parliament of zimbabwe meeting 01-11-10 ed.jpgThe Finance Bill, which seeks to give legal effect to the 2011 national budget, sailed through the House of Assembly with amendments recommended by senate and cabinet.

 

The bill is now set to go back to the senate for further debate this Thursday, after the House of Assembly  met to consider the recommendations made by the senate for the amendment of clauses 18,22,and 23  of the bill  to the lower house.

Clause 21 has been withdrawn as recommended by cabinet with clause 24 withdrawn in line with the recommendations of the lower house.

Earlier in the day,  Zanu PF legislators met  to scrutinise the bill with revelations  that  Finance Minster, Tendai Biti  had clandestinely  smuggled in some amendments to the Exchange control Act,  which sought to take away the Head of State and Government and the commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,  President Robert Mugabe’s  powers to institute regulations  in relation to   imports, exports, gold and other mineral exports among other critical areas.

Minister Biti had made proposals to the effect that executive powers would be transferred to his office and give him absolute powers to preside over the country’s strategic economic resources.

Mr Biti had also made a proposal to allow one person to sit on more than 2 boards, a  move which Zanu PF senators said was meant  to accommodate the Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank,  Mr Charles Kuwaza on the ZIMRA board.

Mr Kuwaza already sits on the RBZ and Tender boards. 

jorum gumbo.jpgZanu PF senators shot down the proposal saying this fuels corruption.

Zanu PF Chief Whip, Cde Joram Gumbo said Mr Biti finally agreed to amend the sections and clauses of the bill, which were contested after it emerged that he had misrepresented that the executive had agreed to the amendments.

 

“He [Biti] went further to seek amendment to one or two clauses which the senate had not debated on and these amendments, I am glad to say that the Minister of Finance agreed to have them amended,” said Cde Gumbo.

Cde Gumbo noted that Mr Biti was playing a political game and had lied so that if the pending elections are held he has absolute powers to control the finances and cripple ministries headed by Zanu PF members to gain political and economic mileage.

 

“As a politician, I think he wanted power, he wanted those powers to come to his ministry. As a member of Zanu PF and the feeling in Zanu PF, one would think that since we have pending elections next year, maybe he [Minister Biti] wanted to have those powers so that he would control all the finances from his ministry and make use of them to make sure that those ministries under Zanu Pf are left powerless,” Cde Gumbo said.

The Senate last Friday recommended amendments to some clauses and sections of the Finance Bill after noting many loopholes as the Minister of Finance’s desire for absolute powers over the country’s strategic economic resources.

After debate in the senate this Thursday, the bill will now await presidential assent.