BILL WATCH 2-2017

BILL WATCH 2/2017

[23rd January 2017]

The National Assembly Resumes on Tuesday 24th January

The Senate will not sit until Tuesday 31st January

 

Coming up in the National Assembly

Budget Debate

This is not at the top of the Order Paper for 24th January.  It is listed after the first four items mentioned under the heading Bills, below.  [See further below]

Bills

The Order Paper for 24th January lists a number of Bills in the following order [all of them are available on the Veritas website – links provided in each of the items on the list]—

- Movable Property Security Interests Bill [for presentation for its First Reading and immediate reference to the Parliamentary Legal Committee for its report on consistency with the Constitution]

- 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 position of the Bill as agenda item 2 suggests that the Government views its early passage as a matter of high priority.

- Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Bill [for continuation of Second Reading debate following the delivery of the Second Reading speech by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development on Tuesday 20th December]

For presentation of Second Reading speeches by the various responsible Ministers—

- ZEP-RE (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Bill [Minister of Finance and Economic Development]

- National Competitiveness Commission Bill [Minister of Industry and Commerce]

- Judicial Laws Amendment (Ease of Settling Commercial and Other Disputes) Bill [Vice-President Mnangagwa, as Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs]

- Land Commission Bill [for final consideration, following the non-adverse report received on the 21st December from the Parliamentary Legal Committee, on the amendments made to the Bill by the National Assembly during the Committee Stage.  If the National Assembly passes the Bill, it will then go to the Senate for consideration when Senators resume sitting next week.]

Bond Notes Bill

Following its public hearings on the Bill conducted around the country during the week ending 3rd December, the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development reported on the Bill in the National Assembly on 21st December.  The committee recommended —

- two amendments to the Bill—

to provide for penalties for individuals and corporates that do not accept bond notes and coins as legal tender

to provide a mechanism for recourse at the expiry of the $200 million Afrexim Bank  guarantee underpinning the issuing of the bond notes

- consideration by the Executive of the establishment of a committee including representatives of business and labour to limit the issuance of bond notes.

The Second Reading debate is due to continue, for remaining contributions from MPs and the Minister’s reply to the committee’s report and the contributions from MPs. 

Documents available on the Veritas website

- the Bill itself [link]

- the report on the Bill by the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development [link].

The Budget Debate

The Finance Bill has not yet been gazetted.  It is still being prepared by the Government Printer.  The purpose of Finance Bills is to give effect to the Government’s taxation and revenue proposals as proposed in the Budget presentation.  A point of interest, therefore, is whether or not the Bill will follow the Departmental Draft issued to MPs in December and include provisions amending the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act not obviously related to such a purpose.

Budget documents available on the Veritas website

Please click on the links provided below to access the 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 [link],  to give legal effect to the Estimates of Expenditure

- Finance Bill [departmental draft only, as tabled by the Minister on 8th December] [link]

Parliamentary Vacancies

Bikita West by-election result

The Bikita West vacancy in the National Assembly has been filled.  The ZANU-PF candidate was returned by a substantial majority in the by-election conducted on 21st January.  The new MP is Beauty Chabaya.

Senate vacancy – nominee gazetted

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has gazetted the name of ZANU-PF’s nominee to take the Mashonaland West party-list seat previously held by the late Senator Victoria Muchenje [GN 6/2017 dated 13th January].  She is Caroline Tsitsi Mugabe.  Any voter wishing to object to the nomination may lodge a written objection with the Chief Elections Officer at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on or before Friday 27th January, as provided for by section 39 of the Electoral Act.

New National Assembly vacancy

The death of Hon Joshua Moyo, ZANU-PF MP for Mwenezi East, was announced in the National Assembly on 23rd December.  The date of the necessary by-election has not yet been gazetted.

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