Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter
More than 30 Bills have been earmarked for consideration by the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament as the Second Republic continues to maintain its responsive and proactive stance to emerging needs of the country by ensuring that the law is a tool for development in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
The Bills were spelt out by President Mnangagwa yesterday at State House during a joint address of the National Assembly and Senate when he officially opened the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament aimed at giving a legislative agenda of the coming Session.
He said some of the laws were meant to be aligned with the Constitution as Cabinet had since approved principles of the proposed laws while others were still with their line ministries.
Besides enacting the law, Parliament will also ratify agreements that Zimbabwe entered with other nations.
“The Second Republic is also committed to ratifying all outstanding Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas). Furthermore, Parliament is also expected to ratify the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation,” said President Mnangagwa.
In the health sector, Parliament will consider the Medical Services Amendment Bill, Medical Aid Societies Bill and the Health Professions Amendment Bill.
“These should result in a consolidated legislative strategy to achieve universal health coverage, enhanced access and affordable health services,” he said.
Parliament will also consider the Amendment of the State Universities Statutes Bill which seeks to amend the Acts governing the 13 State universities, to align with the Constitution and enhance conformity with the Heritage Based Education 5.0 policy.
The Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill will see further liberalisation of the broadcasting sector, as the Second Republic moves to reform the media landscape.
In the financial services sector, the Insurance and Pensions Commission Bill is set to empower IPEC to prescribe a minimum level of assets and liabilities.
It will also provide for the establishment of the Protection Fund for Policyholders and Pensions and Provident Fund members.
President Mnangagwa said the Securities and Exchange Act should be amended to widen the definition of Securities to include Virtual Asset Service Providers.
This will enable the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate and supervise Virtual Assets Service Providers on a risk-based approach.
The Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act will also be amended to provide for the identification and assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing risks that may arise in relation to virtual assets.
It will further ensure that appropriate sanctions apply to errant Virtual Assets Service Providers, their directors and senior managers.
The Deposit Protection Corporation Act is also being amended to align the legislation to international best practices.
The Provincial Councils Amendment Bill will implement the Government’s devolution agenda.
President Mnangagwa said Parliament will consider the Municipal Courts and Police Bill as well as the Liquor Licencing Bill which aims to ensure the efficient discharge of the various mandates of local authorities.
The Second Republic is committed to ensuring that communities and all relevant arms of the State are adequately organised and capacitated to implement best practices on disaster risk management.
“Dispute settlement machinery will be rationalised to remove cumbersome confirmation procedures through the Labour Amendment Bill. With regards to the welfare of our Parliamentarians, the proposed amendments to the Parliamentary Pensions Act will address deficiencies identified in the present Act.”
The Co-operative Societies Act will also be amended while the law governing Private Voluntary Organisations will be amended to enhance good governance, transparency and accountability.
“Proposed amendments will further ensure that PVOs operate within the thematic parameters under which they are registered,” said President Mnangagwa.
The Persons with Disabilities Bill is set to amend the 1992 Disabled Persons Act, informed by other contemporary legislation on disability rights.
The Child Justice Bill and the Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill will be amended to enhance rights of children.
Other laws for amendment include the Prison Act, Defence Amendment Bill, Anti-Personnel Landmines Prohibition Amendment Bill while there will be the Independent Security Service Complaints Commission Bill to provide for an independent complaints mechanism by members of the public.
“I am also aware of the expectation to migrate to the New Parliament Building in the new city in Mt Hampden. The progress on the construction works to date is indeed pleasing.
“To our Parliamentarians, I wish to reiterate the need to expedite the legislative work that lies ahead. For the remainder of this year, and going into 2022, let there be a common desire to prioritise the enactment of laws which reflect and give impetus to the developmental aspirations of our people,” he said.