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Policy Statement – Bill Watch 23/2009
July 05, 2009
The House of
Assembly has adjourned until Tuesday 14th July, and the Senate until
Tuesday 21st July
on Constitutional Commissions Nominations
short-listing of candidates from among the large number of applicants
has not been completed.
of Finance’s Mid-Term Policy Statement
Biti has said this will be presented to Parliament on 16th July.
“This will be a report card basically explaining how we have
done so far”. He also said that he will be making serious
policy pronouncements aimed at boosting the country’s economy
and reviewing taxes.
and Minerals Amendment Bill
Bill has a long history: following closely on the passage of the
Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, it was actually tabled in Parliament
in October 2007 as part of the ZANU-PF Government’s indigenisation
and empowerment drive. But the Bill was not taken any further –
it was not even debated – and it automatically fell away when
Parliament was dissolved in January 2008 ahead of the harmonised
elections. The Bill was in two parts – one providing for the
indigenisation of the mining industry [including stipulating 51%
“indigenous” ownership of mining companies], the other
for the modernisation of the Mines and Minerals Act. It was listed
for re-introduction as part of the ZANU-PF Government’s legislative
programme for the current Parliamentary session in President Mugabe’s
speech opening Parliament in August last year. At the moment the
2007 Bill is being considered by Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu for
resuscitation with possible changes. A new draft would have to be
approved by Cabinet before it can go any further. The Prime Minister
has said that the 51% is too high and must be lowered to encourage
foreign investment, raising hopes that any replacement Bill will
be more investor-friendly.
of the Legislative Agenda seems to consist of announcements in the
press of impending Bills. Neither the Cabinet Office nor the Prime
Minister’s Office has issued a statement on what Bills have
been approved by Cabinet. The first step in drafting a Bill is to
get a policy go-ahead from Cabinet, then the Bill is drafted by
the relevant Ministry in conjunction with the drafting section of
the Attorney Generals Office. The final draft of the Bill then has
to go back to Cabinet for final approval. If it is approved, Cabinet
authorises the responsible Minister to send it to Parliament. Parliament
then has it gazetted. It must be gazetted two weeks before it is
tabled in Parliament.
Audit Office and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Bills – these
three Ministry of Finance bills have been approved in principle
by Cabinet and they are now with the Ministry and the legal drafters
for preparation of the final drafts. The final drafts must go back
to Cabinet for approval. Until finally through Cabinet and sent
to Parliament the Bills cannot be said to be in the “Parliamentary
Communication Technology Bill – Minister Nelson Chamisa
said he will be seeking Cabinet’s policy approval for this
Bill on the 14th July – which means that if approval is granted,
the Bill still has to be drafted and go back to Cabinet for final
approval. The Bill is intended to cover licensing and regulation
of telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services and the
facilitation and regulation of electronic communications and transactions;
it will involve the repeal of the Postal and Telecommunications
Act and the Broadcasting Services Act.
replace AIPPA – the Ministry of Information, Media and
Publicity is working on two Bills to replace AIPPA – one to
regulate access to information, the other to provide for “administrative”
registration of media and journalists. But neither Bill has been
taken to Cabinet yet.
listed in the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme [STERP], e.g.,
Bills amending POSA, the Criminal Law Code, Urban Councils Act,
etc. would have to go through the same process and therefore it
is unlikely that any of these Bills will be ready soon.
Committee Meetings Open to Public
although these meetings are listed as open to public attendance
– if you wish to attend, it is advisable to clear attendance
with Parliament beforehand by telephoning 700181and asking for the
relevant committee clerk.]
of Assembly Portfolio Committees
Water, Lands and Resettlement – oral evidence from the Ministry
of Finance [Monday 6th July at 10 am, Committee Room No. 1]
- Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare – oral evidence from the Ministry
of Finance [Monday 6th July at 2 pm, Committee Room No. 1]
Committee on Education, Sports and Culture – oral evidence
from the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture [Thursday
9th July at 10 am, Committee Room No. 4]
- Public Accounts
Committee – oral evidence from the Ministry of Local Government,
Rural and Urban and Development and the Ministry of Transport,
Communications and Infrastructure Development [Monday 6th July
at 10 am Committee Room No. 4]
Committee on the New Constitution – is busy organising the
First All Stakeholders Conference which will go ahead as scheduled
from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th July at the Harare International
Conference Centre. Invitations will be faxed or delivered to organisations
and delegates on Monday 6th July.
thematic committees – no meetings scheduled
Roy Bennett – Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate Bennett
has been remanded to 13th October despite his lawyer’s protests
against the failure to bring the matter to trial four months after
Mr Bennett’s arrest. Mr Bennett is still not sworn in as Deputy
– no notices have been gazetted calling these by-elections
[see Bill Watch Special of 17th May for details] and no explanation
has been forthcoming from the government for its failure to comply
with the law.
on Inclusive Government
to SADC Summit – Unconfirmed reports say SADC will convene
a meeting before the end of July to discuss the issues that remain
outstanding in the Interparty Political Agreemen [IPA].
The Prime Minister
has endorsed his deputy Thokozane Khupe’s statement expressing
MDC-T frustration with the slow pace of implementation of the IPA
and the MDC-T Cabinet boycott, but said that MDC-T would not pull
out of the inclusive government.
gave the keynote address on “Food Security” at the 13th
AU Summit which opened on Wednesday in Libya.
on IPA to the AU Summit – The AU Summit communiqué
commended steps SADC had taken, welcomed progress made in the implementation
of the IPA and appealed for the immediate lifting of sanctions and
for provision of financial assistance to Zimbabwe by AU states and
the wider international community. [AU Summit communiqué
available on request.]
Monetary Fund [IMF] concluded, after their staff visited Zimbabwe,
22nd to 30th June, that there were signs of a “nascent economic
recovery”, but although its staff will continue to provide
policy advice and targeted technical assistance, “access to
IMF financing would require donor financial support for arrears
clearance to official creditors and a sustained track record of
sound policies”. [Full text of statement available on request.]
with the Commonwealth – this week there will be a roundtable
discussion in Johannesburg, organised by the Commonwealth Committee
on Zimbabwe, aimed at the mobilisation of humanitarian aid and paving
the way for Zimbabwe’s possible re-admission into the 54-nation
Commonwealth. [Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth in December 2003.]
Councils for Bulawayo and Harare?
is reported that the Government is considering setting up provincial
councils for the two metropolitan provinces of Bulawayo and Harare
to promote development. These are the only provinces that do not
already have provincial councils. The establishment of a provincial
council is a matter for decision by the President and Cabinet jointly,
not for the President alone. The legal mechanism for establishment
is the publication of a proclamation in the Government Gazette in
terms of the Provincial Councils and Administration Act. [Electronic
version of Act available on request.] The functions of provincial
councils are all development-related; they have few real powers
– they cannot, for instance, make regulations or by-laws.
A provincial council consists of the provincial governor [who chairs
its meetings], the mayor/chairperson and one other member of every
local authority council in the province, one chief nominated by
the chiefs of the province, and three persons appointed by the President
on the advice of Cabinet [one each to represent women and youth,
and one appointed for skill and experience in the province’s
political affairs] [PCA Act, section 14].
of Makoni Party
Finance Minister Simba Makoni launched his Mavambo-Kusile-Dawn party
on Wednesday morning in Harare, promising to bring what he called
“real change” and a commitment to service rather that
the politics of power and control. He called for national healing,
restoration of civil liberties and economic and social viability.
The launch was somewhat marred by his erstwhile colleagues in the
movement who have recently taken him to court and who declared the
launch null and void.
Process Team Visits Zimbabwe Diamond Fields
the end of its mission to Zimbabwe the Kimberley Process review
team presented its provisional report, pointing out that lack of
security had led to illegal digging and processing activities, recommending
immediate demilitarisation of the Chiadzwa diamond field [“There
cannot be effective security where diamonds are concerned with the
involvement of the military”], stricter border controls to
prevent diamond smuggling and better control from place of production
to point of export. A final report will follow later. There were
accusations in some press reports that there was an army “clean
up” of the diamond fields before the inspection by the Kimberley
- Bills –
no Bills being are being printed by the Government Printer for
gazetting and presentation in Parliament.
- Acts –
the new Census and Statistics Act [Act 1/2007] came into operation
on 1st July [date fixed by SI 101A/2009 gazetted on 1st July].
This Act was gazetted on 20th July 2007. It transforms the Central
Statistical Office into the National Statistics Agency, a fully-fledged
parastatal. It also provides for the formulation of professional
standards and ethics to be adhered to by all organisations that
produce statistics for public information. Regulations made under
the old Act will continue in force.
Instruments – SI 103/2009 [amendment of Exchange Control
(General) Order of 1996] increases to US$10 000 the amount of
foreign currency that may be taken out of the country by travellers
[up from US$ 1 000].
is a statutory instrument expected on extending the suspension of
customs duty on groceries and other basic commodities [the last
SI to this effect expired on 30th June.] It is possible this SI
was gazetted late on 3rd July or over the weekend..
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
legal responsibility for information supplied.
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