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Mudenda bars debate of mid-term fiscal policy because Chinamasa should have presented it as a motion

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda today barred debate on the mid-term fiscal policy statement saying it should have been introduced as a motion if the government wanted Parliament to debate and approve a supplementary budget.

Mudenda said his office had asked Treasury and had been assured that the statement was not seeking a supplementary appropriation but after presentation of the statement, Treasury brought a draft Departmental Finance (No. 2) Bill seeking Parliament’s approval for the revenue measures announced.

The Constitution states that: “If the money appropriated to a purpose under an Appropriation Act is insufficient or if the expenditure is needed for a purpose for which no money has been appropriated, the Minister responsible for finance must cause an Additional or Supplementary Estimate to be presented to the National Assembly, and if the National Assembly approves the Estimate, the Minister must cause an Additional and Supplementary Appropriation Bill to be introduced into the Assembly providing the necessary resources for the necessary money to be issued from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”

Mudenda said it was therefore apparent that the procedure used was not in accordance with the above provisions of the Constitution.

“The correct procedure is that the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement should have been presented on a motion ‘that leave be granted to make further provision for the revenues and public funds of Zimbabwe and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto’.

“Thereafter, debate on the Statement will automatically ensue. Accordingly, the Chair rules that the unconstitutional procedure used is null and void and must be corrected to comply with the Constitution and Standing Orders.”

The Speaker said the motion to debate the statement which was supposed to be moved by Mutoko South Member of Parliament David Chapfika was therefore unnecessary.

Full statement:

2014 MID-TERM FISCAL POLICY REVIEW STATEMENT

MR. SPEAKER: On the 11th of September 2014, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development presented the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement, pursuant to Section 7 of the Public Finance Management Act Chapter 22.19. More specifically, Section 7(2) (a) of the Act states that:-

“…The Minister shall ensure that full and transparent accounts are from time to time and not less than annually made to Parliament indicating the current and projected state of the economy, the public resources of Zimbabwe and the Fiscal Policy of the Government”
The Chair’s attention has been drawn to the fact that the Administration of Parliament enquired and was informed by Treasury that the Statement was not seeking a Supplementary Appropriation. However, after presentation of the Statement, Treasury brought a draft Departmental Finance (No. 2) Bill seeking Parliament’s approval for the revenue measures announced. Section 305(5) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that:-

“If the money appropriated to a purpose under an Appropriation Act is insufficient or if the expenditure is needed for a purpose for which no money has been appropriated, the Minister responsible for finance must cause an Additional or Supplementary Estimate to be presented to the National Assembly, and if the National Assembly approves the Estimate, the Minister must cause an Additional and Supplementary Appropriation Bill to be introduced into the Assembly providing the necessary resources for the necessary money to be issued from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”

It is, therefore, apparent that the procedure used was not in accordance with the above provisions of the Constitution. The correct procedure is that the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement should have been presented on a motion “that leave be granted to make further provision for the revenues and public funds of Zimbabwe and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
Thereafter, debate on the Statement will automatically ensue. Accordingly, the Chair rules that the unconstitutional procedure used is null and void and must be corrected to comply with the Constitution and Standing Orders. This ruling also renders the notice of motion by Hon. Chapfika unnecessary.

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