President’s prepared address to Parliament

President Mugabe

President Mugabe

ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT, CDE R. G MUGABE, ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE THIRD SESSION OF THE EIGHTH PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE: 15TH SEPTEMBER, 2015. ADDRESS SET TO BE TABLED IN PARLIAMENT TODAY

Madame President of the Senate,

Mr Speaker Sir,

Members of Parliament,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Comrades and Friends.

Once again, it gives me great pleasure to address this august House, this time, on the occasion of the opening of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe.

This Session commences at a time when the alignment of our legislation to the Constitution being accelerated as required in terms of the provisions of Section 324 of the Constitution.

The Electoral Amendment Act and the National Prosecuting Authority Act, which were prioritized under this exercise, are now operational.

The General Laws Amendment Bill, which will effect non-consequential changes to over 158 statues, together with the Gender Commission Bill and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill, are already under consideration by Parliament.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

Speech mix-ups: Common error

In order to stimulate both local and foreign direct investment inflows, Government is carrying out a raft of measures to improve the business environment in the country. In this regard, the Company’s Act and other pieces of legislation, which have hitherto hindered the ease of doing business, will be overhauled. Furthermore, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Amendment Bill, which seeks to convert the Authority into a true One-Stop-Shop Investment Centre, will be tabled for consideration by this august House.

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The State Procurement Amendment Bill, which seeks to improve efficiency in the public procurement system, will also be tabled before this Parliament. “The Bill provides for the conversion of the current State Procurement Board into a non-executive standards setting and compliance monitoring body, while decentralising the procurement function to Ministries, public enterprises and local authorities.

The Special Economic Zones Bill, which seeks to promote exports, boost industrialisation and enhance skills and technology transfer, will also be tabled during this session. In order to promote the revival and growth of the local manufacturing sector, action is being taken to limit the importation of goods for which there is adequate local production capacity. In order to provide anchorage to the efforts at turning around our economy, the Banking Amendment Bill, which seeks to strengthen the banking regulatory system, will be presented in this Parliament.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

The Supreme Court ruling on the Common Law position regarding the termination of employment contracts triggered job losses. Regrettably, the compelling need to move with speed on the matter found the social partners rather unprepared. This resulted in some of their proposed amendments not being factored in at the time the Labour Amendment Bill was tabled in Parliament. Government, nonetheless, remains committed to take on board the social partners’ concerns for further amendment of the Labour Act.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

The mining sector remains the centrepiece of the country’s economic revival as envisaged under ZIM-ASSET. However, to realise the sector’s full potential, it is necessary to invest in an intensive exploration programme, and in mineral value addition and beneficiation. To this end, the Mineral Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill, which aims to transform the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe into a full-fledged mineral exploration corporation, will be tabled before this august House.

The Bill will provide for a competitive and investment-focused legislative framework. The Bill for the establishment of the Pan African Minerals University of Science and Technology, which will offer post-graduate training programmes in mineral value addition and beneficiation, is also set to be tabled in this august House.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

Section 296 of the Constitution provides for the establishment of the Land Commission to replace the former Agricultural Land Board. The Land Commission will carry out the land audit and is also mandated to ensure accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of all agricultural land. Accordingly, the Land Commission Bill will be presented to Parliament during the current Session.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

The Consumer Protection Bill will be tabled during the current Session in order to promote consumer rights and fair business competition and marketing. The Zimbabwe Standards Regulatory Authority will be operationalised to ensure compliance with quality, health safety, and environmental standards for imports and exports. A Bill will be tabled to repeal the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act, and to establish the National Competitiveness Commission, which will have the mandate to spearhead the improvement of the country’s business competitiveness.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

To improve the state of the infrastructure and clear the administrative bottlenecks at the country’s border ports, the National Border Ports Authority Bill will be introduced in Parliament during the current Session. Already, a model border post for the country has been developed. The process of selecting companies to construct such border posts is currently underway. The underlying objective is to facilitate the free movement of tourists, investors and goods.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

Government has embarked on a US$125 million Digitalisation Project which, on completion, should see us achieve universal coverage for both radio and television. Furthermore, as the project rolls out its fibre-optic terrestrial backbone, other ICT-based applications, especially for schools and rural business centres, will immensely benefit from this vast investment.

The e-Transactions Bill will also be introduced to govern and manage e-Commerce across our networks. An e-Government policy is being formulated to facilitate efficient ICT-enabled operations within and across public sector entities.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

Small and Medium Enterprises, as well as cooperatives, continue to provide employment and decent livelihoods for a large number of families. To further grow the sector, an appropriate legal framework shall be introduced in order to facilitate the sustained growth of the sector.

The Cooperative Societies Act (Amendment Bill) to, inter alia, incorporate the operations of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies, will be brought before this august House.

In order to unlock external investment, it became necessary to simplify and rationalise the implementation of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act so as to render it more flexible. This was done in order to empower relevant Ministries to negotiate investment thresholds, taking into account peculiarities prevailing in their respective sectors.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

The Local Authorities Bill will be introduced in Parliament during this Session. The Bill will consolidate the current Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act. It will also establish a Tribunal to deal with issues of the dismissal or discipline of councillors, mayors and chairpersons of local authorities. The bill, will, in addition, spell out provisions under which the status of local authorities can be upgraded or downgraded on the basis of changed circumstances.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir, the provision of quality education remains a key priority on the national development agenda. Work is currently underway on the Education Amendment Bill in order to align the Education Act of 2006 with the Constitution. The entire Primary and Secondary School Curriculum is being reviewed to render the country’s education system appropriate for the current and future development needs of our country. Government has also come up with a policy framework to facilitate the provision of infrastructure at our institutions of learning, within the context of public-private joint venture partnerships.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

Effective health care provision is the cornerstone for our national well-being. Accordingly, the Public Health Bill will be tabled during the course of the current Session. The Bill seeks to adequately address current public health challenges, among them the issues of non-communicable diseases, maternal health, cross border risks as well as the involvement of non-state actors and communities in the health care provision. A Regulatory Authority for Medical Aid Societies will also be enacted to provide the much needed recourse for improved governance, and to ensure clarity of roles between insurers and service providers.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir, Government continues to prioritise the implementation of programmes and initiatives to empower the youth. In this regard, you may recall that our young people brought forward numerous positive contributions and proposals during the June 2015 23rd Session of the Junior Parliament, and these needed to be explored further. Extensive stakeholder consultations on issues affecting children having been completed, the Children’s Amendment Bill, which seeks to address matters pertaining to children’s welfare, will be presented in this Parliament.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

In compliance with Section 245 of the Constitution, Government has now set up the Gender Commission which will monitor the implementation of Gender-inclined Constitutional provisions, recommended affirmative action programmes to achieve gender equity, and ensure redress for gender rights violations.

Madame President Mr Speaker, Sir,

A Bill to combine the War Veterans Act and the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Act into one Act, now incorporating the War Collaborators, will be tabled before Parliament during this Session. Efforts are also underway to construct three Zimbabwe Liberation War Memorial Hospitals in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, through a joint venture partnership with a foreign contractor.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

The scourge of corruption continues to rear its ugly head at all levels of our society. Government will therefore ginger up its systems to effectively respond to this challenge. As part of this effort, a code of conduct will be put in place, in terms of which, all high level public office holders shall be required, to disclose their assets upon assumption of office, or to declare their interests on matters that may create scope for conflict of interest.

A national Code of Corporate Governance Bill, to bolster the fight against corruption, will be brought for consideration by this Parliament.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

The National Security Council Amendment Bill, which provides for the establishment of a National Security Council to advise Government on national security policy and strategies, will be brought before Parliament during this Session.

The Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill, providing for the transformation of the National Defence University, will also be brought before Parliament during this Session. The university will act as the national think-tank, and provide higher education and training in national policy and strategy formulation for military and civilian leaders.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

Let me take this opportunity to express my utmost disgust towards those of warped minds, who heartlessly rape even six-month old toddlers. We are re-examining our laws with a view to imposing mandatory sentences against perpetrators of this heinous crime.

As I conclude, may I remind all Honourable members of this august House of the need to always conduct business in a manner that does not erode the stock of trust reposed in us by the electorate. We indeed to carry on our shoulders the hopes and aspirations of our people.

Let us channel our collective energies towards the development of our country, guided by our economic blueprint, ZIM-ASSET. This, of course, demands of us all to always cherish the crown values of peace, hard work and the unity of purpose.

Madame President, Mr Speaker, Sir,

Allow me, at this moment, to declare the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe duly open, and to wish you fruitful deliberations in pursuit of national development.

I thank you.

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