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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 33 - 2012
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
August 08, 2012


Parliament was recalled from its recess to ratify three Loan Agreements for the upgrading of the Victoria Falls Airport, rehabilitation of the City of Harare’s water and sewer reticulation system and for the procurement of medical equipment and supplies. The loan agreements were secured from the Chinese Import and Export Bank and they are valued at US$381.2 million.

Plenary proceedings in the House of Assembly

Ratification of Loan Agreements

The Acting Minister of Finance, Hon. Gorden Moyo presented to the House of Assembly three Loan Agreements for ratification in terms of Section 111B of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The first Loan Agreement of US$150 million relates to the upgrading and expansion of the Victoria Falls Airport in preparation for the United Nations World Tourism Organization Convention. The second Loan Agreement valued at US141.3 million is for the City of Harare’s Water Works Project whereas the third Loan Agreement valued at US$89.9 relates to the acquisition of medical equipment and supplies.

While backbenchers did not have problems with the three Loan Agreements per se, they were dismayed by the behavior of the Executive for taking them for granted; recalling them to just “rubber-stamp” those loan agreements without giving them adequate time to scrutinize the documents to see if they were good for the country or not. Members also argued that it was pointless to expect them to meaningfully debate the loan agreements when the contractors were already on site. The Acting Minister of Finance apologized to the House and explained the urgency for ratifying the three loan agreements. He said the Chinese Import and Export Bank was currently reviewing its international loans with a view to cancelling those that have not been ratified by the beneficiary countries.

The House eventually ratified the three Loan Agreements albeit grudgingly.

Given that the Executive signed the Loan Agreements in April this year, the recalling of Parliament at short notice could have been avoided as the ratification of these Loan Agreements could have been scheduled for consideration before Parliament adjourned two weeks ago.

Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion Portfolio Committee Presented A Report on the operations of the State Procurement Board (SPB).

The Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion Portfolio Committee took advantage of the Special Sitting to table its report on the operations of State Procurement Board (SPB), while waiting for the Acting Minister of Finance who was still locked in a Cabinet Meeting when the House of Assembly met at 1415 Hours yesterday.

Hon. Willias Madzimure presented the report on behalf of the Committee. The report highlighted allegations of corruption in the awarding of tenders by the SPB, the need for the Board to decentralize so as to afford equal opportunities to all Zimbabweans, the need for the increase in staff compliment as the Board was severely under-staffed and also the need for computerization.

Hon Madzimure further informed the House that there were concerns that the awarding of contracts to foreign companies by the Board was disadvantaging Zimbabweans. Hon. Obert Matshalaga expressed concern at the absence of penalties for companies that fail to honour their contracts. He indicated that some companies once awarded a tender and paid they vanish without doing the job they were contracted for.

The House of Assembly adjourned to the 4th of September 2012 as originally planned before it was recalled to ratify the aforementioned Loan Agreements.

Plenary proceedings in the Senate

The Senate sat and immediately adjourned to today as the information at hand indicated that the Acting Minister of Finance was still locked in a Cabinet meeting by the time the Senate met.

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