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Roundup Bulletin No. 6 – 2012
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
March 09, 2012
did not meet this week as they adjourned last week to Tuesday 13
March 2012. However, Portfolio Committees continued meeting. Below
is a summary of the proceedings of Portfolio Committees that received
oral evidence on various policy issues from the ministries and government
departments they shadow.
of Committees Activities
Finance and Investment Promotion
The Budget Committee
received oral evidence from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Board
Sub Committee on Asset Disposal. The Board Sub Committee was represented
by Mr. J. Smith. The RBZ is in the process of disposing of assets
it acquired during the Zimbabwe Dollar era under its quasi-fiscal
activities. Proceeds to be realized from this process will be used
to settle debts that RBZ incurred as a result of its quasi-fiscal
activities. It is understood that the debt is hovering above US$1.2
Mr. Smith indicated
to the Committee that RBZ has so far disposed of 9 properties out
of a total of 21 that were earmarked for disposal and a total of
US$901 000 was realized.
Resources, Environment and Tourism
Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources Management Ministry,
Mrs. Nhekairo testified before the Committee on the implementation
of the Wildlife-based and Forest Based land reform policies. She
was accompanied by the Director General of Parks and Wildlife and
the Director of the Forestry Commission.
the Committee that the Ministry administers non-agricultural land:
forests and wildlife land. This is because of the unique land use
option on the land in question.
land reform policy
The Parks and
Wildlife Director General, Mr. Chatenga explained to the Committee
the policy behind the Wildlife-based Land Reform. He informed the
Committee that the broad objectives of the policy were to ensure
the broader participation of Zimbabweans in this sector and also
to ensure the conservation of wildlife. The policy became operational
in 2007. However, this was preceded by the general land reform where
bias was towards crop farming.
heard that since the inception of the policy in 2007 more than 20
meetings and outreach programs have been conducted as part of the
implementation strategy. However, the Director General testified
that not much progress had been made on the implementation of the
policy. The lack of progress was due to lack of cooperation from
those already involved in wildlife conservancy. Those ignoring the
policy were arguing that the process was unconstitutional while
others objected to the imposition of business partners on them.
has created hostility in the communities surrounding conservancies
making the business unviable due to an upsurge in poaching as well
as human-wildlife conflict.
To date 77 leases
have been issued, expected to benefit about 400 households. When
quizzed on why the Ministry had decided on 25 year leases, the Director
General indicated that if managed properly, wildlife was capable
of providing a good return in 25 years, which would allow current
beneficiaries time to benefit (e.g. from trophy hunting) and move
on and leave the resource for other interested beneficiaries. He
further stated that 99 year leases were not ideal as they would
perpetuate the current scenario where only a few people benefit
from the wildlife-based land reform.
land reform policy
Manager of the Forestry Commission informed the Committee that there
were two categories of forests that were recognized and protected;
Forestry plantations in Manicaland Province and Indigenous gazetted
forests in Matabeleland North Province. The Forest-based Land Reform
policy was currently being crafted. The thrust of this policy was
to ensure that there was enough timber in Zimbabwe for local consumption
and export and to also ensure that more people benefited from the
industry. The second category of forests was meant to protect water
catchment areas for rivers like Gwai that flow from this protected
heard that settlers were posing challenges to forest management.
In 2008, the industry lost about 12 000 hectares to forest fires
in addition to poaching. A lot of the land that was affected by
the forest fires remains unplanted. The Forestry Commission recommended
either the removal of settlers, demarcation of settled areas from
forests or the incorporation of settlers into the forestry business.
A total of 21 000 hectares have been occupied in the Matabeleland
region by about 32 000 settlers. The Forestry Commission Director
indicated that if the settlers were allowed to settle, the very
reason for the gazetting of this area would be defeated. Already
there was a lot of poaching of trees and animals, land degradation
and siltation of rivers.
Commission Director also mentioned the setting up of a social fund
to benefit communities surrounding forestry areas. Some companies
have contributed to the fund, but there was no legal instrument
available to persuade the companies to contribute.
Service Labour and Social Welfare
received oral evidence on the performance of social security schemes
under the ambit of National Social Security Authority (NSSA) from
Mr. James Matiza, the NSSA General Manager. He informed the Committee
NSSA was established through a piece of legislation; National Social
Security Act (17:04). Its general mandate is to administer the social
security scheme as well as advising the Minister of Labour and Social
Welfare on all matters concerning the operation of social security
currently manages the National Pensions Scheme and the Accident
Prevention and Workers Compensation Scheme. Mr. Matiza informed
the Committee that the National Pensions Scheme was financed through
contributions made by employers and employees in formal employment.
The committee was also told that the Authority invested in housing,
land, banking and real estate as a way of ensuring that the contributions
by the Committee if NSSA beneficiaries were aware how their contributions
were invested, Mr. Matiza said that NSSA had liaison officers who
went around educating employers and employees on how their contributions
were invested. The Committee was also worried by what it called
“paltry” pay outs to beneficiaries given the huge interests
that NSSA was realizing from its investments. In response, Mr. Matiza
informed the Committee that NSSA acted on the advice of its actuaries
who gave guidelines on the viable rates.
also sought clarity on how NSSA secured the funds it loaned to banks
taking into consideration that these were workers’ contributions.
Mr. Matiza informed the committee that NSSA held title deeds from
banks as collateral security. However, Mr. Matiza informed the Committee
that NSSA had since stopped giving out loans to private organizations
such as banks. Regarding the loan to Renaissance Bank, Mr. Matiza
informed the committee that the decision was taken after the Minister
of Finance had approached them following a Cabinet resolution directing
NSSA to invest into the bank so as to mitigate the downstream effects
that would have arisen due to the imminent collapse of the bank.
and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
received oral evidence from the President of the Bankers Association
of Zimbabwe (BAZ), Mr. John Mushayavanhu, who was accompanied by
Mr. S. Biyam, BAZ Chief Executive Officer. The Committee had invited
BAZ to be apprised on the level of funding available to SMEs and
the challenges that small to medium scale businesses were facing
in the country.
informed the Committee that there was about US$3.5 billion circulating
in the banking system, which the SMEs had to compete for with big
businesses and other sectors of the economy.
He said SMEs
faced a number of constraints, which included low and short-term
bank deposits. Mr. Mushayavanhu revealed to the Committee that 80%
to 90% deposits were transitory in nature and therefore unsuitable
for lending. This was compounded by lack of mid to long term lines
of credit (3 V 4 years). Zimbabwe was failing to attract lines of
credit because of its country risk image. The available lines of
credit were of trade nature and therefore not suitable for SMEs.
was another factor which has been a stumbling block for many SMEs.
However, Mr. Mushayavanhu informed the Committee that it was not
clear whether the SMEs were genuinely not able to raise collateral
security or they just did not want to do it. The Committee was also
informed that most SMEs did not have bank accounts yet they wanted
loans from the banks, a situation which made it very difficult for
banks to lend them money.
also informed the Committee that banks were generally reluctant
to lend out big sums of money because of government policy inconsistencies.
They were afraid that government may change the currency at short
notice thereby exposing banks to huge risks.
Committee on Indigenization and Empowerment Promotion
8 March 2012, the Thematic Committee on Indigenization and Empowerment
Promotion conducted a familiarization tour at Zimplats Mine and
also conducted a public hearing in the surrounding community to
gather views of the community on the recently launched Community
Share Ownership Trust.
representatives informed the Committee that Zimplats submitted its
indigenization plan to government in 2011. The plan proposed an
equity of 10% to Mhondoro-Ngezi Community share ownership scheme,
5% shares to employees, 6.5% shares either as equity to the Sovereign
Wealth Fund or as Release of Additional Ground as per 2006 Release
of Ground Agreement and 29.5 shares as empowerment credit.
heard that the release of equity of 6.5 % via the 2006 Release of
Ground Agreement between the government and the company as part
of the indigenization plan was rejected by government. In order
to resolve this deadlock, management was currently engaging the
shareholders to come up with a new plan.
representatives informed the Committee that their company had done
a lot for the community as part of its corporate social responsibility;
construction of schools and clinics etc. However, the community
expressed concern to the Committee on the following issues;
- The community
was not aware of the Community Share Ownership Trust Scheme, they
only hear about it as news on radio and in newspapers.
of Zimplats were affecting the populace through destruction of
dip-tanks, grazing lands and relocations.
- The company
was neglecting the community road, Battle Fields Road, and only
concentrated on roads that directly benefited it.
was channeling sewage into the river which the community was using
as its source of drinking water.
community clinic in a state of neglect.
Livestock often run over by heavy mine trucks
- Social responsibility
programmes were done without the consultation of the community.
of Parliament Sitting
will resume their sittings on Tuesday 13 March 2012.
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