HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker Maam. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is in respect of transparency. If the Hon. Minister can clarify what steps are being taken to ensure that the generality of Zimbabweans who have various enterprises are made aware of the provisions that the Government can guarantee loans in circumstances where, if they did not have such guarantees, they will not be able to obtain the loans in question?
In respect of oversight, what measures are being put in place that this august institution, perhaps through the relevant portfolio committees on Budget and Finance can have some of the oversight in respect of the criteria being used to alert the beneficiaries to ensure that they have that transparency to show that this is above board and it is being done in a manner which is beneficial to those who are deserving this kind of support.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I thank Hon. Gonese for that follow up question. On the issue of publicity; I think I read that, it really needs questioning that maybe this is not well publicised. So, we should do more publicity. I take that point that we do more publicity. The publicity that we had carried out was to announce the package in the first place and the guarantee scheme but also the line ministries for instance, if you look at someone that we supported, of course, there are some who we supported on the tourism sector, and they are in touch with their line Ministry of Tourism. So, some of the clients come through their line ministries, some come directly through the banks. So we have had those channels of communication. However, I am hearing that perhaps we should publicise more and we will do so. I take your suggestion.
On the issue of oversight, there is completeness here because we are spending within our budget limits – we are living within our means. There is no risk of us overshooting on the budget performance and I stand willing to keep the Committee of Budget and Finance appraised and updated on how we are doing on this. I stand ready to even give a Ministerial Statement where it is necessary, so there is complete transparency and oversight. I can tell you that under my watch, there is no risk of over expenditure on budget, I only run balanced budget. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Has the Government not got a deliberate policy to fund indigenous people after the protracted liberation struggle where they were oppressed by the Smith Regime and identify indigenous companies who want to grow their business so that there can be an economic balance after the oppression of the Smith Regime? Have you not also accommodated white companies in the new Zimbabwe unlike the time of Rhodesia when it was the white companies who benefited? Thank you.
HON. PROF. M. NCUBE: Hon. Mliswa is right. We do have an empowerment policy which has been re-launched and refreshed – that exists. Through this policy, Government has been supporting indigenous business companies but also they have been creating special financial institutions to further sharpen that empowerment agenda. All they are looking at is the Women’s Bank or the Youths Bank and now we have the National Venture Fund. All those are pockets of resources that are meant to sharpen the empowerment agenda.
I think where we could do better is in the area of procurement where again we would want certain groups and SME’s to be supported by Government in the procurement process. Once someone has got a contract as an SME, it is easier for them to source them funding because they now have an order. The bank can discount the value of that order and give them a loan. So, our procurement processes need to speak to that empowerment as well. I think that is an area that we could improve but he is right that we have been targeting certain disadvantaged groups to make sure that they are supported as we grow our economy to make sure that no one is left behind. I thank you.