Govt reverses bid to fast-track Bill

Source: Govt reverses bid to fast-track Bill | The Herald November 26, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira: Senior Reporter

Government has reversed its decision to fast-track the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill that seeks to give legal effect to the introduction of bond notes to allow for wider consultations, a Cabinet Minister has said. Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the National Assembly that he would no longer fast-track the Bill.Initially, Minister Chinamasa had indicated to the National Assembly that he would seek leave of Parliament to suspend several procedural requirements that were related to the introduction and deliberation of Bills to allow it to be heard on an urgent basis.

Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda met Minister Chinamasa, where it was agreed that the relevant portfolio committee, Budget and Finance Committee would hold countrywide public consultations next week before debate could ensue.

In yesterday’s sitting, Minister Chinamasa told the National Assembly that he would amend his motion and only retain a clause that suspends the 14-day requirement before a Bill could be tabled in Parliament.

“Following my discussion with you (Adv Mudenda) and also following an announcement you made (of public hearings), I want to amend my motion,” said Minister Chinamasa.

A source close to the discussions said the view was that there was no prejudice in allowing normal process to take its course since there were already Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) to run for the next six months taking care of the introduction of bond notes.

Some of the procedures that Minister Chinamasa had initially sought to be suspended included the period within which the Parliamentary Legal Committee would report, and the time-frame upon which the relevant portfolio committee should report to the House.

Minister Chinamasa had also initially sought the suspension of Standing Order Number 139, which provided that not more than one stage of a Bill may be taken in the same sitting or on the same day without the leave of the House.

Kuwadzana East MP Advocate Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) commended Minister Chinamasa, saying while he had differed with him on several occasions, he agreed with his decision.

“This is a positive thing. We must not just criticise for the sake of it. It is a pro-people decision. It is in line with the dictates of our Constitution,” said Adv Chamisa.

Meanwhile, the Land Commission Bill sailed through the second reading stage yesterday.

The Bill seeks to establish a Land Commission, whose function is to carry out land audits and resolve land disputes. Land Reform and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora said the commission would also advise Government on several land related issues.