BILL WATCH 72-2020 - Legislative Agenda for Third Session

BILL WATCH 72/2020

[30th October 2020]

The Legislative Agenda for the Third Session

The State of the Nation Address [link] by President Mnangagwa at the opening of the Third Session of this Parliament [the Ninth] on the 22nd October, included a Legislative Agenda for the rest of this year and until the same time next year.  This legislative agenda is outlined in this bulletin.

10 Outstanding Bills from the Second Session

First of all the President mentioned Bills [although his list was not complete] from the Second Session that had not been completed by the end of the session – and urged members of Parliament to expedite their passing.  Below is a complete list of unfinished Bills and what stage they have reached going through Parliament:

Bills passed by the National Assembly but still in the Senate

Marriages Bill, as amended by the National Assembly

Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, as amended by the National Assembly

Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Bill [the not-properly-passed 2017 Bill, not the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 2) Bill currently in the National Assembly]

Bills already presented to the National Assembly and partly dealt with

Forest Amendment Bill [link]

Financial Adjustments Bill [link]

Cyber Security & Data Protection Bill [link] [the President specifically mentioned this Bill as one to be speeded up, “given the importance of robust and secure information systems to drive digital services in all sectors of our economy”]

Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 2) Bill [link]

Manpower Planning and Development Amendment Bill [link] [still awaiting initial PLC report after its First Reading in September]

Bills gazetted and awaiting presentation in the National Assembly

Pension and Provident Funds Bill [link]

Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Bill [link]

29 New Bills on the Legislative Agenda

In addition to the Bills carried over from the Second Session, the President targeted a large number of other Bills – 29 by our count – for presentation to and enactment by Parliament during this new session.  

Economic Reform Bills

Sugar Industry Bill – to repeal and replace the outdated Sugar Industry Production Control Act of the 1990s

Economic Empowerment Bill – to replace what is left of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act [and, we hope, come up with a statement of the law on this subject that it less confusing than the present unsatisfactory mash-mash]

Competition Amendment Bill – to align Zimbabwean law with the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement

Cooperative Societies Amendment Bill – to amend the Cooperative Societies Act to take account of the role of small to medium enterprises and the informal sector in the economy

Mining sector

Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill – disappointed by lack of progress on this apparently doomed Bill for some years may doubt whether this Bill will ever see the light of day

Precious Stones Trade Amendment Bill

Gold Trade Amendment Bill

[Note: The President interposed here to inform MPs that the Minamata Convention – which will end the use of mercury in mining activities – will be presented for approval and adoption.]

Tourism Sector

Tourism Amendment Bill – to encourage tourism investment

Parks and Wild Life Amendment Bill – to embed community-based wild life management

Energy sector

Electricity Amendment Bill – to increase mandatory sentences for perpetrators of vandalism of power infrastructure

Copper Control Amendment Bill – to curb the related illegal possession and trade in copper products

Devolution and decentralisation

Note: The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has already told the National Assembly that the devolution Bills will have to wait until the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 2) Bill has become law and corrected anomalies in the constitutional provisions on devolution.

Provincial Councils Amendment Bill

Traditional Leaders Amendment Bill

Urban Councils Amendment Bill

Rural District Councils Amendment Bill

The President said that this devolution legislative exercise would also require amendments to the following Acts to enhance the devolution of powers and functions to the lower tiers of government as required by the Constitution: Regional, Town and Country Planning Act; Environmental Management Act; Roads Act; Public Health Act; Education Act; Housing and Building Act; Water Act; Liquor Act.  Although the President did not say so, an obvious way to cope with these consequential devolution-related amendments would be in the Amendment Bills listed above or in a single omnibus Bill

Construction Industry

Construction Industry Council Bill – to regulate the construction industry and stimulate the general growth of the sub-sector

Higher and Tertiary Education

The President described the following three Bills as for achieving the “Education 5.0 model” and bringing the existing law in line with the Constitution:

Manpower Planning and Development Amendment Bill [already gazetted and awaiting initial PLC report after First Reading]

Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Bill [already gazetted and awaiting presentation on 11th November]

State Universities Amendment Bill

Youth

Youth Bill – to set the parameters regulating youth development and empowerment, vocational training and skills development, financial inclusion and leadership, youth participation as well as National Service.

Sports and recreation

Sports Integrity Bill – to eliminate corrosive and corrupt practices such as match and competition fixing, illegal betting and doping; also to eliminate riots and violence in the sector.

Sport, Leisure and Recreation Bill – to repeal and replace the Sports and Recreation Commission Act and the Boxing and Wrestling Control Act, an outdated Act of 1956

Media

Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill

Protection of Personal Information Bill

Ministry of Home Affairs

Citizenship Amendment Bill

Immigration Amendment Bill

Police (Amendment) Bill

Children

Children’s Amendment Bill

NGOs and Private Voluntary Organisations

Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill – The President elaborated as follows: “The conduct of some Non-Governmental Organisations and Private Voluntary Organisations who operate outside their mandates and out of sync with the Government’s humanitarian priority programmes remains a cause for concern.”  He said this Bill will, therefore, “revamp the administration of NGOs and PVOs and correct the current anomalies” perceived by the Government.

 

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