HomeNewsFinance Bill No 3 sails through in National Assembly

Finance Bill No 3 sails through in National Assembly

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AFTER serious clashes in the National Assembly over the $379 million Defence vote, the Finance No 3 Bill and the Appropriation Bill 2015 to do with the budget sailed through in the National Assembly yesterday.

VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER

The two Bills will be scrutinised today in the Senate and are also likely to pass without any changes in the votes allocated to different ministries.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had a torrid time yesterday with opposition MPs grilling him for bringing a $3 million loan agreement between the government of Zimbabwe and the Arab Bank of Economic Development in Africa for ratification by Parliament when he had already signed the loan.

The loan is meant to finance micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and will be implemented by the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Corporation (SMEDCO).

Chinamasa defended himself, saying it was not practical to seek Parliament authority first before signing loan agreements.

“In practical business sense, it does not happen that I come to the House first before I borrow. In any case, you are at liberty to say you do not want the loan,” Chinamasa said.

Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) said in the past, loans meant for SMEs benefited fat cats and big corporations, adding Chinamasa was breaching Section 100 of the Constitution and provisions that stated that an Act of Parliament should be crafted to set parameters on borrowing.

“It is clear in the Constitution that there has to be an Act of Parliament to set parameters of borrowing, but right now the minister is using his own discretion in terms of borrowing,” Chamisa said.

“During budget presentation, he clearly stated there was no allocation to local authorities because there is no enabling Act and I do not think that we should rush and accede to this loan agreement when we are yet to come up with an Act to deal with issues of borrowing limits,” he said.

Chamisa said government already had a debt of over $8 million dating back to the Rhodesian era and it was important to set parameters on debt.

Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T) said the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda must make a ruling on the issue of whether MPs should ratify the loan agreement without the Act in place.

The House later ratified the loan agreement, but cautioned against political interfence in the disbursement of the funds.

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