BILL WATCH 7/2018
[20th March 2018]
Both Houses will be Sitting This Week
Finance Act and Appropriation (2018) Act Gazetted
The following Acts were gazetted in a Government Gazette Extraordinary on Wednesday 14th March [see General Notice 158A/2018]. They are the first Acts of 2018. Both came into force immediately:
Finance Act, 2018 (No. 1 of 2018) [link]
Appropriation (2018) Act. 2018 (No. 2 of 2018) [link].
Note: Section 42 of the Finance Act contains the Government’s promised amendments to the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act; these amendments have already been outlined in Bill Watch 5/2018 of 17th March [link]. The text of section 42 is available separately for those primarily interested in indigenisation and economic empowerment policy [link].
Two Bills Gazetted
The following Bills were gazetted by Parliament on Friday 9th March [see General Notice 151/2018]:
Companies and Other Business Entities Bill We are unable at present to offer a soft copy of this 300-page monster of a Bill. It aims to replace the existing Companies Act and Private Business Corporations Act.
Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill [link]
Parliament will in due course announce the arrangements for public consultations on both Bills.
Public Entities (Corporate Governance) Bill Passed by Both Houses
The Senate gave this Bill [link] its final reading [third reading] on 14th March. The Bill had previously been amended by the National Assembly. No further amendments were made by the Senate, so the next step will be for Parliament to send the Bill to the President for his assent and gazetting as an Act.
Note: Also passed by both Houses, but not yet sent to the President is the Estate Administrators Amendment Bill [see Bill Watch 2/2018]. The Bill received its final reading in mid-February.
Coming up Today in the National Assembly
Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Conversion of Insurance and Pension Values from the Zimbabwe Dollar to US Dollars
Item 1 on the Order Paper is a motion by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development asking the House to take note of this important report. The report was published with the Government Gazette Extraordinary of 5th March. The two-volume report, taking up over 600 pages in all, is not yet available in soft copy. After the Minister’s introductory speech MPs will be able, but probably not this afternoon, to discuss both the report and the Minister’s speech setting out the Government’s plans for implementation of the report’s recommendations for:
- improvement of regulation of the insurance and pensions sectors, including amending the relevant Acts of Parliament; and
- compensation for those who suffered losses on insurance policies and pensions as a result of “dollarization”.
The next several items on the Order Paper are all for the Second Reading motions for the following Government Bills. A great deal of work lies ahead for the House.
Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill [link] The Minister of Mines and Mining Development has made his introductory speech.
Electoral Amendment Bill [link]
This debate is already well advanced, with a number of MPs having made their contributions. It is possible that the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs will reply to the debate, and indicate whether he is prepared to accept amendments. Judging the comprehensive and critical contribution from Hon Gonese, the Opposition Chief Whip, the Opposition is likely to press for amendments to be made to the Bill to repair some of the many defects in the Electoral Act as a result of the Government’s failure to complete its legislative complete alignment with the Constitution. A significant related matter is that the Portfolio Committee Report on the Election Resource Centre’s Petition for Electoral Reform is ready for presentation [item 11 on the Order Paper, but it could be taken earlier].
Insolvency Bill [link]
Civil Aviation Amendment Bill [link]
This Second Reading debate is still at an early stage, having started on 15th March with the introductory speech by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
Public Health Bill
Having received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC], this Bill is now ready for the launch of its Second Reading stage with the introductory speech by the Minister of Health and Child Care.
Bill under consideration by PLC
Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Debt Assumption) Bill [link]
This Bill was introduced on 7th March and referred to the PLC. It is unlikely to come up this week, as the House will wait for the receipt of the PLC’s report on the Bill. Even if that report is non-adverse, there will be a further delay to await the report on the public hearings on the Bill by the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development. The public hearings will be next week, as detailed in Bill Watch Parliamentary Committee Series 10/2018 of 20th March [link].
Coming up Today in the Senate
There are no Bills on the Senate’s Order Paper as yet. Bills from the National Assembly are awaited.
Consideration of PLC Adverse Report on Command Agriculture Regulations
The first item on today’s Order Paper is resumption of consideration of the PLC Adverse report on SI 79/2017 [the Command Agriculture Scheme Regulations made under the Agricultural Marketing Authority Act] [link]. The report was explained to Senators by Hon Maziwisa MP [on behalf of PLC chairperson Hon Samukange} on 13th March. The PLC objects to the creation of criminal penalties for breaches of contractual obligations by participants in the Command Agriculture Scheme.
New motion on ICT, the urban/rural ICT divide and ICT illiteracy
Item 2 on the Order Paper is a new motion calling on the Ministry of ICT and Cyber Technology to prioritise fibre-optic infrastructure in rural areas, roll out an ICT literacy programme for the middle-aged and rural populace, take measures to ensure internet services are easily accessible and affordable, and to expedite the Cyber Crime Bill to protect citizens from online abuses.