We want our money back Mthuli Ncube tells farmers who defaulted on command agriculture loans


HON. BITI:  Hon. Speaker ma’am, I would like to ask the Minister, the esteemed Hon. M. Ncube to assure this august House that he is going to bring Bills of condonation and supplementary estimates to cover the budget deficits from 2014 to 2018 – a period where the Government was overspending outside the budget approved by this august House.  If so, when is he going to bring those supplementary statements and the Bills of condonation?

Secondly Hon. Speaker ma’am, in respect of the overdraft maintained by the Government with the Central Bank, the law is very clear in terms of Section 11 of the Reserve Bank Act that overdraft should not exceed 20% of the previous year’s revenue and you can see from his figures that the Government has been over-borrowing beyond the statutory limit provided for in the Reserve Bank Act.  Can the Minister also assure this august House that he is going to bring a Bill of condonation in respect of that overdraft from 2014 to the present day?  I thank you Hon. Speaker ma’am.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  I thank the Hon. Member for those two questions.  I confirm that I will bring to this august House, Bills of condonation and supplementary statements to basically condone the overspending that took place between the periods 2014 to 2018.  I also confirm that I will bring to this House, again Bills of condonation for the violation of the rule for the overdraft facility of 20% of the previous year’s expenditure to this House for condonation.  I thank you.

HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Madam Speaker.  My supplementary question emanates exactly from the recent answer by the Hon. Minister to the extent that he will bring Bills of condonation and supplementary statements.

My question is – why is Government therefore in a habit of breaking the law?  Why is the Minister simply comfortable in breaking the law and not bringing Bills of condonation since 2014?  We are almost five or six years down the line with the Minister breaking the law, only to be reminded by Members of Parliament to bring in Bills of condonation.  The import of the law Madam Speaker, is not that the Minister must break the law then seek condonation but we must be able to respect our own laws first for us to be able to attract any other FDI if we are going to be serious.  Thank you.

HON. NDUNA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.  Even though kamba isingavhari nekufa kwe mujoni, the Hon. Member of the National Assembly Hon. Chikwinya, alludes to a period way before the Minister’s appointment.  I ask Madam Speaker ma’am that you guide the House accordingly.  The man speaks with so much verve and energy and again the Minister has just come into office.  I ask that you protect the Hon. Minister from this delinquent behaviour by the Hon. Member who is castigating him with impunity, even aware that the Hon. Minister has just gotten into office.  Madam Speaker ma’am, protect the Hon. Minister.  I pray that.  Thank you.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  I certainly have no intention of breaking the law and the Hon. Member is right that we should not break the law.  So, I intend to comply with it and bring for condonation before this House a Bill and supplementary statements to deal with the overspending that was incurred between the period 2014 and 2018.  Thank you very much.

HON. B. DUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker ma’am.  On 28 (1), the Minister made it clear that it seems that the amount spent on command agriculture is more than the amount recovered.  Is that a deliberate Government policy to just put money in the trench?  Could we know what is happening to the amounts not recovered from those people?

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE:  I thank the Hon. Member for that supplementary question.  It is true that certainly there is a delinquency rate of the order of 30%.  So, basically we are recovering 30%.  We are blacklisting those who are defaulting for a start so that they are not getting loans and support going forward.

Secondly, we are continuing to recover our money – we want our money back.  That is the process that we have been following but they are also being blacklisted as well.  There will not be beneficiaries going forward.  I thank you.

HON. B. DUBE:  I want clarification.  He has actually given a percentage which gives a wrong impression.  You are talking of 30% recovery but if you had told the House that it is 70% default Minister   and are we sure that what you have explained as a remedy is adequate to protect the people of Zimbabwe to say 70% default, then we are just blacklisting and continuing with the process. Does it not tell us that this is a failed project so that if there is need to advise, reform and come up with something different; so be it.

HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Let me clarify. I may have expressed that in a confusing manner. What I said was, we are recovering 30% less which really means that the default rate is 30% and the recovery rate is 70%. So, I agree with his interpretation. I put it the other way. We are only blacklisting those within that 30% from whom we have not managed to recover anything at all. 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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