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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 40 - 2011
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
December 02, 2011

Introduction

The House of Assembly blocked the fast-tracking of the 2012 National Budget debate yesterday as backbenchers argued that they required adequate time to scrutinize the budget proposals. The House instead ratified two international agreements and restored the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Bill to the Order Paper before they adjourned to next Tuesday. The Senate quizzed Ministers on various issues of national interest during Question Time.

House of Assembly Plenary Proceedings:

Deferment of Debate on the 2012 National Budget

In an unprecedented move, backbenchers in the House of Assembly blocked the “fast-tracking” of the 2012 National Budget yesterday. Debate on the budget was the first item on the Order Paper and before the item could be debated, the Chairperson of the Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion, Hon. Paddy Zhanda moved a motion for the deferment of debate on the Budget. He said Portfolio Committees needed adequate time to scrutinize allocations to their relevant sectors and also time to compile reports for tabling in the House. The motion was unanimously supported by backbenchers across the political divide.

Hon. Zhanda cited the Public Finance and Management Act (PFMA) which gave Parliament a leeway to debate the budget up to 31 January 2012. Hence members questioned the rationale by the Executive of wanting to fast-track the passage of the budget.

The Minister of Finance was left with no option and thus agreed to defer debate on the budget to next week. Hon. Zhanda had sought to have the budget debate deferred to the 13th December. However, since the House adjourned to Tuesday 6 December 2011, it is more than likely that the budget will be debated on Tuesday next week.

By refusing to have the budget fast-tracked yesterday, the House of Assembly made a big statement to the Executive that it could no longer be taken as a rubber-stamp House.

Ratification of International Agreements

The House of Assembly ratified the 2nd Revised Cotonou Agreement and the Trade Agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the Government of the State of Kuwait in fulfillment of subsection (1) of section 111B of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Restoration of Bill to the Order Paper

The House passed a motion by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. Professor Welshman Ncube to restore the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Bill to Order Paper. The Bill had been superceded by the prorogation of the 3rd Session.

Adjournment of Parliament

Parliament adjourned to Tuesday 6 December 2011. It is hoped that by that time, Portfolio Committees would be ready to present their reports on 2012 budget relating to the sectors they shadow.

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