BILL WATCH 18-2016

BILL WATCH 18/2016

[21st April 2016]

Both Houses of Parliament are in Recess until Tuesday 3rd May

General Laws Amendment Bill Finally Passed [With Amendments]

The Bill came back to the National Assembly from the Senate on 12th April for approval of amendments made by that House – all of them introduced by Vice-President Mnangagwa.  The National Assembly considered the Senate’s amendments on 14th April, approved them and gave the Bill its final reading.  Like Senators the week before, MPs approved the changes without asking the Vice-President to explain them.  The Bill will now be prepared for submission to the President for assent and gazetting as law. 

Note: The original Bill has been subjected to a series of changes, as detailed in previous bulletins.  The first set of changes, made on two separate occasions in the National Assembly, were incorporated in an official reprint of the Bill, and this reprinted version was the one placed before the Senate.  The last-minute changes made thereafter, however, mean that the General Laws Amendment Act, when eventually gazetted, will necessarily differ from the reprinted Bill in some respects, in order to reflect those changes.  Veritas has prepared a new version of the Bill that includes an additional page listing the last-minute changes [available from Veritas – follow this link or see end of this bulletin].

Guruve South By-Election: This Saturday 23rd April

Polling in the by-election will be on this coming Saturday, 23rd April.  There are two candidates—

Patrick Dutiro of ZANU-PF

Simbarashe Mutsvene of NCA.

Parliamentary Vacancies

National Assembly [2]

Guruve South   The by-election to fill the vacancy is imminent [see previous entry].

Mazoe North constituency  The seat has been vacant since the death on 17th March of Edgar Chidavaenzi of of ZANU-PF.  The statutory instrument calling the by-election has not yet been gazetted.

Senate [2]

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission notices appointing the two nominees have not yet been gazetted.  The nominees are Tabeth Murwira of ZANU-PF [Mashonaland East] and Victor Mapungwana of MDC-T [Bulawayo].

Status of Bills as at 20th April 2016: At a Glance

[for details, see under In Parliament 14th to 17th April, below]

Passed by Parliament, awaiting Presidential assent and/or gazetting

Banking Amendment Bill [to be Act 12/2015] [sent to President’s Office 17th March – GN 58/2016]

Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill [passed 9th March]

Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill [passed 8th March]

General Laws Amendment Bill [passed 14th April]

Awaiting Second Reading in the Senate 

Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences Bill [passed by National Assembly 12th April]

Gwanda State University Bill [passed by National Assembly 14th April]

Awaiting Second Reading in National Assembly

Special Economic Zones Bill [non-adverse PLC report 5th April, Minister’s Second Reading speech 7th April]

Awaiting National Assembly Consideration of PLC Adverse Report

National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill [gazetted 18th December]

Awaiting PLC Report to National Assembly

Public Finance Management Bill [sent to PLC 7th April]

Pan-African Minerals University of Science and Technology Bill [sent to PLC 14th April]

Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill [sent to PLC 14th April]

Being prepared for gazetting

Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill [proofs being checked by drafters]

[With the exception of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, all the above Bills are available from Veritas.]

In Parliament 12th to 14th April

In the National Assembly

No quorum again

The National Assembly’s ten-minute sitting on 13th April ended prematurely before Question Time when a count confirmed that only 63 MPs were present.  That was 7 short of the prescribed quorum of 70.

Bills presented

Pan-African Minerals University of Science and Technology Bill  This was presented on 14th April by the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, given its First Reading and referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for a report on its compatibility with the Constitution.

Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill  This was presented on 14th April by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, given its First Reading and referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for a report on its compatibility with the Constitution.

Other Bills dealt with

General Laws Amendment Bill  This was finally passed on 14th April [see separate note at the beginning of this bulletin].

Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences Bill   The Bill was taken through its Second Reading stage, Committee Stage and Third Reading on Tuesday 12th April by the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.  MPs from both governing party and Opposition generally welcomed the Bill.  It was passed without amendment and then transmitted to the Senate. 

Gwanda State University Bill  Like the Manicaland University Bill this Bill was welcomed by MPs.  It was dealt with on Tuesday and Thursday, and passed without amendment on Thursday and then transmitted to the Senate. 

Bills not dealt with

Special Economic Zones Bill  As expected, the Second Reading debate on this Bill did not continue, because, having heard the Second Reading speech from the Minister of Finance and Economic Development on 7th April, MPs are waiting for a report on the Bill from the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development Planning.  The committee was busy conducting public hearings into this Bill – and the Public Finance Management Amendment Bill  - all last week. 

National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill  Although the Order Paper listed consideration of the PLC’s Adverse Report on this Bill for consideration, it was not dealt with.  The Second Reading stage cannot begin until the Adverse Report has been resolved one way or another.

Portfolio Committee Report presented

Operations of Agricultural and Rural Development Authority and Cold Storage Company  The Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development presented its report on these two key State-owned enterprises.  MPs who then contributed to the debate praised the quality of the report, which was highly critical of the situation at both enterprises and makes carefully-considered recommendations for remedying the situation.

Question Time [13th April]

The early mandatory adjournment for lack of a quorum prevented Question Time from taking place.  I05 written listed for reply by Ministers will be carried forward. 

In the Senate

Bills  

The two University Bills were passed by the National Assembly were received but not dealt with 

International Agreement approved

On 12th April the Senate approved the US$ 98.6 million Loan Agreement between the Government and the Export-Import Bank of China , for the Tel-One Backbone Network and Broadband Access Project.  It had not been possible to deal with this agenda item the previous week because proceedings were interrupted by the lack of a quorum on both 7th and 8th April [see Bill Watch 15/2016]

Government Gazette 15th April

Statutory Instruments

Quality standards for postal, courier and telephone service providers  SI 42/3016 contains the new Postal and Telecommunications (Quality Services) Regulations, setting Quality of Service standards to be achieved by all licensees.  Performance of licensees will be monitored by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe [POTRAZ], and there are provisions for enforcement measures where a licensee fails to comply with the key performance indicators or fails to resolve consumer complaints within the resolution-time set by the regulations.

Vehicle registration and licensing – “third plates”  SI 43/2016 amends section 11(4)(a) of the principal regulations [SI 427/1999] dealing with the placement of third plates inside the windscreen of a motor vehicle. 

Customs duty suspension on SKD TVs, refrigerators and freezers  SI 44/2016 provides for a suspension of duty on these items [SKD means Semi-Knocked Down items imported by an approved importer entirely for completion of the process of manufacture].  The suspension of duty  results in a 25% ad valorem duty.

 

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