The complete debate on why Zimbabwe MPs opposed the National Competitiveness Commission Bill


Now, to my specific points; I heard the Minister saying that there will be a dialogue through consultation for labour movements, business and Government.  We already have an existing structure in the form of a tripartite negotiating forum.  The Ministry of Industry and Commerce is also a member of the task force.  Having been in Government for four years, I really know and understand how the structures in Government work.  So, I am really wondering why the Ministry of Industry and Commerce when attending consultations and dialogue meetings cannot tap into that particular chamber for what the Ministry can use in its Ministry rather than form another structure.  You cause mayhem and confusion and like I said yesterday, there is need for social cohesion.  But this Bill will actually lead to disunity because at the end of the day, there is one Government.  The Minister is a Cabinet Minister who also sits in the TNF with several other Ministers.  I would advise the Minister to talk to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services because that structure of social dialogue does exist in Government.

My question is what really is the intention of bringing a Bill in a different name when it actually talks about the same thing in another Bill that has already failed?  I really believe that this Bill will be a cash cow and creation of jobs for the boys.  He did try to put icing on the cake in terms of the 50/50 representation on the board but I think the timing is wrong.  You cannot rely on donations or grants when Government is grappling with salary payments to civil servants.  So, I want to believe that even the Hon. Chair has also alluded to the fact that they feel that they had hearings which rejected this Bill.  So I do not know whether we should continue debating something that will be agreed to by very few people.  It would have been embarrassing if they had consulted full houses everywhere they went and the people rejected the Bill like we are doing now.  This Bill is very untimely Hon. Speaker.

HON. GABBUZA:  I rise to join those who are totally opposed to this Bill.  This is not necessary at this point in time.  This is a clear case of poor prioritization by Government.  Bureaucracy is a cost, the more you put boards, the more expensive it becomes.  If we calculate that the board is going to have a secretariat, calculate salaries of the secretariat when they go for researches to find prices and sitting allowances for the board members, I would rather say employ more teachers in my constituency, because I have schools that are running with two teachers as Government has put a freeze on recruitment.  That money will find better use somewhere else.  It might be necessary in due course but for now I would plead with the Minister to put aside these unnecessary costs.  These jobs can clearly be done by the existing structures within Government.  What is causing the costs, the Minister indicates that the cost of money is making Zimbabwe uncompetitive.  What we must be addressing is the reason why money is expensive.  There is no way you can reduce the cost of money at the bank by simply putting a monitoring board.  It is not possible because the cost of money is due to risk factors. What are these risk factors for any investor wanting to borrow money to use in Zimbabwe?  What they ask themselves first is; is that money coming back in US$ or in bond notes.  Once you talk of bond notes, already it is a risk which attracts a premium on the money.  So, the issue we should be addressing is not about putting up a board, it is about addressing fundamental economic issues across the board.

Utilities have been mentioned as one of those things that are very expensive and cause a cost to our productivity.  Yes, but if you look at water regionally, Zimbabwe has got the cheapest water.  It is not that expensive.  The water that we use in industries is not at all that expensive.  Power is expensive.  Why is power expensive?  Even if the Minister puts a board, there is no way you can reduce the cost of producing power by a thermal power station in Hwange which is redundant.

Continued next page


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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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