Bill Watch 16/2014 of 31st March

BILL WATCH 16/2014

[31st March 2014]

Both Houses Will Sit This Week, Starting Tuesday 1st April

Bills Awaiting Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] Reports

There are two Bills awaiting PLC reports:

National Prosecuting Authority Bill  [referred to the PLC after its First Reading in the National Assembly on 26th February]

Trafficking in Persons Bill  [referred to the PLC after its First Reading in the National Assembly on 25th March]

The PLC’s next meeting is on Thursday 3rd April.  This means that neither of these Bills is likely to be dealt with by the National Assembly this week.

Coming up in Parliament This Week

National Assembly

Bills

Financial Adjustments Bill

Last week this Bill received a second non-adverse report from the PLC, a resubmission having been necessitated by the amendment of the original Bill by the National Assembly on 20th March.  It is now listed for further consideration by the National Assembly as item 2 on the Order Paper for 1st April.

Sovereign Wealth Fund Bill   The Committee Stage of this Bill is item 3 on the Order Paper for 1st April.  This is the stage during which the Bill will be considered clause by clause and amendments can be made.  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, who introduced the Bill, has given notice that he will propose:

  • ·        amendments to clause 6, which deals with the composition of the Board of the Sovereign Wealth Fund. These amendments are designed to reduce the number of Board members appointed by the Minister in consultation with the President from the originally proposed 16 to 7.  The amended clause 6(1)(b) would look like this:

“(b) seven members appointed by the Minister in consultation with the President, of whom—

(i)     one member shall be the person who for the time being holds the post of Secretary to the President and Cabinet in the Office of the President; and

(ii)    two members shall be appointed from a list of not less than three names submitted by the head of the Ministry responsible for finance; and

(iii)    one member shall be appointed from a list of not less than three names submitted by the Minister responsible for mining; and

(iv)   one member shall be appointed from a list of three names submitted by the Governor of the Reserve Bank; and

(v)    two members shall be appointed for their ability and experience in finance, law, investment, asset management or banking.”

The effect is to drop the original proposal to have Board members representing industry, commerce, agriculture, indigenisation and labour.  No change is proposed to clause 6(a), which makes the Board chairperson, appointed by the President, and the Fund’s Chief Executive Officer ex officio Board members. [Soft copy of Bill available from the addresses at the end of this bulletin.]

  • ·        the deletion of clause 30, which provides for the replacement of section 33 of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation Act.  Section 33 deals with the prompt payment of dividends and special dividends to ZMDC shareholders from the sale of diamonds.  The deletion is explained by the fact that the necessary changes to the law have already been made by the Finance Act, 2014 [passed by Parliament , but not yet gazetted as law]. 

International Agreement for Approval

Item 1 on the Order Paper for 1st April is the Hosting Agreement between the Government and the Zimbabwe Watercourse Commission that was concluded on 26th December 2013 in Luanda, Angola.

Consideration of PLC Adverse Reports

See below.

Motions

Tripartite Negotiating Forum  Hon Hlongwane’s motion, which has been awaiting introduction for some time, is high on the Order Paper.  It calls on the Government to reactivate the dormant Tripartite Negotiating Forum made up of Government, business and labour.

Also high on the Order Paper and awaiting introduction are motions on:

Relief for Hwange Colliery company workers, to be moved by Hon Tshuma; and

Duty-free car imports for civil servants, to be moved by Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

Other motions, including Hon Muderedzwa’s motion on the plight of war veterans, which drew support from all sides last week, are listed for continuation of debate.

Question Time [Wednesday 2nd April]

The number of written questions with notice listed on the Order Paper now stands at 47, down from the 78 that confronted Ministers last week.

Senate

Bills

Electoral Amendment Bill  On 25th March the Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs delivered a short Second Reading speech explaining this Bill to Senators, who then requested a week in which to study it before embarking on debate.  The commencement of debate is listed as item 1 on the Senate’s Order Paper for 1st April.  As the Bill was introduced in the Senate, it must go to the National Assembly after being passed by the Senate.

Consideration of PLC Adverse Reports

See below.

Motions

Vote of thanks for the President’s opening speech  This is item 2 on the Order Paper.  The debate on this motion is now nearing its conclusion.

Use of solar systems in agriculture  Continuation of debate on Senator Mutsvangwa’s motion on this subject is item 5.  Referring to the adverse effect on the agricultural sector of erratic power supplies over the last decade, it calls for the establishment of a Government policy for enhanced usage of solar systems in agriculture, including subsidies and Public/Private Partnerships.

Indigenous languages, the need for information dissemination within all local government structures, and environmental pollution and land degradation  The Order Paper lists the motions on these subjects for continuation of debates already started.

Question Time [Thursday 3rd April]

Ten questions are listed.  These include questions on:

The gap between men and women journalists The questioner asks the Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services’ to explain his plans to close this gap. 

Public assistance for people with disabilities  Senator Mashavakure will ask the Minister of Finance and Economic Development for an assurance that during 2014 funds for public assistance to disabled persons will not be diverted to other purposes; the question alleges that in 2012 such diversion resulted in disabled persons going without public assistance for almost 12 months

Consideration of PLC Adverse Reports on SIs 142 and 156/2013

These two adverse reports are listed for consideration by both the National Assembly and the Senate.  [See Bill Watch 15/2014 of 19th March for more detail on these adverse reports and the new procedure that is activated by them in terms of the Constitution.]

Government Gazette 21st to 28th March 2014

Statutory Instruments [SIs]

Mining fees  SI 56/2014, the Mining (General) (Amendment) Regulations (No. 18), was gazetted and came into operation on 21st March.  The SI sets out a new schedule of fees for mining rights and services provided by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.  Both the Ministry’s previous attempts at fixing new fees [SIs 11/2012 and 29/2013] attracted adverse reports from the PLC  and criticism from mining sector stakeholders on both policy and legal grounds.  The present SI replaces SI 29/2013, just as that SI replaced SI 11/2012.  As most of the criticisms levelled against the 2012 and 2013 fees apply to the present SI also, the PLC can be expected to subject it to rigorous scrutiny [PLC reports and SI 56/2014 available from Veritas – see addresses at the end of this bulletin].

Liquid petroleum gas [LPG] regulations  SI 57/2014, gazetted on 24th March under the Petroleum Act and the Energy Regulatory Authority Act, contains regulations controlling wholesale and retail dealing in LPG.  A licensing system administered by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority is imposed [not available from Veritas].

Collective bargaining agreement – Medical and Allied Industry  SI 58/2014, gazetted on 28th March, contains general conditions of service for workers in the industry [not available from Veritas].

General Notices [GNs]

Reserve Bank Governor  GN 115/2014 notifies the President’s appointment of Dr John Mangudya as Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for the 5-year period 1st May 2014 to 30th April 2019.

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