BILL WATCH 1-2017

BILL WATCH 1/2017

[15th January 2017]

Post-Budget Seminar & Consultations for MPs This Week

Before Houses Resume on 24th January [National Assembly]

and 31st January [Senate]


Parliament’s last sittings of 2016 took place in the week before Christmas.  The National Assembly then adjourned until Tuesday 24th January, the Senate until Tuesday 31st January.

Urgent unfinished Government business carried over to this year includes—

- the 2017 National Budget package [Estimates of Expenditure, Appropriation (2017) Bill, Finance Bill] [following up the Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in the National Assembly on 8th December]

- the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill [aka the Bond Notes Bill] [for continuation of the Second Reading debate which began in earnest on 21st December following a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee]

- the Land Commission Bill [back with the Parliamentary Legal Committee for its report on the handful of amendments made during the Committee Stage in the National Assembly].

These items are likely to dominate proceedings in the National Assembly when it resumes in plenary session on 24th January.

2017 National Budget

Members of the National Assembly will be busy this coming week preparing themselves for continuation the Budget debate when the House resumes in plenary session on 24th January.   Their programme includes—

- the Post-Budget Seminar on Monday 16th January at a venue outside Parliament

- thereafter, Portfolio Committee meetings for consultations on Budget allocations with Ministry representatives [timetable to be advised as soon as it becomes available].

Relevant documents available on the Veritas website

Please click on the links provided below to access these documents—

- Minister’s Budget speech in the National Assembly [link]

- Full Budget Statement [link]

- Budget Highlights [link]

- 2017 Estimates of Expenditure [the “Blue Book”] [link]

- Appropriation (2017) Bill [gazetted 13th January]

- Finance Bill [departmental draft only, as tabled by the Minister on 8th December – the final version has not yet been gazetted] [link]

Important note:  The departmental draft of the Finance Bill contains amendments to the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.

Bond Notes Bill

Documents available on the Veritas website—

- the Bill itself [link]

- the report on the Bill by the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development, following the committee’s public hearings on the Bill conducted around the country during the week ending 3rd December [link].

Other Bills Lining up for the National Assembly

There are several other Bills in the Parliamentary line-up.  These include Bills that received non-adverse reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee during December and are now, therefore, ready for the responsible Ministers to present their speeches starting the Second Reading stages in the National Assembly.  These Bills will be listed in a Bill Watch bulletin to be issued during the course of the coming week.

Constitution Amendment Bill on Judicial Appointments:

Earliest Date for Presentation in Parliament is in April

The Government’s Bill proposing to amend the procedure laid down by section 180 of the Constitution for the appointment of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President of the High Court was published [as H.B. 1, 2017] by the Speaker in a special Government Gazette on 3rd January under General Notice 1/2017.  This GN expressly nullified the earlier publication of the Bill [as H.B. 15,2016] over the signature of the Clerk of Parliament on 23rd December 2016 [GN 434/2016]. 

The official Parliamentary date of publication of the Bill is, therefore, 3rd January – which means that presentation of the Bill must be delayed until the first week of April [section 328(3) of the Constitution  90 days provides that a constitutional Bill cannot be introduced into Parliament until at least 90 days notice of its precise terms has been given by the Speaker in the Government Gazette]. 

The Bill is available on the Veritas website [link].

The background to the Bill has already been outlined in Constitution Watch 20/2016 dated 19th December.

A separate Constitution Watch bulletin will set out Veritas’ thoughts on the Bill.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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