Bill Watch 14 - 2018 Parliament Enters its Closing Stages

BILL WATCH 14/2018

4th June 2018

Both Houses of Parliament will Sit Again This Week

Parliament Coming to a Close

On 30th May Senators and Members of the National Assembly were informed by their presiding officers that, now that the election had been called, the present Eighth Parliament is coming to a close and that committees should conclude their business by Thursday 7th June.  This indicates that both Houses may well adjourn for the last time soon, possibly at the end of this week.  The life of this Parliament, however, will continue until midnight on 29th July.  [The Constitution, provides in section 143(1) that “Parliament stands dissolved at midnight on the day before the first polling day in the next general election”.]

Any unfinished work of Parliament will lapse on dissolution

Section 147 of the Constitution provides that “On the dissolution of Parliament, all proceedings pending at the time are terminated and every Bill, motion, petition and other business lapses”.

Acts Gazetted Last Week

Two Acts were gazetted late on Monday 28th May:

  • Electoral Amendment Act [link] [for an analysis of its effect see Election Watch 18/2018 of 31st May [link]
  • Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Debt Assumption) Act.

28th May 2018 is the date of commencement for both Acts.  

Update on Insolvency Bill and Shop Licences Amendment Bill

Both these Bills have already been passed by both Houses.  Parliament is preparing the necessary paperwork to send them to the President for his assent and gazetting as Acts.

Coming up in the National Assembly This Week

Bills

There are two Bills, both important, on the Order Paper for Tuesday 5th June, in the following order:

Companies and Other Business Entities Bill [link]  The Second Reading stage is due to begin.  The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs will start proceedings with a speech explaining the Bill.  This should be followed by the report on the public hearings held in April by the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, if it is ready for presentation.  

Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill [link] The Minister of Finance and Economic Development made his Second Reading speech explaining the Bill on 17th May.  The House is now waiting for  the Portfolio Committee’s report on the Bill to be presented [countrywide public hearings on the Bill were held last week by the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development].  Progress will depend on whether/when that report is ready for presentation.  

Other business  

If the above Bills have to be delayed, there is plenty of work for MPs, as indicated by the 14-item Order Paper, which includes. 

  • continued debate on the take-note motion on the Smith Commission Report into the Conversion of Insurance and Pension Values from the Zimbabwe Dollar to the US Dollar
  • a new motion seeking the House’s approval of Joint Sitting Standing Orders prepared by the Standing Rules and Orders Committee
  • motions presenting committee reports, including the Public Accounts Committee’s Report on the Appropriation and Fund Accounts of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, two reports from the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water, Climate and Hospitality Industry on The Hwange Water Management Petition, and the Wetlands Petitions
  • the adjourned debate on the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy’s report on the Solar Project in Gwanda.

Question Time, as usual, is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Coming up in the Senate This Week

Bills

On Tuesday 5th June Senators will have the following three Bills to start work on, all of them passed by the National Assembly last week:  

Civil Aviation Amendment Bill [link] [for start of Second Reading stage]

The National Assembly made some amendments to this Bill, so Parliament have prepared a consolidated Bill incorporating those amendments which will be available on the Veritas website shortly.  Progress can be expected.

Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill [link] [for start of Second Reading stage]

This Bill has also reached the Senate with a number of amendments made by the National Assembly. A consolidated Bill incorporating those amendments is expected to be available from Parliament shortly.

Public Health Bill [link] [for start of Second Reading stage]

As the National Assembly passed this Bill without amendment, this Bill is still in its original form,  It had a remarkably easy passage through the National Assembly, so progress can be expected.

Other business

Smith Commission Report into the Conversion of Insurance and Pension Values from the Zimbabwe Dollar to the US Dollar

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development is listed to present his motion asking Senators to take note of this report.  He has already presented the same motion in the National Assembly.

Motions  The Order Paper lists several motions for debate should Senators have time left after or pending tackling the above Bills and/or Bills that may reach them from the National Assembly 

Question Time, as usual, is scheduled for Thursday.  Six questions are listed for the Questions with Notice part of Question Time.

Public Entities Corporate Governance Act

The Act is now available on our website in soft copy [link].  Please note that it has not yet been brought into force by statutory instrument, as required by section 1(2) of the Act.

New Bills being Printed

Three new Government Bills are being prepared for gazetting by the Government Printer:

  • Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill
  • Consumer Protection Bill
  • Forest Amendment Bill.

It seems extremely unlikely that Parliament will have time to attend to these Bills before the election.

 

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