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Roundup Bulletin No. 17 - 2012
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
May 17, 2012
The ESSAR Deal,
the Ethanol Project and Elections were some of the topical issues
that the House
of Assembly dealt with during the Question and Answer Session
yesterday, where backbenchers sought answers from Cabinet Ministers
on these important policy issues. The Chairperson of the Local Government
and Urban Development Portfolio Committee, Hon. Lynette Karenyi,
presented a report on the service delivery by Gutu and Chiredzi
local authorities. Hon. Lovemore Mupukuta, the Chairperson of the
Public Works and National Housing wound up debate on the Committee’s
report on the Willovale Flats scandal. The Senate continued with
debate on the motion on perennial drought in ecological Region IV.
and Answer Session on Policy Issues
Position on the Ethanol Fuel
asked Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara to explain
to the House the position of government on the ethanol fuel project
in Chisumbanje in the light of conflicting press statements. In
his response, Professor Mutambara informed the House that the Cabinet
was seized with the matter and to that end, a ministerial Committee
has been set up to look into the issue in a holistic manner so as
to addresses issues of investment into the project, marketing of
the product, displaced families etc.
of Energy and Power Development, Hon. Elton Mangoma shed more light
on the controversy. He informed the House that the Chisumbanje Ethanol
Project was embarked upon without adhering to government regulations
and the company running this project, Green Fuels, now wanted to
arm-twist government into formalizing the project in retrospect.
Minister Mangoma said nobody in Cabinet knew the background to this
project. He said it was strange that the company embarked on such
a huge project without first obtaining the necessary licence and
approval from government as required by the law.
said it would be very unfair for his ministry to issue Green Fuel
with a licence when nobody in government has all the details how
the project was given the nod of approval. He further argued that
it would be unfair to legislate for mandatory blending and thus
forcing all motorists to use the green fuel before all the critical
questions on the quality of the fuel have been answered. He also
indicated that the price of the Green Fuel currently pegged at $1
per litre was very expensive as compared to world market prices
which average $0.72.
on the ESSAR Deal
Zimbabwe entered into a deal last year with ESSAR to revive the
fortunes of former ZISCO STEEL, now called New ZimSteel. The hand-over
ceremony was officiated by President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai
recently. However, backbenchers raised concern yesterday regarding
slow progress on the implementation of the deal, which threatens
the livelihood of thousands of New Zimsteel employees. Deputy Prime
Minister Mutambara informed the House that the deal has stalled
because government wanted to renegotiate some terms of the deal.
He acknowledged that government had entered into a weak deal that
stood to prejudice the country. He said the government later realized
that it had given away all iron ore mining rights to ESSAR in exchange
for a mere $700 million investment, without leveraging the value
of the ore to its advantage, which is estimated at $30 billion.
Professor Mutambara noted that the country’s mining investment
model was weak and as a result the country has not been benefiting
much from the mining sector since independence.
of Energy and Power Development, Hon. Elton Mangoma informed the
House that since 1984, there has never been any investment in energy
generation. As a result, demand has outstripped supply leading to
the current load-shedding policy. He said in the medium term, government
has embarked on the expansion of Kariba Power Station and Hwange
Thermal Power Station to boost domestic generation capacity. He
also revealed to the House that government has opened negotiations
with Zambia on the construction of Batoka Power Station in a joint
In the short
term, government has decided to install pre-paid meters in all the
households that use electricity in the country to ensure that consumers
pay for the electricity they use. He said this will enable government
to import adequate power and be able to pay for it.
told the House that the forth-coming elections would be process-driven
as envisaged in the Global
Political Agreement (GPA). He said all the reforms agreed upon
by the party principals in the GPA have to be implemented in order
to create sufficient conditions for free and fair elections. He
said all those reforms required time and hence talk of elections
before the implementation of the agreed reforms was misplaced. He
could not be drawn to give a specific time-frame only to say that,
whatever happens to the current
constitutional process, the life of the current parliament expires
on March 2013 which therefore stipulates the outer limit for the
holding of elections.
of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government on the Service Delivery
by Gutu and Chiredzi Local Authorities.
of the Local Government and Urban Development Portfolio Committee,
Hon. Lynette Karenyi, presented a report on the service delivery
by Gutu and Chiredzi local authorities. The report noted some irregularities
in the manner the two local authorities executed their responsibilities
to residents. Water service delivery was priced out of the reach
of the majority residents. The report also noted that council officials
often flouted tender procedures. For instance, in Gutu Rural District
Council, the Committee established that council officials awarded
themselves tenders to supply goods to the council.
of the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and
of the Public Works and National Housing Portfolio Committee, Hon.
Lovemore Mupukuta, wound up debate on the Committee’s report
on the allocation of Willowvale Flats. While the Minister of National
Housing and Social Amenities, Hon. Giles Mustekwa, adopted some
recommendations of the Committee, he refuted the Committee’s
findings regarding aspects of corruption in the ministry. Hon. Mupukuta
lambasted the Minister for dismissing corruption allegations and
argued that the Committee’s findings were based on the information
supplied by ministry officials.
motion on perennial drought in ecological Region 5, Senators noted
that even some areas that usually get good rains were facing drought
this year due to the mid dry spell that affected their crops. Senators
painted a gloomy picture of impending starvation in most parts of
the country. They urged government to immediately take action by
moving grain from surplus areas to deficit areas.
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