Bill Watch 38-2022 - Supplementary Budget Presented & Other Business in National Assembly 26 to 28 July

BILL WATCH 38/2022

[18th August 2022]

Business in the National Assembly’s 26th to 28th July]

and Supplementary 2022 Budget Documents Available

This catch-up bulletin deals only with business conducted in the National Assembly in its three sittings from 26th to 28th July, a period during which the Senate.  A separate bulletin following this one will cover Parliamentary events from Tuesday this week, 16th August, when both the Senate and the National Assembly resumed sitting after their respective recesses.

Reminder: PVO Amendment Bill Delayed Pending

Speaker’s Ruling on Point of Order on Committee Stage

Bill Watch 35/2022 [link ] told the tale of the surprise completion of the Second Reading and Committee Stages of this Bill on Tuesday 26th July, including the approval of the many contentious Government Committee Stage amendments to this already contentious Bill ­in the physical – but not virtual – absence of Opposition MPs.  It also covered the sequel the following day when, Wednesday 27th July, when Hon Mushoriwa raised a point of order challenging the procedural correctness of the previous day’s proceedings in the National Assembly.  Hon Mushoriwa complained that some MPs who wanted to contribute had been excluded from participating in the virtual Committee Stage proceedings on the Zoom platform.  Hon Gonese spoke in support.  The Speaker, who had not presided on Tuesday but was presiding on Wednesday, said he would give a ruling on the complaint.

The Speaker did not hand down a ruling during Thursday afternoon’s sitting, which was devoted to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development’s presentation of his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Statement and the Supplementary Budget for the rest of the 2022 financial year.  As soon as the Minister had presented his Supplementary Budget at 3.30 pm, the House adjourned until 16th August, effectively postponing any ruling on the PVO Amendment Bill until this week. 

When the House adjourned yesterday, Wednesday 17th August at 6.53 pm, the Speaker had not given a ruling on the matter, although Hon Gonese and Hon Mushoriwa had again raised the matter with him before Question Time.  [Meanwhile, on Tuesday 16th August the Deputy Speaker had announced the receipt of a non-adverse report on the Committee Stage amendments.  But Standing Orders permit a motion to be moved for the recommittal of the Bill to the Committee Stage even at this late stage.]

Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Statement & Supplementary 2022 Budget

Thursday 28th July 2021

Documents available on the Veritas website

The first and second items below are on the same webpage as separate downloads.

2022 Mid-Term Budget and Economic Review & Supplementary Budget Speech [link] [21 pages, 318 KB] – speech delivered in the National Assembly on Thursday 28th July 2022 by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

2022 Mid-Term Budget and Economic Review & Supplementary Budget [PowerPoint presentation of slides for above speech] [link] [6 MB]

2022 Mid-Term Budget and Economic Review & Supplementary Budget [link]  [128 pages, 8.5 MB] – the complete combined document tabled in the National Assembly by the Minister [as opposed to the Minister’s speech].

Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure [Blue Book] for year ending 31 December 2022 [link].

Budget Highlights Summarised by Ministry of Finance [link].

Documents not yet available

These include at least two Bills which are still to be released:

·        the Finance Bill, which will be tabled by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development if the National Assembly approves the motion that he will move at the end of the ongoing Budget Debate, that the  Budget Debate has come to an end with the approval of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development’s motion that the leave of the House be given to bring in a Finance Bill to make provision for the revenues and public funds of Zimbabwe;

·        the Appropriation (2022) (Supplementary) Bill, which will be introduced if the National Assembly approves the Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue.

Other Business in the National Assembly [26th to 28th July]

Papers tabled by Ministers

Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement

Zambezi River Authority 2021 Annual Report [link] – tabled 26th July.

Minister of Finance and Economic Development

Annual Public Debt Bulletin, 2021 Financial Statement [link] – tabled 26th July

Budget Strategy Paper: 2023 – tabled 28th July [link].  This Government policy paper, which was approved by Cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday 19th July [link], will form the basis for the detailed process, including public consultations, that will culminate in the presentation and approval of next year’s National Budget by Parliament at the end of the year.  The theme for the 2023 Budget is Accelerating Economic Transformation.

Petitions received

For enactment of a National Anti-Sanctions Budget  On Wednesday 27th July the Speaker announced the receipt on 5th May of a petition from Citizens Against Economic Sanctions asking Parliament to put in place legislation providing for a National Anti-Sanctions Budget.  It had been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development. 

Note: A petition from an individual at Bindura University of Science Education asking Parliament to recommend reverting to the old remuneration system for State University lecturers had been deemed inadmissible because it failed to meet the formal requirements of Standing Orders.

Reports presented [to be posted on Veritas website when available]

Portfolio Committee’s Benchmarking Visit to Kenya on Community Radio Stations  This report was presented on 26th July.  The visit to Kenya, in November 2021, was to familiarise the Information, Media and Broadcasting Services committee with the legislation and operationalisation of community radio stations in Kenya.

March 2022 Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women  The Commission’s session in New York was attended by a Zimbabwean delegation headed by Hon Chinomona, President of the Senate, and included MPs of the Women’s Caucus, Parliamentary staff, a delegation from the Ministry of Women Affairs, and representatives of the Gender Commission and a number of Government ministries.  Its theme was Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.

Reports adopted

On 27th July the House completed debates on and adopted two committee reports: (1) the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education on the Inclusive Education Policy [IEP] and Betters Schools Programme – Zimbabwe [BSPZ] [link]; and (2) the Public Accounts Committee report on COVID-19 pandemic, Management Financial and Utilisation of Public Resources by Ministries, Departments and Agencies [link].

Question Time [Wednesday 27th July]

The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Hon Prof Mavima, one of the relatively few Ministers present, attracted the first batch of questions.  He said BEAM payments supporting school fees for pupils of vulnerable parents were up to date for the first two terms; confirmed the policy decision that Government would meet Government school fees for children of teachers in the Public Service; on food aid he admitted some delay, but said that had been to allow proper research into the extent of hunger in the country and, now that the extent was known, “we are going to give each and every family what it deserves in terms of food, using the data which has been provided to us by the different Government departments”.  On the threatened strike by public servants, he said there was constant negotiation with union and association representatives but said that he was satisfied that the arrest and detention of two leading negotiators for rural teachers had been for entirely separate reasons.

Hon Markham again raised the City of Harare’s failure of issuing licences to non-indigenous applicants [those with ID numbers ending “00”] and it was decided that a Ministerial statement must be delivered by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.

One-minute Statements on Matters of National Importance

There was time for only two one-minute statements on 28th July before the House turned to the Mid-Term Supplementary Budget.

Launch of Sexual Harassment Policy for the Public Service [to be posted on Veritas website when available]   Hon Madiwa, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development, applauded the launch of this policy on 27th July by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and also called for the ratification of International Labour Organisation [ILO] Convention 190 in order to buttress this progress. 

Problems with Mobile Registration Exercise for birth certificates and IDs   Hon J. Sithole said that the ongoing exercise was not living up to public expectations, despite public assurances by the President that formalities would be relaxed.  The Speaker commented that, as the President had issued a binding directive that must be complied with, MPs should ensure that instances of non-compliance were reported to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.  Hon Markham suggested that the mobile teams did not have connectivity back to bases, which was hampering their work.  The Speaker said a Ministerial statement from the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage must be presented on 16th August when the House next met; the statement must give statistics of individuals registered.

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