Parly fast-tracks budget debate

Source: Parly fast-tracks budget debate | The Herald 19 DEC, 2018

Parly fast-tracks budget debateMinister Ziyambi

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Parliament yesterday fast-tracked debate on the 2019 National Budget which was presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube last month to ensure that it sails through before the august House adjourns for Christmas.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is also Leader of Government Business in the House, moved for the suspension of some procedural requirements that should ordinarily be followed during such proceedings.

Some of the requirements that Parliament adopted was the suspension of automatic adjournment at 6.55pm, the requirement of referral of a Bill to the Parliamentary Legal Committee and allowing for the sitting of the House on Friday should the need arise.

The motion by Minister Ziyambi to suspend some procedural requirements in respect of debate on the 2019 National Budget was made in terms of Parliament’s Standing Orders.

Soon after Parliament adopted Minister Ziyambi’s motion, debate on the National Budget resumed with chairpersons of different portfolio committees tabling their reports.

Most of the reports bemoaned inadequate allocation of financial resources to various Government ministries and departments.
Prof Ncube sat through the debate listening to contributions from legislators and was expected to respond once the backbenchers completed their debate.

Presenting the portfolio committee report on Primary and Secondary Education, Cde Josiah Sithole (zanu-pf) bemoaned the low budget allocation for the ministry saying Zimbabwe was the only country in the Sadc region that did not offer free education.

Harare East MP Mr Tendai Biti (MDC Alliance) said the Government’s move to levy import duty in foreign currency was unlawful.

He said in terms of the Reserve Bank Act all currencies in the multi-currency basket should be accepted.
“As long as the bond note is in circulation it is legal tender,” said Mr Biti.

He said Prof Ncube should be bold enough to acknowledge the bond note was not at par with the United States and implored Treasury to liberalise the exchange rate.

“The minister must have the courage to demonitise the bond note. Bad money tends to displace good money. He must have the courage to liberalise the exchange rate. If the exchange rate is allowed to settle it will do so at a much lower rate than the going rate

Mr Biti said the only solution was to re-dollarise the economy.
Mines and Mining Development Portfolio Committee chairperson Mr Temba Mliswa said there was need to support the sector given that it was projected to contribute about 40 percent to Gross Domestic Product.