of the following related pieces of legislation; the Competition and Tariff Commission Act [Chapter 14: 29], the Competition Act [Chapter 14:28] and the Competition Amendment Act (Act No. 29 of 2001), but dealing with two sides of the same coin. For example, section 5 (1)(g) and  (h) of the Competition Act provides for issues to do with prices, costs and profits, economic competition, tariff charges and unfair trade practices while clause 6 (1) (a), (d) and (f) of the Bill provides for income and pricing policy, global competitiveness, cost of doing business, cost drivers and prices penalties and fines. In other words, your Committee Mr. Speaker Sir, is of the opinion that the functions of the Competition and Tariff Commissions can be merged with those of the National Competition Commission since they deal with similar matters. As has already been alluded to, what is essential and central is the proper implementation of coordinated legislation rather than the establishment of many Commissions within the same Ministry triggering an unnecessary financial drain on the tax payers’ money.

Informed by these pertinent submissions, the Committee recommends the Minister of Industry and Commerce to consider the following;

5.0    Recommendations

5.1    The Committee recommends for the merging of the National

Competitiveness Commission and the Competition and Tariff Commission.

5.2    In view of the similarities of the matters provided for in the Bill and the existing legislation, the Committee further recommends for the enactment and implementation of harmonised legislation.

6.0 Conclusion

With the above submissions, Mr. Speaker Sir, I now commend the Bill for consideration by this august House. I thank you.

          HON. MPARIWA:  Perhaps My first question before I go to

the specifics that I want clarified by the Minister is if the Minister can define this animal in the form of the Bill that he has brought to the House.  I am asking that question because we have the NIPC versus the NICC, which he is trying to introduce.  What is the difference between the two because the NIPC had the same objectives that he outlined in Article 1.  One then wonders, if the first one failed without corrective measures having been taken in the NICC Bill, then this one will also fail.  I would not want to allude to the fact that we are good at coming up with policies with different names yet it means exactly the same.

          Now, to my specific points; I heard the Minister saying that there will be a dialogue through consultation for labour movements, business and Government.  We already have an existing structure in the form of a tripartite negotiating forum.  The Ministry of Industry and Commerce is also a member of the task force.  Having been in Government for four years, I really know and understand how the structures in Government work.  So, I am really wondering why the Ministry of Industry and Commerce when attending consultations and dialogue meetings cannot tap into that particular chamber for what the Ministry can use in its Ministry rather than form another structure.  You cause mayhem and confusion and like I said yesterday, there is need for social cohesion.  But this Bill will actually lead to disunity because at the end of the day, there is one Government.  The Minister is a Cabinet Minister who also sits in the TNF with several other Ministers.  I would advise the Minister to talk to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services because that structure of social dialogue does exist in Government.

          My question is what really is the intention of bringing a Bill in a different name when it actually talks about the same thing in another Bill that has already failed?  I really believe that this Bill will be a cash cow and creation of jobs for the boys.  He did try to put icing on the cake in terms of the 50/50 representation on the board but I think the timing is wrong.  You cannot rely on donations or grants when Government is grappling with salary payments to civil servants.  So, I want to believe that even the Hon. Chair has also alluded to the fact that they feel that they had hearings which rejected this Bill.  So I do not know whether we should continue debating something that will be agreed to by very few people.  It would have been embarrassing if they had consulted full houses everywhere they went and the people rejected the Bill like we are doing now.  This Bill is very untimely Hon. Speaker.

HON. GABBUZA:  I rise to join those who are totally opposed to this Bill.  This is not necessary at this point in time.  This is a clear case of poor prioritization by Government.  Bureaucracy is a cost, the more you put boards, the more expensive it becomes.  If we calculate that the board is going to have a secretariat, calculate salaries of the secretariat when they go for researches to find prices and sitting allowances for the board members, I would rather say employ more teachers in my constituency, because I have schools that are running with two teachers as Government has put a freeze on recruitment.  That money will find better use somewhere else.  It might be necessary in due course but for now I would plead with the Minister to put aside these unnecessary costs.  These jobs can clearly be done by the existing structures within Government.  What is causing the costs, the Minister indicates that the cost of money is making Zimbabwe uncompetitive.  What we must be addressing is the reason why money is expensive.  There is no way you can reduce the cost of money at the bank by simply putting a monitoring board.  It is not possible because the cost of money is due to risk factors. What are these risk factors for any investor wanting to borrow money to use in Zimbabwe?  What they ask themselves first is; is that money coming back in US$ or in bond notes.  Once you talk of bond notes, already it is a risk which attracts a premium on the money.  So, the issue we should be addressing is not about putting up a board, it is about addressing fundamental economic issues across the board.

Utilities have been mentioned as one of those things that are very expensive and cause a cost to our productivity.  Yes, but if you look at water regionally, Zimbabwe has got the cheapest water.  It is not that expensive.  The water that we use in industries is not at all that expensive.  Power is expensive.  Why is power expensive?  Even if the Minister puts a board, there is no way you can reduce the cost of producing power by a thermal power station in Hwange which is redundant. 

The station is very old, it needs continual service.  Refractory machines, by their nature, because of too much heat, need to be constantly serviced because they are too old and they have been over heated.  So, even if you put a board, what will they do to reduce that cost?  Unless you go the hydro-electric way, put more hydro-generators then you have cheaper power.  By putting a board, still the power will not go down because it is the way we generate our power.

Transport is expensive.  That is what the Minister told us in that Bill.  Yes, transport is expensive.  It is because we are using these 30 tonne trucks, the gonyettes.  There is no country that can develop without a viable railway system.  Unless we sort out the railway industry and the railway system, our cost of transport in the country will still be very expensive.  You cannot transport coal from Hwange using an ordinary truck on the road.  That is very expensive and what is on the road – 100, 200 roadblocks all demanding money.  That is a cost that adds up.  When the transporter is charging you, he takes into account the several police men that he is going to bribe on the way because that is a cost.  So, Madam Speaker, whether you put a board, I do not see how it is going to reduce the cost of transport.

We have a board in the form of the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA).  It is supposed to be regulating prices of power and prices of fuel, but fuel price has been changing and going down the world over on the international market, yet our fuel has not gone down.  If you go to Mozambique, our fuel is twice what Mozambique is charging.  Zambia, which is further than us from the sea, has got cheaper fuel than us, but we have ZERA which is supposed to be regulating.  I see this pricing commission also sitting there where ZERA is sitting doing nothing but increasing cost to the productivity of the nation.

If we want to reduce costs, just the issue of continuously using paper work instead of computerisation is a cost.  You do things faster by computers.  Just getting a Zimbabwean visa takes you about an hour waiting at the airport.  That is the cost of doing business.  As long as we do not computerise, we do not e-government, our cost structure will still go up.

What should we do, Madam Speaker?  I do not see the Minister, even if we gave him that mandate by approving the Bill, telling ZESA which is under a different Ministry, to reduce the price of electricity.  That has never happened given the policy inconsistencies within our Ministries, given the various mandates that different Ministries are given.  There is nowhere where one Minister can cut across the board of all other Ministries to tell them to reduce the price.

From experience, the Minister knows that is a pie in the sky.  You can never attain that.  Ministers do not normally want to bend and hear other Ministers giving directives to them.  As long as that Commission is going to be put to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, it will not give directives to ZESA and it will not give directives to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate.  It is almost impossible. 

So, Madam Speaker, I think, let us find other ways, like Hon. Sibanda indicated, within various Ministries.  We do not need a separate entity.  We already have the capacity.  That is why there are those Ministers and Permanent Secretaries to say, okay, how can we reduce the cost of productivity within the country.  So, Madam Speaker, I do not support this Bill and I think it is totally unnecessary.  At this point in time, we could use the money somewhere else and use it better.  I thank you.

HON. MUNENGAMI:  Thank you Madam Speaker, for according me this opportunity to also add my voice.  Mine are questions which I need clarification from the Minister.

Minister, having looked at the Bill, I understand when the Commission is in place, it will also look at the quality of goods being produced by the manufacturing companies.  I understand obviously, you will be actually advocating for quality.  How are you going to reconcile the cheap imports that are coming into the country and the high quality that is going to be produced if the Commission is in place?  When people will actually be purchasing the cheap quality goods are they not going to lose business?

The other issue that I also need clarification from the Minister is about the labour issue.  Having looked at our current Labour Act, there are still worries in terms of the labour issue whereby, they are saying it is still expensive.  How do you intend to do away with that problem because it also adds to quality and it has to have something to do with the issue of cost? 

The last one which I also need clarification on is about the raw materials.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Member.  Hon. Members at the back there, you are having a meeting?  I can hear your voices from here.  If you cannot lower your voice please, go to the lobby.  Order Hon. Mliswa.  That is my duty.

HON. MUNENGAMI:  Thank you Madam Speaker, I was talking about the raw materials.  How do you intend the Commission to look at the availability of raw materials?  Those are some of the things that are coming from other Ministries which also need to be regulated and for the prices maybe, to go down or the availability of such, at the end, to come up with a high quality product.  With those four issues, Madam Speaker, I thank you.

HON. DR. MASHAKADA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity to try and refine the Minister’s thought process and maybe giving more ammunition as he looks at the Bill. 

Madam Speaker, let me thank the Minister for tabling the Bill, but I also wish to raise the following issues.  The first issue is that of competitiveness.  Competitiveness is all about the cost structure of a country and competitiveness is so broad as I think colleges who have contributed have demonstrated.  It is a very broad issue and my fear is that the Bill focuses on the supply side of the competitiveness issue, yet there are so many other issues which impact on competitiveness.  There are demand issues, there are fiscal policy issues, there are monetary policy issues and there are structural issues. 

There are institutional issues that impact negatively on competitiveness.  But the way the Bill is structured, it would appear it is more concerned about the pricing structure, as measured by the consumer price index or the producer price index monitoring the level of prices in the economy and so on and so forth. The Bill focuses on what I call issues to do with internal devaluation, the pricing level, the wage levels and how that impacts on the pricing model in the economy. As I said before, competitiveness is affected by so many things that might go beyond the scope of this Bill. My colleagues have talked about infrastructure, the cost of electricity, water, roads, rail services and all that impacting on competitiveness.

          There is the ease of doing business which is also affecting the competitiveness of our companies because there are a lot of costs built in the process of trying to form a business and operate a business. At the end of the day, it will affect the price model by economic players or economic entities. Therefore, the way the Bill is structured, it concentrates on the supply side yet the nature of competitiveness is quite broader. For it to succeed, it has to explore the other bigger scope that I have alluded to.

          For example, there is a question of fiscal policy. The import duty structure on its own can really affect the pricing model. That is a fiscal issue which does not necessarily fall under the province of the Ministry. There is the monetary issue. Right now we have got bond notes. If you want to get foreign currency, you have to do a transfer in the bank and those who supply the foreign currency have to put 20% as commission for you to get foreign currency from those people with bond notes. That again affects the price structure.

          In my respective view, the issue of competitiveness requires social contract. It requires labour, business and Government at a higher level than just at a ministerial level to tackle all these issues, some which might even be political. So, you need tripatism, the Tripartite Negotiating Forum elevated to a social contract arrangement to deal with all the multiplicity of issues that impact on competitiveness, and not just supply side issues or narrow pricing issues as they affect the prices of goods in the economy.  

          So, I submit that the Minister might need to consult his counterparts in the Ministry of Labour and also other stakeholders to come up with a viable vehicle to foster competitiveness in the economy. This is because the way it is structured, I do not think it will do the trick because it will end up being narrow and its mandate will not cover all these other broader fiscal monetary, political, institutional and structural issues that I have mentioned, which nevertheless have an impact on competitiveness. Thank you.

          HON. T. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam Speaker. First of all I would like to thank you as the Speaker’s panel and the Speaker of this House for responding to the health issues of these Members of Parliament by changing this carpet. I am honestly humbled. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DZIVA): Thank you.

          HON. T. KHUMALO: Having said that Madam Speaker, at least now I can breathe and talk. I am also standing up opposing this Bill for the following reasons. One of our greatest challenges in this country is that we always want to address symptoms of problems, not causes. If we start addressing symptoms, we are not going to correct that problem because we are not dealing with the core problem. We are dealing with lembilaphi and that will not work. As far as I am concerned, what the Minister is trying to do is trying to create a fiefdom for himself and his cronies at the expense of Zimbabweans.

          We are in a mess as we speak and surely, the time has come for us to prioritise the problems bedeviling this country than dealing with the Commissions and Bills that will not resolve the bread and butter issues affecting the people. Madam Speaker, after the consultations with the people, which consultations did not have people that participated, what the Minister is doing is that he has asked us what the time is and when we tell him that the time is 9.00 o’clock, what he wants to tell us is that the time is 0900 hours. It does not work that way, never does, never will and never has.

          He goes further to say the report from the Portfolio Committee where it said this NICC is going to survive on loans and gifts. We are as good as a mother who is at home and has put a pot of water on the stove and then discovers that there is no mealie-meal. She then goes to the next door to borrow mealie-meal. You do not even have enough mealie-meal to make porridge. You only have water, and that is what he has. Why is he changing the current Bill that has been there for nine years? We already have the NIPC, what is wrong with it? What he is doing is that we have this building that we have constructed and have been using all along and failed to renovate so that it sustains what we are looking for. What the Minister wants to do now is to destroy that building or leave it empty for nature to take its course and reconstruct exactly the same building.

          This time what he does is that he wants to put a flat screen TV, change the curtains and have the state or art furniture, robbing Peter to pay Paul. Madam Speaker, the other issue, which is the same issue that needs to be dealt with by the NICC was covered in the Kadoma Declaration. All we need to do is to revisit our Kadoma Declaration and start implementing. We have done a lot of talking but no action. The time has come that we should stop reinventing the wheel. We have the blue prints that have solutions to these problems that we are facing. All what we do is stop putting the blue prints that we would have written in order to solve our problems in File 13. Take those blue prints and implement them. I thank you Madam Chair.

          *HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I start by thanking the Minister for the motion which you have raised. In this instance, there is nothing that we have to be grateful for the Minister. My mother used to tell me not to indulge in something that is taboo. There has been a combination of bad performance by both the Minister and the Committee Chair. – [HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections.]-

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.

          *HON. MARIDADI: You are talking about the Shona term makunakuna, which talks of something which is taboo and usually related to sexual relationships between relatives, like mother and daughter.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please talk using the language which we understand because you may end up insulting.

          *HON. MARIDADI: What I am saying is that he has done something which is taboo such as talking about the root of a stone which is something none existent and taboo to see. The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee also made recommendations, but there is no coherence and co-existence between the speech and the recommendation. It is like you are talking of somebody whom we describe the attire they are putting on and end up saying, this person is nicely dressed, has big breasts but the person is a man.  There is no coherence.  I believe that when the Committee has gone on an outreach programme, they should introduce to the House the information that has been said by the people whom they visited during the outreach programme.  What the Committee Chairperson has done is quite different from what he is saying.  If the people whom they visited were to listen to the speech presented by the Chairperson of the Committee, they will be surprised as to where that speech came from. 

I am pleading with the Minister responsible to listen and he should know that he is an industrialist who is into the human resources.  He was also the Chairperson of Air Zimbabwe and human resources and is quite aware of the situation in Zimbabwe.  He knows the stance which is taken by Parliament – he brings the Bill to the House, it is debated and passed into an Act.  What we need is for you to bring in Bills which are very constructive and that can be debated.  I think the Minister is just indulging in child’s play because he is not serious about the Bill that he brought.

*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Maridadi, we should use parliamentary language and not the negative language because you are attacking the Minister in person.  I think this is very wrong.  You must use parliamentary and respectful language.

*HON. MARIDADI:  Madam Speaker, I did not use derogative language, but I am simply advising the Minister that when he brings a Bill, he should not just follow the bandwagon, because other Ministers have introduced Bills that have succeeded in the House and he feels left out.  As such, he has to bring his Bill that does not make sense and lacks coherence. 

Madam Speaker, I am not going to talk about the cost drivers because other Members have debated that.  Let me be clear about this Bill.  This Bill lacked thorough elaboration when it was crafted.  When the Pricing Commission was introduced, they did not indulge in anything besides corruption.  They would go into Makro Wholesalers and say that this television is expensive, please reduce the price and that fridge is expensive, please reduce the price.  Outside, there will be their fellow members or cronies who when the prices have been reduced, they would come into Makro and buy those items.  The Minister is following the same route and we believe that there are not going to be any committees or bodies of ten women or ten men who are going to talk about price reduction.  Whether the board members are appointed in consultation with the Minister and the President, that makes no difference because the electricity price is going to be the same.

I am advising the Minister to stop writing notes.  The best he can do is simply remove the Bill from the Order Paper and go back to the drawing board and re-craft it.  The Minister is trying to introduce something whereby the Commission is going to be appointed by him and he is telling Parliament that he is going to appoint the Commission and step down from his portfolio or I will keep my portfolio and do away with the Committee.  Hence, my advice to the Minister is that, he should drop this Bill, go back to his Ministry and do the job he was appointed to do.  Zimbabwe is going bankrupt because we have wrong politics and policies.  I will repeat, what the Minister is doing is simply child’s play.  He is playing with the Members’ minds.  He should work on the policies that are there to develop the country’s economy.

I think the Minister, as a politician, has influence on the political direction of the country.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, Ford Ranger grey ADI9028 is wrongly parked – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Members you are busy talking, I am announcing about a Ford Ranger grey ADI9028 which is wrongly parked.

HON. MAJOME:  Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to debate about the Bill that is proposing to establish a Commission to solve the problems of economic competitiveness that we have.  Madam Speaker, while I commend the Hon. Minister for his good intentions, that is for wanting the economic competitiveness of Zimbabwe to improve, I however must lament that I want to join the chorus of voices that oppose this Bill.  I want to state that I oppose this Bill vehemently.  Madam Speaker, it is not that I do not want the Zimbabwean economy to be competitive but I oppose the Bill because I am not convinced that this Bill would do anything at all to change the evils and the ills that dog us as a country, that hamper economic productivity and business performance.

Madam Speaker, what I will say to the Hon. Minister is that when I was listening to his speech and when I read the Bill, I got the sense that the Executive Commission that the Hon. Minister intends to put in place is a Commission that essentially will be a Commission to tell us common sense.  In other words Madam Speaker, I am saying that it is common sense to Zimbabwe everywhere, that what needs to happen in Zimbabwe is for our businesses and economy to be competitive.  We cannot establish a whole commission to tell us common sense and to state the obvious.  Speaker after speaker Madam Speaker has indicated that everybody knows that those issues that impede our economy are common cause and indeed are common sense. 

I want to urge the Hon. Minister not to spend his precious ministerial time putting in place a commission to tell him what he already knows and what everybody else knows.  Madam Speaker, the economy is not functioning because of clear basic economic variables.  I will echo other speakers who said that business is failing because the economy is not doing well, which is common sense.  The economy is not doing well because of the state of our governance.  If the Hon. Minister wants to effect change in the way that business is done in Zimbabwe, that becomes easy and we become competitive as a destination. 

We usually talk about foreign direct investment.  Madam Speaker, I want to talk about domestic investment.  There are Zimbabweans in this country who are able to unlock their resources so that they can invest them as capital to start industries and other profitable businesses but they do not do so because of competitiveness.  It is the risk factor that others have mentioned.  The Hon. Minister must sit down with his colleagues in Cabinet to address the risk factor that Zimbabwe is facing.  They must collectively answer the question – we start with the outside - that when an investor wants to invest money in Zimbabwe, when they look at Zimbabwe, what do they see.  How do we appear to anyone who has money and wants to invest?  Do we invoke the confidence that if a person brings in their money, it will arrive in that productive sector and generate profits.  Will it be allowed to do so?

Madam Speaker, if we go to the locals who are here, those Zimbabweans who have significant reserves, when they see what is happening because they are right here; in terms of the way we manage the economy, framework our business environment, and our regulatory environment, do they have the confidence that their money will not be frittered away in all sorts of issues?  I want to say this and just mention specific instances where the biggest impediments are to ease of doing business as well as to competitiveness of our economy.

I want to urge the Hon. Minister not to waste again his precious ministerial time as well as Parliament’s precious time and also the tax payers’ precious money in putting in place a Commission that as I said earlier would be there to tell us common sense that we all know.  Instead, I want to urge the Hon. Minister to utilise the existing, like my Hon. colleagues have said, the Hon. Minister to be economic with our State resources and time and utilise the existing institutions in Zimbabwe today that work to remove those impediments to competitiveness.  I also want to mention through you Mr. Speaker Sir, that I want the Hon. Minister to take a different perspective of himself and his colleagues in Cabinet.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot think of any better or bigger economic Competitiveness Commission that there can be except Cabinet itself.  The very purpose of Cabinet is to provide a policy framework that allows business not only to thrive but to survive and do well.  Mr. Speaker Sir, to the Hon. Minister through you, Cabinet is the economic Competitiveness Commission that we have.  Let us utilise it across the whole spectrum, from the financial to the infrastructure ministries, the legal environment and all those are what we already have.  The Zimbabwean tax payers are already paying for the running of that and that is the biggest APEX economic business competitiveness body that we have.

Then I will mention another one Mr. Speaker Sir.  We have an Anti-corruption Commission in this country and it is not an executive commission like what the Hon. Minister wants to appoint that will be answerable to him, and whether or not he will answer to it is something else.  The Anti-corruption Commission is a constitutional commission.  It is a commission whose power is embedded in this Constitution.  I talk about the Anti-corruption Commission because indeed, one of the biggest if not the biggest driver of business costs in this country is corruption.  It will not help us if the Hon. Minister sets up his executive Commission to tell us what we already know and to tell him what we already know and does not address the scourge of corruption.  Corruption pads at every stage of the production cycle and I would hope that the Hon. Minister really pays attention to this.  Corruption is the biggest cost driver in this economy. 

Anyone who runs or tries to run a business in this economy ends up faced with costs that they cannot normally budget for.  Even in the regulatory environment when people want to obtain licences for businesses and so on.  The practice is so rampant that people who leave home from their offices to work for the Government, they are busy fleecing and trying to get money.  The business owner must actually find money to meet this.  Apart from that, it goes all along the way from the inspectorate to absolutely everything.  Corruption is eating away into the costs and it is the consumers who are actually ending up paying up for corruption.  I could go to town over that.

So, Mr. Speaker Sir, the business competitiveness commission that we must actually use is the Anti-corruption Commission.  I want to urge Members of this august House to do everything they can to ensure that the Anti-corruption Commission of Zimbabwe is empowered financially and politically as well to be able to do its work because it will not help and will be really wasting time in long and in short.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to add to another resource that this country has.  Business competitiveness is an economic aspect and to set up a Commission again as I said, to be told common sense that you need to reduce the cost of doing business, the biggest cost drivers as my colleagues have said, the cost of infrastructure and the dilapidation of the road and rail networks -  just yesterday we were told that goods trains on our tracks are travelling at the very scandalous speed of 10km per hour, I think it was the Transport Committee, outside the normal 60km per hour because the tracks and signal are so worn out.

Time is money Mr. Speaker Sir.  So clearly, a train that tries to transport goods at 10kms per hour is going to cost more to the business owner who is trying to transport goods.  This is common sense Mr. Speaker Sir and this Parliament produces report after report like that report of the Transport Committee.  I would urge the Hon. Minister that instead of appointing this commission, to take all those Portfolio Committee reports that are presented in this august House and the recommendations seriously.  If he implements just 10% of those recommendations, he will indeed see that the business competitiveness has indeed increased and not appoint this executive commission.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to point to another resource that the Hon. Minister should instead direct his good intentions to because this is common sense.  We have economics students and graduates in this economy, even those who are studying economics can tell the Hon. Minister that Zimbabwe is not short of minds and knowledge of those things that we already know.  He can even utilise for free, there is a 98% unemployment rate in this country; those graduates of economics who are roaming the streets and selling tomatoes can give the Hon. Minister that information he already has, but he might want to hear from other people.

So Hon. Minister, through you Mr. Speaker Sir, this Commission is a bad idea.  It is a waste of his precious ministerial time, Parliament time as well as tax payers’ money.  Finally, the issue of business competitiveness, Hon. Mpariwa debated about the issue of timing.  It is no secret that the politics of this country are the biggest risk factor in this country.  Right now, we are in February 2017 and in less than 12 months; our country will be locked in another epic electoral battle.

Mr. Speaker Sir, judging from the levels of political violence that are occurring in our country that are coming from by-elections and so on that we have seen, we cannot begin to talk about business competitiveness and ease of doing business when you do not address those fundamentals.  Let us deal with the politics.  We need to address the framework to allow people to be free to express their minds politically even when we do not agree with them.  If we do that, they can vote in free and fair elections and the proximity of the elections is going to be a big problem for the Hon. Minister if he does not, with his Cabinet colleagues, seriously deal with that risk factor.

I will not talk about the police and the corruption Mr. Speaker Sir.  Lastly … - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO):  Order, order Hon. Members, there is a lot of noise in this Chamber.  Lower down your conversations.  If you want to continue, you go outside there and continue your discussions.  Hon. Member, you may proceed.

HON. MAJOME:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I want to just say a word or two about an executive commission that the Hon. Minister seeks to create.  We are a country that has a very sad history already, of just the abandonment and ignoring of even powerful organisations and institutions.  We are a country that has a judiciary whose orders of court in the highest courts in the land are actually kicked left, right and centre.

I will give an example of Hon. Justice Bere’s judgment on spot fines where he interpreted the law as obvious but if you go to the streets nowadays, any street, you will find the police officers wantonly collecting fines.  So, my question to the Hon. Minister that I would want him to answer is, what chance does a mere executive commission have of having its recommendations adhered to, listened to, by either himself or even anybody else if a whole arm of Government that is the judicial arm of Government can issue judgments and the police, for example, can simply ignore them?  In my respective view Mr. Speaker Sir, this commission would be another crying waste of tax payers’ money when we could do other things with our money.  Can the Hon. Minister utilise what we have already and listen to Parliament.

Finally, Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to say to the Hon. Minister in regard to this, may he perish the thought of this particular Bill and installing yet another Commission that will be redundant because it will be a Commission to tell us common sense. We have a lot of common sense in this country. We do not need a Commission that we will pay for to do that, which will also be another avenue possibly of corruption. May the Hon. Minister go back to the drawing board and start by reading the recommendations of Portfolio Committees of this Parliament and see that they are implemented. That way, business competitiveness will improve and the Hon. Minister’s headaches will be resolved. I thank you.

          HON. CHIMANIKIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. First and foremost, I would like to express my disappointment at the attitude that ZANU PF Members of Parliament have displayed towards this debate. I think it is a very important debate. The Hon. Minister here occupies a very important position in our society as Minister of Industry and Commerce.

When we talk about competitiveness, there must be an existing industry and commerce. That is quickly disappearing in this country Mr. Speaker. So, it is important that when the Hon. Minister comes to Parliament, he comes forward with Bills that will assist recreate industry and commerce and not destroy it. What he has presented to us this afternoon Mr. Speaker, smacks of a network of patronage, creating another monster that will devour our economy into extinction.  Once upon a time Mr. Speaker, we had a viable economy in this country but where did it go to?

I listened to the Minister referring to how he is going to report to an Inter-Ministerial Committee. I thought Cabinet in itself was a complete entity and that when Cabinet makes decisions, they are well informed through the reports of a Minister. In this particular case, you see our weakness in this country is that we now have an Inter-Ministerial Committee, kwatosara kuita Committee yemaPresidents futi. Ndozvasara, which I think is not the right way to go about it.

When I listened to the content of what he was proposing in his Bill, I thought that the powers that he was handing over to the Commission were actually to be done by a Permanent Secretary, his deputies and directors. They are supposed to sit and come up with policies that are supposed to be followed within that Ministry to make sure that there is competitiveness in industry and commerce. When I looked at the appointment of a Commission in consultation of the President, I am sure the Minister is fully aware that what he has been trying to do is to attempt to put icing sugar on a brick and call it a cake. Just mentioning the President and then think it will do the wonders. The President does not have to be involved in this. He has to come to Parliament and we approve the board members to the Commission.

It reminds me of Masimirembwa who wanted to be honourable, who was in charge of the Price Control Commission. Every other day, people would queue on doors waiting to hear the lowered price of sugar as Hon. Maridadi has actually pointed out, and other goods. What did that do to us in 2008? It led to a total emptiness of shops in this country simply because that Commission was operating in the wrong direction.

So Mr. Speaker, the forum for negotiations and I think my colleagues have dealt with that. We do not need to create so many forums for negotiations and we should not duplicate. I am sure the Minister as he sits in Cabinet, he knows that there is a Minister responsible for those negotiations because the Tripartite Forum has a Ministry where it is housed and produces the results that are presented in Cabinet. I am surprised that the Minister came here to try and propose another alternative.

Hon. Speaker, we have bond notes that have been produced in this country. Surprisingly enough, the US$ is disappearing from shop tills and banks. That is what the Minister and his colleagues are supposed to address, and not come here to ask us to debate over a Bill wasting our time over something that is not really necessary.

Mr. Speaker, need I remind the House that the report of the Committee was very clear. They went to Victoria Falls and nobody attended. They went to Gweru, maybe two or three people attended. Even as few as those people were Mr. Speaker, your Committee was very clear that the people were opposed to the introduction of this animal, which is being brought here as a Bill. To my surprise Mr. Speaker, I then hear the Portfolio Committee Chairman read a conclusion which I think has already been attacked by my former colleagues who have debated before me. You cannot do that to say no, no but then it was a big yes.

I beg the Portfolio Committee to withdraw its recommendation and recommend to the Minister that he should find the nearest bin and throw this Bill in there and close the bin because we do not need it in this House. Mr. Speaker, the Minister has enough on his hands. I remember and can I remind him that in September 2013, he told this House that ZISCO Steel was going to start operating by December, 2013 but up to now, nothing is happening. So Hon. Minister, may I request you to bring a Ministerial Statement on the status of ZISCO Steel instead of bringing this Bill that you brought before us. I thank you.

* HON. BUNJIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this motion. I am very grateful for the work done by the Committee during these Public Hearings and I am one of the people who were a Member of the Committee. What is really surprising as far as I am concerned is that all the places we visited when we talked to them about the Competitiveness Bill, it was a surprise.

In Harare, we only had one person who was knowledgeable about this Bill. When he made his contributions, he said he was not representative of all the people on such issues and Committees. In Victoria Falls, we had no one who made any contributions. In Mutare, we had people who made contributions but they told us that they had been given a short notice to attend that Public Hearing. The same statement was echoed in Masvingo and people were surprised as to the meaning and usefulness of that Public Hearing.

It surprises me because when we are talking about competitiveness looking at the people of Zimbabwe, we should be talking of competitiveness looking at the economy of the country. We should look at whether we have industries that are performing well or above the expected levels and realising profits to enable us to compete with other countries on the international markets. In that way, we can talk about competition because we will be comparing them with other countries.

Zimbabwe also has lots of technical and tertiary colleges, and we have graduates who are graduating every single year. We have those who qualify in agriculture, electrical engineering or any other engineering, even the construction industry, manufacturing and horticulture but what is happening. They graduated to be street people and not productive people. I had hoped that the Minister was going to talk about resuscitating industries and hence, jobs for these people in order that these graduates are empowered so that they can utilise their knowledge.

Mr. Speaker, I am saying let us not abuse public funds because I believe that as a Committee we abuse public funds going around on public hearings and not talking to anybody because we have no industry which we can talk about as a competitor with other international markets.  Therefore, I am pleading with the Minister, please talk about resuscitating the industries and production.  From there go and address corruption and after that you go to the liquidity crunch.  When we have solved all those problems we can then talk of competitiveness.

          For quite some time Zimbabwe has been talking about the one-stop-shop and ease of doing business but all these discussions have been to no avail.  We are now at a point where we are talking of National Competitive Bill Commission.  This is daylight robbery; we are creating jobs for our relatives.  We only want to feed on nepotism, please let us be sympathetic to our fellow Zimbabweans who are languishing in poverty and yet some of us are able to create jobs.  We are living a lavish life, I plead with the Minister please create jobs for the people.  We should not create a nation of vendors who run street battles with local authorities, officials and police.  Please create jobs so that people have a steady income. 

HON. MAHOKA: I thank you Hon. Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on the Bill introduced by the Minister. I am not going to talk much.  When the Chair of the Committee went on a public hearing and heard the findings, we expected the Chair to bring the evidence and information gathered from the people and this will be included in the Minister’s Bill.   We want this Bill after it has included what was gathered from the public. 

I have noticed that the people who are turning down this Bill feel it is shrouded in mystery and we are saying we have no industries and no jobs and this is caused by the sanctions which were caused by our fellow members.  When we talk of the potholes, we have the Mayor of Harare, Councilor Manyenyeni always talking about that.  We cannot waste our time talking about an individual, all we are asking for is the Minister to go and add some flesh on to this Bill and introduce it.  I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. MABUWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. CHAMISA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

HON. CHAMISA: I want to add my contribution Hon. Speaker Sir. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order.  I will allow Hon. Chamisa then after that we can wind up the debate.

HON. CHAMISA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for that providence, I also want to thank Hon. Members for the indulgence.  This is a very important debate in the sense that it has to do with our important roles as legislators and as lawmakers.  We are charged in terms of both the Constitution and even in the prayer that we make in this Parliament, we are supposed to make sure that whatever we do, we do it ‘for the welfare of society and just government of men’. 

So, when things come before Parliament, we have a duty to make a law which is quality and to make a law which is going to be regarded as a good law down the line in time and in space.  What we do not want is to be associated in dispensation to come with a law that will not pass the test of time. This law and I have already conversed with the Hon. Minister on some of the concerns that have been raised.  It is only fair that we look at the mischief that we seek to cure.  We cannot just come here and start making a law which has no mischief that is known.  The mischief which he has indicated, if we are to go by what the Minister has said, he said the mischief is competitiveness.  With all due respect, the issue of competitiveness cannot be adequately solved by setting or changing the board that is already there.  As we are speaking, there is the NIPC board, it is being paid a lot of money yet these people are not doing anything and this is the board he seeks then to resuscitate by rebranding it.  It does not matter how many times you call a frog beautiful, it will remain a frog.  It does not matter how much you put lipstick on a frog, it will remain a frog.  We have a frog in the NIPC and this idea of trying to rebrand it to try and put mascara on its facials will not change this board.  It will not change the problem we have had of a dirigistic state, a state that loves control.  We cannot run a command economy, we cannot run an economy on the basis of an economic police and watchdog and this is what the Minister is trying to do. 

You are aware that for 9 years this board caused tremors and chaos in the sector and this is the same thing you are going to see.  It is going to be a conveyer belt of even more chaos and more terrorism on the various economic players and you do not need that because the economy cannot function on the basis of terrorism. If the economy cannot function on that basis and then putting police dogs that are going to move around haunting economists, operators and firms asking why they are doing this and not doing that.  We cannot afford to do that.  This is why we are appealing to the Minister.  I know that the Minister is a devout Christian, he goes to the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe with Dr. Mashakada.  You are a man of God, can you hear the voice of God saying this is not an appropriate policy at this particular juncture?  I know that he appreciates the concerns we are raising.  It is not out of hatred of this board but out of the love of our country.

 I did say that our duty is to superintend over the resources of this nation.  We do not want resources to be wasted unnecessarily. In fact, the better view would be to disband the NIPC and let those resources being channeled to them go to your Ministry, reduce it to a department or a division, let it be under your stewardship as a Minister.  I am a lawyer and I know that there is a very important principle which says that he who has been delegated power has no power to delegate to another unless it is essentially necessary.  In this case President Mugabe has given you the power to exercise certain functions.  Do not further delegate those powers to any other because it is not necessary.  Let us have it done under your Ministry without necessarily creating a board.  It is unnecessary bureaucracy, red tape, a waste of resources and in fact an unnecessary burden on the fiscus because it is a statutory body that we seek to create. 

Why are we creating it?  As good law makers, we cannot come here to superintend over a bad law under our watch.  We cannot do that because we know that you are a good Minister and we are good lawyers, so let us come together for a good thing to ensure that we make a good law.  I plead with you Hon, Minister that let us reduce the government whereby we are over governing.  Too much government can actually be dangerous.  A government is best that governs least.  Let us not just put our fingers all over into the pie.  At times it does not help us.

Look at the SI64.  I know you will say it has produced positive results but it has to be done carefully because this habit of making sure that we bring issues without the necessary support and framework will cause us fundamental problems.  Let me just say that we want to protect something but when you are not producing, what are you protecting?  The best way to be competitive is to produce, introduce and innovate by making sure that we have policy consistency in our policies, chlorinating our governance matrix, dealing with issues of infrastructure support and making sure that we also introduce a question of inviting stakeholders themselves through consultation.  I know that industrialists were complaining about Masimirembwa’s watchdog committee which wreaked havoc.  This is what you want to reintroduce, another Masimirembwa.  It is actually a perfected and rebranded committee of Masimirembwa which does not work because it is going to reproduce the same problems we want to resolve.

How do you take a patient who is in the intensive care unit into a competition?  Our economy is comatose.  Let us cure it, chlorinate it and deal with it before we go to issues of saying we want it to be on the pitch to compete.  These issues can be resolved without any problems and I would want to urge the Minister to kindly say, “I have heard you and I will now need to go back to the drawing board.”  Please listen to the wisdom of the legislators and you will see that the next time you come here we will be backing you.  When the President comes here we will be backing you and you will be promoted to higher Ministry because we believe that you will have listened to your legislators.  Your legislators are very clear that this is not a necessary evil.  There are evils that are necessary but this evil is neither necessary nor important.  In fact, it is an unnecessary evil which we do not need.  May we just be humble enough not to withdraw it but to reconsider it and when you do so, you will probably give us the opportunity to then consider other issues.

In fact, what would be appropriate is to come with a suggestion to disband the NIPC and then to ensure that we realign and refocus our resources in an appropriate way.  Hon. Speaker Sir, having said this, I think at the end of the day, this Parliament has a duty to make quality laws for posterity and for future generations.  As Members of Parliament, we have that duty to also caution and advise our Ministers that yes, you have all the zeal but not all zeal is important.  There might be need for reason and the reason we are giving, please consider it.  Let us have a cross pollination of ideas, the osmosis of ideas.  We are the region of higher concentration and you are the region of another concentration.  Allow us to work with you Hon. Minister to appreciate our concentration because we bring the collective wisdom of our constituencies.  I know that we will be able to then work together.

Let me end by urging the Minister to withdraw this Bill and reconsider it before he brings it back.  I know that he is convinced and he appreciates it.  This is by your House and your legislators.  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. MABUWA):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 21st February, 2017.

          Members having started to move out of the House.

          THE HON TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, Hon Members, you do not move before I leave the Chair.

          On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE (HON. MABUWA), the House adjourned at Thirteen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday 21st February, 2017.

 

 

National Assembly Hansard Vol. 43 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 16 FEBRUARY 2017 VOL 43 NO 37