BILL WATCH 78/2020
[1st December 2020]
Both Houses are Sitting This Week
The 2021 National Budget was Presented on Thursday 26th November 2020
Presentation of the 2021 National Budget
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development delivered his Budget speech [link] in the National Assembly. The Budget theme is Building Resilience and Sustainable Economic Recovery. The speech was in essence a summary of the detailed, and much longer, 2021 National Budget Statement [link] tabled by the Minister before his speech.
Also tabled by the Minister was the “Budget Highlights”, also known as “The People’s Budget” [link], a short simplified version of the Budget, with graphics.
The Minister also tabled the following documents [not yet available on our website but will be available within a day or two]:
- the Estimates of Expenditure for 2021 [the “Blue Book”];
- the provisional draft of the Finance Bill, to give effect to the taxation changes that require incorporation in an Act of Parliament;
- the provisional draft of the Appropriation (2021) Bill [but please note that the proposed allocations of funds between Ministries and other entities can be found in the Budget Highlights [link]].
Other Budget-related documents available now on the Veritas website
- 2021 Pre-Budget Strategy Paper [link]
- National Development Strategy 1 [NDS1] (2021-2025) [link]. As the Minister explained in his speech on last week, the 2021 Budget starts the implementation of and is guided by the NDS1. The NDS1 was launched by President Mnangagwa on Monday 16th November and MPs attended a workshop unpacking it on Wednesday 18th November.
Immediately after the Minister’s Budget speech the House adjourned until Tuesday 1st December
This Week’s Preparations for the Budget Debate
The Budget debate is scheduled to resume next week, on Tuesday 8th December – but before that happens, MPs will have had the benefit of the preparatory activities that will occupy their mornings this week and on Monday 7th December, as follows:
- Post-Budget Seminar [30th November] – various experts unpacking the Budget;
- Post-Budget Consultations [Tuesday 1st, Thursday 3rd, Friday 4th and Monday 7th December] – all Portfolio Committees will conduct meetings to analyse the Budget in the light of reactions to the Budget from the Ministries they supervise [these are meetings open to stakeholders and the public]. Each committee will then hold a second meeting to approve the report to presented by on its behalf by its chairperson during the Budget debate [these are closed meetings].
The programme provided by Parliament for these committee meetings is available on the Veritas website [link].
Written submissions on the Budget from members of the public
The programme for the Post-Budget Consultations includes the following invitation from Parliament:
“Members of the public and stakeholders are also encouraged to submit their views to various Portfolio Committees that will be analysing Budget allocations for the various Ministries via the email address email@example.com”.
This Week’s Non-Budget Business in the National Assembly
International Agreements for approval
The Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry will move motions for the National Assembly’s approval of the following international agreements:
Minamata Convention on Mercury Zimbabwe signed this Convention in October 2013, but needs to ratify the Convention in order to become a full State party to the Convention and bound by the obligations created by the Convention. Major highlights of the Convention include a ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing ones, the phase out and phase down of mercury use in a number of products and processes, control measures on mercury emissions to air and on releases to land and water, and the regulation of the use of mercury in the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining. The Convention also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.
MPs in both Houses, concerned about the effects of mercury on the environment, particularly water sources, have recently urged Government to speed up the ratification of the Convention.
Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer The Minister’s motion refers to the fact that Zimbabwe is already a party to the Montreal Protocol and now wishes to become a party to the Kigali Amendment agreed on in 2016, which came into force on 1st January 2019. The Kigali Amendment aims to drastically reduce the production and use of powerful greenhouse gasses known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as a step towards reducing global warming – parties to it are committed to cut the production and consumption of HFCs by more than 80 percent over the next 30 years.
Take-note motions on reports of ZHRC and NPA
Next on the Order Paper are take-note motions by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for:
- the annual reports of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission [ZHRC] for 2018 and 2019;
- the ZHRC Report on its National Inquiry on Access to Documentation in Zimbabwe; and
- the annual report for 2019 of the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA].
Three Bills follow the above items on the Order Paper:
- Forest Amendment Bill [link] – awaiting conclusion of Second Reading debate
- Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill [link] – awaiting start of Committee Stage and consideration of amendments proposed by Portfolio Committee [link]
- Constitution of Zimbabwe (No. 2) Bill [link] – Second Reading debate in its early stages.
Two Bills are under consideration by the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for its initial report to the National Assembly on their constitutionality, following their introduction. Both Bills are from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development:
- the Manpower Planning and Development Amendment Bill [link], introduced during the last session and restored to this session’s order Paper on 18th November;
- Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Bill [link], which had its First Reading and was referred to the PLC on 17th November.
Question Time is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, 2nd December.
This Week’s Non-Budget Business in the Senate
Approval of International Agreements
The Order Paper for Tuesday 1st December lists the same two agreements due to be considered by the National Assembly [see above].
Bills The Bills awaiting the Senate’s attention remain the same as previously:
Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill [link] This Bill awaits the Second Reading speech to be given by the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.
Marriages Bill [link] The nearly-completed Second Reading stage of this Bill has been stalled in the Senate for several months, awaiting a final response by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to the more or less unanimous objections raised by Senators of all persuasions to the Bill’s failure to make acceptable provision for lobola.
Question Time is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, 3rd December.
Summary of Last Week’s Non-Budget Business
Motion on Children’s Affairs approved by National Assembly
Hon Nyashanu’s motion calling for a Parliamentary Caucus on Children’s Affairs and a standalone Ministry of Children’s Affairs was adopted by the National Assembly on Tuesday 24th November.
Motions on Gender-Based Violence [GBV] debated in both Houses
Both the Senate and the National Assembly marked the annual commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence by debating motions condemning GBV.
Matter of privilege: Complaint about alleged GBV by Hon Mamombe
Hon Mamombe complained that she had been a victim of GBV by a fellow member, citing utterances made by Hon T Zhou that she was mentally ill and should not be representing people in Parliament. The Deputy Speaker indicated she would consider the matter and make a ruling.