Give priority to food crops and not tobacco-MP says


Mangwe Member of Parliament Obedingwa Mguni has called on the government to give priority to the production of maize, sorghum, beef and poultry and not tobacco so that Zimbabwe can feed its people as this is a God-given right.

In his contribution to the mid-term fiscal policy review, Mguni said right now tobacco was receiving a priority when the nation could not feed itself.

Zimbabwe is short of about 700 000 of tonnes this year. This has been attributed to drought and not poor planning.

One legislator, however, said Zimbabwe was facing a food shortage because of the late distribution of inputs which were delivered in November, December and January instead of September and October.

Full contribution:

MR. MGUNI: Thank you Mr. Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to debate on this very important budget that was presented by the Minister. Zimbabwe is a God obeying country. In a Godly manner, we have to feed our people. Therefore, maize, sorghum, beef, cotton and poultry should be driven first because if you look at God’s commandments, tobacco must be the last, but we see that tobacco comes in front. I urge the Minister to give more priority to staple foods where people must be fed in this country.

Mr. Speaker Sir, ZIMRA, the revenue collectors should have a mandate of collecting maximum revenue that is due to the State while protecting local industry and facilitating trade. If that is not balanced correctly, everything will be bizarre, because once they are on enforcement only the revenue that they have battled to collect may not come. This is because they need to balance all these three that I have mentioned.

Mr. Speaker, I have seen that there are funds that are given to DDF, RDC and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. I have seen success of collaboration within these three departments in some of the districts whereby they work together because there is no way DDF can go and work on this road without travelling on the State road or passing through the RDC road. Therefore, there should be a policy formulated to make them learn how to work within the budget of the little funds available to them.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I welcome the economic zones. However, there is the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (DIMAF). We have to check and scrutinize who we are giving this fund because the last batch that was given, some of them were already outside the country; they just received the money and retrenched the workers. They are not reviving these factories. There is a Ndebele saying Uvuswa evukayo, there is no way you can go to a dead cow and try to wake it up. It is gone.

The Rhodesians went through sanctions, but they relied on ZISCO Steel. This was used to counter those sanctions because it produced some things which other countries in the world needed. They could not do without those goods. I am appealing to the Minister to give priority to ZISCO Steel because it is where the heart of Zimbabwe is. Some of the countries demand what comes from ZISCO Steel. That is how we can beat sanctions.

Mr. Speaker Sir, banks have to play a pivotal role in formalizing the informal and micro-businesses. In other countries, banks approach those informal business people and offer them good banking rates with reasonable interest rates from 2 to 5% against any money deposited per month. From there, the bank will encourage those people to register with the department of trade, industry and commerce. Industry and commerce is the department that will link them with ZIMRA. However, you will find that ZIMRA is in the forefront of bringing those people down and people are scared to go and formalise. They fear that monster which came before they could be managed, skilled and brought up correctly.

Mr. Speaker, let me close my debate by saying, under the circumstances we have in Zimbabwe, the Minister has tried his best because of the sanctions – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – that is the only truthful way to come up with such a budget. People must reconsider and think of it that we are in a situation which is not normal in Zimbabwe due to the pressure given by the Western countries trying to force the regime change. I thank you Mr. Speaker.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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