BILL WATCH 11/2018
[15th May 2018]
Bills in Parliament This Week
Both Houses of Parliament will continue sitting this week, starting today Tuesday 15th May. The Electoral Amendment Bill has been transmitted to the Senate [see Election Watches 8/2018 of 9th May [link] and 9/2018 of 11th May [link]. It is likely that the Senate will be prompt in dealing with it.
Coming up in the Senate This Week
Electoral Amendment Bill This Bill is expected to be dealt with on Wednesday, as it does not appear on today’s Order Paper [its transmission from the National Assembly on Thursday occurred after the Senate had already adjourned for the weekend – too late for its formal inclusion on the Senate Order Paper]. This Bill also comes to the Senate as amended by the National Assembly last week [link to updated Bill], as explained below.
Shop Licences Amendment Bill [link] This tops the Order Paper for today, Tuesday 15th May. It comes to the Senate as amended by the National Assembly, which deleted clause 7 and replaced clause 8 with a new clause. The effect of these amendments is that section 14 of the principal Act [the Shop Licences Act] will remain intact instead of being amended and that section 15 of the principal Act will be repealed.
Other Bills may reach the Senate, depending on when/if they are competed by the National Assembly.
Coming up in the National Assembly This Week
Bills are listed on today’s Order Paper in the following order:
Insolvency Bill [link] - for continuation of Second Reading debate.
Public Health Bill [link] – for continuation of the Second Reading debate. The Minister of Health and Child Care has already explained this lengthy Bill in a remarkably brief speech. The chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care is expected to present the committee’s report on the public hearings held on the Bill.
Civil Aviation Amendment Bill [link] – for the Committee Stage. The Order Paper contains amendments proposed by Hon Nduna. The text of these amendments will be posted on the Veritas website www.veritaszim.net shortly.
ZISCO Debt Redemption Bill [link] – for the start of the Committee stage, the Second Reading having been approved last week [see below].
Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill [link] – for the Committee Stage. Last time this item came up in the National Assembly, Mr Mliswa [the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy] alleged failure by the Attorney-General’s Office to provide the amendments to the Bill that had been agreed between the Portfolio Committee and the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. It is now understood that the Attorney-General’s Office was not at fault, and that responsibility for the delay in unveiling the amendments lies elsewhere. As amendments have still not been included on the Order Paper, the prospects for progress remain uncertain.
Bills awaiting PLC reports
As these two Bills were read for the first time and referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] on 11th April, the PLC is expected to be ready to present its reports on whether or not the Bills would, if enacted, be inconsistent with the Constitution:
· Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill [link]
· Companies and Other Business Entities Bill – full text now available in soft copy as a PDF document [link].
What the National Assembly Did Last Week
Bills passed and sent to the Senate
Shop Licences Amendment Bill This Bill, too, was amended in the Committee Stage, to give effect to changes to clauses 7 and 8 that had been agreed between the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the PLC to circumvent the PLC’s original adverse report on those clauses. The PLC’ swiftly gave the amendments a non-adverse report, and on 9th May the House passed the Bill and it was transmitted to the Senate.
Electoral Amendment Bill
As described more fully in Election Watches 8/2018 of 9th May [link] and 9/2018 of 11th May [link]. The Committee Stage was completed on Tuesday 8th May in a sitting that ended at 7.50 pm; numerous amendments were made. On Wednesday 9th the PLC gave the amendments a non-adverse report, thereby allowing the Bill to be given the House’s final approval on Thursday 10th. The Bill was immediately transmitted to the Senate in its amended and greatly enlarged form.
ZISCO Debt Assumption Bill The House approved the Second Reading on 10th May, meaning that this Bill can now progress to the Committee Stage and final approval at the next sitting.
Death of Hon Matimba MP On 8th May MPs observed a minute’s silence in respect of the late Kennedy Matimba, MP for Bikita East.
International Agreements Tabled Four international agreements were tabled by the responsible Ministers on 8th May, signalling the intention to seek the House’s approval of them in terms of section 327 of the Constitution:
· African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance [Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs]
· Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment [Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development]
· Two loan agreements [Minister of Finance and Economic Development]:
o with Export-Import Bank of China for Harare International Airport Development
o with OPEC Fund for International Development for Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Project.
Note: Motions for the approval of both these agreements were presented for approval and, after debate, duly approved on 10th May.
Ministerial Statement on (1) Beit Bridge Chirundu Road and (2) Zimbabwe Airways The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. made his promised Ministerial Statement on 10th May [link] and then responded to questions from MPs.
Smith Commission Report on Conversion of Insurance and Pensions Values from Zim$ to the US$ The Minister of Finance and Economic Development made a speech [link] introducing his motion asking the House to take note of this important report.
Question Time went ahead as usual on Wednesday 9th May.
In the Senate Last Week
Senators had an easy week, sitting for 1 hour 18 minutes on Thursday; 54 minutes on Wednesday; and 1 hour 26 minutes on Thursday. Once again, no Bills were ready for their attention.
On 10th May the President of the Senate announced the receipt from the National Assembly of the Shop Licences Amendment Bill, clearing the way for it to be dealt with at the next sitting on Tuesday 15th May.
Not announced was the receipt of the Electoral Amendment Bill – because the Senate had adjourned for the weekend before the final National Assembly’s final vote approving the Bill on 10th May.
On 8th May papers tabled on behalf of Ministers included the same four agreements tabled in the National Assembly [see list above], plus the Protocol to Amend the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organisation [WTO]. This protocol was duly approved on 10th May on the motion of the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development. Zimbabwe can now complete the process of becoming party to the Protocol; it is already, of course, a State party to the main Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO.
Motions and Question Time
Senators pressed on with debate on motion on devolution and culture. Question Time on Thursday was both late and brief, with only two Ministers – Hon Bimha and Hon Parirenyatwa - turning up.
Public Entities Corporate Governance Act Gazetted
This Act was gazetted on 11th May in a Government Gazette Extraordinary, as notified by General Notice 353/2018 signed by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet. It is important to note that the Act is not yet in force. Section 1(2) of the Act provides that it will come into force on a date to be fixed by the President by statutory instrument. Veritas will notify this date of commencement when that Statutory Instrument is gazetted.