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


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The station is very old, it needs continual service.  Refractory machines, by their nature, because of too much heat, need to be constantly serviced because they are too old and they have been over heated.  So, even if you put a board, what will they do to reduce that cost?  Unless you go the hydro-electric way, put more hydro-generators then you have cheaper power.  By putting a board, still the power will not go down because it is the way we generate our power.

Transport is expensive.  That is what the Minister told us in that Bill.  Yes, transport is expensive.  It is because we are using these 30 tonne trucks, the gonyettes.  There is no country that can develop without a viable railway system.  Unless we sort out the railway industry and the railway system, our cost of transport in the country will still be very expensive.  You cannot transport coal from Hwange using an ordinary truck on the road.  That is very expensive and what is on the road – 100, 200 roadblocks all demanding money.  That is a cost that adds up.  When the transporter is charging you, he takes into account the several police men that he is going to bribe on the way because that is a cost.  So, Madam Speaker, whether you put a board, I do not see how it is going to reduce the cost of transport.

We have a board in the form of the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA).  It is supposed to be regulating prices of power and prices of fuel, but fuel price has been changing and going down the world over on the international market, yet our fuel has not gone down.  If you go to Mozambique, our fuel is twice what Mozambique is charging.  Zambia, which is further than us from the sea, has got cheaper fuel than us, but we have ZERA which is supposed to be regulating.  I see this pricing commission also sitting there where ZERA is sitting doing nothing but increasing cost to the productivity of the nation.

If we want to reduce costs, just the issue of continuously using paper work instead of computerisation is a cost.  You do things faster by computers.  Just getting a Zimbabwean visa takes you about an hour waiting at the airport.  That is the cost of doing business.  As long as we do not computerise, we do not e-government, our cost structure will still go up.

What should we do, Madam Speaker?  I do not see the Minister, even if we gave him that mandate by approving the Bill, telling ZESA which is under a different Ministry, to reduce the price of electricity.  That has never happened given the policy inconsistencies within our Ministries, given the various mandates that different Ministries are given.  There is nowhere where one Minister can cut across the board of all other Ministries to tell them to reduce the price.

From experience, the Minister knows that is a pie in the sky.  You can never attain that.  Ministers do not normally want to bend and hear other Ministers giving directives to them.  As long as that Commission is going to be put to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, it will not give directives to ZESA and it will not give directives to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate.  It is almost impossible.

So, Madam Speaker, I think, let us find other ways, like Hon. Sibanda indicated, within various Ministries.  We do not need a separate entity.  We already have the capacity.  That is why there are those Ministers and Permanent Secretaries to say, okay, how can we reduce the cost of productivity within the country.  So, Madam Speaker, I do not support this Bill and I think it is totally unnecessary.  At this point in time, we could use the money somewhere else and use it better.  I thank you.

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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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