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Parliamentary Update - Budget Bills and other business - Bill Watch
December 12, 2010
of Assembly will sit again on Tuesday 14th December
The Senate has
adjourned until Tuesday 8th February 2011
Senate Meets – No Further Rumpus over Provincial Governors
The Senate met
on the 7th December, having been recalled to meet from that day
on notwithstanding its November adjournment until 8th February 2011.
The recall was ordered by Senate President Ednah Madzongwe, at the
request of President Mugabe, in terms of Senate Standing Order 187,
which permits her to recall the Senate during an adjournment if
she is satisfied that the “public interest” requires
it to meet. Business proceeded normally, without MDC-T Senators
objecting to the presence of the provincial governors whose recent
reappointments are not recognised by MDC-T. A party spokesman said
that MDC-T Senators would not repeat their November blocking of
Senate proceedings, because the provincial governors issue was now
before the High Court and also being dealt with by SADC Facilitator
President Zuma. At the same time he reaffirmed the party position
that the governors’ reappointments were not constitutional.
MDC-M Minister and Deputy Minister Sworn In
On 9th December
President Mugabe swore in the new:
State in the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration
– Moses Mzila Ndlovu [MP for Bulilima West] [he fills the
place of the late Gibson Sibanda, who died on 23rd August].
of Foreign Affairs – Rabson Makhula [Senator for Nkayi] [he
fills the post formerly held by new Minister Ndlovu].
National People’s Congress runs from 15th to 18th December.
It will kick off with a politburo meeting on Wednesday the 15th
in Harare followed by the main Congress in Mutare on the 17th and
House of Assembly Order Paper for this Week
be the House of Assembly’s last sitting day of 2010, as the
ZANU-PF national congress commences the following day and in previous
has always adjourned to allow this event to take place.
recommended amendments to Finance Bill: The main item of business
will be consideration of three amendments to the Finance Bill recommended
by the Senate on Friday. Under the special rules applicable to money
bills the House of Assembly is not obliged to accept these recommendations,
and the Bill can be submitted to the President for his assent either
with or without the recommended changes, as the House decides. The
recommendations are that members of the ZIMRA board, the Procurement
Board and the Reserve Bank board should be restricted to sitting
on only two statutory boards, rather than three as proposed by the
Minister of Finance in the Bill.
Corporation Bill: The Bill awaits its Second Reading. It envisages
the setting up of the Deposit Protection Corporation and Deposit
Protection Fund to provide for the compensation of depositors in
failed financial institutions. This will replace the existing compensation
scheme, which is spelled out in the Banking Act and in regulations
made under that Act.
Progress on the three bills currently with the Parliamentary Legal
Committee [PLC] [see below] is unlikely.
These include motions for discussion of adverse reports by the Parliamentary
Legal Committee [PLC] on statutory instruments, motions on reports
and the ongoing debate on the President’s speech opening Parliament
House of Assembly Last Week
Amendment Bill: Hon Gonese’s private member’s
bill went through its Committee Stage, during which the House agreed
to three amendments to the bill proposed by Mr Gonese. The amendments
received a prompt non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal
Committee and the Bill was then passed and transmitted to the Senate.
The Senate’s adjournment until 8th February means that the
bill cannot now become law this year. [Electronic version of bill
as passed by the House available – please address requests
Bills: On 25th November the House approved the fast-tracking
of the money bills and all the other bills already on the order
paper [see below]. The resolution also approved late-night and Friday
sittings and the suspension of Questions on Wednesday. [Comment:
Fast-tracking of Budget and other end-of-year business has become
routine, but remains a deplorable practice, as it undermines well-established
procedures designed to ensure proper consideration of Parliamentary
business. Surely any government should be able to plan ahead. Also,
the tradition of allowing a party congress to take precedence over
Parliamentary work needs to be reconsidered.]
Bills: On Tuesday the debate on the Budget
continued, with portfolio committee chairpersons reporting to the
House following the post-Budget analysis carried out by the committees.
The Minister’s allocations attracted much criticism and there
were calls for changes. Hon Zhanda, chairperson of the Portfolio
Committee on Budget, Finance etc. attempted to have the debate postponed
until MPs had been able to meet the Minister of Finance for further
discussion, but was ruled out of order by the Speaker. On Wednesday
the Minister replied to the debate, putting up a spirited defence
and pointing out that the whole Government had approved the Budget.
On MPs’ calls for a larger allocation for constituency development
funds he pointed out that 39 MPs had failed to activate their constituency
funds this year. In the end, despite the rumblings of discontent,
there was no backbench revolt and on Tuesday the Estimates of Expenditure
for 2011, the Finance Bill and Appropriation (2011) Bill were passed
without further debate. On Wednesday the Revised Estimates for 2010
and the related Appropriation (2010) Amendment (No. 2) Bill; [making
adjustments to appropriations for 2010 as a result of revenue collections
for 2010 having exceeded expectations] were passed without debate.
The two money bills for 2011 and the Appropriation (2010) Amendment
(No. 2) Bill were transmitted to the Senate.
- Energy Regulatory
Authority Bill – the Bill passed its Committee Stage during
which numerous amendments were made at the request of the Minister
of Energy and Power Development. The PLC returned a non-adverse
report on the amendments and the bill was passed and transmitted
to the Senate.
still in House
Discussion commenced on the report of the Public Service, Labour
and Social Welfare Portfolio Committee on the operations of the
National Social Security Authority [NSSA] and the report on the
November session of the Pan-African Parliament.
Senate Last Week
Like the House
of Assembly, the Senate approved the suspension of Standing Orders
to enable pending business to be fast-tracked. It sat on Tuesday,
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before adjourning until 8th February
The Senate received the three money bills from the House of Assembly
on Wednesday. It passed Appropriation (2011) Bill and the Appropriation
(2010) Amendment (No. 2) Bill on Thursday. On Friday it also
passed the Finance Bill but recommended three amendments for consideration
by the House of Assembly. [Note: Under the Constitution the Senate
cannot amend a money bill but can recommend amendments which the
House of Assembly is then free to accept or reject.]
Agreements Approved: The Senate approved the following international
agreements in accordance with section 111B of the Constitution:
on the Establishment of the Zambezi Watercourse Commission
on the Establishment of the Limpopo Watercourse Commission
- Loan Agreement
between Government of Zimbabwe and Export-Import Bank of China
relating to Zimbabwe’s 2G and 3G National Network Rollout
Project being implemented by Net One
of Understanding on Co-operation on Water Supply and Wastewater
Management Policy and Technology
between Zimbabwe and South Africa for the Promotion and Reciprocal
Protection of Investments [BIPPA]
forward to February next year: The Senate adjourned without dealing
with the following bills on its Order Paper:
National Security Council Amendment Bill [transmitted from
the House of Assembly in November]
- POSA Amendment
Bill [transmitted from the House of Assembly on 8th December]
- Energy Regulatory
Authority Bill [transmitted from the House of Assembly on 9th
Awaiting Introduction in Parliament
bills have been printed and gazetted, but have not yet been listed
on the Order Paper for presentation in Parliament:
- General Laws
Amendment Bill [gazetted 22nd October]
Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill [gazetted 5th November]
154/2010 – Road Traffic Regulations – Postponement
by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport that the
commencement of SI 154/2010 would be postponed from 1st December
until 1st June 2011, no statutory instrument has been gazetted making
this postponement legally effective. This is of concern to non-compliant
motorists. Veritas has been assured that the statutory instrument
is being prepared and will be gazetted soon.
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
legal responsibility for information supplied
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