BILL WATCH 11/2017
[27th March 2017]
Both Houses of Parliament are Continuing Sittings This Week
First Three Acts of 2017 Gazetted
In a Government Gazette Extraordinary dated 23rd March the following Acts of Parliament of 2017 were gazetted—
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Act, 2017 (No. 1/2017) link
Finance Act, 2017 ((No. 2/2017) link
Appropriation Act, 2017 (No. 3/2017) link.
All three Acts came into operation immediately, i.e., with effect from 23rd March 2017.
Backdating of Finance Act provisions to 1st January 2017
It is important to note that—
many taxation-related provisions of the Finance Act are stated to be “with effect from the year of assessment beginning on the 1st January, 2017” [these are clauses affecting income tax and capital gains tax] or “with effect from the 1st January, 2017” [for instance, amendments to the Value Added Tax Act and the Customs and Excise Act]. This backdating may well result in disputes between ZIMRA and taxpayers.
section 35 changes levels 1, 2 and 3 of the Standard Scale of Fines in the Criminal Law Code “with effect from 1st January 2017” Level 1 is now $10.00 [it was previously $5.00]; Level 2 is $15.00 [it was $10.00]; and Level 3 is $30.00 [it was $20.00]. This backdating is obviously nonsensical and can be ignored. From now on, however, police “spot fines” can be expected to go up, with the more serious petty traffic offences attracting a fine of $30.00 instead of $20.00 and proportionately smaller fines being requested for lesser petty offences.
In Parliament Last Week
On the morning of 22nd March members of both Houses attended the postponed workshop on Code of Conduct and Ethics for MPs and proposed amendments to the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act.
ZEP-RE (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Bill link The Bill went through all remaining stages on 21st March, without amendment. It was then transmitted to the Senate.
Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Bill This Bill had been with the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for consideration of amendments made by the National Assembly during the Committee Stage. No PLC report has been announced, but the Bill reappeared on the Order Paper. This must be because the PLC failed to meet the deadline for presentation of its report. That failure would have triggered paragraph 8(3) of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution, entitling the National Assembly to proceed as if the PLC had submitted a non-adverse report on the amendments made. In the event, there was no further movement on the Bill during the week.
Vice-President Mnangagwa tabled three reports by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on its conduct of by-elections in 2015 and 2016: the Nkulumane By-election of December 2015; local authority by-elections of January 2016; and the Guruve South by-election and local authority by-elections of April 2016.
Hon Nduna moved the adoption of the report of the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development on its Familiarisation Tour of Victoria Falls and Harare Airports and the Plumtree-Mutare Road Project.
Petition from Community Water Alliance and others
The Speaker announced receipt and referral to the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing of a wide-ranging petition on issues relating to water and legislation on the subject in the context of section 77(a) of the Constitution and Sustainable Development Goal No. 6.
ZEP-RE (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Bill link The Bill was received from the National Assembly but not dealt with.
Land Commission Bill Another week passed without Senators tackling the Committee Stage of the Bill and taking decisions on the amendments to the Bill proposed by Senator Chief Mtshane. Veritas website has the Bill available showing the amendments already made by the National Assembly [link].
Thematic Committee report on Children’s Homes Debate was wound up and the report adopted.
Other motions Senators had much to say to say on other motions before them – on the new motion on the problems posed by Stray Animals, and in continuing debates on Child Marriage, on the National School Pledge, on Violence by Political Parties and on the Need for Population Growth. This resulted in sittings until 4.30 pm or slightly later on all three sitting days, which is something of a record.
Coming up in Parliament This Week
In the National Assembly
Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Bill link [as amended during Committee Stage link] As the PLC is now deemed to have submitted a non-adverse report [see above], the Bill can now be finalised and sent to the Senate.
National Competitiveness Commission Bill link There has been a long wait for a response from the Minister of Industry and Commerce to questions raised about the need for the Bill during the Second Reading debate.
Two Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Bills are listed for presentation of Second Reading speeches by Vice-President Mnangagwa—
Deeds Registries Amendment Bill link
Judicial Laws Amendment (Ease of Settling Commercial and Other Disputes) Bill link
In the Senate
Bills The Senate needs to make progress on the two Bills carried forward from last week [see above]—
ZEP-RE (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Bill link
Land Commission Bill link Senator Chief Mtshane has proposed amendments to be approved during the Committee Stage.
Motions There are no new motions listed, but there are several still being discussed.
Gazetted Bills Awaiting Presentation to Parliament as at 27th March
[in order of date of gazetting]
Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill [gazetted 12th August 2016] link
Estate Administrators Amendment Bill [gazetted 9th December 2016] link
Shop Licences Amendment Bill [gazetted 16th December 2016] link
Bills being Prepared for Gazetting as at 27th March
[texts NOT available]
- Insolvency Bill
- Civil Aviation Amendment Bill
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