Source: Quorum stalls RBZ Amendment Bill | The Herald December 24, 2016
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Debate on the Reserve Bank Amendment Bill, which seeks to give legal effect to bond notes, has been stalled because of lack of quorum in the National Assembly.
MDC-T MPs constantly rose on a point of order to indicate that there was no quorum, thereby stopping debate to allow legislators to walk in so as to re-constitute a quorum or force an adjournment of the House.
On Wednesday, Kuwadzana East MP Mr Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T), pointed out that there was no quorum and bells had to be rung for about 10 minutes to allow legislators who were out to walk in.
After about an hour upon resumption of debate, St Mary’s MP Mr Unganai Tarusenga (MDC-T), rose again on another point of order to indicate that there was no quorum.
This later forced an automatic adjournment, which saw the National Assembly uncharacteristically meeting yesterday, a day which it does not ordinarily convene.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa had to adjourn debate on the Bill to January 24, 2017 when the House sat yesterday.
This was after the House sat for five minutes. Presenting a portfolio committee report for Budget and Finance, chairperson Cde David Chapfika said the Bill should provide for penalties for those individuals and corporates that do not accept bond notes and coins as legal tender.
“Stiff penalties should also be imposed on those found exchanging the notes at a different rate other than the one stipulated in the Bill,” said Cde Chapfika.
He said the committee was proposing that the Bill provide a mechanism for recourse at the expiry of the Afreximbank guarantee, so as to instil confidence in the public. Hatfield MP Dr Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T) said Parliament should be furnished with the agreement between Government and Afreximbank under which the $200 million bond notes was anchored.
“I will call upon the minister to try and provide that term sheet so that we can tell the people whom we represent that this money is not just being printed,” he said.
“It is actually based on something, which is the $200 million facility.”
Chegutu West MP Cde Dexter Nduna (Zanu-PF), said there was need for the nation to be told how Government was dealing with the interest accruing from the $200 million facility.
“What immediately comes to mind is that whatever loan we get accrues interest and that needs to be brought into account,” he said.
“How that interest is being liquidated needs also to be spoken about because as long as we are accruing interest against the United States dollar, it means we are losing value on our bond notes.
“Assuming the RBZ is going to sustain the convertibility of that bond note over a certain period, it needs to be explained to the nation what it is that is going to be used as a convertibility sustenance mechanism for our bond note.
“The sustenance can never be in perpetuity, but can only come to a certain point.”
Glen Norah MP Mr Webster Maondera (MDC-T), implored Minister Chinamasa to give legislators more time to study the Bill saying given its importance, they needed additional time to brainstorm.
“I urge the minister to give this House ample time for us to get to understand.
“You will be shocked Honourable Speaker that some Honourable Members do not know what you are talking about; they do not know what this law entails,” he said.