BILL WATCH 3-2017

BILL WATCH 3/2017

[31st January 2017]

Both Houses of Parliament Are Sitting This Week

 

Last Week in the National Assembly

New MP sworn in

The new ZANU-PF MP for Bikita West, Hon Beauty Chabaya, was sworn in on Thursday 26th January following her victory in the by-election conducted on Saturday 21st January.

Bills

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill [Bond Notes Bill]

The Bill was passed without amendments and transmitted to the Senate (Thursday 26th January).

Land Commission Bill

Following the non-adverse report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the amendments made during the Committee Stage, the House confirmed the amendments and the Bill was passed with those amendments and transmitted to the Senate. 

Budget business

The Budget debate continued.  Having spent the previous week at the Post-Budget Seminar and thereafter in consultative meetings with the Ministries which they oversee, the Portfolio Committees began presenting their reports setting out their reactions to the Budget.  By close of business at 4.30 pm on Thursday, a great deal of the ground had been covered.  All reports were critical of the allocations  made by the Budget proposals, with phrases such as “grossly inadequate” cropping up frequently.  Also mentioned more than once was the need for timeous disbursement of funds by Treasury and past experience of funds actually disbursed falling far short of the amounts allocated  on paper.

The Finance Bill was eventually gazetted on Wednesday 25th January

Question Time

Many questions were on the bond notes issue, with MPs asking questions centred on the difficulties being experienced on the ground by the ordinary person in the street, and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development presenting a somewhat different picture of the general acceptance of the new currency.

Coming up in the National Assembly This Week

Budget debate and Estimates of Expenditure

These items head the National Assembly’s Order Paper for Tuesday 31st January.  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development is expected to reply to the Budget debate.  Next for consideration are the Estimates of Expenditure for 2017 in the Committee of Supply [this is a committee of the whole membership of the National Assembly].

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 as tabled by the Minister on 8th December] [link]

Finance Bill [as gazetted 25th January] here.

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]—

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]

The Finance Bill is expected to join the list during the week, but only after the conclusion of the Budget debate. It is available on the Veritas website here.   The Bill does not repeat the amendments to the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act that featured in the Ministry’s Departmental Draft circulated after the Budget Speech on 8th December [see further below].  There is a new Standard Scale of Fines; its backdating to 1st January is obviously unconstitutional and unjust, and will have to be deleted before the Bill is passed.

Bill under consideration by the Parliamentary Legal Committee

Following its presentation last week, the Movable Property Security Interests Bill is being considered by the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

Motions

Several Portfolio Committee reports are listed for presentation.  Further down the Order Paper are Private Members’ motions headed by a motion referring to political violence by political party youths, to be presented by ZANU-PF’s Hon Mandipaka and another, to be presented by MDC’s Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga, calling on Government to ensure the promotion of fair regional representation in the awarding on tenders and that 30% of tenders are reserved for women.

Question Time

31 questions are listed for the second half of Wednesday’s Question Time [i.e. written questions with notice].

Coming up in the Senate This Week

Bills

Two Bills await the Senate’s attention, although not yet featured on the Order Paper [they were only transmitted from the National Assembly late last week]—

Land Commission Bill [for consideration of the Bill as amended by the National Assembly]

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill [aka the Bond Notes Bill]

Document available on the Veritas website – The report on the Bill by the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development [link].

Motions

Motions listed—

SADC Model Law on Prohibition of Child Marriage – a motion calling for the domestication into Zimbabwean law of provisions of the SADC Model Law, to be presented by Senator Mohadi.

Political violence – a motion by Senator B. Sibanda calling on the Senate to denounce political violence and on the Executive to fulfil its constitutional obligation by respecting human rights in terms of section 48 to 78 of the Constitution.  

Question Time

Ten written questions with notice are listed for Thursday’s question time, carried over from the Senate’s list sittings in December 2016.

 

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