Bill Watch 36/2012 of 30th July

Both Houses of Parliament have adjourned until Monday 3rd September

The date for the ceremonial opening of the next session is still to be fixed 4th Session of the 7th Parliament Ended

The House of Assembly sat on Tuesday 24th July, the Senate on 24th and 25th July; both then adjourned until 3rd September. There will be no further sittings in the current Session. Unfinished business on the agenda will lapse but in both Houses lapsed items can be taken up again in the next session if a motion to do so is moved and passed. All Portfolio Committee and Thematic Committee business is suspended from Friday 27th July and will resume in the next session.

The ceremonial opening of the new Session by the President will be on a date to be announced. Immediately after the ceremonial opening it is customary for Parliament to adjourn for two weeks to allow members to study the speech. According to the Parliamentary calendar the next sittings are scheduled for 18th September, but the calendar is often subject to changes.

President’s Speech – Key Indicator for the Next 12 Months

At the ceremonial opening of Parliament, the President gives a speech outlining government business planned for the coming session. This year his speech will be of key interest as it is likely to reveal his thinking about the timeframe for the referendum on the new constitution, when the new constitution will take effect, and when elections will be held. The speech will also outline the legislation the government proposes to present to Parliament. Will the legislation provide for the necessary reforms to fulfil the Election Roadmap?

In Parliament Last Week

Finance and Appropriation Bills passed by both Houses

House of Assembly On 24th July the House continued debate on the Minister of Finance’s Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review before passing the Finance Bill with one amendment. The amendment added a new clause designed to fine-tune the Customs and Excise Act’s provision dealing with the duties of aircraft pilots to report to customs on the crew, passengers and cargo carried.

The House then approved the Amended Estimates of Expenditure and passed the Appropriation (2012) Amendment Bill without amendments.

Both Bills were then transmitted to the Senate, and at 7 pm the House adjourned until 3rd September.

Senate On 25th July the Senate devoted the whole of a long sitting to the Bills and passed both without amendment. It then adjourned until 3rd September.

The Bills will now go to the President for his assent before being gazetted as Acts.

Documents available from [email protected]:

• Finance Bill as passed by Parliament

• Appropriation (2012) Amendment Bill as passed by Parliament

• Minister of Finance’s Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review Statement [large document – over 1MB]

Other business in the House of Assembly

Before tackling the Minister of Finance’s items on 24th July the House heard Hon Mukanduri’s presentation of his report on the SADC Regional Workshop on the Role of the Parliament in Trade Policy Formulation, Trade Negotiation and Economic Integration, held on 27th and 28th February 2012. The House also adopted a motion of condolence to the family of the late Betty Chikava MP and wound up debate on the Foreign Affairs Portfolio Committee’s report on its visit to China and the Local Government Portfolio Committee’s report on service delivery in the local authorities of Gutu and Chiredzi [reports available from [email protected]]

No other business in the Senate

The Senate’s sitting on 24th July was very short. Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] chairperson Hon Mushonga and the Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa were not present, so Hon Mushonga’s motions on the PLC’s adverse reports on 17 statutory instruments were not dealt with. Hon Chinamasa had been expected to respond to the PLC’s criticisms. It is hoped that that the motions on these reports will be revived in the next session – because clarification is needed on the constitutionality of standard provisions that appear frequently in local authority by-laws to which the PLC’s objected. At the last session of Parliament the Adverse PLC reports on the Senate Agenda, including one on an indigenisation statutory instrument, lapsed and were not revived, meaning that an opportunity was missed to get provisions considered by the PLC unconstitutional repealed.

Upcoming SADC Summit

The next ordinary SADC Summit will be in Maputo on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th August. It will be preceded by the usual preliminary meetings at Ministerial level and by a meeting of the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. South African President Zuma, SADC’s Facilitator for Zimbabwe, will be due to report on progress towards completing the new constitution and other aspects of implementation of the Roadmap to Elections. Unfortunately his visit to Harare has kept being postponed as the negotiators said they had not made enough progress. SADC executive secretary, Tomaz Salomão, had also indicated he would visit Harare before the forthcoming Summit to assess the political situation and progress in the implementation of the organisation’s resolutions on Zimbabwe.

In Committee Hearings Last Week

Deposit Protection Corporation [DPC] Problems DPC officials gave evidence to the Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance about problems facing the DPC, including its need for a large capital injection if it is to provide adequate protection to depositors in failed banks. Chief Executive John Chikura told the committee that the new Deposit Protection Corporation Act, gazetted on 16th March, is not yet operationalised because the Minister of Finance has not appointed a new board. This does not mean the DPC is legally without a board to control its operations, because under the Act’s transitional provisions the board members of the former Deposit Protection Fund constitute a temporary DPC Board until the Minister makes new appointments. The Minister has until 16th September to appoint a new Board [DPC Act, section 65].

Status of Bills

[available from [email protected] unless otherwise stated]

Passed Bills being prepared for Presidential assent and gazetting as Acts

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill

Older Persons Bill

Electoral Amendment Bill

Appropriation (2012) Amendment Bill

Finance Bill

Bill being printed for presentation [not yet available]

Securities Amendment Bill [the page proofs of this important Bill were delivered to the drafter for checking on 20th July]

Bill not yet sent to Parliament but already approved by Cabinet

In his Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review statement the Minister of Finance said that the new Income Tax Bill had been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Legislation and would be gazetted. But the Bill has not yet been sent to the Government Printer. [Bill not yet available]

Government Gazette of 27th July

Statutory Instruments

Census regulations SI 128/2012 contains the regulations for the 2012 Population Census [available from [email protected]]. The Census Period runs from 17th to 28th August.

Collective bargaining agreement SI 126/2012 contains a complete set of conditions of service for the battery manufacturing industry.

General Notices

Protection of Harare wetlands In GN 313/2012 the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management states that he has declared 26 areas in Harare to be wetlands in terms of section 113(1) of the Environmental Management Act. As section 113(1) authorises the Minister to declare any wetland to be an “ecologically sensitive area”, the GN has been incorrectly worded; it should have said the 26 wetlands had been declared “ecologically sensitive areas”.

Public holidays for 2013 GN 317/2012 lists public holidays for 2013 for public information [available from [email protected]].

Insurance and Pensions Commission Board GN 324/2012 notifies the appointment of four members of this Board.

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