OPPOSITION MPs yesterday dismissed the National Competitiveness Commission Bill, saying it was meant to create a “fiefdom for Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha and his cronies”.
By VENERANDA LANGA
The Bill is currently in its Second Reading Stage in the National Assembly. Bimha said the new commission would enhance productivity and identify sectors with potential to increase competitiveness.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce, Edmond Mhere, angered MPs when he read a committee report saying people rejected the Bill during public hearings, but later made recommendations that it must be passed.
“If a portfolio committee gathers people’s views, they should bring correct information of what people said and not personal views, and the minister must also bring Bills that make sense,” Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) said.
Bulawayo East MP, Thabitha Khumalo (MDC-T) said there were no financial resources to support the commission, adding it was not necessary when there was no industry to talk about in the country.
“The minister is only trying to create a fiefdom for himself and his cronies at the expense of Zimbabweans and reconstruct the same body. All that he needs is to revisit the Kadoma Declaration and implement it,” Khumalo said.
Hatfield MP, Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T) said the commission was a waste of resources.
He said the ease of doing business could not be resolved by creating a commission, but by solving policy inconsistencies, reconstructing industry and manufacturing and exploring fiscal and monetary policy issues.
“The minister must look at existing structures in his ministry to do the duties of the commission. What they will be doing are functions that are supposed to be done by technocrats in his ministry,” Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T) said.
“Cabinet is the biggest commission that we need to do this work because their duty is to provide policy to remove impediments in ease of doing business. The biggest driver of business costs is corruption, and by bringing this Bill, the minister is wasting Parliament time and taxpayers’ money,” Harare West MP, Jessie Majome (MDC-T) added.
MDC-T legislator, Ronia Bunjira said public hearings were poorly attended with one person attending in Harare and Mutare residents that attended saying it was a useless law.
Southerton MP Gift Chimanikire (MDC-T) said the minister should “throw away the Bill into the nearest bin” as it sought to create a monster that would devour Zimbabwe’s limited resources.
MPs said the minister was missing the fact that he needs to resuscitate industry, create a good environment for business to thrive and ensure removal of restrictive policies.
Bimha, who sat stone-faced as MPs dismissed the Bill, had to be rescued by his deputy, Chiratidzo Mabuwa, who rushed from Senate where she was attending the question-and-answer session, to adjourn the debate to next week, further angering opposition MPs.