The National Assembly resumed sitting yesterday and kicked off with debate on the 2017 National Budget. The debate commenced after Finance and Economic Development Minister, Hon. Patrick Chinamasa, moved a motion to suspend provisions of Section 51 of the Standing Orders dealing with Interruption of business and automatic adjournment of House - to expedite the second reading and debate of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill, Budget debate, and The Finance and Appropriation Bills. However, the MDC-T Chief Whip, Hon. Innocent Gonese, and other MPs expressed reservations on the suspension of Standing Order 51, saying justice will not be achieved as the processes would be rushed. Despite the protestations, Section 51 of the Standing Orders was suspended. During the sitting, the Movable Property Security Interests Bill was read for the first time and stands referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill was read for the second time and debate on the Bill ensued.
Parliament yesterday, convened for the Question and Answer question session where they raised a number of concerns. These included exorbitant bank charges when purchasing using plastic money, rehabilitation of road networks and operations in the mining sector. Some of the issues that were discussed at length are as follows.
Parliament convened yesterday and the
main business of the day was the 2017
Budget debate. A number of Portfolio
Committee chairpersons presented their
Post Budget Analysis reports.
Newly elected Bikita West Member of Parliament Beauty Chabaya (Zanu-PF) was yesterday sworn in as a legislator in the National Assembly.
Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda administered the oath in terms of the Constitution, after Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda officially informed the House of the election of Hon. Chabaya.
Meanwhile, the Land Commission Bill sailed through in the National Assembly with amendments to Clauses 7, 14, 61 and 62 after being steered by Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora.
On Tuesday the 31 December 2017, during the budget debate, Hon. James Maridadi (MDC-T Mabvuku Tafara) gave a detailed account of how corruption happens throughout the importation process of goods in the country with the aid of the Executive members. He denounced corruption at all levels and led calls that Members of Parliament should have one on one meetings with President Mugabe. He argued that President Mugabe was being misled and misinformed by his officials. Hon. Joseph Chinotimba (ZANU PF Buhera South) basically reiterated the statements stated by Hon. Maridadi. The presentation was quite long and time ran out for Hon. Maridadi but Hon. Chinotimba unexpectedly asked for an extension on his behalf.
The 2017 Budget debate resumed yesterday with Members of Parliament giving their contributions to the Finance Bill.
On Tuesday 7 February Parliament convened with Finance Minister Hon. Patrick Chinamasa responding to the third report of the Public Accounts committee on the findings by the Auditor General on the 2014 appropriation accounts for the ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Hon. Chinamasa made an undertaking to respond to all Committee reports with issues pertaining to his ministry by end of March this year.
Hon. David Chapfika (ZANU PF-Mutoko South) presented the report on the Portfolio on Finance and Economic Development on Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Bill where the Committee made the following observations and recommendations;
When Parliament met on 16 February 2017 the main business of the day was the debate on the National Competitiveness Commission Bill. The Bill which is currently in its second reading seeks to address the nation’s diminished business competitiveness and therefore, to restore the ease of doing business.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce, Hon. Edmond Mhere (ZANU PF Masvingo Central), angered Members of Parliament when he read a committee report saying people rejected the Bill during public hearings, but later made recommendations that it must be passed.
The majority of Members of Parliament who contributed to the debate were against the Bill saying it was a waste of time and resources. Hon. Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T Hatfield) said the ease of doing business could not be resolved by creating a commission, but by solving policy inconsistencies, reconstructing industry and manufacturing and exploring fiscal and monetary policy issues.
After adjourning for a week Parliament met on 14 March 2017 and the major business of the House was debate on the BEAM report by the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.