PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
THIRD SESSION – NINTH PARLIAMENT
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 22nd October, 2020
MEETING OF PARLIAMENT
Parliament met in the Chamber of the National Assembly in terms of Section 140 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
THE HON. SPEAKER: Section 140 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that “The President may, at any time, address either House of Parliament or a joint sitting of both Houses” and Section 140 (4) also states that: “at least once a year, the President must address a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on the State of the Nation and the Speaker and the President of Senate must take the necessary arrangements for Parliament to receive such address”.
Accordingly, I have to inform the House that at 12 o’clock noon today, His Excellency the President Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, will deliver the State of the Nation Address which marks the Official Opening of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament. Business is now suspended but be around not outside. Thank you.
Business of the House was suspended at Twenty Minutes to Twelve o’clock p.m.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in attendance.
HIS EXCELLENCY, THE PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE, was pleased to address Parliament through the virtual platform as follows:
The First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa;
Vice President, Gen. Rtd. Dr. C. G. D. N. Chiwenga;
Vice Pesident, Col. Rtd. Cde. K. C. D. Mohadi;
Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Adv. J. F. Mudenda;
Madam President of the Senate, Mai M. M. Chinomona;
Leader of the Opposition, Dr. T. Khupe;
Hon. Members of Parliament;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madam President;
I warmly welcome you all to the State of the Nation Address and Official Opening of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe. The need to abide by COVID-19 protocols has compelled us to adopt the virtual platform for this occasion and similar ones when in ordinary times we would have assembled in our Parliament Building.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madam President;
Our economy has faced a number of internal shocks in an environment of changing climatic conditions, sanctions and lately the COVID-19 pandemic. First and foremost, therefore, I want to sincerely thank all Zimbabweans for their cooperation, discipline and resilience during these unprecedented times. Let us continue in unity and resolve to find solutions to challenges which confront us. Our heartfelt sympathies are with all individuals and families who lost loved ones.
Normalcy is gradually being restored to our systems following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I appeal to us to carry on adhering to the World Health Organisation guidelines to consolidate the gains we have so far achieved.
We have now reopened our skies to domestic and international flights, and simultaneously allowed the tourism and other critical sectors to also reopen.
Government made a deliberate decision to reopen schools to enable children who constitute our rich future human resource endowment, to conclude the year and progress to the next grades in the coming year. We will redouble efforts to ensure that syllabi are completed and examinations proceed smoothly in a safe, secure and stable environment for both teachers and learners.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madam President;
Our Transitional Stabilisation Programme has delivered and there are causes for optimism. My Government is indeed encouraged by the current economic stability, evident since the launch of the foreign exchange auction system in June. The system has resulted in the stability of the foreign exchange rate as well as the prices of our goods and services.
To mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Government availed ZW$18 billion Stimulus Package for the productive sectors, vulnerable social groups and provision of public services, especially health, water and sanitation.
In spite of the global and local economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our exports increased by 4.9% to US$1.96 billion during the first half of 2020, from US$1.86 billion in 2019, for the comparative period. Meanwhile, imports declined by 5.9% from US$1.96 billion to US$1.84 billion during the 2019 and 2020 first half comparative periods respectively.
In addition, foreign currency receipts have performed better than anticipated, appreciating by 18% as at end of August 2020. Coupled with Diaspora remittances, these should continue to anchor and drive further stability.
The reported increased certification of new products by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe is another positive signal that our industry is indeed alive and that jobs are being created.
We expect the trend of the positive trade balance to be sustained through increased productivity and exports across all sectors of the economy.
The attainment of Vision 2030 is premised on a performance-oriented and results-driven culture. Thus the Reform of State Enterprises and Parastatals remains a priority as we revisit the strategic importance of these entities in line with Vision 2030. Strong structural and administrative frameworks will be enforced together with good corporate governance, accountability, transparency, productivity and profitability in all State owned entities.
Going forward, Government will soon launch the First Five-Year National Development Strategy: 2021-2025 (NDS1) which builds on the successes of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme. The NDS1 will guide the formation of the 2021 National Budget which will provide more details on the state of our economy.
The fight against corruption continues to be a central goal for my Government. This vice cannot co-exist with sustainable economic development and growth. Therefore, let us all strengthen our determination to rid Zimbabwe of corruption. Nobody is above the law – Justice shall be pursued.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madam President, the historic signing of the Global Compensation Agreement reaffirmed the irreversibility of the Land Reform Programme. It further symbolised by Government’s commitment to the entrenchment of constitutionalism, the rule of law and respect for property rights.
It is now incumbent on all of us to ensure production and productivity is galvanised on our land. The Meteorological Department has forecasted a normal to above normal 2020/2021 rainfall season.
We must therefore ensure that all measures are in place for a successful agriculture season. I commend communities throughout the country for the land preparations made under the Presidential Climate Proofed Agriculture Programme, Pfumvudza/Intwasa. The Presidential Input Support Scheme will see over 1.8 million households being supported with free inputs to grow maize and traditional grains; while cotton farmers will also continue to receive support. Input distribution under this facility has commenced in earnest.
The opening up of the horticulture space for our rural communities as a vehicle for improved economic inclusion and empowerment is essential. To this end, my Government has resolved to roll out the Presidential Horticulture Scheme.
Furthermore, the accelerated resuscitation and development of irrigation schemes as well as construction of dams in all our provinces will help climate proof our agriculture against the adverse effects of climate change.
To meet the funding gaps, private sector led financing models are being rolled out for our farmers to access both mechanisation and inputs.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madam President; Energy is an essential enabler for the realization of our modernisation and industrialisation agenda. The current stability in power supplies owing to improved hydro-power generation at Kariba Dam and increased energy output at the thermal power plants has had a positive impact on productivity across all sectors of the economy. Independent Power Producers are equally poised to feed additional power onto the national grid, by the second quarter of 2021.
The ongoing coal mining projects in Hwange District, will ultimately translate into an increased national generation capacity of over 6 000 megawatts by 2025.
This will see Zimbabwe becoming a net exporter of energy. Works on the Hwange 7 and 8 Expansion Project will be expedited following delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since my previous address to this august House, fuel supplies have stabilized put in place by my Government. We shall continue to strengthen competitiveness in the fuel sub-sector and energy sector as a whole, through innovations coming out of institutions of higher learning such as the Harare Institute of Technology.
Road construction, modernization and rehabilitation are ongoing throughout all provinces of our country. These will enhance connectivity and facilitate greater economic trade within our country as well as the region as a whole. The use of local financial resources, skills and companies is yielding impressive results and the model will be vigorously pursued going forward in other infrastructure projects.
Mr. Speaker, Madame President; my Government, through its people-centered policies and vibrant social protection interventions, has ensured timely and appropriate interventions for the vulnerable and food insecure households. Currently, over 700 000 households receive grain per month while others are benefiting from the cash-for-grain programme under the Urban Feeding Programme. The Schools Feeding Programme is being resourced and over one million children will be assisted under the Basic Education Assistance Module.
The ongoing reforms in the health service sector will improve accessibility and affordability of health and medicines for all our people. in our quest to facilitate housing delivery, the National Housing Fund and Housing Guarantee Fund will be recapitalised.
Consultations in the Tripartite Negotiations Forum are progressing well with regards to the establishment of an Unemployment Benefit Fund. The fund will cover workers in case of retrenchment or natural disasters which cause work stoppages.
Related to this, I have directed the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to set up a robust Labour Market Information System to facilitate the provision of timeous, reliable labour market information and associated policies.
Government takes note of the legitimate calls for better working conditions by our teachers, health workers and public service in general. We will do our best to ameliorate their concerns and improve their plight.
Mr Speaker Sir, Madam President;
The Second Republic continues to consolidate its engagement and re-engagement policy. Economic cooperation and trade within our region is being consolidated towards awakening the collective potential of our respective countries, region and continent as a whole.
The illegal economic sanctions imposed are an albatross to our socio-economic development and growth, and must be removed unconditionally. We remain grateful to SADC, the African Union Member states and many others who continue to echo this call with us.
Our Defence and Security Forces who are defending the territorial integrity, sovereignty and national interest as well as maintain law, peace and order in our great country are commended for their sterling work. I want to reiterate that my Government will not tolerate any form of criminality in our country. Those who dare to engage in unlawful activities will face the full wrath of the law.
It is pleasing that the long awaited and all-encompassing Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act has now been promulgated. This will entail more holistic attention to issues affecting all categories of our Veterans who now include Ex-combatants, Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainess and Restrictees, Non-combatant Cadres and War Collaborators.
Mr Speaker Sir, Madame President;
The Second Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe had 25 Bills on its Legislative Agenda and an additional 15 other Bills which were not on the initial agenda. As at 22 September, 2020, a total of 16 of these Bills were passed by Parliament.
I therefore call upon the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament to expedite the completion of processes with regards to all outstanding Bills, the enactment of which, will help to deepen the ongoing economic reforms as well as entrench constitutionalism and our democratic culture.
To buttress the economic gains made to date, and enhance our attractiveness as a preferred investment destination as well as the ease of doing business in our country; the following legislation will be attended to;
• The Sugar Industry Act will amend the Sugar Industry Production Control Act [Chapter 18:19];
• The Economic Empowerment Act is set to replace the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act [Chapter 14:33] which will be repealed.
• The Competition Act will be amended to align it with regional and international agreements, particularly the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
• Given the role of Small to Medium size enterprises and the informal sector, the Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies Act [Chapter 23:05] will be amended.
It is pleasing to note the immense progress made in the Mining Sector towards the realization of a US$12 billion mining sector by 2023. Concerted and collaborative efforts must be urgently pursued to conclude the amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act. This will in turn usher in the necessary processes for the amendment of the Precious Stones, and Gold Trade Acts.
Meanwhile, the Minamata Convention which will end the use of mercury in mining activities will be tabled for ratification.
New and less harmful alternative technologies should be speedily adopted to ensure sustainable mining in our country.
To support the achievement of the US$5 billion tourism sector, by 2030; the Zimbabwe Tourism Act and the Parks and Wildlife Act will be tabled for consideration. The amendments will encourage tourism investment and embed community based wildlife management.
The unmitigated spike in cases of vandalism of power infrastructure is bleeding the economy and disrupting productivity and key services to our economic sectors. The Electricity Act will be amended to increase the mandatory sentences for the perpetrators while the Cooper Control Act (Chapter 14:06) will also be amended to curb illegal possession and trade of copper products.
In line with the Devolution and Decentralization policy which guides the nation towards inclusive and rapid socio-economic development, industrialisation and modernisation and the quest to give more autonomy to the Local Authorities, the Third Session of Parliament will consider the following Bills:
• the Provincial Councils Amendment Bill;
• the Traditional Leaders Amendment Bill;
• the Urban Councils and Rural District Councils Act will be amended as envisioned by the Constitution.
• Regional Town, Country and Planning Act;
• Environmental Management Act;
• Roads Act; the Public Health Act;
• Education Act;
• The Housing Building Act and
• the Water Act; and the Liquor Licensing Act;
will all be amended to enhance the devolution of powers and functions to the lower tiers of Government.
In view of our ongoing efforts to stimulate the construction of industry coupled with the general growth of the sub-sector, Parliament will consider a Bill that seeks to establish the Construction Industry Council which will regulate the industry.
In pursuit of Education 5.0 model the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament must dispense with three Bills from the Higher and Tertiary Education Sector in line with the Constitution, namely;
• the Manpower Planning and Development Amendment Bill;
• the Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Bill; and
• The State Universities Amendment Bill.
The Youth Bill will set the parameters to regulate youth development and empowerment promotion; vocational training and skills development, financial inclusion; youth participation and leadership; as well as national service.
The Bill will also provide measures to strengthen the Zimbabwe Youth Council and its sub structures.
• The Sport Integrity Bill will also be introduced to eliminate the corrosive and corrupt practices such as competition manipulation, illegal betting, doping as well as riots and violence within the sector.
The harmonisation of laws in the sport and recreation sector will entail various pieces of legislation being presented to the august House.
• The Sport, Leisure and Recreation Bill, which will repeal the Sports and Recreation Commission Act and the Zimbabwe Boxing and Wrestling Control Board of 1956.
The enactment of the Freedom of Information Bill into law during the Second Session was a significant milestone in our media reform programme to increase media diversity and pluralism in the country.
These Bills must ensure that our media industry act in the national interest and propel the development of our country. The Third Session of the Ninth Parliament is thus expected to complete the outstanding media Bills which include;
• the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill;
• Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill; and
• The Protection of Personal Information Bill.
The enactment of the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill which was introduced in the Second Session of the 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe must be speeded up, more-so given the importance of robust and secure information systems to drive digital services in all sectors of our economy.
Mr. Speaker Sir, during the Third Session, we also expect the finalisation of the Citizenship and Immigration Amendment Bills and the Police Act.
The prevalence of abuse and violence against children place a demand on us to quickly guarantee their protection. As such, the Children’s Amendment Bill must be quickly passed by this august House. Our Criminal Justice system is urged to impose deterrent sentences to perpetrators of heinous and evil acts against our children.
The conduct of some Non-Governmental Organisations and Private Voluntary Organisations who operate outside their mandates and out of sync with the Government’s humanitarian priority programmes remain a cause for concern. This august House will therefore consider the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill to revamp the administration of NGOs and PVOs and correct the current anomalies.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Madame President;
In conclusion, I wish to remind us all that first and foremost, we are Zimbabweans. This is our only home and our motherland.
We are on a new path. A path towards a modern, prosperous and stronger Zimbabwe. I encourage you all to be partners in this journey. Let us be decisive, deliberate, purposeful and thorough in all our actions,
A brighter future depends on all of us. We are stronger when we work together. We are stronger when we believe and work hard to achieve our plans and vision. No matter the challenges and no matter the obstacles – whether natural or man-made, let us always seek to promote our national interests, in unity and love, for the development and prosperity of our beloved country.
With these remarks, I now have the honour and privilege to declare the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe duly opened.
God bless you all!
God bless Zimbabwe!
I thank you.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE, having caused a copy of the Presidential Speech to be delivered to Mr. Speaker, was pleased to retire.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE and some Hon. Senators withdrew from the Chamber.
THE HON. SPEAKER resumed the Chair at Fourteen Minutes to One o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKERin the Chair)
THE HON. SPEAKER laid upon the Table a copy of the Presidential Speech which the President of Zimbabwe has been pleased to deliver this day.
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
TABLING OF PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH
THE HON. SPEAKER: I lay upon the table a copy of the Speech which His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Hon. DR. E. D. Mnangagwa has been pleased to deliver to Parliament.
APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE): I move that a Committee of Supply be appointed in terms of Standing Order Number 115.
Motion put and agreed to.
THE HON. SPEAKER adjourned the House at Twenty Minutes to One O’clock p.m. without putting any question in terms of Standing Order No. 12 (2) (b) until Tuesday, 27th October, 2020.