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President assents to three Bills
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
March 01, 2005

PRESIDENT Mugabe has assented to the Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA), Health Services and Reconstruction of State Indebted Insolvent Companies Bills which are now law.

He has also assented to the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council Act (ZNFPC) amendments.

The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, announced in a notice in last Friday's Extraordinary Government Gazette that the President had assented to the Bills and the amendment to the ZNFPC Act.

The President's assent to the AMA Act paves the way for the establishment of the Agricultural Marketing Authority, a statutory corporation that would be charged with regulating and supervising the marketing of certain agricultural products.

The authority was expected to ensure the fair pricing of such products for the benefit of all those participating in the agricultural industry, particularly the communal and resettled farmers.

The authority would regulate and supervise the marketing of not only products from crop farming but also, horticultural, animal husbandry, game and poultry, and many other products with the exception of the tobacco and pig industries.

AMA, which would have all features of a corporate body, was expected to advise the Minister of Agriculture on matters of national policy in the marketing of agricultural products taking into account economic conditions and prospects of the agricultural industry.

AMA was also supposed to make appropriate recommendations with regards to matters such as agricultural subsidies, marketing guarantees and the imposition of levies.

The authority will be run by a board on which chairmen of boards of statutory corporations charged with the regulation and marketing of agriculture products will sit as ex-officio members.

The authority will be funded by an Act of Parliament and through any loans, donations and grants made to the Authority by any person or authority or by any Government of any country.

The Act also provides for the establishment of an Agricultural Marketing Fund. The Fund, to be run by the authority, will be vested in the Minister who would be the trustee and would issue instructions on the running of it.

It would be responsible for the promotion of the marketing and production of agricultural products, stimulating demand for research into improving the production, processing and storing of agricultural products.

It would also provide for the training of personnel for them to fulfil the objective of the Fund and Authority.

The Fund was expected to be capitalised through levies on producers, processors and buyers in consultation with the Minister.

The assent to the Health Service Act, on the other hand, would see all health workers and other support staff in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare being removed from the Public Service Commission and placed under the Health Service.

The Act would also see the affected workers fall under the Health Service Board, whose establishment and functions are covered within the Act.

The board would be responsible for crafting the health workers' conditions of service in consultation with associations and organisations representing health service personnel.

It may alter the conditions of service of existing members of the health service, but no member's fixed salary scale would be reduced except in cases where the member has been found guilty of misconduct or has consented to the reduction.

In the event of a member or a former member being aggrieved by any verdict reached or punishment imposed on them, the Act provides room for appeal to the Labour Court.

The board would be comprised of an executive chairperson, not less than three full-time and not less than two part-time members.

The Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies Act provides for the reconstruction of State-indebted companies unable to repay loans from public funds.

It has provisions for the appointment and functions of companies under reconstruction and formulation and implementation of schemes of reconstruction in respect of such companies.

The amendments to the ZNFPC Act were made in sections, two, four, five and 22.

In section two of the Act, the definition of a member of the council was inserted and in section four amendments which deal with the appointment of the council's board, were made.

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