Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Parliamentarians in the First Session of the Ninth Parliament have their work cut out after President Mnangagwa laid out the legislative agenda, with 27 Bills expected to be tabled.
The President said Parliament would seek to give urgency to the achievement of Government’s economic turnaround drive.
He presented Bills that cut across the socio-economic and political life of the country.
“The Legislative Agenda of this Ninth Parliament must therefore seek to give greater impetus to our ambitious and yet achievable economic agenda. A cross section of Bills will be tabled, debated and enacted,” President Mnangagwa said.
Some of the Bills that deal directly with economic issues that the President presented to the joint-sitting of the Houses yesterday include; the Companies and Other Entities Bill, which will overhaul the Companies Act, the Regional Town and Country Planning Amendment Bill, which seeks to reduce the time and procedures for processing construction permits and the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Bill, which seeks to consolidate various pieces of legislation on investment, which are presently spread under various Acts.
The Bill will also provide for the establishment of a one-stop investment centre, the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency.
President Mnangagwa said the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill that was passed in the last session of the eighth Parliament will be re-tabled to address some inadequacies and provide for online registration of mining rights and title.
The Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act and the Immigration Act will also be amended.
The other Bills that will be tabled include the Gold Trade Bill and the Precious Stones Trade Bill, which seek to curb leakage of precious minerals and the Consumer Protection Bill which aims to protect consumers from unfair trade practices and abuse by suppliers of sub-standard goods.
“To mitigate the security risks and cyber crime related threats, a Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill shall be tabled before this Parliament,” President Mnangagwa said.
“This shall also be supported by the introduction of the Data Protection Bill as well as the Electronic Transactions and Electronic Commercial Bill. The Labour Amendment Bill will be brought to this House for discussion and approval.
“This must be in tandem with the ongoing ease and cost of doing business reforms; and equally seek an intricate balance between labour productivity and workplace harmony.”
The President said the Cooperative Societies Amendment Bill and the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill, which aim to facilitate participatory development by fostering greater collaboration between all social partners, will also be brought for consideration by the August House.
As part of Government’s promise to fully implement devolution, the Rural District Councils Bill intended to give Rural Councils greater autonomy, as enshrined in the Constitution will be brought before the House while the Traditional Leaders Act will be amended to bring it into line with the Constitution and more particularly, to provide for the establishment of Provincial Assemblies.
“The Provincial and Metropolitan Councils Bill, will facilitate the devolution of governmental powers and responsibilities to Provincial and Local Authorities,” President Mnangagwa said.
“Through this Bill, Provincial and Metropolitan Councils will be reconfigured in accordance with Chapter 14 of the Constitution. This will further seek to facilitate enhanced coordination between Central Government, Provincial Councils and Local Authorities, within the context of the decentralisation and devolution programme.”
The President added that in line with Government’s determination to further open up media space, the Bill for the establishment of a Zimbabwe Media Commission, and an Amendment of the Broadcasting Services Act shall be tabled during this first session.
Other Bills to be debated include the Coroner’s Bill, which provides for the establishment of the Coroner’s Office, the Constitutional Court Bill which, among other things, seeks to confer additional responsibilities to the Constitutional Court and the Customary Law and Local Courts Bill, which provides for the exclusion of harmful cultural practices from Customary Law.
The High Court Amendment Bill, which will provide for clear appeals and referral procedures from the High Court to the Constitutional Court and establish their jurisdictional matters, will also be debated in the House.
“This Parliament is also expected to consider; the Child Justice Bill and the Marriages Bill, which seeks to provide a child justice system and to outlaw child marriages, respectively. The Mandatory Sentencing for Rape and Sexual Abuse Bill shall be considered by this Parliament,” President Mnangagwa added.
The President said Government remained committed to deepen democracy in the country.
“My Government stands committed to deepen its democratic values and aspirations for the prosperity of our country. We will continue to engage all cooperating partners to harness our full potential,” he said.
“On its part, Government will continue to ensure policy consistency, transparency and predictability, underpinned by fiscal discipline, hard honest work and a responsive bureaucracy.”