HomeNews7 NGOs petition Parly Speaker over RBZ Debt Bill

7 NGOs petition Parly Speaker over RBZ Debt Bill

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SOME seven non-governmental organisations (NGOs) last Thursday petitioned Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda urging him to stop passage of the Reserve Bank Debt Assumption Bill, saying taxpayers could not afford to absorb the $1,35 billion debt.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

The petitioners include the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, National Youth Development Trust, Combined Harare Residents’ Association, Southern and Eastern
Africa Trade and Information and Negotiation Institute of Zimbabwe.

They said Parliament was mandated by the Constitution (Section 17 (1) to protect and promote principles of sound public finance management in Zimbabwe, but they were disturbed that the National Assembly was proceeding to consider the Bill when no public, transparent, and participatory debt audit had been carried out and without a full disclosure of the beneficiaries.

“The petitioners beseech the National Assembly to set up a Public Debt Commission that brings together representatives from various sectors of our society to conduct an official public debt audit before any debt relief mechanism can be considered for the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) $1,35 billion debt,” the petition read.

“The National Assembly should consider recommending that the RBZ liquidate its non-core assets to pay off the debt.”

The NGOs also called for crafting of a law to set limits on borrowings by the State, the public debt and debts and obligations whose payment or repayment was guaranteed by the State as prescribed by Section 300 of the Constitution.

“The National Assembly should allow for a public, transparent and participatory debt audit, the Bill must disclose all beneficiaries of the RBZ debt, and there should be enactment of appropriate legislation on public debt contraction,” the petition read.

They said they were extremely concerned about the glaring conflict of interest arising from the MPs voting on the Bill when they were beneficiaries.

“We are worried about the devastating effects on the economy arising from the debt take over, and concerned that the debt on the RBZ Debt Assumption Bill in the National Assembly has not focused on substantive issues of the Bill and has, unfortunately, been partisan.”

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