Parliamentary Round UP: Bulletin No. 9 – 2019

SAPST facilitated an induction capacity building workshop for the Portfolio Committee on Budget Finance and Economic Development on the 8-9th of February 2019, in Kadoma. The main aim of the workshop was to enhance the knowledge base for committee members as well as to equip them with skills necessary to fulfil their oversight mandate. The workshop was well attended with participants drawn from the key parties and institutions that work with the Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee. These included, Parliament Administration (Office of the Speaker, Office of the Clerk, Committees Department, Research Department and the Parliamentary Budget Office), SAPST Executive Director, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Dr. Mupunga, representing the Governor), Ministry of Finance (Mr Churu, the Acting Permanent Secretary), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Ms Mazani, the Commissioner General) and Insurance and Pensions Commission (Mr Kazengura, the Commissioner).

In his key note address, Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Adv. Jacob Mudenda, emphasised on the continuous enhancement of members’ knowledge and skills for efficiency and effectiveness in carrying out committees’ business. Hon Mudenda shared his perspective on fiscal oversight indicating that reports should be comprehensive, relevant, timely and reliable; forecasting should be relevant to international standards; budgeting should provide clear policy intentions and monitoring and evaluation system. SAPST
Executive Director, Mr John Makamure explained the legal and policy framework governing public financial management in Zimbabwe. Mr Makamure stressed that the committee should demand full compliance to the Acts of Parliament governing financial management system in Zimbabwe as well as the quarterly budget performance guidelines which are in line with results based framework.

On the second day of the workshop, presentations were made by representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Insurance and Pensions Commission. These presentations were aimed at giving the committee a full picture of how the aforementioned institutions operate as well as an understanding of their mandate and strategic goals in order to guide the committee in its enquiries.

On Monday 11 February 2019, SAPST in collaboration with the Parliament of Zimbabwe held an Awareness Workshop on the African Continental Free Trade Area. The workshop was attended by representatives from the African Union, COMESA, Members of Parliament from Budget and Finance Committee and the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee. Speaking at the workshop, Hon Mudenda said Zimbabwe should ensure value addition and beneficiation of its products so that the country can benefit from the full implementation of the (AfCFTA) once it comes into fruition. He said Zimbabwe should put in place effective financial and legal institutions to allow the free flow of goods and services.

In his opening remarks, Mr John Makamure urged Parliamentarians to ratify this treaty. Once established, the AfCFTA will bring together 55 countries, availing a market of 1,2 billion people with a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $3,5 trillion. The goal is to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.

The workshop acknowledged the benefits of the AfCFTA as follows:

  • Create opportunities for Zimbabwe business people as they are able to do business with a market of over 1.2 billion people
  • Access to wider and cheaper goods and services resulting in a better standard of living
  • Creates huge opportunities for investors because of protocols such as investment and intellectual property
  • Protocol on trade in services brings about immense opportunities for the services sector

Industrialisation

  • Parliament to enact laws and policies that promote value addition and beneficiation in order for Zimbabwe to reap huge benefits from the AfCFTA
  • Zimbabwe to come up with a national trade policy in tandem with commitments under the AfCFTA

Negotiations

  • The 85 % tariff liberalisation position for Zimbabwe to be supported by stakeholders
  • The 15 % sensitive list to be availed to Parliament for discussion as soon as possible. The time frame for sensitive list must be clearly defined and agreed to by all stakeholders
  • Negotiators from Zimbabwe must consult a broad spectrum of stakeholders rather than industry alone given that industry is mostly in favour of protection
  • Parliament through its relevant committees to be meaningfully consulted during the process of negotiations of the forthcoming protocols such as protocol on investment and protocol on intellectual property

Ratification

  • Zimbabwe to speed up ratification and domestication of the agreement because of the huge benefits already outlined
  • Parliament to push for ratification in line with the legal process
  • Ratification to be completed before the end of the 1st Session of the 9th Parliament

Consultation

  • Need for inclusive sensitisation and consultation of key stakeholders in the AfCFTA processes
  • An inclusive national consultative forum on AfCFTA must be immediately established and led by Parliament
  • Proper packaging and dissemination of information on the AfCFTA processes to a cross section of stakeholders
  • Parliament and the responsible Ministries, to collaborate with relevant partners in this information and education campaign

The National Assembly also sat this week and the main business of the House was the Presidential Speech debate. ZANU PF Members took turns to debate the motion raised by Hon. Kwaramba last year. Drama continued to unfold between Hon. Themba Mliswa (Norton Independent) and Hon. Dexter Nduna (ZANU PF Chegutu West) on Wednesday during the question and answer session. Hon. Mliswa once more exchanged harsh words with the Chegutu West parliamentarian whom he accused of being a “thief” challenging the House that Hon. Nduna be investigated for alleged self-confessed murder.

This comes after an episode during the beginning of the Mines Committee on Monday. Hon. Royi Bhilah (ZANU PF Chiredzi North) had said those implicated in the $400 000 corruption scandal should recuse themselves from the Committee until they were cleared. Furthermore, Hon. Bhila said Hon. Mliswa and three other MPs should recuse themselves in order to save the image of Parliament as well as their image. Hon. Mliswa said this was part of an agenda to embarrass him saying it was his decision to step aside from chairing the committee. Hon. Nduna came to the defence of Hon. Bhila but Hon. Mliswa in turn labelled Hon. Nduna a thief. He alleged that Hon. Nduna was corrupt and involved in an $11 million Zinara scam and that the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda should not have allowed the Chegutu legislator to take over chairmanship of the Transport Portfolio Committee. Hon. Nduna threatened to deal with Hon. Mliswa outside Parliament, confessing that he “killed people that he did not even know”. Hon. Nduna has since filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Hon. Mliswa.

On Wednesday, the Deputy Speaker could not contain Hon. Mliswa leading to the Leader of the House Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to intervene. Hon. Mliswa then turned to Minister Ziyambi accusing him of being implicated in the Human Rights Report. The Deputy Speaker finally chucked Hon. Mliswa out of the House with the assistance of the Sergeant at Arms.

The House adjourned at thirteen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. and will meet today in the afternoon.

Source: Southern Africa Parliamentary Support Trust