BILL WATCH 12/2018
[21st May 2018]
Only the Senate is Sitting This Week
The National Assembly will Resume on Tuesday 29th May
Coming up in Senate this Week
At the close of business shortly after 4 pm last Thursday, the Senate adjourned to Tuesday 22nd May, having finished dealing with all Bills already sent to it by the National Assembly [see below]. But as the National Assembly did not send any further Bills to the Senate before adjourned an hour later, the Senate will not have any Government business this week. When they meet tomorrow, therefore, Senators will have to make do with speaking to motions already on their Order Paper.
What Happened in Parliament Last Week
[Tuesday 15th to Thursday 17th May]
In the Senate
Senators began the week with three Bills to work on. A fourth, the Insolvency Bill, reached the Senate from the National Assembly on Wednesday. By the time it adjourned for the weekend on Thursday the Senate had passed all four Bills without amendment, without sitting especially late and with very little debate, as follows:
Shop Licences Amendment Bill [all stages taken on 15th May]
Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Debt Assumption) Bill [all stages taken on 16th May]
Electoral Amendment Bill [all stages taken on 16th May], as recorded in Election Watch 12/2018 of 17th May [link]
Insolvency Bill [link] [all stages taken on 17th May, in time for the Senate to adjourn shortly after 4 pm].
Parliament must now send all these Bills to the President for his assent and for gazetting as Acts. The Electoral Amendment Bill is expected to be gazetted first, because it is very urgent – apart from anything else, it needs to be gazetted before the President’s proclamation calling the coming election.
Two loan agreements approved Two loan agreements were approved, both having been previously approved by the National Assembly:
· with the Export-Import Bank of China for the upgrading of the Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare;
· with OFID [the OPEC Fund for International Development] for the Smallholder Irrigation Revitalisation Project in Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands and Matabeleland South.
In the National Assembly
Bills sent to Senate
Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Debt Assumption) Bill This was dealt with first, at the start of business on 15th May. The Committee Stage was completed without amendments being made, and the Bill was then passed and transmitted to the Senate [where it was passed – see above].
Insolvency Bill The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs replied to the Second Reading debate on 15th May. In answer to a question that had been raised he assured MPs that the Bill already provides for amounts owed to workers to be given priority. The Bill was then taken through the Committee Stage without amendment, passed and immediately transmitted to the Senate [where it was passed two days later – see above].
Bills still to be completed
Civil Aviation Amendment Bill The Committee Stage was taken on 15th May. Amendments to clause 3 were approved [the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development accepted amendments put forward by Hon Nduna but required certain changes to them, and this was approved]. The amendments were then referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]. The PLC returned a non-adverse report on 16th May, but on 17th May the remaining stages were adjourned to Tuesday 29th May, when the National Assembly will resume sitting.
Public Health Bill On 16th May the report of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care [link] was presented, and on 17th May there were further contributions to the Second Reading debate, which will continue when the National Assembly resumes at the end of the month. The Minister of Health and Child Care has not yet replied to the debate.
Companies and Other Business Entities Bill The PLC returned a non-adverse report on 16th May. No further progress was made, and the Second Reading stage is scheduled for 29th May.
Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill The PLC returned a non-adverse report on 16th May. No further progress was made, and the Second Reading stage is scheduled for 29th May. [Note there are public hearings on this Bill all next week – so the Second Reading stage may be postponed, but if started cannot be completed until a report on the public hearings has been submitted.]
On 15th May the Speaker announced the receipt of two petitions and their referral to portfolio committees:
· on the “environmental mess” in Ward 5 of Gwanda Municipality [received from Women’s Institute of Leadership of Development, and referred to Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing]
· on the need for protection of the constitutional right of college lecturers to fair labour practices [received from College Teachers’ Association of Zimbabwe, and referred to Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.
Motion on welfare of war veterans On 17th May Hon Zindi, seconded by Hon Kwaramba, moved a motion calling on the Executive to mobilise resources to ensure that what is due to war veterans and their families [e.g., payment of school fees for children of war veterans] is paid on time, and generally to take urgent measures to improve the welfare of war veterans to a level recognising their contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe.
The National Assembly adjourned at 5.20 pm on Thursday 17th May and will not sit again until Tuesday 29th May.
PLC Non-adverse Report on April Statutory Instruments
On 17th May the President of the Senate announced the receipt of a non-adverse report from the PLC on all statutory instruments gazetted during April, i.e., SIs 47-64/2018.